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HostNation befriending project

HostNation is a London-wide introductory service connecting socially isolated and lonely refugees and asylum-seekers with local people who help them engage with the wider community more  - whether it be through practising their English and learning about British culture, taking walks in the local park and exploring their neighbourhood, or visiting the sights. We ask our befrienders to commit to an initial 3 month period of regular contact. 

Post-Covid. we have introduced 'smart' befriending. After an online introduction, people can choose how to conduct the relationship: with weekly video-calls from the befriender to befriendee, to check in, get to know one another, chat and provide informal English practice; as a mix of online and face-to-face; or, if they live close by, with regular meet-ups outdoors. We provide data packages to refugees to enable online video-chats.  There is no pressure on befrienders or befriendees to meet face to face before they are ready or able to do so. But while technology can provide many tools for bringing us together, the human need for real-life, face-to-face social connections remains fundamental to what HostNation is about. 

 

Refugees need to be referred to us via the online form - www.hostnation.org.uk/refer

Who to contact

Contact Name
Rossana
Contact Position
Director
Telephone
E-mail
rossana@hostnation.org.uk
Website
HostNation's website

Where to go

Name
No specific venue. See below
Notes

Refugees are introduced to their befriender online - via Zoom or WhatsApp - either by the referrer, if they are happy to facilitate the meeting, or a member of the HostNation team. 

Other Details

Availability

Referral required
Yes
Referral Details

via www.hostnation.org.uk/refer

Referrals need to be in a relatively stable position: we are unable to take people with 'high mental health needs' ,whose housing situation is very precarious (at risk of detention/deportation etc.), or are in crisis. We do not exclude people suffering from depression or anxiety - which is common in refugees and asylum-seekers - but we rely on the referrer's judgement that the person they are referring is likely to respond positively to a volunteer offering friendship, not specialist support.They also need to be able to speak enough English to be able to communicate without need of an interpreter. It works best for people who are lonely, feel isolated from the wider community but are curious and would like to connect with London and Londoners more.