Helping immigration detainees across the UK
AVID is the membership network for all volunteer visitors to immigration removal centres, short term holding facilities, and prisons: anywhere someone is held for immigration purposes in the UK. Since 1994 we have sought to ensure detainees rights are protected and to promote access to volunteer visitors.
The UK detains around 30,000 people every year. Detention in the UK is without time limit, and there is no automatic judicial oversight on decisions to detain. As a result, many people end up incarcerated for long periods of time- in some cases even years- with no idea of what will happen to them. A volunteer visitor is often the only person a detainee sees who is not an official. Many feel isolated, confused, angry and frightened. A visitor, acting in lieu of friends and family, can be their eyes and ears on the outside and provide essential emotional and practical support throughout this difficult time.
AVID works to promote the welfare and human dignity of immigration detainees by advocating for change to the detention system. We work with and through our membership network of grassroots visitors groups, collating evidence on the daily realities of immigration detention and using this to present a collective voice for change based on lived experiences.
We provide training, resources and support to volunteers; produce regular information and briefings on detention; and advocate for changes in the detention system to the benefit of all detainees. Our network includes 19 visitors groups visiting places of detention across the UK. You can find out more about our work using the links on the left.
AVID 20th ANNIVERSARY YEAR 2014
AVID celebrates its 20th birthday this year. We will be marking this year by celebrating the role of volunteer visitors and visiting: YOU CAN BE INVOLVED!
Our major project this year is the Visitor's Testimony Project. We will be interviewing volunteer visitors from the past 20 years about their experiences of visiting and supporting detainees, as well as talking to former detainees about the impact their volunteer visitor had. You can find out full details of this exciting initiative and how to get involved here. Interviews for the oral history project will take place throughout August, and the survey will be circulated to all volunteer visitors through their visitors groups in August. A report and short film will then be launched in November. For more information contact AVID.
Latest figures on UK's use of detention
We have produced our latest short briefing on the size and scale of the UK's use of detention- as at September 2014 there are 4270 places in detention (excluding prisons). Read more here.
Message from our Patron:
"Often the volunteer visitor is the only person a detainee can turn to for support in confidence. I am extremely proud to be associated with AVID, the charity which works with those volunteers - people who work with immigration detainees, and provides information, training and advocacy support to some 20 groups spread across the country. AVID believes that detainees should have the same basic human rights as the rest of us, and is working to make that happen."
Colin Firth (read the full letter here)
You can contact AVID's Director, Ali McGinley, using the 'Contact AVID' link to the left, or by calling 0207 281 0533 or 07900 196 131.
Patrons: Colin Firth, Lord David Ramsbotham GCB CBE, and John Scampion CBE
Address: Archway Resource Centre, 1b Waterlow Road, London N19 5NJ
Registered Charity Number: 1063784