Pre-departure accommodation - Cedars
This page provides information about Cedars, the UK Border Agency's new pre-departure accommodation near Gatwick Airport for families.
Phone: 01293 844900
Fax: 01293 844945
What is pre-departure accommodation?
In December 2010, the Government published details of its new approach to returning families without permission to be in the UK.
The final stage of the new process includes the possibility of requiring families to stay in 'pre-departure accommodation' as a last resort if they fail to co-operate with other options to leave the UK, such as the offer of assisted voluntary return.
Cedars - the name chosen for the UK Border Agency's pre-departure accommodation, was opened in August 2011. It has been designed to provide a secure facility which respects the privacy and independence of children and their families. Located near Gatwick Airport in West Sussex, it can accommodate up to 9 families at a time in self-contained apartments, with a range of activities provided by Barnardo's.
Families will only be referred to Cedars on the advice of the Family Returns Panel, an independent body of child welfare experts, and will stay for no more than 72 hours before their departure from the UK. In exceptional circumstances, with ministerial authority, this may be extended to 1 week.
The name Cedars stands for the principles staff will work to - compassion, empathy, dignity, approachability, respect and support. There is also a red cedar tree in the grounds, which is believed to be 200 years old.
The accommodation operates on a multi-agency basis. The UK Border Agency has overarching responsibility, with G4S delivering security and facilities management, and Barnardo's providing welfare and social care services to the families.
UK Border Agency manager: Vikki Lewis
Deputy manager: Mairead McEntee
G4S manager: Sarah Newland
Barnardo's children's services manager: Vince Barton
Cedars has 9 individual apartments, including 1 with full access for disabled people. The accommodation has been designed to create a family-friendly environment. Each apartment has a kitchen and lounge area, family bathroom and between 1 and 3 bedrooms to accommodate up to 6 people.
Facilities and services include:
- play areas for small children
- library with a range of books in different languages and suitable for different age groups
- access to IT and the internet
- multi- sensory room
- café and dining area, where families can eat with other residents three times a day or take food away to cook in their apartments
- access to landscaped gardens with a variety of age-appropriate play areas and a pets corner for children
- basketball court with outside equipment for residents to play football and other games
- multi-faith prayer room and mosque
- childcare staff, including qualified social workers
- welfare and counselling support to enable families, in particular children, to prepare for their return and receive assistance to manage emotional distress
- 24-hour healthcare, including daily access to a GP.
Visits times for friends and relatives known to residents are between 09:00 and 21:00 and must be booked. In exceptional circumstances, visits can be arranged outside of these hours.
All visitors must bring 1 of the following:
- passport (including foreign passports and travel documents recognised by HM Government and the European Union)
- biometric residence permit
- identity card
- photographic driving licence (photocard and paper counterpart).
Or 2 of the following:
- birth or marriage certificate
- rail or bus pass with photograph
- employer's identity card
- student card
- young person's proof of age card
- trade union membership card
- senior citizen travel pass issued by a local authority
- benefits book.
Refreshments are available to buy.
Legal representatives should book appointments by fax on 01293 844945 and must also provide proof of identity as described above.
Leave the M23 at Junction 11, signposted Pease Pottage/Horsham/A264. At the roundabout take the first exit on to Brighton Road, towards Pease Pottage services. After the services, continue straight over the roundabout. Cedars is a short distance away on your left.
Crawley station is approximately 6 miles (10 minutes' drive) from Cedars. Taxis are available at the front of the station.