Sanctuary Hosting, our remarkable volunteer hosting service, has recently achieved a significant milestone. It celebrated its eighth anniversary, highlighting the incredible compassion and generosity of volunteer hosts who have provided tens of thousands of nights of secure accommodation to refugees, asylum seekers, and vulnerable migrants.

“I’ve no words to express my deepest gratitude for all volunteers and staff. You are by my side all the time, you’re never too tired to listen to my problems and wipe my tears.”

– Sanctuary Hosting client

The occasion was celebrated with a buffet supper at the St Clements Centre on Friday 8th  September 2023. The guest of honour was Councillor Lubna Arshad, the Lord Mayor of Oxford. Attendees included hosts, guests, former guests, volunteers, staff, and friends of Sanctuary Hosting. Adding a special touch, the food was expertly cooked by Kamel, a professional chef and asylum seeker who is currently being hosted himself.

This event not only highlighted Sanctuary Hosting’s commitment to providing safe and welcoming spaces for those seeking refuge but also served as a testament to the unwavering dedication of host households over the years. By connecting individuals in need with compassionate local people who offer spare bedrooms, Sanctuary Hosting has become an invaluable lifeline for many vulnerable individuals fleeing conflict or persecution. The service has provided an incredible 34,225 nights of safe, supported accommodation to refugees and migrants who would otherwise have been homeless – perhaps sleeping on an Oxford pavement.

“I would like to thank all Sanctuary Hosting staff, hosts and support workers because I couldn’t do this without your help and support. From homelessness, now I’ve my own place, so I can plan my future by studying and working – then I’ll give back to them.”

– Sanctuary Hosting client

Through an innovative approach, Sanctuary Hosting has not only transformed spare bedrooms into places of sanctuary but also restored hope and dignity to displaced and destitute individuals. By offering practical support and kindness to people in their time of greatest need, the service empowers refugees and asylum seekers to begin to rebuild their lives with confidence – reminding us all of our collective responsibility to create inclusive communities where everyone can thrive.

“Sanctuary Hosting is needed now more than ever, as demonstrated by the placement of three new guests in the last week.

In the face of heightened political hostility towards refugees and migrants, initiatives like this embody the positive values of empathy, community, and solidarity of which Oxfordshire can be proud.

We are extremely grateful to all of our brilliant hosts and volunteers. And we are so proud of our guests who continue to demonstrate incredible courage and resilience despite all they have been through. Here’s to the next eight years of Sanctuary Hosting!”

– Tania Baldwin-Pask, Sanctuary Hosting’s Service Manager