Yarl’s Wood Befrienders in the News

Thanks to the Beds on Sunday for featuring us this week and helping us to find more Befrienders and Trustees.

Bedfordshire On Sunday 28 June 2015


Posted in Media, YWB News | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Yarl’s Wood Befrienders in the News

Thanks to St Albans Cathedral

Donation from St Alban’s Cathedral

As part of the St Alban’s Cathedral’s contribution to the work and mission of other charities, 10% of their congregational giving is distributed each year.

The Congregational Giving Team, as well as encouraging giving, also advises on the choice of the groups and organisations we are able to support.

Through the generous giving of the Abbey’s congregations, the Cathedral is able to distribute over £40,000 to outside organisations and mission charities, and Yarl’s Wood Befrienders were fortunate to have received £1,000 this year.

Posted in Events, Fundraising, Uncategorized, YWB News | Comments Off on Thanks to St Albans Cathedral

The Scar Test – 29th June 2015

Yarl’s Wood Detention Centre. Bedford. 2015. A time you will know but a place you cannot. With unique access through the Yarl’s Wood Befrienders, Untold Theatre brings you stories from the inside. The play takes its title from a procedure used to determine whether detainees have undergone torture in their home countries, but not all forms of torture leave scars…

Scar Test

An unlikely tale of humour, love and hardship, using different languages, physical and verbatim theatre The Scar Test will take you on an unforgettable journey through a dark world under lock and key.

The Scar Test is written by Hannah Khalil (The Deportation Room and Last of the Pearl Fishers BBC Radio 4, Scenes from 68 Years Arcola, the Meyer-Whitworth Award nominated Plan D Tristan Bates. She is currently working with BBC Drama in the development of her latest project) and directed by Audrey Sheffield (Director: Almost Near, Finborough Theatre; June, The Park Theatre; Apples Theatre 503, The Little Flowers of East Orange, National Theatre Studio Assistant Director: Electra Old Vic Theatre, One Man, Two Governors, Theatre Royal Haymarket, The Effect, National Theatre).

There will be a free post-show discussion about the political situation behind the play with guest panellists from Women for Refugee Women after each performance.

Monday June 29th from 7.30pm

South Bank Arts Centre
Bedford College
Cauldwell Street,
MK42 9AH

Tickets £6 and all proceeds go to Yarl’s Wood Befrienders and you can book them here.


Posted in Events, Uncategorized, YWB News | Comments Off on The Scar Test – 29th June 2015

Pub Quiz – 22nd July 2015


Wednesday July 22nd from 7.30pm

Teams are from 2 to 6 people, and it’s just £6 per quizzer and includes a ploughman’s supper. If you can’t get a whole team, don’t worry just come along and we will put teams together on the night. Please feel free to invite friends and family.

There will be a raffle too, and prizes for the quiz. All proceeds go to Yarl’s Wood Befrienders.

The White Horse, Newnham Avenue, Bedford, MK41 9PX

The pub need to know numbers for the food by Monday 20th July so please call us on 01234 272090 or email us (admin@ywbefrienders.org) to let us know you are coming.

Posted in Events, YWB News | Comments Off on Pub Quiz – 22nd July 2015

Thanks to St Albans Cathedral

We are grateful to St Albans Cathedral for their continued support through their Mission Giving. A cheque was presented to our trustee, Janet, at a ceremony in May.

Presentation Ceremony photo


Posted in Fundraising | Comments Off on Thanks to St Albans Cathedral

Our condolences to the family of Christine Case

Yarl’s Wood Befrienders were deeply saddened to learn of the death of Christine Case on the morning of 30th March 2014. A special service was held in Yarl’s Wood on 6th April in memory of Christine. Our coordinator, Heather Jones, was invited by a group of Christine’s friends at Yarl’s Wood to provide flowers for the occasion. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with Christine’s family and friends, as well as those at Yarl’s Wood who have been affected by her death.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Our condolences to the family of Christine Case

Women for Refugee Women publish report and launch campaign

Women for Refugee Women have launched a report documenting the experiences of 46 women detained in Yarl’s Wood. Many of the women were supported by the Befrienders during their time at Yarl’s Wood. To go to the WFRW website, click here, or click here to read the report in full.

Meltem Avcil, who was detained in Yarl’s Wood for three months as a thirteen year-old, has launched a campaign to end the detention of women who are seeking asylum. Click here to learn more about the petition.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Women for Refugee Women publish report and launch campaign

AGM – Wednesday 22nd May

You are warmly invited to join us for our Annual General Meeting of 2013


7:30 p.m. on Wednesday 22nd May

All Saints Parish Church
Westbourne Road, Queen’s Park, Bedford, MK40 4LD

followed by:

An address by Jerome Phelps

Jerome is the director of Detention Action, who support detainees held in Colnbrook and Harmondsworth detention centres near Heathrow. Through research, lobbying government and campaigning, Detention Action calls for an end to detention without time limit and the practice of detaining people because they have claimed asylum. Jerome will be speaking about the Detained Fast Track, which operates in both Yarl’s Wood and Harmondsworth. In the DFT, applicants are locked up throughout the asylum process and face a lightning-quick series of interviews and appeals, with very limited access to legal advice. This results in a situation where 99% of cases are refused.

Refreshments will be provided

Please note: voting rights are restricted to members of Yarl’s Wood Befrienders, but everyone is welcome to attend

Posted in Events | Comments Off on AGM – Wednesday 22nd May

Gill Butler 1942 – 2012

Gill was one of the longest-standing members of the Befrienders and an inspirational trustee and Chair. She will be remembered for her tireless human-rights work and as an “adoptive mother” to many women and families who she visited over the years at Yarl’s Wood.

Gill’s legacy lies not only in the strength of the Befrienders, which grew and developed enormously during her years as Chair, but also in her work with Medical Justice, where she put her medical background to such practical use in defending the rights of vulnerable detainees. Many of those she has supported had undergone mental and physical torture in their home countries, as well as suffering here in the UK. Her warmth, compassion and humour, combined with a passionate drive to advocate for those she knew to be at risk, made her a source of strength and comfort to those she supported.

She not only visited detainees while they were at Yarl’s Wood, but also took several into her home after they were released, some for substantial lengths of time. She remained in close contact with many others and the number of former-detainees attending her funeral bore testimony to the fact that, to many, Gill will always be known as Mum.

For more tributes to Gill, please follow these links:

Guardian Newspaper

Institute of Race Relations

Association of Visitors to Immigration Detainees

Posted in Uncategorized, YWB News | Leave a comment

HMIP report published

Her Majesty’s Inspector of Prisons, Nick Hardwick, published his report on Yarl’s Wood yesterday. The report can be found at the Ministry of Justice website here.



Posted in Reports | Leave a comment