Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group was set up in 1995 when the UK Immigration Service began to detain people at a small holding centre near Gatwick Airport. The following year, Tinsley House Detention Centre was built, and we became a registered charity.
A new detention facility at Gatwick, Brook House, opened in March 2009. Brook House operates alongside Tinsley House, and both centres are currently run by Group 4 Security (G4S). GDWG supports detainees held at both centres. In Summer 2011, the Cedars Family Pre-Departure Accommodation opened in nearby Pease Pottage, to hold families for short periods before the UK Borders Agency tries to remove them from the UK.
GDWG has now grown to around 90 volunteers, who visit and befriend asylum seekers and immigration detainees at Tinsley House, Brook House and Cedars. The group believes that each detainee has a right to be treated with respect and compassion, whatever the outcome of their case. We also have a small staff team who manage the volunteers and provide support and advocacy to detainees.
We are non-party political and do not represent any vested interests. We use our own insight into the experiences of detainees to try to improve conditions, inform policy and challenge negative images of asylum seekers and other immigration detainees, both through our own work and by networking with other organisations who help detainees, such as the Association for Visitors to Immigration Detainees (AVID), Detention Action and Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID). We are also participating members of the Asylum Rights Campaign Detention Sub-group and Detention Forum.
This audio/visual slideshow was commissioned by one of our funders, the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund, and shows the work of three of our visitors.
Do you belong to an organisation in the South-East that would like to find out more about immigration detention?
If so, we are always pleased to provide a speaker from our group to come and talk about our work. We also have specially trained speakers to deliver talks in schools. If you would like more information, send us an email.
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