On June 6th 2011, activists visited Barnardo's HQ in Barkingside Essex to protest against their involvement with the UK Border Agency. Campaigners gave out leaflets informing Barnardo's staff of the work that Barnardo's will be doing at the soon-to-be-opened "pre-departure accommodation facility" near Gatwick and urging them to express their concerns about this to Barnardo's management.
Barnardo's is the UK's largest children's charity. The protesters wanted to raise awareness among Barnardos' customers about the charity's controversial new involvement with the UK Border Agency (UKBA). Barnardo's has accepted a government contract to run a creche at the soon-to-be-opened "pre-departure accommodation facility" near Gatwick. This is essentially a prison where asylum-seeking families with children will be detained pending a deportation attempt by the UKBA. The security at the prison will be done by G4 Securicor - the notorious firm involved in the deadly deportation of Jimmy Mubenga in October 2010.
The government are claiming to have ended child detention, and introduced a new “compassionate approach to family removals”. Barnardo's support for this process adds a veneer of respectability to the government's deception. Indeed, at the planning application meeting for the new prison, councilors said any concerns they had about the welfare of the children were reassured by Barnardos' involvement.
The protest was greeted by Barnardo's Press Team who attempted to explain away Barnardo's involvement in this new facility, claiming that they were trying to make the best out of a bad situation.
Protests against Barnardo's will continue...