This charity was initially established to provide support, advice and assistance to immigration detainees held at Dover Immigration Removal Centre. Since that Centre’s closure in 2015, Kent Refugee Help’s focus moved to support people detained in Kent prisons and also HMP Pentonville in London. It works with foreign national prisoners – some of the clients are in prison under immigration regulations, being deemed too high risk to be placed in a removal centre. Others may be refugees,
former unaccompanied minors, EU migrants, those with long residence who came to the UK with their parents when they were young, and people who are undocumented or stateless.
Many of the people the charity works with have been detained indefinitely; they may have severe mental health issues, and some have made repeated suicide attempts as they felt so helpless. Most are denied legal aid and have complicated legal issues. The charity holds bi-monthly surgeries at two prisons, where it signposts and helps people access legal advice and representation. In doing so, it aims to improve the wellbeing of people detained.
At the October 2018 Trustee meeting, the Foundation offered a general contribution of £5,000 to the charity’s running costs.