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Nicky Woods joins Yarls Wood Befrienders as the new CEO


We are delighted to announce that Nicky Woods has been appointed as our New CEO. Nicky has written a few words to introduce herself to our volunteers and supporters;

"Coming from a 25 year background of communication, empowerment and international development, I am relatively new to the use of immigration detention in the United Kingdom. Instead I have worked to challenge violence against women and girls, improve sexual reproductive health knowledge for women, girls and new-borns, tackle corruption and accountability and a variety of empowerment and capacity building initiatives for peace and reconciliation in conflict and post conflict countries in Asia, Central America, Africa and South East Asia.


While I have witnessed the consequences of war and the madness of hate and ignorance I do not abide ethnocentrism in our own country where we have the luxury of peace to support empathy and generosity.


I am proud to take on the role of CEO for YWB, a charity with human kindness at it’s core. I look forward to building on YWB’s caring 20 year history which has provided support and compassion for women incarcerated for an indefinite timeframe behind the locked doors of YWIDC. The many women in YWIDC are the epitome of the most vulnerable with a host of tough memories but without family to visit, or friends to rely on; often no language skills to communicate with and few clothes on their backs.


As the new CEO, I aim to provide support, training and motivation for the dedicated team of both staff and volunteers who have selflessly given their own time to allay the tears and anxious concerns that face the woman inside YWIDC. While complex and legal questions can’t be answered, our volunteers can provide emotional support, a friendly face and a couple of hours reprieve from the hollow worry and isolation within the centre. This community of professional, multilingual and multitalented volunteers are the vital hub of the work of YWB, connecting the detainees to the outside world and I look forward to working with them to diversify what we can offer to help the women inside YWIDC and to those leaving it’s corridors. In addition, I hope to build relationships with other partners and organisations whom work in this sector and together to provide the best befriending service to those within the immigration detention system in the UK.

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We offer befriending support to people held in Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre, aiming to reduce their isolation, reinforce their self-esteem and affirm their human dignity.

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Yarl's Wood Befrienders is a company limited by guarantee and a registered charity. Charity Number: 1143160

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