Sam joined us as host at our men’s hostel. Host make sure the house is a welcoming environment and support our members with day to day stuff, building community. Sam has joined our host James and Susan in this role.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m Bristol born, and have just returned to the city after completing a Masters course in Sound Art. I spend a lot of my time writing music, performing and collaborating with others in the city and elsewhere, and I’m also about to begin a job teaching music at the Bristol branch of BIMM.
How and when did you find out about BHN?
A friend of mine that I lived with in Oxford had done some work with BHN in the past, and mentioned the organisation in a conversation we had about voluntary organisations supporting migrants and asylum seekers.
What made you want to become a host at our men’s hostel? Have you done something like this before?
I was looking for somewhere to live in Bristol, and also investigating options for volunteering, and stumbled across the advert for Live-in Hosts on the BHN website. I’ve worked in social care before, but I’ve never done anything quite like this. I’m particularly motivated by the opportunity to help maintain a home and support for people who have been treated in an inhumane and shameful way by border control systems.
Tell us a little bit about what you do as a host.
There are three hosts in the house at present, and as a team, we help to keep the house running smoothly and co-operatively. This might involve keeping on top of maintenance, resolving minor disputes between residents, or organising meals/activities. We also pay rent, which helps towards the costs of maintaining the house. All three of us are also involved in separate roles at the drop-in centre on Mondays.
What is the best about being a host and what are the most challenging things about it?
The best aspect by far is the social. The house brings together people from all over the world, and we are always learning from each other. The most challenging aspect, is managing the knowledge that you can only help so much – in the end, members of BHN have their future decided by a stranger working behind a desk at the Home Office who knows next to nothing about them, under pressure from their bosses to reject applications wherever possible. How can anyone make such a decision?
Anything else that you would like to share with the network?
I would like to thank all of the members and volunteers at BHN who have welcomed me so warmly to the network. It is inspiring to join such a dedicated team.