Anneke Elwes

After 20 years of running a market research consultancy and 6 years of voluntary work in the refugee sector, Anneke took an MA at SOAS specialising in ‘humanitarianism at home’ and the private practice of hosting refugees and asylum seekers. She set up Host Nation in Spring 2017, which makes it easier for others to befriend asylum seekers.  Anneke realised that there were many ordinary people, like her, who want to help and offer friendship, but don't know how. Host Nation provides a simple mechanism for bringing citizens and refugees together in local communities through small acts of kindness, hospitality and companionship.

Anneke first worked with refugees as a volunteer through ICRC in refugee camps for Vietnamese boat people in SE Asia back in the 1980s. More recently Anneke has been a volunteer member of staff at Freedom from Torture (formerly The Medical Foundation). Host Nation was inspired by Freedom from Torture holiday scheme where approx. 100 clients, which Annek co-ran, her research for MA degree dissertation and her involvement in co-founding Camden City of Sanctuary, a grassroots refugee support network.

Anneke Elwes's Project

London is one of the greatest and most potentially inclusive places on earth, but it has become two cities. For refugees and asylum seekers, it can be intimidating, lonely and isolating. Today’s refugees are facing unprecedented challenges, and existing services are struggling to cope.  Cities across the UK are crying out for social integration projects […]

Anneke Elwes's Tweets

I can really recommend this to friends in Tyne & Wear. ❤️

Befriending a refugee has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. 🥰

Being a #refugee is hugely isolating and stressful.

Having a local friend show you round and show they care makes all the difference. We make safe, appropriate matches between asylum seekers + refugees, and friendly locals. Take a look

Instead of investing in cruel and ineffective policies that punish people for seeking asylum, this government needs to make it kinder for those that need to go through it.


The value of friendship for isolated #asylumseekers and #refugees is incalculable.

We celebrate our wonderful #volunteer befrienders, who make such a difference. Read the stories:

Calling friendly altruists in #Tyne&Wear... Would you like to make someone feel more at home in our great city, just by going for a coffee or a walk?

Why not befriend a #refugee with us in @HostNation_NE - it's a hugely rewarding way to show #WhoWeAre:

Befriending a #refugee can be a wonderful chance to meet someone you would never have met otherwise, while contributing something great. 93% of our befrienders say they found it a rewarding experience.

Read some of our heartwarming friendship stories:

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