8-year-old Rosalind Moseley from Hittisleigh, Devon has spent the last few months climbing the equivalent of the height of Everest, 8,848 metres, on her stairs at home to raise money for a charity supporting people in immigration detention during lockdown.
Rosalind was inspired to do the climb when her tutor group at school learned about the explorer Ranulph Fiennes. She wanted to raise the money for AVID (Association of Visitors to Immigration Detainees) after talking to her Mum about how difficult it is for people who are alone in immigration detention centres during lockdown.
Unlike most European countries, there is no time limit on immigration detention in the UK, so people do not know when they will get out, which is known to have a negative impact on their mental health.
Rosalind said, “It’s bad enough for everyone else. Then you think, we might be struggling with coronavirus, but there are people who are getting less support than normal and need it even more at the moment. So we thought it might be a really important time now for the money to go to AVID.”
The whole family took part in the climb, and found it was a great way to use up a bit of extra energy during cold or rainy lockdown days. So far, Rosalind has raised over five hundred pounds on her Just Giving page.
Rosalind said, “We had to do 8,848 metres and our stairs are 4 metres so we had to do 2,212 flights of stairs. Which is a lot!
We usually did ten flights a day, but twice I did fifty in one day and that was very tiring. Even though my sister and my Mum helped, I think I did most of the stairs myself!
It helped us sometimes when we were bored and we thought “Come on let’s go and do some stairs!” Bracken the dog even started doing it with us. And my sister Natasha who is 4.
We kept a tally on the blackboard and we added loads of colourful drawings to celebrate the numbers as we went.
We celebrated when we got to 1,000 flights, which is basically the halfway mark. Then when we realised we had two flights left I was so excited. I went up and down twice and we finished the whole lot and we were very proud.”
Ali McGinley, Director of AVID said, “The pandemic has exacerbated the isolation people in immigration detention face on a daily basis. Being cut off from friends and family, combined with the fact it is impossible to socially distance in detention centres, has led to a mental health crisis for people detained indefinitely.
Rosalind’s amazing effort will help us support volunteer visitors across the UK who provide practical and emotional support to people in detention in this time of crisis. Actions like this show people they are not alone, and that we haven’t forgotten about them.”
Last year, the UK detained 14,773 people for administrative reasons under immigration powers, 74% of whom were released back into their communities, their detention having served no purpose.
Home Office policy says that detention must be used sparingly and for the shortest possible period. But in reality, many thousands are held each year, and some for very lengthy periods, causing serious mental distress. In February, the Home Office revealed plans to open a new detention centre for women in Durham.