Refugees at Home

May 2024: Refugees at Home: Deportations to Rwanda may be on hold and new detentions of asylum-seekers likewise – at least until July 5th – but there are still many refugees and asylum-seekers destitute, homeless and in need of help.

There is a fine Quaker tradition, going back generations, of assisting this community and of hosting people too.

And there is a huge demand, right now, for welcoming hosts, who might have a spare room in a town or city. (guests tend to get nervous in the country, with little transport, away from their communities and with no access to, for instance, Halal meat or Eritrean churches)

We have had many Quaker hosts at Refugees at Home and hope to welcome more.

Fred and Gillian Ashmore are, as you would expect, long-standing hosts and Fred is also a Home Visitor, checking out new volunteers in his area to ensure that everyone is safe and on-board for hosting.

Sadly, down-sizing means they are unlikely to host again but Fred says:

“We’ve done quite a few hostings with R@H and generally found it great – good briefing and support and very aware of the hosts’ point of view as well. And several of our guests have become like family.”

I’d echo that, as a non-Quaker host. We have had 43 guests from all over the world since 2016 – 45 if you count the couple from Gaza, currently living in my late mother’s sheltered housing up the road. And we are still in touch with many of them. When something good happens, like citizenship, getting that PhD, finding a new job, former guests are very keen to demonstrate how they are moving on and sorting out their lives. It’s a very positive relationship. And some, like Issa from Kuwait and Ghanim from Syria, just message to say hi. We’ve been invited to citizenship parties but no weddings yet. I live in hope.

Because of the stay on Rwanda deportations, some lawyers are asking Refugees at Home to provide bail addresses (and therefore hosting) as people are released from detention. Jamal, from Sudan, was let out of Brook House near Gatwick, just over a week ago after three weeks there. It’s great to watch some of the stresses retreat as he settles in here. Inevitably, he will move on back into Home Office accommodation. But, for however long he is here – probably just a couple of weeks – we can help him feel safe and at home.

It’s something any of us with a spare room can do and I hope some of the people reading this will decide to give it a go.

There’s more information and an application form at

Sara Nathan

Co-founder and trustee, Refugees at Home