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Bellingham is a well-kept suburban secret, but just south of Catford, it’s a brilliantly placed neighbourhood in South East London. Perhaps best known for its rail station (yes, really!) it may not seem like a destination for visitors to the capital, but it’s fast becoming a popular place for young international students to stay in while they complete their studies in the UK.

Of course, London is full of international students taking part in various study and work placements, but the biggest growth in these visitors is currently amongst those aged under 18. Britain, a notable mark on the map for business worldwide, attracts younger students globally as parents recognise the potential in their children not only speaking good English, but also in studying at well-renowned institutions and really experiencing life abroad. It is these students that HFS London accommodate with homestays: whereby a local family rents out their spare room to the student and hosts them for their stay in the capital.

A homestay offers young students the opportunity to really ‘experience’ London like a local; rather than just staying in a dorm with their peers, only interacting with others from their home country and area, and not having any free time away from school-stipulated activities. This is so easily the case with standard school and college trips, but is rarely beneficial in anything other than their studies!

Why Bellingham?

Bellingham is ideally situated with transport into and out of central London, but also to local study centres, colleges and schools. Bellingham’s status as being not very known actually works in its favour for hosting younger students, as its considered a safe residential area and isn’t too busy or intimidating compared to other areas. What’s more, of course, plenty of families live in the area – so there are naturally lots of homes available to open their doors to young students looking for homestays in London.

What are you looking for in Homestay Host Families in Bellingham?

When hosting young students, more attention is required than with adults. This is more than a room and a cooked breakfast! Instead you’ll need to really take your young student under your wing and help them experience living like a local rather than just visiting London. Involve them in family meals, support their homework and help them with extra-curricular activities – show them Bellingham and take them out and about in the neighbourhood!

Become a Host Family in Bellingham

What are the requirements to hosting under-16 students in Bellingham?

To become a host family in Bellingham, a short application process is required. Providing you have a spare room large enough and furnished enough to accommodate a young student to sleep in, you’re all set to contact the HFS London team and register your interest. From here, an Enhanced Homebased DBS check will be carried out on your family (or residents of your house), and a home visit will be completed. There is some basic training to complete, and of course, you’ll need to agree rent rates and facilities. Once the process is completed, your home will be added to the HFS London portfolio and open for applications from young students and their parents.

If you live in Bellingham and have a spare room to rent along with an enthusiasm to share your Bellingham community spirit with others, contact the HFS London team and get the ball rolling! It’s a fantastic way to earn some extra money whilst staying at work (if you’re already in work) and to help nurture some unity in the community locally.

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