Spotlight On... Host Nottingham

Pope Francis said ‘Refugees are not pawns on the chessboard of humanity, they are brothers and sisters to be welcomed, respected and loved’

Host Nottingham was founded nine years ago to provide short term accommodation for asylum seekers and refugees in people’s homes. We have hosted hundreds of guests with dozens of hosts. We work closely with the other organisations and agencies in the City who support those seeking sanctuary.


During the pandemic we have were unable to host as some of our hosts have had health or age restricting issues, so many destitute asylum seekers and refugees have been sleeping precariously on floors, sharing beds or sofa surfing and as the lock down has begun to ease they are in danger of homelessness. Most have been very frightened and anxious about their own health, their precarious situations and fearful of what is happening to their families in countries where there are very few medical resources.

When people are seeking asylum and sanctuary in the UK, having fled wars, torture, rape, political unrest and much more, they are not permitted to work. The process of seeking asylum can take years as they work with solicitors to try and convince the Home Office of their need for protection. If they are finally granted refugee status, they are permitted to access housing benefit and start to try and find work and build their future in safety.

Over the last few months we have been working with the Council and other agencies, to try and find permanent private rented accommodation for those who have refugee status in order that they can start to look for work or continue their education. We know that over the coming months there will be an increasing need for more permanent accommodation for refugees. However, destitute asylum seekers, with no recourse to public funds, will need to have short term accommodation while more permanent solutions are being sourced. We have now started hosting again, of course putting in many guidelines to protect both hosts and guests.

Would you like to know more about hosting and how it works?

Would you think about offering your spare room to give a welcome and security for a short time to an asylum seeker? If so we would love to hear from you. We can introduce you to others who have hosted to learn more about how it works and share your questions. You are not making any commitment by asking questions or showing an interest. We are aware that this is a big ask, but we know that it is also a really mutually valuable experience for the hosts and the guests. We are having an Open Evening on Zoom on Thursday 12th November from 6 – 7.30pm and you would be very welcome to join us and see a little more of what this is all about. Please email – for a link to the zoom.

There are many other ways in which you might be able to help.

Side by Side – A Navigating Scheme - We also support clients in other ways by providing volunteers who will help them find facilities in the community – language classes, libraries, daytime facilities etc. or perhaps accompanying them to medical or other appointments. Some of this is done face to face (or mask to mask!), but for some it is helping clients to access these facilities online.

Clothes Bank - We also have a Clothes Bank which is based at the Nottingham Refugee Forum and we often want volunteers who will help with this. At the moment, as the Forum is closed, we are only able to access the Clothes Bank on Mondays and Thursdays from 10 – 12. We are receiving referrals for clothes and packing them up and taking them out to asylum seekers and refugees who need them, so sometimes we need some additional volunteer drivers.

Landlords – We are looking for landlords in the City who have properties which could be made available for Refugees to rent. If you know of any, please put them in contact with us.

Sometimes we look at these situations and feel that there is little we can do, but actually we can do things. We can try and find out more about the reality of life for those seeking asylum and sanctuary in the UK. There are lots of websites and information available. This is most important as some of our press take every opportunity to spread misinformation about those who are seeking safety and sanctuary in the UK. There are many organisations and churches throughout the city who provide support for these our brothers and sisters. Above all we can pray for those whom we may never meet, but who we know are loved by God and, like all of us, made in His image.

If you are interested in learning more about hosting or supporting asylum seekers or refugees, please contact me at or phone 07940 548 832.

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Jane Henson (Chair of Host Nottingham)