Yarl's Wood immigration removal centre
Yarl's Wood is an immigration removal centre (IRC) run under the Detention Centre Rules 2001. It is situated on the outskirts of Clapham, Bedfordshire and was opened in November 2001. In February 2002, half of the building was damaged by fire. The undamaged half was re-opened in September 2003.
The contract for operating Yarl's Wood was awarded in December 2006 to Serco Ltd, which took over its management, operation and maintenance in April 2007. Yarl's Wood has become the main removal centre for women.
Yarl's Wood immigration removal centre,
Twinwoods Business Park, Thurleigh Road,
Please note - if you are using a satellite navigation system do not use the postcode above to find Yarl's Wood, instead use MK44 1RF for Milton Ernest village - see directions by car below.
Phone: 01234 821000 (main switchboard)
Fax: 01234 821096 (centre), 01234 271349 (UK Border Agency)
The centre is run by Serco Home Affairs. The contract director is James Wilkinson. His PA is Sara Brett.
The UK Border Agency manager at the centre is Fiona Quaynor.
The detainee reception operates 24 hours a day.
There are 405 bed spaces, divided into 284 single female bed spaces and 121 family bed spaces accommodating couples and adult dependants. All rooms are twin-bedded and interconnected in pairs, so that families can be located together.
There is an on-site dedicated healthcare centre with a small in-patient facility. The healthcare team accessed by residents comprises:
- general nurses
- mental health nurses
- health visitors
- counsellors, allied health care professionals and consultants who attend the centre where there is an identified need.
The centre has a well-stocked library. Activities for adult detainees include team sports such as badminton and volleyball in the sports hall, cardio-vascular fitness routines in a well-equipped gym, and exercise to music. Supervised arts and crafts sessions are held each weekday morning and afternoon. The opportunity to develop IT skills in dedicated computer rooms is also available.
Other facilities include hair salons, cultural kitchen and cinemas. Opportunities for paid work are available.
Please note - these directions have been updated since they were first published as the entrance to Yarl's Wood has changed location.
By car, coming from the south - Take the M1 northbound as far as junction J13. Then follow signs to Bedford on the A421 and take the A6 through Bedford (signposted towards Kettering). As you leave Bedford, you pass a large Sainsbury store on your left. Carry on straight along the new A6 (do not take the road through Clapham village) and continue through into Milton Ernest village, once in the village take the right hand turn opposite the Queens Head public house, onto Thurleigh Road. Continue along Thurleigh Road for approximatley 500 yards. Turn right into Twinwoods business park (For satellite navigation users, use MK44 1RF for Milton Ernest village, then continue up Thurleigh Road as per the directions. This route is not suitable for large vehicles - for deliveries, please contact the switchboard.
By car, coming from the north - Take the M1 southbound as far as J19, then take the A14 signposted for Kettering and Felixstowe. Continue on the A14 for approximately 25 miles to junction 10, signposted Bedford A6. Exit the A14 at Junction 10. Follow the A6 through Burton Latimer. Proceed across the A45 roundabout. Continue along the A6 towards Bedford. Follow the A6 for Bedford until you reach the Sharnbrook Roundabout, at which take the first left onto Thurleigh Road. Follow the road around, past Thurleigh business park, then turn left into Twinwoods business park. Follow the road around to the centre. (For satellite navigation users, use MK44 1RF for Milton Ernest, turning left into Twinwoods business park approx 500 yards before the given destination. This route is not suitable for large vehicles - for deliveries, please contact the switchboard).
By train - First Capital Connect or East Midlands Trains from St Pancras International to Bedford station. Journey time: approximately 1 hour on First Capital Connect or 37 minutes on East Midlands Trains. Taxi service from Bedford station to Yarl's Wood takes approximately 20 to 25 minutes.
A Yarl's Wood bus service is available at the following times:
- Bedford station to Yarl's Wood - 13:30, 15:30, 17:25, 19:30, 21:20
- Yarl's Wood to Bedford station - 13:15, 15:15, 17:00, 19:15, 21:05
Information for visitors
If you are attending the centre as a visitor, you must book 24 hours in advance.
Phone for booking social, legal and visits: 01234 821000
Fax: 01234 821096
You will need to provide photographic identification (such as a passport or driving licence) and a utility bill on arrival, and you will be subject to search procedures and fingerprinting. You will also have your photograph taken.
Food and drink is not permitted in the visits hall. Automated snacks and drinks machines are available.
UK Border Agency detention services now operate a policy which restricts the amount of baggage that detainees can have in the centre.