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.
Sanctuary Hosting currently has 76 hosts and has over 11,000 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.
Sarah has experience overseeing psychosocial support, advocacy and advice services for refugees, vulnerable migrants and victims of trafficking. Working in Egypt, UK and Bolivia, she has been a researcher and lectured on issues facing forced migrants.
Elaine has a background of over 12 years Youth and Community Work experience, many spent responding to those facing homelessness. She has lived, travelled and worked in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, and has a strong desire to support anyone affected by forced migration.
Chair of Trustees
Wyon has worked with refugees and asylum seekers for 13 years, first running a counselling service at Refugee Resource where he also helped set up the mentoring scheme, then as a trustee for Asylum Welcome, then through his work with Emmaus. In 2015 he helped relaunch Oxford City of Sanctuary which then set up the hosting scheme.
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.
Eden Habtemichael is a leading journalist with skills and experience in media. She has worked with marginalised women for over thirteen years at Refugee Resource. In 2015 she helped to relaunch Oxford City of Sanctuary and the Hosting Scheme, she is also on the Board of Trustees for East Oxford Community Centre. In 2006 she helped to establish Refugee Week in Oxford and continues to organise this.
Emma has been involved with Sanctuary Hosting since the beginning and is also Secretary of Oxford City of Sanctuary and a member of Oxford City Amnesty Group and the Oxford International Women’s Festival Committee.
Originally from Eritrea, Goytom has first hand experience of being a refugee and being homeless. He is now pursuing further studies, has my 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.
Sanctuary Hosting matches destitute asylum seekers, refugees and vulnerable migrants to people in the community with spare rooms