HostNation Refugee Befriending Service - Newcastle

HostNation is a befriending service connecting lonely or socially isolated refugees and asylum seekers with local people on a 1-to-1 basis, in London, Manchester, and Newcastle/Gateshead. Befrienders act as social hosts, helping the refugees practise their English, explore the city they live in and learn more about British culture and way of life; they can also provide basic practical/signposting support. Being introduced to volunteers offering their friendship gives refugees a chance to build relationships that promote their self-confidence and help with integration.

Matched pairs commit to meeting weekly or fortnightly over an initial 3-month period, with phone contact in between. They might go for a coffee and a walk in the local park, visit street markets or museums, or attend free events together. It is active befriending and works best for those who are curious and keen to see and do more in the city where they live. 

After knowing their befriender for 3 months over 80% of refugees say they feel better, more positive and happier. And many relationships continue beyond this period

Service access criteria: Over 18, can speak sufficient English not to need an interpreter to conduct basic conversation, interested in meeting a friendly Londoner, do not have high or complex mental health needs, not a risk to themselves or others, not homeless, destitute, facing detention or deportation, remaining at same address for 3-6 months
Connecting with others
Additional needs catered for:
Non English speaking friendly
Key words - separate with a comma: refugee, friend, befriending, asylum seeker, asylum, befriend, Newham, newham
Who can refer: Professional referrals only