Our location in West London means that we're close to Europe's largest immigration removal centres, near Heathrow airport. The two centres, known as Harmondworth and Colnbrook, house several hundred asylum seekers and refugees in crowded, prison-like conditions while they appeal in the courts for a chance at freedom and safety in Britain. Many of these (mostly) young men are alone and have no one visiting them during their detention, which can last months or even years.

Several of our members have joined with another charity, the Jesuit Refuge Service, to visit these people. We visit the centres and spend an hour so, usually about once a week, just chatting with them, giving them the opportunity to talk with a friendly person. This style of support, walking humbly alongside forced migrants as they go through unbelievable suffering and despair, can be hard, but it is an essential way of caring for those most in need in our society today.

Lately, because of the coronavirus, our support has moved to phone calls instead of face-to-face meetings for the time being, but this is a crucial service while all visits are currently prohibited at the centre.