About HOST

Mission: To promote international friendship and understanding by welcoming international students as guests in British homes


Vision: A world more understanding and accepting of different cultures 

32270.jpgHOST UK’s purpose is to enable international students at British universities and colleges to be invited as a guest for a weekend or a day to a British home. Students thereby have the opportunity to experience British culture at first-hand. It is the only organisation which offers this across the UK on a voluntary basis.

The HOST UK programme is open to all international students in higher and further education in the UK who are at least 18 years old and have enrolled on a course of a minimum duration of 3 months. In 2015 alone, more than 3,000 students from over 100 countries requested a HOST visit.

HOST UK is run by a small office in Hatfield and supported by a network of voluntary Regional Organisers across the country with the collaboration of International Student Advisors in the academic institutions.

There are approximately 1500 volunteer hosts across the UK, with the majority offering invitations once or twice a year. Hosts report many benefits such as learning about countries never visited and the chance to introduce the family to people from other cultures.

HOST UK is a charitable organisation set up in 1987 by the British Council, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the Victoria League. It is funded by subscriptions from the participating institutions and donations from grant-giving foundations.




The Office Staff

HOST has a small team of staff in our Hatfield Office.

Susie Alemayehu
Chief Executive

Cathy Tang
Finance Officer & General Administrator

Sarah Bano
Programme and Volunteer Coordinator

Ruth Kearns
Fundraiser/PR & Marketing Officer

Maheen Mufti
Programme and Volunteer Officer

Board of Trustees

HOST’s Board of Trustees is responsible for making sure that HOST is working as it should, and that it will be able to continue to do so. Every Trustee is a volunteer, giving his or her time freely to help HOST in many different ways.

Mr Mark Pellew CVO - Chair of the Board
Mark is a retired diplomat. He and his wife are hosts in Oxfordshire.

Mrs Sue Millington-Hore - Treasurer
Sue is a qualified accountant who runs a practice with her husband Kit. She is an enthusiastic golfer. Sue and Kit are hosts in Hertfordshire.

Mrs Trina Golland
Trina has had a very varied career, including interior design and running a B&B. Now she enjoys her grandchildren, her garden, and her canal boat ‘Albert Henry’. Trina and her husband are hosts in Hertfordshire.

Mr Timothy Hornsby CBE
Timothy is a Commissioner of the Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission and has had a career in academic life and subsequently in HM Treasury and the Department of Environment.

Dr Sally Kuenssberg CBE
Sally has had a varied career in education, the juvenile justice system, the NHS and several charities relating to children and young people. She and her husband are hosts in Scotland.

Polly Penter
Polly has been an ardent supporter of HOST work for over a decade and promotes the scheme extensively at the universities, previously at King’s College London, University of London and now as an Associate Director, Student Services at Arcadia University.

Katherine Varden
Katherine is a retired nurse. She was brought up with overseas students regularly staying and now enjoys hosting with her husband, in Hampshire.

The Regional Organisers

HOST is very grateful to have a team of volunteer Regional Organisers (ROs) who link international students with the hosts in their regions. They give a lot of their free time to do this, and many of them are hosts as well.

Michael P & Sue Binns
North Yorkshire

Kerry Bloom

Looked after by HQ
East Midlands and Warwickshire, Staffordshire and Derbyshire

Rosemary Cole

Lucia Dickinson

Looked after by HQ

Frances Good
Somerset and Wiltshire

Linda Hellyer
Herefordshire and Worcestershire & Gloucestershire

Looked after by HQ
Shropshire & West Midlands

Sallyann O'Neill
Norfolk and Suffolk

Ceris Owen
North Wales, Mid, South and West Wales

Anne Ramsden
South and West Yorkshire

Paul Ryall
Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire

Richard Sim
Central and Southern Scotland

Siobhan Smith

Marie Songhurst
East Riding of Yorkshire

Margaret Stevens
Devon and Cornwall

Monika Strell
North Scotland, Highlands & Islands, North East

Mike and Mandy Talbott
Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire and Nottinghamshire

Katherine Varden
Hampshire, Surrey & SW London

Looked after by HQ
Hertfordshire & N London

Peter Wildin
W. Cheshire, Merseyside, & W. Lancs & East Cheshire, Manchester and East Lancashire