Increasingly we are reliant on our phones to stay connected and to navigate our way through life. We are glued to our screens to see updates on social media, hear the latest news as it breaks and keep in touch with family and friends across the world. As technology advances our phones are relegated to forgotten drawers in favour of the latest shiny gadget to keep us entertained.
This reliance is no different for those going through the asylum and immigration system in the UK. If anything, access to a good quality phone is more important for our friends because it is their link to accessing legal advice, emotional support and other assistance. It can therefore leave someone incredibly isolated if they try to navigate this system without a mobile phone because it has been confiscated by a smuggler on their journey or seized by Immigration Officers when they arrive in the UK.
When our friends are detained at Immigration Removal Centres they are given a basic phone that allows them to call and text – enough to keep in contact with family, solicitors and charities but nothing more. No camera, poor audio quality, no internet access, nothing. When they are released back into the community, these phones are returned. Many of our friends are left without access to smartphones as they try to find their feet after weeks, months, years detained.
In the community, our friends need this important resource to be able to progress their lives – a cheaper way to stay connected through WiFi, the ability to search for a new solicitor or the nearest GP surgery, the possibility to partake in online classes and activities, and the capacity to use a translation/ interpreting service to overcome the barriers that language can cause.
A decent smart phone or tablet could make a huge difference, especially during an ongoing pandemic. With the ability to meet face to face and receive support no longer possible in the same way, swathes of organisations, charities and services have moved online. However, many of our friends do not have the ability to follow this move; only adding an additional layer of isolation and another barrier to support.
For those we support post detention, gifting your old smart phone will allow them to take part in ESOL classes, activities and support groups. It will enable them search and find their way around the area they are living, helping them to feel more settled. Most importantly, it will assist our friends to keep in better contact with their family and friends across the UK and world.
How to donate your device
If you would like to donate a smartphone or tablet to a friend of JRS UK experiencing the asylum and immigration system, please read our tips below:
- Phones/ tablets should be in good working condition with no significant marks or scratches
- Phone/ tablet must be wiped of all data and restored to factory settings OR be accessible for a member of team to erase all data
- A working and compatible charger should be provided with the phone/ tablet
Send your devices to*:
Jesuit Refugee Service UK
The Hurtado Jesuit Centre
2 Chandler Street
Or contact us to arrange delivery in person, or if you have any questions. We are open for deliveries between 10 am and 6pm, Monday to Friday.
*Please include your name and contact details so we can get in touch with you if necessary.