Newsletter 27 – November 2019

December 8, 2019 6:37 pm

Dear Hosts, Home Visitors & Supporters,
And our newest placement co-ordinator, Zoe, is working ever so hard on ensuring all our guests have somewhere to go, even if they have to leave their current hosts over the holiday period.
Quite a few people have volunteered to host our guests over the holidays – about December 20 – January 6 ish. If you live in a city, especially London of course and think you might help, do email
Last week, someone asked if Refugees at Home had a Christmas card. That spurred us into action and, thanks to the illustrator and Refugees at Home supporter Bryony Usher, and our good friends at Travers Smith, the answer is now “yes”!
The image is shown below, and the greeting inside reads “Season’s Greetings”. We have a very small supply of printed cards, available in packs of 8. We are asking for a donation of £6 per pack, and £1.50 for your total order as a contribution towards postage.
To order your printed cards, please email, indicating how many packs you would like, and confirming your postal address. Your donation, for now, can be made via our online donation form. Our supply is limited, so please place your order before December 1st.
The card will also be available soon as an e-card, via the website We hope this will be “live” this week, so please keep checking the site.
Let me tell you about Anas: he is a Syrian and was hosted by Refugees At home in Huddersfield for 70 nights. Then he came to London and was hosted for 271 nights in Islington. Status took a long time for a Syrian and he was beyond worried about his wife and four children, stranded in Saudi and threatened with deportation.
Status finally arrived in July, he had a pretty well-paid job in Wimbledon by August – he doesn’t hang about – but, although an application for a family re-unification visa was happening, he couldn’t find anywhere he could afford to rent. His salary would run to two bedrooms commutable to Wimbledon but no landlord would rent that to a family of six.
So we appealed on Facebook and 36,000 people saw it because you all shared and posted and did your thing. And a landlady came forward in Weybridge with a three-bed house and so nice about deposits and so on. Plus her family cut the rent so Anas could afford it. Then her insurers vetoed a refugee (hey – illegal prejudice – but they didn’t care)
Honestly, I nearly gave up but Twitter provided four alternative insurers who aren’t prejudiced plus support from Shelter’s lawyer.
Late last month they all arrived. Here they are at Heathrow:
Huge thanks to Wimbledon Ark Project, who have provided financial support, Elmbridge CAN Refugee Charity for furniture and trying to sort schools and Weybridge Synagogue Sunday School who are helping with toddler group and ESOL.
Now we need to get the boys (aged 8, 6, 4 and 2) into school and activities before the neighbours and mum go completely bonkers.
Our guests don’t usually talk much about how they got here. But the tragedy of the 39 Vietnamese who died trying to reach the UK, meant two of our guests relived their parallel experiences. Ahmad al-Rashid – former guest and now a trustee, was on many outlets.
This was the best:
And Faraj Al-Nasser, still a guest between Cambridge and London, revealed more about the dangers of travelling here in a refrigerated lorry. We had no idea he had experienced this trauma:

I travelled to the UK in a refrigerated lorry and survived. My 12 companions didn’t

Just an early warning for serious party-goers that our AGM and birthday party will be on TUESDAY MARCH 10th at the home of our most generous friends Travers Smith in the City of London. More info in the new year but if you already know you would like to come, please email and we will add you to the guest list.
You know we ALWAYS need more hosts, particularly in cities and even more so in London. It’s almost the only thing holding us back from hosting many more guests.
We have had two brilliant ideas for recruiting more hosts.
Appoint a trustee with a background in persuading people to volunteer to DO things. Please welcome Anne Race – who has hosted but now has babies in the spare room (sigh). We will all be hearing from her!
Employ a host-raising team member responsible for recruiting and retaining hosts. We now have this fully-funded for at least a year and mostly funded for two more. We will be advertising the role soon.
Next month, for the last newsletter of the year: final seasonal arrangements, more on the AGM and some news about IT strategy – I hope.
In the meantime, thanks for all you do, hosting, visiting, supporting, and volunteering to keep our show on the road and our guests safely hosted.
All the best,
Sara and the team
Refugees At Home
instagram: refugeesathome