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Welcome to our 12th fortnightly newsletter!

So sorry we cancelled our picinic last Saturday.  We were looking forward to seeing many of you there but given the galeforce winds, I think we made the right call. 

An alternative date for your diaries:  Our befrienders and their friends are invited to the inaugural SonaTalks event on Saturday 7th September at Kindred Members Club in Hammersmith, London. The theme is ‘Celebrating Potential in Refugee Communities’, it is essentially a day of celebration to focus on the achievements and potential of the refugee community; a day at a lovely venue with good food (lunch, dinner, drinks all included), great speakers, comedians and performers and an after party celebration to end the day.  Take a look at the inspirational line-up which will include Anneke (HostNation founder) in conversation with Dina (HostNation Trustee) talking about the inspirational support our befrienders are giving.

Tickets to the event are available on Eventbrite here. Members of HostNation can get a £10 discount by using the code SONATALKS2019FRIENDS. Refugees and Asylum Seekers can attend the event for free by emailing

Hope to see some of you there. 

The stunning Kindred restaurant and club hosting SonaTalks 2019:

Hot off the press.....the Home Office has just published a new welcome guide for refugees. It contains useful information about the services that can help refugees once they have been granted refugee or Humanitarian Protection status, as well as wider information about life in the UK and how to make the most of opportunities on offer. 

It has been translated into 11 languages - Albanian, Amharic, Arabic, Kurdish Sorani, Farsi, Pashto, Punjabi, Tigrinya, Urdu, Vietnamese and Chinese.  If your friend has status, do help them access the relevant language version.  You can find all of them at this link.
Courses for September are enrolling now..... 

Some of the big London further education and ESOL colleges are enrolling students including: Westminster Kingsway College (central), Waltham Forest College (east), New City College (east), Conel which describes itself as London's first free college (north-east), South Thames College (south), Kensington & Chelsea College (west), City of London College (central).  This is by no means a comprehensive list so if your friend is interested in improving their English, or developing their skills, take a look at what's available locally.

Not all asylum seekers can attend further education colleges or ESOL (but check anyway).  Here are a few volunteer-run projects and classes that are open to asylum seekers as well:

Speak Street - a drop-in, pop-up, community-based language cafe

ELATT run courses in English, IT, web design, maths, business and media in Hackney.

Free English Language (ESOL) classes available at the University of East London (Stratford campus) from September on Thursday evenings for two terms as part of a teacher-training programme. Email Carolyn Conway at or call 0208 223 2422.

And one of our befrienders, Andrew Harrison, volunteers to teach English at the Friendship Centre in Wembley. They offer advanced English to prepare for IELTS on Tues and Fri evenings 7-9pm, IT classes on Tuesdays and beginners English on Fridays.  ELATT will also be providing classes there from September.  Classes are all free and everyone is welcome email or call Nelson Hafen 07800 615237 for more info.
If you or your friend live in East London, then you might be interested in Company Drinks, a Barking and Dagenham based gardening, picking and drinks making community co-operative rooted in the history of East Londoners 'going picking'. 

Check out their website for forthcoming social meet ups, workshops and Grow club (next welcome session is on Fri 13 September 2019 from 1-3pm at Company Drinks, Outdoor Bowls Pavilion, Barking Park, Longbridge Road Gate, Barking IG11 8TA.)

Volunteers are welcome to come along regularly or drop in whenever they can or they feel like it.

They also have trips out into the country for communal picking.  The next one is hop picking in Kent on the 6th of Sept.  Sign up or find more info here.

Meanwhile summer's far from over.... good things coming up:

1. The Notting Hill Carnival is a riot of colour and sound over the Bank holiday 25th - 26th August, the second biggest carnival in the world (after Rio)
2. Summer by the River festival continues through August by London Bridge.  Check out events til the end of the month here
3. As Summer by the River winds up, Totally Thames 2019 starts from 1-30th September celebrating the river through music, dance, art, regattas and much more.
4. Highlight of Totally Thames is the Ship of Tolerance docked by Tate Modern and the Millennium Bridge.  The artwork for the ship's sails, made by schoolchildren, refugee groups and hospitals is based on the concept of Tolerance. 
5. For all things ice-cream head down to Covent Garden piazza from midday 22-26th August 
6. And then there's a Shakespeare festival in Shoreditch on the 23-24th August with Jacobean choruses, pop up performances, sword fighting and yoga in ruffs!

And if that isn't enough, email us to take your friend to Kew Gardens for free.

All best wishes, HostNation team
Copyright © 2019 HostNation, All rights reserved.

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