Welfare in Detention
Salifu Dagarti Foundation began to offer Welfare services to those in detention across the country in January 2016, Due to the on-going detention of thousands of people in UK detention centres and the 26th death in a UK detention centre we felt that it was the right time to offer a unique Welfare service to those detained in the UK.
Detention invariably affects people mentally and emotionally. Visits from people who care, people that aren’t part of the system that keeps them looked up, are invaluable for detainees’ emotional wellbeing.
Currently there are 11 detention centres in the UK holding a capacity of 32, 000 people a year, there are individuals who has been detained for over 5years which defeats the objective of these detention centres or removal centres. The main purpose of these centres were to hold those who are to be deported for a short period of time.
The purpose of the Welfare group here at Salifu Dagarti, is to support the people detained there by providing a link to the outside world. We work to improve the welfare and well-being of people held in detention, by offering friendship and support and advocating for fair treatment.
We arrange to visit those detained in detention centres all around the country and stay in contact by phone to reduce the isolation that is all too common in detention centres. As well as providing friendship we are able to signpost the people we support to other service.
The welfare group here at Salifu Dagarti currently has 5 volunteers with more than 15 volunteers being vetted at the moment, who visit and befriend asylum seekers and people held in immigration detention at Tinsley House, Brook House, Colnbrook, Harmondsworth, Campsfield, Yarlswood and Morton Hall. The group believes that each person held 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 people held in detention to try to improve conditions, inform policy and challenge negative images of asylum seekers and other people held as part of their immigration process, both through our own work and by networking with other organisations who provide support, such as the Association for Visitors to Immigration Detainees, Detention Action and Bail for Immigration Detainees. We are also participating members of the Asylum Rights Campaign Detention Sub-group and Detention Forum.