Sanctuary Hosting finds short to long term hosting placements for destitute migrants and refugees.
The idea for “Sanctuary Hosting” came at the Refugees Welcome demonstration in Oxford, in July 2015. In his speech to the crowd our founder Wyon Stansfeld asked, who would be willing to open up their home to a refugee or migrant in need?
The response was startling. Many people volunteered.
And so our service began.
In 2016 Sanctuary Hosting, along with the British Red Cross and Citizens Advice Reading, won funding from the Big Lottery to provide support to refugees and vulnerable migrants across the Thames Valley.
In 2017 Sanctuary Hosting became a registered UK charity.
In 2018, we expanded our staff team to have a Reading base.
Sanctuary Hosting has worked with over 80 households to provide hosting and has made available over 20,000 nights of accommodation for those most in need.
We help refugees and vulnerable migrants find options for independent living across the Thames Valley.
We will match destitute asylum seekers, refugees and vulnerable migrants to people in the community with spare rooms and open hearts, to stay rent free for an agreed period of time.
Rukiya has over 8 years experience supporting vulnerable groups in a variety of roles. She has gained her experience through working in the education, health, government and legal sector. Rukiya has worked in both the NHS Adult and Adolescent Mental Health Service, the Oxfordshire Dyslexia Association and as a paralegal for the Infected Blood Inquiry. Through volunteering for the Personal Support Unit, in the Royal Courts of Justice, she has supported litigants from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds.
Eden was one of the founding members of Sanctuary Hosting, and spent 13 years supervising community led services at Refugee Resource. The UNHCR named Eden as Women of the year at the 2017 ‘Women on the Move Awards’, for her exceptional work to empower refugee and migrant women in the UK. In recent times, Eden worked as a senior broadcast journalist for the BBC’s Horn of Africa service.
Fiona joined Sanctuary Hosting in March 2020, having worked previously as an administrator in the public sector. Her experiences while volunteering and travelling led her to want to use her skills in support of initiatives which care for people and build community.
Isabella Fleitas Fermin
Project Worker - Reading and Berkshire
Isabella has lived in the Dominican Republic, the Canary Islands and England, where she has worked as a caseworker with refugees and asylum seekers. She is an active researcher on refugee integration and well-being, which she makes the prime focus in her work ethic.
Isabella leads on coordinating and building our service in the Reading area and throughout Berkshire.
Chair of Trustees
Alison was head of publishing for the national charity Directory of Social Change before becoming Chief Executive of OCVA (Oxfordshire Community and Voluntary Action) for ten years. She is now freelance writer and involved in various voluntary activities.
For the last 20 years of her career Kate ran her own Communications Consultancy, typically writing speeches, presentations, strategy papers etc for major blue chip companies such as Shell, British Airways and KPMG. Her voluntary activities have ranged from chairing the board of governors for a local primary school, to working with teenage school children through Young Enterprise. She has been a host and volunteer with Sanctuary hosting since 2015.
Dr Kenneth King
Ken has worked for more than 30 years in the higher education sector. He is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. He has been a member of the Mali Development Group and is currently treasurer of Refugee Resource, in Oxford.
Bebe Speed worked in the local mental health trust for many years as a consultant family therapist.
She is currently a Trustee of Emmaus Oxford, a charity which offers work and accommodation to 28 homeless people including two refugee and asylum seekers.
Matt was a journalist in New Zealand, and then in Cambodia in the mid-90s, before he joined Oxfam in the UK. He is head of media now for Oxfam International, where he has worked on its campaigns and humanitarian responses since 2002.
Originally from Eritrea, Goytom has first hand experience of being a refugee and being homeless. He is now pursuing further studies, has his own place and is working. He has been involved with the hosting scheme since it started and looks forward to seeing it grow.
Rose has worked with people affected by asylum and immigration issues for over 13 years, including with the Refugee Council, The Children’s Society and now as South East of England Operations Manager for the British Red Cross. Rose has played a key part in obtaining four years of Big Lottery Funding for a partnership between the Red Cross, Citizens Advice Reading and Sanctuary Hosting.
Theresa has over 10 years experience working with Refugees, Asylum Seekers and survivors of Human Trafficking in both the US and the UK. She was involved in the relaunch of Oxford City of Sanctuary and is a founding trustee member of Sanctuary Hosting. Theresa is currently employed as a Quality Officer in Higher Education.
Damon has worked in the charity sector since 2011, including working for Oxfam for over five years where he worked on supporting refugees in Sudan and Syria. He holds an MA from the University of Warwick in International Relations as well as a First in Business Studies and has been regularly published by the Huffington Post. Alongside this, he has also published a book on gender in international development.
Sanctuary Hosting matches destitute asylum seekers, refugees and vulnerable migrants to people in the community with spare rooms