Accompanying the ‘unvoiced’ concealed behind the high walls and fences of our detention estate here in the UK is both challenging. Many silent tragedies of loneliness, isolation, anxiety and fears happen behind closed doors and away from the public eye.
Recently, public attention has been drawn towards the wellbeing of asylum seekers and forced migrants detained in the UK. Campaigns such as ‘time4atimelimit’ have advocated for an end to unlimited detention and projects such as ‘Freed Voices’ continue to promote the experience of detainees by giving them a voice to self-advocate. Additionally, in the wake of the ‘Shaw Review’ we have become acutely aware of the shortfalls in the professional care for those vulnerable groups held for prolonged periods of time in detention.
JRS UK continues to be present and available for detainees held at Heathrow Immigration Removal Centre that has a general bed capacity of, approximately, 900.
In response to presenting needs of the client group, JRS offers a number of services via dedicated teams of volunteers who accompany those confined to detention. Our teams provide accompaniment, service and advocacy via welfare/caseworkers, Chinese welfare/case management, pastoral care, solicitor liaison, letter writing projects, visitors programme and prayer companions in addition to delivering short courses in Yoga and inter-cultural dialogue discussion groups.
We are presently looking for volunteers who can speak Vietnamese. For more information or to volunteers with JRS UK’s Detention Outreach contact us via email@example.com