Information last updated on January 31, 2020

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

Our next recruitment round will be in 2020. We will be recruiting volunteers in all roles nearer to the time. At the moment we are only recruiting volunteer interpreters who are fluent in the following languages: Albanian, Bengali, Kurdish Sorani, Pashto, Tigrinya, Amharic, Portuguese, Romanian, Punjabi, Polish, Yoruba and Vietnamese.

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 NOTE: we are no longer accepting applications for the ASV role. If you are interested, please check back in a month or so, when we may have opened applications again.

Volunteer Interpreters (UK)

Volunteer interpreters provide simultaneous telephone interpreting between staff and volunteers in the office and people in detention. We are particularly looking for people who are fluent in Albanian, Bengali, Mandarin, Kurdish Sorani, Pashto, Urdu, Tigrinya, Amharic, Portuguese, Romanian, Punjabi, Polish, Yoruba 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.

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