First news post

Welcome to HostNation!

HostNation is up, running and registering refugee befrienders.  We’re excited to be live and to be recruiting finally! Click on the date to read more..

We are a new online service set up by people passionate about helping asylum seekers and refugees in the UK.   We want to make connections and introductions in the community that can give lonely, marginalised people from a refugee background, a sense of belonging and of being valued once more.  Friendship has the power to be truly transformative and capable of restoring faith in humanity, especially amongst those whose faith has been sorely tested. It is those small and simple things like sharing a meal, laughing together, walking and talking that make the biggest difference. As one asylum seeker put it ‘just being in the company of good, kind people’ he could trust and knew would not let him down helped him enormously.  Facilitating friendships is how we aim to put the human back into humanitarianism.

We’ve worked closely with refugees and refugee service providers to create a system of referral, screening and matching that we believe will work.  Refugee befriending schemes do exist in pockets, and we want to work alongside them.  But what we really want to do is to fill the gaps, and to scale up befriending opportunities so far more citizens who want to help have an easy mechanism for doing so. There are so many isolated asylum seekers and refugees who feel alone and adrift in our big cities and we believe they should have a compassionate friend.

Everyone who has the time and inclination to help and lives in, or near, a city that hosts asylum seekers and refugees, is invited to sign up.  It may be a little while before befrienders are matched and we ask for your patience.  We need lots of you so we can build a large, robust database of screened, checked and ready-to-go befrienders before offering to matchmake referrals from refugee service agencies.  So the more people sign up the quicker we can get going! We’re also in the process of registering as a charity with a constitution and a board of trustees so a charity number should appear on this website before long.

We’re particularly seeking befrienders in the Greater London area to start.  We will roll out to other major cities with large refugee and asylum seeking populations but thought we’d find our feet in London first.  There is great need in London and there seems to be far less social provision than in many northern cities where lots of you are already supporting sanctuary-seekers in many wonderful ways. Don’t be put off if you don’t live in Greater London, we still need you but may not be in a position to match you to an asylum seeker or refugee in your area until next year.

Do read the guide, register and watch this space so that we can keep you updated on our progress and impact.

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