Newsletter 25 – July 2019
Dear Hosts, Home Visitors & Supporters,
OUR NEW PATRONS.
Big news from Refugee Week was being able to announce that we have two wonderful new patrons – our first – and we do feel ever so grown-up as a charity.
Alf Dubs came to the UK on the Kindertransport from Czechoslovakia aged just 6. He grew up to become Labour MP for Wandsworth and is now a peer and a figure-head for the Safe Passage campaign to bring unaccompanied refugee children – like he was – to safety in the UK.
Here he is with Sir Nicholas Winton, who was responsible for saving so many children.
Alf Dubs and Sir Nicholas Winton
Our other patron is Shappi Khorsandi, the fabulous comedian and author who also came here as a child refugee from Iran – but with her family, unlike Alf, because her father had to flee after he fell out with the regime there.
Shappi will be hosting our Founders’ Circle dinner in September.
Z, our very first guest, was hosted in Birmingham in late 2015, as we started to pilot the R@H scheme. We’ve since hosted him three times for a total of 220 nights. He has endured many vicissitudes since that first placement but finally – this week – nearly four years after he first got in touch and we placed him – got leave to remain from the Home Office. Of course we don’t know why it took quite so long but he, his former hosts and we are over the moon.
And on Tuesday Mohammed, an Arabic teacher from Egypt arrived to stay with me. He’d travelled for 15 hours overnight from Belfast, was tired, injured from falling off a bike just before he left and, of course, apprehensive about arriving at the home of somebody he didn’t know if he could trust. On the walk back from the station, we bumped into Mo, our other guest and ace Syrian cook (next date for Mo’s Eggs pop-up brunch is July 14th – do book now)
A flurry of Arabic and huge hugs later, they explained they had lived in next door tents in the Calais Jungle in 2016. I’ve never seen a cloud of anxiety lift so quickly. And then, blow me, that evening it turns out Mohammed also knows our first ever guest Ganim from the Jungle. So he popped over after his Deliveroo shift.
And here they are the very same night, shooting the breeze in our garden:
NEW CONTACT NUMBER
We have a new number for general enquiries from Monday – Friday 0900-1800. We hope this means your question gets answered quickly by one of the team.
0300 365 4724
But if you are currently hosting and would like to speak with a specific placement co-ordinator, please contact them directly on their own line – this can be found in previous email correspondence about that placement.
Tim Ramsey takes his leave with our huge gratitude as he stands down as our trustee-lead on fund-raising. We certainly need someone to take over and lead our volunteer team of (rather successful) fund-raisers.
We would love someone who has some broad experience in raising the money we need to do our work. Huge enthusiasm and a little bit of time also critically important. Do contact email@example.com if you are interested in applying – or have ideas how we might find the right person. It would be so great to have a host or someone who is already committed to what we do.
Following a successful recruitment campaign, Zoe Luba will be joining the placement team this week. Zoe is Canadian (which will make her very popular with some refugees – many of whom see Canada as the promised land) She hasn’t been in the UK long but has past experience in supporting both indigenous people and recent migrants to Canada. We hope she will enjoy working with us and that this helps you recognise the person behind the emails and phone-calls:
REFUGEE WEEK: 17th – 23rd JUNE 2019
We focused on film with special showings of “A Season in France” in Kent, Lewes, north and east London, Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds and Bristol. All of them featured either one of our team, promotional material and/or a bucket for donations. It was a different way for us to reach out to an engaged but new-to-us audience and resulted in quite a lot of interest and a couple of host applications.
Finally, have a great summer and looking forward to the next newsletter in early September.
All the best,
Sara and the team
Refugees At Home