Volunteering

Information last updated on June 10, 2019

Detention Action relies on the work of volunteers to deliver support and advice to people in immigration detention. We support people – providing emotional and practical support and advice – in the two immigration detention centres near Heathrow. The majority of people in the centres are men, from a range of countries from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. They may be refused asylum seekers, ex-offenders, visa overstayers or people going through the asylum process.

You can read more about our volunteers’ experiences:

The paradox of visiting people in detention – Anthony

“I regularly speak to people who are in absolute despair” – Mary-Ann

Volunteer with Detention Action

We welcome applications from everyone interested in supporting people in immigration detention. However, we only have limited capacity to train and support volunteers, so we are prioritising volunteers with experience of supporting vulnerable people, language skills and /or the ability to work in a demanding office environment (for the Advocacy and Support Volunteer role).  Full training and ongoing support is provided.

Advocacy and Support Volunteers (London)

Volunteers in our office give a wide range of practical as well as emotional support to people in detention. Advocacy and Support Volunteers (ASVs) are the first contact for people in detention calling our freephone, and are responsible for supporting a caseload of clients.  They provide non-immigration advice on people’s rights and how to access support and accommodation to which they can be released from detention.  ASVs also put people in touch with legal advisors and support organisations, such as BID or Medical Justice.

You would need to be available to come into our office at least one day a week from 10am – 5pm. Our volunteers usually commit to one day a week for six months or two days a week for three months, we can be flexible with your commitment depending on your availability so please get in touch with us to talk about this.

Please download the Volunteer Application Pack for more information and details of how to apply.

Volunteer Interpreters (UK)

Volunteer interpreters provide simultaneous telephone interpreting between staff and volunteers in the office and people in detention. We ask volunteers to be available a few times a month, during weekdays, for at least 6 months.  We are particularly looking for people who are fluent in Albanian, Bengali, Farsi, Kurdish Sorani, Pashto, Urdu, Portuguese, Romanian, Punjabi, Polish and Vietnamese, although other languages may also be useful.  We recruit interpreters on an ongoing basis. Please get in touch if you speak any of these languages.

Please download the Volunteer Application Pack for more information and details of how to apply.

Volunteer Visitors (London)

Volunteer Visitors provide one-to-one support for people held in Colnbrook and Harmondsworth detention centres.  Volunteer Visitors are there to listen, to provide a space for people in detention to talk about their experiences or simply to offer a friendly point of contact with the outside world. Volunteers often support some of the most vulnerable people in detention, or those who have no other visitors. The commitment we ask for is one visit every 7-10 days for 6 months.

We are currently only recruiting visitors with specific language skills.

Please download the Volunteer Application Pack for more information and details of how to apply.

Are you in detention? / 0800 587 2096 / How we can help