Abdullah’s Story“I arrived in the UK in 2006. I was trafficked here and I spent the next five years trapped and being forced to work. I was tortured mentally and physically. I was eventually abandoned when they had used me up, and they took everything that I had: my money, my documents, my dignity, my identity. I was not familiar with the UK, I have physical disabilities from being beaten back home, and I am uneducated. I tried to find help and was told to seek asylum. When I moved to Leeds in August 2012, I didn’t know anybody. After nearly a year, my asylum claim was rejected and I became homeless. Without the support of Grace Hosting and my hosts I don’t think I would be here today – if this service did not exist, I don’t think I would exist. I was very lucky to get such nice hosts. I feel they are now like my family, as they helped me a lot and still offer friendship and advice. They have provided me with so much emotional & mental support and have helped me to stand up on my feet.” Lisa and Mark – Hosts “We started hosting in March 2015 and have hosted many people, mainly from North Africa and the Middle East. Most people we see for just 2 or 3 nights. We’ve been able to connect with people through cooking and eating together and have met some really nice people as well as learnt some lovely recipes from different parts of the world. The hardest part of hosting is seeing our guests leave , not knowing whether they will have somewhere to stay the next night. Sometimes we see people more than once which has been nice because we’ve been able to get to know people more and have built up some good relationships. We’ve really enjoyed the experience and what we have always tried to do is offer a warm welcome. Having heard from some people who’ve stayed with us that they’ve experienced prejudice and hostility during their time in the UK , this is all the more important to us”
And this lovely comment on Facebook…
Achievements in 2015/16
- In 2015/16 84 guests spent a total of 1289 nights staying in emergency accommodation – about the same number of guests as the previous year, with people staying on average 15 nights – a week longer than people did in 2014/15.
- The number of people staying in longer stay accommodation halved to 6 (from 12) and Guests stayed a total of 1587 nights. The average length of stay increased slightly from 40 weeks to 45.
- Between September and December 2015 we recruited and trained 27 new hosting households – making a total of 49 places that people can stay.
- Overall, in 2015/16, Grace Hosts provided more than 2876 nights of accommodation: more than 410 weeks, or the equivalent of almost 8 years.