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The Great Migration is one of the defining challenges of our time.  Millions have been forced to leave their homes because of war, famine, water shortage or persecution

Host Abingdon is a group of people who want Abingdon to be a place of sanctuary for those who have lost everything we take for granted.

We will extend the warm hand of friendship to asylum seekers and refugees who urgently need our help.

There are many ways you can help. Please do contact us.

Ways you can help:

• Be a  ‘compassionate’ landlord 

• Donate to the St Ethelwold Sanctuary Fund

• Campaign and Lobby

• Help new arrivals to integrate into our community

• Be a supporter


who are we

An informal local group

Host Abingdon is an informal group of local people who really want to respond to the needs of people who are seeking sanctuary from war, famine, water shortage or persecution.

About Us

Host Abingdon was initiated by the Fellowship of St Ethelwold which has made a permanent room available for refugee guests at St Ethelwold’s House in the centre of Abingdon. The Fellowship administers the financial arrangement of Host Abingdon.


We publish a regular email newsletter which keeps our members informed about developments, locally, nationally and internationally.

Being a host


Host Abingdon is connected to Sanctuary Hosting in Oxford, which seeks to match destitute asylum seekers and refugees with people who have a spare room and an open heart and who can make their spare room available rent-free for an agreed period of time. At the present time Host Oxford is not seeking to recruit additional host families, but if you are interested in this work please do be in contact with Sanctuary Hosting


Some Refugees are trapped in temporary accommodation by the high costs of rents in our area. We are now looking for 'benevolent' landlords/house share opportunities for refugees who are ready to move on to longer-term accommodation in a supportive location. Refugees with permission to stay may be in receipt of housing benefit but this does not cover the cost of accommodation. There are benevolent landlords who are able to make accommodation available at an affordable rent. Host Abingdon will maintain a list and help match landlords to refugees in need.

Ways to help

Donate to the st ethelwold's sanctuary fund

Being a place of hospitality is at the core of the vision of St Ethelwold’s House as a welcoming spiritual centre, founded in Christianity and open to all who come. The Fellowship earns money to carry out its programme of activities by renting rooms for bed and breakfast. The Trustees have made available at least one room on a permanent basis for use by sanctuary seekers in need of a place of refuge. St Ethelwold’s can also, from time to time, provide emergency accommodation for refugees or asylum seekers when rooms are available. A fund has been established to pay for this accommodation and to provide practical support, such as free English lessons, to sanctuary seekers who are our guests. Donating to the fund is a very practical way you can support the work of Host Abingdon. We aim to raise £5000 a year. If you would like to donate please click to download the Sanctuary Seekers Donation Form.

Become a volunteer

Refugees and asylum seekers are in need of practical support to help their integration into our communities. English lessons are a priority and Host Abingdon provides free lessons with professionally qualified teachers of English as a foreign language. We also have local Arabic speakers who help with interpretation. Other help is welcome. Our guests have lost everything and the hand of friendship, going for a walk, cycling or even fishing, are small things that make a difference. Other people have offered food. Please let us know if you would like to join our team of volunteers.

Our latest news

The Host Abingdon ESOL Programme

Host Abingdon supporter, Francesca writes about the English language tuition that we are providing for the Syrian families we are supporting in Oxfordshire.

“For some time now English language (ESOL) classes have been running at St Ethelwold’s House, and when our first Syrian family arrived in September we extended the programme to provide ESOL for them. Working closely with our colleagues from the Red Cross two Host Abingdon volunteer teachers started weekly classes with the parents, first in their home and later on in a room provided by the local school. Our team has now grown to four and the family, who initially knew no English at all, are making steady progress. We’re now getting ready for families two and three, and we have more than twenty teachers signed up, all volunteers. Looking further ahead we hope to be able to help other families as they arrive in the area, and to extend our programme to include English for Work and maybe even venture into other kinds of activity, for example an art and craft workshop.

Contact us

If you would like to contact Host Abingdon then please email or phone 01235 555486 (Monday to Friday 1.30 – 5.00) or complete the form below

Postal address
St Ethelwold’s House
30 East St Helen Street
OX14 5EB.