A Christmas Card can say so much when you’re in Detention


A Christmas Card can say so much when you’re in Detention

St Ignatius College in Enfield, supporting Refugees in Detention

12 December 2022

A Christmas Card can say so much when you’re in Detention

In November, JRS UK visited St Ignatius College in Enfield twice – once to speak to their sixth form Arrupe Programme – which covers how the Church is addressing a range of social justice issues – and then to speak to the Year 10s, who have chosen JRS UK as their charity to support this academic year.  

Christmas can be a lonely time of year for people held in immigration detention. What is, in the church, a season of joy and hope, and worldwide, a time of coming together with family and friends, can be a lonely and isolating time of year for people who are removed from this time of celebration, especially as services close and little to no support – practical or emotional – is available until the new year.  

A few years ago, we started sending Christmas Cards to our friends in immigration detention, particularly at Harmondsworth and Colnbrook where we support thousands of people each year. This Advent,, the Year 10s of St Ignatius College have stepped up and written hundreds of Christmas Cards for those detained in Colnbrook Detention Centre.  

William Neal, Detention Outreach Caseworker, expresses the impact the cards have, “Any time spent in detention is isolating and deeply damaging, but it can be especially difficult during the festive period which should be a time of celebrating with family and friends. Receiving a card can be a small gesture to show that someone is not alone, not forgotten, and part of a wider community of solidarity. I remember one year receiving a response from one man who had received a card, in which he said ‘I read the card, you are not forgotten, in that time, I can’t control my tears, thanks for that, am feel alone, after read the greeting, am feel better.” 

JRS UK’s Detention Outreach team will be delivering these cards to Colnbrook this week. We would like to thank the St Ignatius College Year 10s for their kind gesture, which is an important reminder that our friends are not forgotten and are in our thoughts and prayers. It is an act that embodies the spirit of accompaniment we try to always live out at JRS.  

If you’d like to learn more about the work they do, do follow us on social media or subscribe to our newsletter, where we’ll continue to share the work of the teams at JRS UK. You can also sign up to our monthly Praying with Detainees email, where we focus on the work we do with people in detention/post-detention, and invite you to accompany them in prayer.  

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Jesuit Refugee Service UK
The Hurtado Jesuit Centre
2 Chandler Street, London E1W 2QT

020 7488 7310

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