BWR believes people forced to flee their countries need a safe home. We also believe ordinary people can be directly responsible for bringing a refugee family out of desperate circumstances and into a promising future.
We harness the power of local relationships and the goodwill of the Bath community to help refugees and asylum seekers feel welcome, access resources and find a new home and community.
  • Where we’ve come from

    Founded in 2015, we became a registered charity in 2017, and all our trustees, management team and countless helpers have always been volunteers. Now in 2021, we are delighted to take on our first part-time paid worker whose role is to coordinate our many volunteers.

  • In 2021 we also achieved our goal of becoming an official Community Sponsorship group.

    This means we undertake the entire responsibility for a family’s initial settlement and welfare. The Community Sponsorship program will run alongside our existing work supporting the UK Resettlement Scheme (UKRS). Announced in 2020, UKRS brings together the previous Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme and Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Scheme. We are now also supporting Afghan resettlement.

BWR activities include the delivery of integrated social support; help and protection for physical, mental and financial hardship; befriending; fundraising; tuition, particularly in relation to English language support; the finding, furnishing, and renovation of homes and gardens; the protection of data and every aspect of safeguarding; and the enhancement of the lives of those we support.

As a group we have no religious or political affiliations. Our reach is wide but our resources are limited. We rely upon donations, goodwill, and the funds we raise locally. We are committed to aiding and relieving the plight of refugees both in the city and beyond. Our ‘Beyond Bath’ team focuses on the wider refugee situation and regularly sends donations and volunteers to Calais.

Meet the Management Committee

  • Sara Barna

    Social events co-ordinator
    Sara has been with BWR since it started in 2015 and her main role is co-ordinating the monthly social group. She is also involved in other things such as the BWR induction training for volunteers and she works as a befriender with more than one family.
  • Alice Herve

    Language Support Coordinator
    Alice joined BWR as a teacher in July 2016 and became a Committee member in February 2017, taking on the role of Language Support Coordinator. She leads an amazing team of volunteer teachers and feels it is heart-warming to see so many people willing to give of their time and expertise.
  • Linda Walz

    Donations Coordinator
    Linda has been involved with BWR since the second meeting in the pub in Widcombe back in 2015. Her main role has been to job share Donations with Lesley, preparing houses for the families and managing all the kind offers of household items, furniture etc. She is a member of the Community Sponsorship core team and she delivers BWR induction training to volunteers along with Sara. She also volunteer at the Rose Cottage social group.
  • Amanda Stone

    Fundraising Coordinator
    Amanda has been involved with BWR since its early days in 2015. She has been involved with various aspects of BWR during this time, but organising Fundraising events was where she started off and it is still one of her favourite roles. She is a member of the Management Committee, as well as a Befriender and Rose Cottage volunteer.
  • Lesley Bowes

    Donations Coordinator
    Lesley runs half of the donations team with Linda. She was drawn to do something with refugees during 2015 and became part of BWR that year. Her main role is collecting the larger donations, storing them and preparing homes for new families to arrive. She is temporary lead for DIY and liase with gardening.
  • Rosie Brown

    Employability Advisor
    Rosie started volunteering for BWR as an employability adviser in August 2020. She helps by supporting people who are looking for local work with how to approach their job search, writing CVs and personal statements, job applications and exploring training and learning opportunities. She joined the Management Committee in March 2021.
  • Phil Wickens

    Fundraising Coordinator
    Phil joined BWR in 2022 to assist with fundraising, with a particular focus on trusts and corporate giving. He's an economist by trade and a somewhat lapsed accountant by training.
  • Phoebe Oakenfold

    Refugee and Asylum Seeker Support Coordinator
    Phoebe joined the team as the Refugee and Asylum Seeker Support Coordinator for BWR in January 2023.  She previously worked supporting refugees, asylum seekers and unaccompanied asylum seeking children in France.  Her role at BWR involves meeting with recently arrived and newly referred individuals and families and establishing what type of support is required.  She works alongside Ruth to match the right volunteers to the requirements of these referrals.

Meet the Trustees

  • Charlotte Macdiarmid

    Charlotte has been a trustee since September 2019. She works for Bristol City Council, managing grants for community and voluntary groups. Before moving to the UK, her experience was in international humanitarian aid, working for the United Nations in various countries.
  • Vi Jensen

    During her working life Vi was a finance director working for international organisations in the commercial world and latterly in the charity sector. She joined BWR in June 2019 as Treasurer and as a Trustee.
  • Bob Clift

    Bob’s background was management and sales in the global tech sector. He joined BWR in early 2019 and became a trustee in June 2019.
  • Kathryn Kyle

    Kathryn has spent her working life working in primary education, most recently as a headteacher in Hackney. On moving to Bath in 2021 she became involved with BWR, first as a schools liaison volunteer then as a trustee.
  • Louise Rickitt

    Louise joined BWR as a trustee in June 2023. She has worked in the NHS for over 15 years, and has family experience of the long-lasting impact that traumatic events can have on children.
  • Stephen Whittle

    Stephen moved to Bath in 2022. He worked for many years in broadcasting and has been actively involved in a number of charities working with public health, medical education, and learning disabilities. He has also chaired a settlement charity in Rotherhithe in London.

We received a Magic Little Grant through the partnership between Localgiving and Postcode Local Trust. Postcode Local Trust is a grant-giving charity funded by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Localgiving is the UK’s leading membership and support network for local charities and community groups.