There are 8 to 10 active hosting families in the Dorking area, families who have joined a hosting network and welcome refugees and asylum seekers when they become homeless through no fault of their own, but due to the complexities and delays of the UK asylum system. Dorking has welcomed at least 40 different guests over the last two and a half years, starting from one host and growing into a "hub". There are 7 guests presently around, and the others have moved on to find more regular accommodation. Most hosts say the experience is less challenging than they anticipated, more rewarding because they are directly helping someone in immediate need of assistance, and often the starting point of solid friendships.
The process for becoming a host is fairly straightforward, as we are helping adults considered non-vulnerable by the authorities. Fostering takes a much longer vetting and training process. But if you register, you are likely to get your home visit and interview quickly, and even get your first guest as soon as you are ready to welcome someone.
We apologise for not being able to show you photographs, we have many we'd love to share, but we have to be very careful to protect the identity and privacy of the guests and hosts.
To find out more about hosting and how to register, you can visit: Refugees at Home, or Positive Action in Housing, the two networks our hosts volunteer for.