Refugees at Home recently featured in local paper Tooting Daily Prss, with stories of our hosts Julian and Lizzie in south London.
While Julian talks about being afforded ‘a window onto the lives of others’, Lizzie stresses how all four of her guests to date have been ‘easy, considerate guests’ and the two encourage others to follow in their footsteps and host.
London is one of our key hubs, and without hosts like Julian and Lizzie, we would not be able to provide shelter to refugees – and it’s articles like this one that help attract new hosts in crucial areas.
You can read the full article on Tooting Daily Prss here, or scroll down.
Refugees At Home is a UK based charity aiming to connect those with a spare room in their home with asylum seekers and refugees in need of accommodation. Sara tells us more about their need for hosts in Tooting…
“Home”, currently showing on Channel 4, is a sitcom about a family who suddenly find themselves hosting a Syrian refugee in Dorking. The scope for comic misunderstanding seems endless. But in real life there are people all over the UK – with fewer quips and one-liners – who welcome asylum-seekers and refugees into their homes. And they find themselves not just doing a good deed but enriching their own lives by doing so.
Refugees At Home, a small charity, working largely in London but across the UK, has enabled hosting for over three years. It currently has about 160 people hosted every night and has found refugees somewhere safe, warm and dry to sleep for more than 117,000 individual person nights so far.
And there are hosts right now, in and around Tooting, doing that hosting: opening their homes to asylum-seekers and refugees in need. Hosts like Julian and Lizzy who think that if you have a spare room, you could do it too.
Julian Bradford hosts Mohammed, a Palestinian, who has been with him since November 2018. Julian says he started hosting because “I’m Australian and both countries treat refugees in a really unkind and disrespectful way… we would hope to be treated better if we were in need.” He says hosting has “brought me a window onto the lives of others – he is where he is because of where he was born and his limited opportunity – had he been born here, he would be where I am.” Julian obviously really enjoys having Mohammed around and says he has become very much part of the family.
N from the Congo has stayed with Lizzy since late last year. She is Lizzy’s fourth guest through Refugees At Home. And Lizzy says all of her four “have been easy, considerate guests and lovely, polite people” She adds “I have gained immeasurably from hosting- knowing peoples’ circumstances and knowing how lucky we are in this country having stability, plus it has broadened my horizons.”
Both Julian and Lizzy signed up to host at www.refugeesathome.org. They filled in a form and then the charity sent a Home Visitor round to meet them, to ensure everyone in the household was OK with hosting and to talk about what hosting could mean for the household. Then the placement team suggested guests who might fit in well and needed to be hosted in south London. The potential guests are usually referred by charities such as Crisis UK, The Refugee Council, The Red Cross or the immigration solicitors. Everyone is checked out before any introductions are made.
The only thing Lizzy says she doesn’t like about hosting is when “my friends comment ‘oh, you are so good’ – and I say it’s an easy thing to do and if it makes such a difference to someone else’s life, why not do it?”
Julian agrees,: “If you are thinking of hosting, you should go for it because if you can even help for a month or even less, you are still doing someone an enormous favour.”
Lots of guests want or need to be in and around Tooting so the demand for hosts is acute. If you want to know more follow Refugees at Home on Twitter, Facebook or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.