Why is visiting important?

We believe in the power of visiting.

Whatever someone's situation, being held in detention is traumatic. The emotional and practical solidarity of a visitor can make a huge difference. Frequently, a visitor is the only person someone in detention sees from outside who is not part of the Home Office. This relationship can become a lifeline, enabling someone to feel less isolated as they work to understand their situation and access their rights.

AVID exists to join with and support visitors in this vital role.  


Support for visitor groups

Visitor groups in the AVID network are independent organisations. They work with AVID and each other to ensure that people in detention across the UK have access to the emotional and practical support of volunteer visitors and to demand change based on what they learn from those they meet in detention.


Training for visitors

Visiting immigration detention centres is not easy. We support visitors to navigate the challenges of visiting and act in solidarity with people in detention. We provide an ongoing and varied training programme for visitors who are members of our network. This includes educational talks, guidance on detention policy and visiting skills support. If you are an AVID member you can login to view past trainings here.

Visitor Handbook

Packed with information on visiting skills, along with technical and practical information, our Handbook is a vital resource for anyone who wants to know more about standing in solidarity with people in detention centres or held in prison under immigration powers.

(We are currently working on the new edition of the handbook which will be available in a digital version soon)

I'm one of those people that believes that one small change can make a change of direction and change of everything, and visiting has been grounding for me. It helps me understand what my values are. When I continue to visit regularly, it’s a constant reminder of who I am and how lucky I am, but also what the system is and what I think about the system.

Ratha, Visitor with Manchester Immigration Detainee Support Team (MIDST)

How to get involved

Join your local visitor group

There are detention facilities across the country, check the map to find the contact details for your nearest group. AVID member groups have their own recruitment processes. You can contact them directly to find out more.

Set up a new group

It may be that you do not live near an immigration detention facility. However, many people are held under Immigration Act powers in prisons. AVID is keen to hear from anyone who is interested in helping to set up a group to visit people detained in prisons in their area and will support you to do so. Please contact us for more information.

Get involved with a Project

Join us in advocating for change by participating in a project with AVID or with one of AVID's members. Members of AVID are often finding new and different ways to raise awareness and engage with the public or decision makers. Sign petitions, attend events, or volunteer your time to amplify our collective voice to make detention history.

Visitors' Stories

Visitors' constant presence has, for many people, been a lifeline, offering support at a time when there is no one else to turn to. It’s also helped ensure that issues and injustices that would otherwise remain hidden have reached people beyond the walls of detention.

Make a donation

We need funds to continue our work of building communities of solidarity with people in detention across the UK and advocating for a more humane system in 2024.

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