This contribution is a collaboration between women detained in Yarl’s Wood detention centre and the Yarl’s Wood Befrienders.
These words and images were produced at one of the weekly ‘drop in’ sessions held by Yarl’s Wood Befrienders. Drop in is a space where women detained at Yarl’s Wood can come and hang out with befrienders. We have tea, coffee and biscuits and there is colouring, jigsaws and games for people to play.
One of the notes says ” 8 x in detention Why?” The woman who wrote this told us that she had been detained for the second time and that her mother had been detained eight times before being given status.
The themes of things feeling more difficult as time goes on and not knowing how long they will be there come up all the time. It is particularly noticeable at the moment. I think as seasons change, it marks time and people who arrive in the summer are shocked and disheartened to find that they are still there as it turns to autumn. For those people who celebrate Christmas, it is particularly difficult to think that they might still be detained come Christmas.
We spoke to one woman last week who is detained for the second time. The previous time she had also been detained over Christmas, so the thought of repeating the experience is terrifying her.