Supporting our members

AVID's membership network comprises 16 visitors groups and organisations who visit across the UK, representing over 650 volunteer visitors, as well as many individual members, who give their time to befriend and support people being held in immigration detention.

Our members visit in every detention centre and short term holding facility in the UK, as well as in a number of prisons. All visitors groups are independent, but work with AVID and each other to ensure that detainees across the UK have access to the emotional and practical support of a volunteer visitor, to share best practice, and to promote a collective voice for change based on detainees' real life experiences. 

 

Supporting Visitors' Groups to increase their reach and capacity 

Our members - and the provision of training, information, advocacy support and resources to help them in the vital work that they do - are at the heart of our work.

 

Training

We develop and deliver a range of training for volunteer visitors on topical and current issues, equipping them with the skills to support detainees and to deal with the challenging situations they may encounter while volunteering.

We deliver our own training, as well as working with expert partner organisations on our training programmes.  Sessions regularly delivered to visitor groups include: Detention Policy and Practice; Working with vulnerable people; Unlawful detention and Access to healthcare and legal advice for detainees. 

Advice and Support

We provide ongoing support, advice and information to both established visitors groups and those in the process of setting up and running new groups. Visitors groups contact us regularly and we meet every month via the Detention Monitoring Group. We also make regular outreach visits and support groups to work together to share experiences and address common issues and challenges.

“AVID was really helpful to our group in setting up our new drop-in service for detainees...their involvement was crucial to the service finally being agreed with the detention centre”

Scottish Detainee Visitors, Glasgow

Information sharing and networking

We work to bring groups together to share ideas and information, network and work collaboratively on detention issues. This includes a range of events such as our annual Coordinators' Conference. We also produce a Handbook for Visitors which contains a wealth of information on detention policy and practice, guiding volunteers through the visiting process and giving background information on the experience of detention and visiting skills.