#GivingTuesday is a global movement held annually to encourage and celebrate giving worldwide. BID simply could not function without the support and commitment of its volunteers and supporters. From answering calls to assisting with workshops and reviewing bail applications, our volunteers are integral to the work we do.
We caught up with the volunteers in the BID office this #GivingTuesday to discuss why they donate their time to challenge immigration detention in the UK.
Avin: “We are the only people taking the time to listen.”
“I give my time because I feel the work we do has a huge impact. We are the only people taking the time to listen, the only people working to help people who have been detained. When people express their gratitude it feels like you have made a difference."
“Even just doing one day of volunteering would make a difference. There is so much opportunity to learn as everyone here is so helpful. It’s such a small charity so you feel like a real difference can be made. It feels good – I really enjoy coming here.”
Dee: “We don’t give up on them, we keep trying.”
“The people we help don’t have a voice in our society and we can be that voice for them. Even just talking helps people. After calling the help line people feel that they are one step closer to release. Even when people don’t get bail we don’t give up on them, we keep trying.
“I had never really used my languages before, but at BID I have been able to speak with Tamil clients. Word seems to have spread and now people call up specifically to speak to me in Tamil. I’m really pleased to be able to help.
“I would recommend volunteering at BID because I don’t know any other organisation where volunteering is as hands on – we’re not just shadowing we are actually integral to the work. I feel trusted. People are so welcoming and supportive here, the staff are always around to help.”
Abdullah: “BID is the light at the end of the tunnel for so many people.”
“I volunteer at BID because I know BID is genuine. You feel like you can make a real difference here, everyone works together and everyone is very down to earth. I think I will be volunteering here for at least a few more years. It is really flexible and I can easily organise it around my studies.
“People even ask for me personally on the phone because I speak Arabic. I can see how much easier it is for them being able to speak their own language. It has been a great experience for me, I have learned so much about immigration law. It is refreshing and interesting work. It is good for my soul and my principles.
“I think it is very important to help people who don’t know their rights. There is no one else who can help them. BID is the light at the end of the tunnel for so many people who call the advice line.
Annie: “I really wanted to do practical work with people to exact some kind of change.”
“I started volunteering at BID because I wanted hands-on experience dealing with human rights issues, and BID brings together a number of elements that I am interested in: human rights, immigration law and the criminal justice system.
“Through volunteering here you gain really practical tools for working in this area - for example, I am going to Yarl’s Wood tomorrow. I have dedicated so much time to academic work and theory that I really wanted to do practical work with people to exact some kind of change. Doing person to person work is already so much more rewarding.
"For people thinking of volunteering I would say, absolutely do it! It is such a hands-on experience and I really appreciate that the team is so warm and helpful. I have felt so welcome since day one. It’s also really nice meeting so many like-minded people.”
Adnan: “BID bridge a gap in support - no one else is willing or able to help these people.”
“A few people had mentioned BID to me. I thought it was going to be admin but it was very interesting, challenging work. Unlike a criminal conviction, there is no time limit on detention. I’ve worked with people who have been in detention for over 28 months.
“Volunteering at BID you can see the benefits of your work. You see people getting out of detention, families and couples being reunited. BID bridges a gap in support - no one else is willing or able to help these people.
“People thinking about volunteering should do it! It is worthwhile work. It will challenge you, you will learn a lot and you will find you are doing something that a lot of people will appreciate.”
Milly: “Once you get exposed to the state abuse you see here, it becomes impossible to ignore.”
“I volunteered at a charity in Nottingham supporting refugees and asylum seekers. After that I wanted to gain some legal experience that would help me challenge laws and systems that are deeply unfair. I also feel a sense of moral and social responsibility as someone who has the privilege of citizenship.
“I think challenging the way migrants are treated in the UK is really important. Once you get exposed to the state abuse you see here, it becomes impossible to ignore.”
If you are interested in volunteering you can apply and read more information here on our website.