Guests at the event with slide in background featuring the front cover of BID's 1st annual report from 1999

Over 120 people came together last week to mark twenty years of BID’s work with over 45,000 people in detention.

The event, at the beautiful West Reservoir Centre, was hosted by BID as a way of thanking all the people who make up the charities twenty year history of bearing witness to the daily injustices faced by immigration detainees while fighting for the end of this inhumane practice.

Guests at BID's Anti-Birthday Party

People enjoyed delicious food cooked by the Syrian Sunflower as they caught up friends old and new and heard from speakers including Pierre Makhlouf, BID assistant director; Eileen Bye, one of BID’s first trustees; Tim Baster, BID’s founder and Victor, a former client. 

Majeda, The Syrian Sunflower, preparing food for the event

Acknowledging that the fact that the charity is still needed is no cause for celebration, Pierre Makhlouf, reflected on the significant growth of detention over the past twenty years adding concerns about the potential impact of Brexit on the numbers of people detained and deported. 

BID assistant director addresses the crowd

Tim Baster and Eileen Bye shared their experiences from the early years of BID explaining that at the time virtually no one applied for bail in immigration detention. Remarking on BID’s vital work with over 45,000 people since, both thanked everyone in the room for continuing the fight for liberty and justice. 

BID founder Tim Baster at the event

Victor, who was detained for 6 months, talked powerfully about the impact detention had on him and how he received very poor legal advice before finding BID. He spoke of his gratefulness to BID for getting him out and about the necessity of BID’s work to hold the government to account. 

Victor speaking at the event

The event was also attended by local MP and Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbot who commented:

“I would like to thank BID for inviting me to their anti-birthday last night. It was great to hear about the work they are doing and talk about UK Labour's plans on ending indefinite detention and shutting down Yarlswood and Brookhouse.”
Diane Abbot MP speaking with Policy and Research Coordinator Rudy

Attendees were asked to share what BID means to them and answers to the question were projected during the course of the evening. 

'BID to me' slide at the event
'BID to me' slide at the event

The event accompanies the charities Anti-Birthday campaign which has been running over the summer and culminates at the end of this month. The campaign highlights the ongoing failure of the UK immigration detention system and crucially, also encourages supporters to make an Anti-birthday gift.

Supporters are invited to purchase a gift from our Anti-Birthday wish list to help tackle barriers to legal advice in detention. You can make a donation or learn more about the campaign here on our website.

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Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID) is a registered Charity No. 1077187. Registered in England as a Limited Company No. 03803669. Accredited by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner Ref. No. N200100147. We are a member of the Fundraising Regulator, committed to best practice in fundraising and follow the standards for fundraising as set out in the Code of Fundraising Practice.
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