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A short film about Asylum Welcome's support of detainees

Why do we run this service?

Asylum Welcome believes detention should only be used as a last resort, for the minimum time possible and where the health, welfare and legal rights of detainees are assured. Sadly, the UK detention system falls short of this standard. Although Campsfield House Immigration Removals Centre is well run compared to other centres, those detained there remain in a closed environment, and need help to alleviate loneliness, to communicate with the outside world and to exercise their rights.

Who is this for?

Detainees held at Campsfield Immigration Removal centre, Kidlington, just outside Oxford. The Detainee Support Service runs from our main office, but its co-ordinator and volunteers are frequently in Campsfield.

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What does the service offer?

  • Telephone advice for detainees (freephone service available from Campsfield to Asylum Welcome), for example about their rights in detention
  • Telephone advice for the family and friends of detainees, and help to convey messages between detainees and their family and friends.
  • Weekly assessment visits to meet detainees and find out what help is needed Allocation of a volunteer visitor for regular one-to-one conversation and friendship
  • Liaising with the authorities in Campsfield to meet the needs of individual detainees.
  • Liaising with other service providers on behalf of detainees – for example lawyers, doctors and voluntary organizations.
  • Assistance to reunite detainees with belongings left at their previous address.
  • Provision of small funds to the Campsfield Welfare Office, to enable detainees to be provided with phone cards and limited travel expenses.

Who are our partners?

Asylum Welcome’s ability to help detainees is strengthened by partnership work with other specialist services – notably Medical Justice, Bail for Immigration Detainees, the Red Cross and the Association of Visitors to immigration Detainees (AVID). We are also in regular contact with lawyers who represent detainees.

We work closely with staff at Campsfield House, particularly the welfare officers and the senior managers, to look at how to meet the needs of detainees.