BHN Autumn Newsletter 2020

Update from Lizzie Briggs
A lot has been going on since our last newsletter, all of which features here. You will find some positive stories to help you get through the second lockdown, so do grab a cuppa and settle in.

THANK YOU - Let me start by saying a MASSIVE thank you to BHN's staff, volunteers and trustees, who have risen to the challenge of expanding our services in these times of great need. This has been no mean feat, and reflects the dedication and compassion they all have for the destitute asylum seekers we support. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

BHN'S OPERATIONS - BHN has housed 32 members during lockdown, with various comings and goings due to changes in status. We have focused our energy on the housed members in our hostel and host network, making sure their accommodation remains stable, working hard on their cases where possible, providing financial support through our Solidarity Fund (which has been increased), also providing tech support, regular welfare calls, food referrals and advocacy in healthcare.

We have worked hard with the rest of the sector to make sure no one falls through the cracks and to stay on top of the needs as they have arisen.

As restrictions eased, we were able to risk assess returning to the venue for much needed 1:1s with members. This was to discuss their case, gather evidence and meet new potential hosts and members as part of the Host Expansion Project (see below for more updates on that). Thankfully, we are able to continue meeting for 1:1s during this second lockdown, so that our work can carry on uninterrupted.

THIS NEWSLETTER - In this newsletter, you will find further information about our Host Expansion Project, which has been a huge success so far, but the need is still greater than we can currently meet. You will also find information on our upcoming AGM on 30th November, which will be a paired-down affair (no food, as you can well imagine!), but still a chance for us all to get together.

I am also pleased to announce that we will be taking part in the Big Give Christmas Challenge 2020, so please watch this space for ways to support it.

Finally, enjoy this great video of Emmanuel K filmed back in April, where he discusses his experiences of lockdown. This was filmed as part of Project Pause, which set out to capture refugee and asylum seeker stories in lockdown.

I do hope you enjoy this newsletter and that it helps you to feel a bit more connected to BHN during this time of isolation. We miss you all and truly can't wait to see you all again!

Update on Host Expansion Project - We still need your help

Our campaign to find more hosts, which was launched on August 5th, was a huge success, leading to 40 enquiries and seven new host households, so thanks to everyone for sharing the campaign. We were featured in Bristol Evening Post, on BBC Radio Bristol, BBC Points West, BBC Online, The Bristol Cable, Bristol Local TV, Bristol 24/7, Ujima Radio and the Daily Mail! Well-known member John Patrick joined Director Lizzie Briggs on BBC Points West to talk about the importance of hosting (see left).

New hosts Roshan, Priyanka and David took on not one but two asylum seekers this month. They said "Being familiar with BHN's amazing work for a number of years, we had wanted to host guests for some time, but had never had the means to do so. However recently moving into a new home together, we were lucky enough to be able to offer two rooms for hosting. The process of contacting BHN was very smooth and on the first meeting with our future guests we liked them and they liked us so they moved in a few days later. It has been a very relaxed move, and we often watch the football together, drink tea and play cards and we have been treated to a cooked lunch everyday so far!  We would all definitely encourage others to open their homes because if they can as it is a very rewarding experience."

We still need five more hosts. So far, we have housed nine out of the 20 on our waiting list, with a plan for six more, and we therefore need five more host households to make sure everyone is safe and off the streets. Watch this space for our second push to find more hosts between now and Christmas. In the meantime, please do speak to anyone you know who has a spare room and might be able to help us.
Find Out More About Hosting
BHN's Annual General Meeting
Date - 30th November
Time - 2pm
Location - Zoom (click on Link here)

AGENDA
  1. Welcome from the Chair of Trustees
  2. Vote to accept minutes of last Annual General Meeting
  3. Trustees stepping down and vote to appoint new trustees
    1. New trustees standing: George Perry, John Patrick Ngau, Laura Harper, and Rachel Short
  4. Presentation of the finances and accounts for the year to March 2020
  5. A quick review of the year and thanks to all our wonderful volunteers

If you are a member of BHN and can't attend the meeting, but would like to vote on any of these topics, you can ask someone to vote on your behalf (a proxy).  Please email director@bhn.org.uk to find out how you can do this. 


We will be taking part in the Big Give Christmas Challenge 2020, and have already been pledged £7,500 in match funding from some very generous pledgers and the Medlock Charitable Trust.

Our target this year will be £15,000 and the money will be go towards our Solidarity fund - to cover the increase in amount (from £10 to £15) and the expansion of members through the Host Expansion Project. We have been successful in raising emergency funds this year, but are aware that fundraising for next year will be somewhat more difficult as the economic impact of the pandemic continues to take its toll.

So keep an eye on our social media for ways to get involved and thanks to everyone who donated so generously last year. We really don't know what we would do without our BHN family!
You can catch Lizzie Briggs and Emmanuel K talk about lockdown life back in April 2020, as part of 'Project Pause', a collaborative space for people with experience of displacement or migration to share wisdom. Please visit the website here to search the live interactive archive, which features stories and testimonies, experiences and wisdom shared by people with experience of displacement.
PHOTO REQUEST

We're ALWAYS looking for photos of BHN's activities and our Host Network. If you have any photos from the Welcome Centre, from any of BHN's events, or of activities you've enjoyed with your guests please send them to hello@bhn.org.uk. If you feature in the photo, please request a media consent form in the email. Thanks!
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