Day of action against Barnardo’s – 8 Nov

Following a series of documented assaults on migrant families held in Cedars, the appalling treatment of the Saleh family, and the damning HM Inspector of Prison’s report last month, anti-detention campaigners are calling on all concerned groups and individuals to join us in an intensive day of action to ratchet up the campaign against Barnardo’s involvement in child detention.

Barnardo’s does not really have the welfare of children at heart. If it did, it would have pulled out of Cedars as soon as its own ‘red lines’ had begun to be breached. The reality is that these conditions relating to the use of force against minors and the length of detention at Cedars have been repeatedly broken, and Barnardo’s continued involvement in Cedars is only serving to legitimise the continued use of child detention. As Medical Justice put it:

“they ruined the campaign to end the detention of children, which campaigners felt could be achievable as the government had already promised it.”

Our aim is to put enough pressure on Barnardo’s to pull out of Cedars. We believe this will strip away any legitimacy for the continued use of child detention and take us closer to stopping it for real. We see the fight against child detention as one part of the struggle against the brutal system of immigration detention as a whole.


There are various simple ways through which you can take action and help stop child detention: if you can’t pay Barnardo’s a visit on the day, you can still phone, tweet or email them and their supporters. Do something!

1. Phone blockade. Call Barnardo’s and ask why they are continuing to work at Cedars despite the repeated breaches of their own ‘red lines’. Remember, senior staff at Barnardo’s never have to hear from the families held at and deported from Cedars. Your phone calls and messages are a chance to put across some hard truths about Cedars.

– Barnardo’s head office: 0208 550 8822
– Press office:  020 8498 7555 (24 hours)
– Media and communications managers:  0208 498 7685 or 0113 393 3245
– Corporate partnerships/fundraising: 0208 498 7138
– Commissioning their services as consultants: 0208 498 7734
– Supporter care/telephone donation line: 0800 008 7005

If you would like to protect your anonymity (if you don’t want a call back from Barnardo’s, for example), dial 141 before entering the number.

2. Tweet. If you have a Twitter account, why not tweet these celebrity endorsers of Barnardo’s (see Barnardo’s website for details of their support for the charity). Ask them, politely, if they are aware of Barnardo’s role in Cedars, and whether they might reconsider supporting them.

Actor and author Stephen Fry: @stephenfry
Actress Fay Ripley: @FayRipley
Actress Michelle Collins: @missmcollins
Actress Amanda Holden: @Amanda_Holden
Taekwondo Olympic bronze medallist Lutalo Muhammad: @LutaloMuhammad
Rugby player James Haskell: @jameshaskell

3. Leaflet Barnardo’s charity shops. Most Barnardo’s shop volunteers and customers probably don’t know what Barnardo’s is involved with. You can let them know about Cedars and what goes on inside.

Download and print this leaflet and distribute it. For a list of the nearest Barnardo’s charity shops to you, see this page.

4. Pay a visit to Barnardo’s offices. For a list of all Barnardo’s addresses, see this page.

5. Email Barnardo’s funders. Many of the (no doubt well-meaning) charitable trusts funding Barnardo’s might not be aware of the charity’s role in Cedars family immigration prison. Let them know!

Below is a model letter that you can modify and send to the trusts listed below:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

A list of Barnardo’s funders, available on p.21 of the charity’s 2011 annual report

Sample letter to Barnardo’s funders:

Dear Barnardo’s supporter,

I am writing to ask for your help in stopping Barnardo’s involvement in child detention.

Last August, the government opened Cedars, its notorious ‘pre-departure accommodation’ for families awaiting deportation. While the government claims that it has ended the detention of migrant children, Cedars is in fact just a detention centre with a friendlier face. Controversially, the children’s charity Barnardo’s, whom you have funded, took on the contract to provide ‘welfare services’ in the centre.

Barnardo’s made a number of conditions when it entered into this agreement. The charity set out a list of ‘red lines’, saying that it would speak out and withdraw its services if these were broken. Yet these conditions – including the use of force against children, the repeated detention of families at the centre, and the detention for longer than a seven day limit – have been repeatedly broken. These violations were further highlighted in HM Inspector of Prisons’ report on Cedars released last month. However, Barnardo’s still maintains its involvement in Cedars, has broken its promise to withdraw, and has refused even to comment on what is happening at Cedars.

Barnardo’s said that it took the contract at Cedars to help ensure children’s welfare. The HMIP report shows that this is not working. Furthermore, as the Institute of Race Relations has commented, Barnardo’s involvement actually makes matters worse by “legitimising” the continued detention of children. The charity Medical Justice said in a recent report:  Barnardo’s “ruined the campaign to end the detention of children, which campaigners felt could be achievable as the government had already promised it.”

If Barnardo’s upheld its “red lines” and pulled out of Cedars now, this would send a very strong message which could help end child detention for real. If you disagree with the detention of children, regardless of their country of origin, I ask you to urge Barnardo’s to cease its involvement in child detention, or reconsider funding the charity in future.

Yours sincerely,


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