Beyond Detention 2023 Annual Conference
“A great occasion for all to meet and share experiences and to encourage each other”
On Saturday 21st January, staff, trustees and volunteers gathered together for the first time in three years for our Annual Conference, which was held at the Marston Forest Centre.
After holding the 2021 and 2022 conference online, it was inspiring to see everyone in the same room again. To mark that and to commemorate one year as Beyond Detention, volunteers received tote bags and pens with our new logo.
We kicked things off with a chance for volunteers to meet our Coordinators, Alina, Blandine and Lorna.
We then heard from D and C; two service users who told us their story and gave the volunteers a chance to ask questions on their experience.
After a lovely lunch provided by the Forest Centre, we paid tribute to volunteers who had reached special milestones, including John who reached his fifteen-year befriending anniversary.
We were lucky enough to have two guest speakers; Leanne and Gary from Kaleidoscope gave an insight into supporting the wellbeing and mental health of people detained in Yarl’s Wood IRC, while journalist Amandas Ong spoke about her research in modern slavery and human trafficking.
Finally we moved onto an update on our fundraising and marketing plans for the next year, and we finished with CEO Donna-Louise outlining the Beyond Detention’s strategic plan, vision, mission statement andvalues.
“I thought it was well put together and organised. I learned about the other stuff you do and the Lived Experiences were very impactful and important. “
We value the opportunity to get everyone together to exchange ideas and experiences, something that isn’t always easy as befriending can sometimes be an isolated volunteer role. We are planning al lot more meet ups over the year, and have some great ideas already for the 2024 conference.
To see more photos from the conference click here