About YWB

Yarl’s Wood Befrienders
We aim to affirm human dignity and restore self-esteem by listening and offering befriending support.

What Yarl’s Wood is
Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre has the capacity to detain around 400 people. It is the main long term detention facility for women in the UK. It also has a small unit for couples and families with adult dependents, and a short-term holding centre for men who have been detained upon arrival in the country, whilst they undergo an initial screening process. 

Yarl's Wood IRC

Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre


 What we do
Detainees can be vulnerable, isolated and frightened. Many are young, some speak no English, and a number of them know no-one in this country. Whether a detainee has recently arrived in the UK or has been here for many years, the experience of detention can be traumatic. They are held for an indefinite period of time, and understand little about the legal system.

Our volunteers undertake to visit a detainee regularly, listening and caring about what happens to them. In this way, although we cannot affect the outcome of their case, we can help to reduce their isolation, acting as a contact with the outside world. 

We can assist with small practical needs, such as toiletries, second-hand clothing, mobile credit, and small grants of money to destitute people being removed (deported).

We are non-religious and non-political and are funded entirely by non-governmental grants and personal donations, enabling us to remain completely independent. 

If you would like to become involved in our organisation, or contact us for any other reason, please follow this link

We are very grateful to all our funders and donors, who make the continuing work of Yarl’s Wood Befrienders possible. The following organisations have supported us in 20014/15:

  • The Eranda Foundation
  • The Harpur Trust
  • The Leigh Trust
  • Cathedral & Abbey Church of St Alban
  • The Bromley Trust
  • Steel Charitable Trust
  • St Andrew’s Church Bedford
  • Wixamtree Trust
  • House of Industry
  • Noel Buxton Trust
  • Swan Mountain Trust
  • St Peter de Merton Church, Bedford
  • St Cuthbert’s Church, Bedford

We have also been greatly assisted by support and advice from
AVID (Association of Visitors to Immigration Detainees).