Are you new to BHN? Catch up on our recent social media series about BHN's work with this summary of all the posts.
BHN - Bristol Hospitality Network - extends solidarity to people seeking asylum and experiencing destitution. We do this through accommodation and creative community involvement. There are many destitute asylum seekers living in Bristol, caught in the loopholes of the system - unable to work and unable to claim benefits. Without an income, people can't find accommodation, and face real hardship.
Our values as an organisation are important to us and guide everything we do. BHN's six core values are:
Solidarity - working alongside people, not just giving aid
Equality - people are people before labels
Mutual Empowerment - overcoming barriers together
Hospitality - creating intercultural spaces of welcome
Integrity - transparency in decision and action
Creative Resistance - living change imaginatively
But what does this mean in practice? Let's kick things off by introducing our hosting network and house. Last year BHN hosted 40 members, providing 9,491 nights of accommodation in total. Our accommodation provides a safe place to stay, addressing people's immediate need for shelter, whilst providing the stability that's so important for people to move forwards with their asylum claims. Our hosting network is made up of volunteers who offer a room in their home, and our house can accommodate a further 12 people at any one time.
Next up is BHN’s HELP Team. Made up of staff and volunteers, last year the team worked with 44 people to help them understand asylum processes and locate evidence they needed for their claims. The team also work with BHN members on: finding and liaising with solicitors, remote calls with medical/legal professionals, access to healthcare and mental health support, negotiating NHS fees and payments, and applying for Home Office accommodation once their fresh asylum claim has been made.
We hold a Welcome Centre each Monday at Easton Family Centre, where members currently hosted by BHN get together with staff and our many volunteers. We share a hot meal, conversation, offer community support, and activities such as art, craft and games. It’s also where we provide much of our 1-to-1 support to members. The Welcome Centre is the heart of our BHN community and, although it’s been through various transitions because of Covid-19, it is now back in person.
BHN also gives £20 a week to members through our Solidarity Fund, to help them with basic essentials. Our members are legally unable to work and don’t receive any form of benefits, so the Fund really can make a huge difference. If you’ve been following BHN for a while you will know that the Fund is supported by YOU, our wonderful community. We are always looking for new ideas to raise money for the Fund. If you are interested or know anyone that might be please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
Have you been inspired by our series about BHN? A donation will help us continue all of these services and build on them for the future. If you are able to make a regular donation at this time, you can do this via our Localgiving donation page. Simply tick “Make it a monthly donation” under the box where you can choose a donation amount. Thank you for your interest and support - it really does keep us going.