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Welcome to our 10th fortnightly newsletter!

In our last newsletter we mentioned our HostNation summer picnic and told you to save the date - the 10th August.  We'll have picnic rugs out on Regents Park in the same place as last year from 1pm.  The spot, marked on the map below, is a 10 minutes walk from Camden Town and Mornington Crescent stations and the bus stops on Camden High Street and a 15 min walk from Euston station and the bus stops on Euston Road near Great Portland Street. The best bus is the 88 (Regents Park/zoo stop is close by Gloucester gate entrance).

The nearest address is Gloucester Gate, London NW1 4HG, cross Outer Circle and enter the Park, you will see the children’s playground in front and we will be on the left.

Hope to see many of you there but if you're away for the weekend  or on holiday, do still encourage your friend (and their family) to come along, they will be warmly welcomed!  

Two bits of information we picked up recently which are a bit dull but important so we thought we'd share before the fun stuff....

It turns out that if any of our friends came to the UK on an EU passport (ie got refugee status outside of the UK), they will need to apply for settled status after Brexit to remain in the UK.  This does not apply to asylum seekers but if you think your friend may hold an EU passport then please pass this onto them. Here's the link to the Home Office site and a useful FaceBook page on the subject.

Currently asylum seekers cannot work in the UK (although there is pressure for this to change) but can they do voluntary work?  The regulations have been hard to interpret as there was a complex distinction made between 'unpaid voluntary work' which they were not allowed to do, and volunteering which they were, but in 2013 this was clarified by the HO and they now encourage volunteering in the public sector.  This Refugee-Action web page explains more.  So one thing you could do is help your friend find voluntary work that they might enjoy.  A good site for this is Do-It which finds local volunteering opportunities by postcode and Team London which lists 100's of volunteering opportunities in the city.
One of our befrienders, Neha, has a great offer for our friends... she can arrange a tour of Parliament - both Chambers (Commons and Lords) for asylum seekers and refugees between 5-6pm on Fridays. Her friend is keen to go and she can take up to 5 others (no ID required). She is planning one on Friday 26th July so please email Neha direct if your friend is interested or you'd like to go together and she can provide details of where to meet etc. 

And another of our befrienders, Jane, has been researching what there is for refugee kids over the summer. She discovered it differs wildly from borough to borough, but if your friend has kids maybe you can help them find out what's out there as most boroughs have a list of free holiday activities. Worth checking out their Council website, their local refugee service providers (see HostNation Links) and The Mayor of London's website.  Both The Family Holiday Association and The Mother's Union offer support and daytrips to struggling families.  This Money Saving Site provides lots of ideas on how to keep the kids entertained at low cost (and for free) and Young Roots runs clubs for kids/teenagers in Brent and Croydon. 
Meanwhile London is awash with festivals, open air cinemas, concerts - some free, others ticketed. Apparently Walthamstow had a great free festival the weekend just gone which some of you may have enjoyed. 

From July 20th-July 28th there is going to be the first ever National Park City Festival, with nine days of revelry dedicated to the incredible woods, parks, gardens, and wetlands of our fair city.  Rooftop gardens throughout the city will also be hosting events. To see the full listing of events check out their website.

And more things to do for free in London:

1. Check out what's happening at London's free river festival 
2. Celebrate the anniversary of the Moon Landing by visiting The Museum of the Moon a free installation at the Natural History Museum
3. The Lambeth Country Show is next weekend (20/21st) blending African music with animals and an on-site farm
4. Frieze Sculpture in Regents Park is London’s largest free display of outdoor art from 3 July to 6 October, featuring more than 20 international artists 
5. The People's Tower invites you to build a monumental tower out of cardboard boxes on Saturday (20th) and topple it on Sunday (21st) by the Guildhall.

By the way, we decided it would be a good idea to put all our newsletters in one place to save us scrolling through our inboxes if we want to refer to an old one.  So now you'll find all 10 (and future ones) under News on our website.

All best wishes, HostNation team
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