AVID has three staff members, supported by a Board of Trustees and office volunteers. Find out more about us here. 



Ali McGinley, Director

Ali has over 15 years experience in the voluntary sector, specialising in social justice and human rights. Her background includes community regeneration in Glasgow, where she developed employability and skills programmes for marginalised groups, including refugees and asylum seekers. This was followed by three years as an International Projects Advisor at Amnesty International, building the capacity of small and developing Amnesty sections across Asia-Pacific and in Russia. She joined AVID in 2009 as Director. 

Ali leads on AVID's policy work, pushing for positive change in detention policy and practice, and working to end the detention of vulnerable people. 

Ali has an MSc in Public Policy and a PG Cert in Refugee Studies. She is a member of the Detention Forum Coordination Group, and a policy lead on their Vulnerable Adults Working Group.  Ali chairs the monthly Detention Monitoring Group, and is an Advisory Group member at Border Criminologies.

Ali is currently on maternity leave.


Harriet Ballance, Acting Director

Harriet has 9 years’ experience in the voluntary sector, following a previous career in teaching and educational publishing.  Harriet’s background in the voluntary sector includes 3 years as a trustee for the charity Migrant Help and a spell running a literacy programme for BookTrust.  More recently she developed a project supporting the Gypsy and Traveller communities into an independent organisation with a clear strategy to address the disadvantages faced by those communities.

Harriet has an MA in Migration and Law from Queen Mary University of London and an MSc in Migration Studies from the University of Oxford. During both of these courses of study, she focused in particular on health and justice issues faced by migrants in the UK (including those held in immigration detention) as well as issues of discourse and representation.

Harriet joins AVID to cover Ali McGinley’s maternity leave and will be leading on AVID’s policy work, chairing the Detention Monitoring Group and participating in the work of the Detention Forum.


Gee Manoharan, Training and Membership Coordinator 

Gee is AVID's Training and Membership Coordinator, with a responsibility for providing and coordinating training, support and information to our membership; making visitors groups more sustainable; and raising awareness of the impact of volunteer visiting on people in detention.  

Gee joined the organisation in 2016, working Full time with AVID. He has a strong background in voluntary sector development and community-based approaches, gained both in Sri Lanka and Northern Ireland. He was a founding member of the Larne House Visitors Group which supports those detained in Larne, outside Belfast.

He has got the first-hand experience of detention in Colnbrook IRC and Larne House STHF, following the release he became a visitor to people held in detention. For his role, he brings a full spectrum of experiences as a survivor of detention and also the experience of visiting. 


Amy Ramsay, Training and Membership Coordinator 

Amy joined AVID in November 2018 to share the Training and Membership Coordinator role with Gee. In a former life she was a project manager in the Public Health sector, before moving into mental health research when she realised how much she enjoyed conducting qualitative interviews. 

She understands that mental health and indefinite detention are not disconnected and, through her research work, and her involvement with a London based centre offering support and respite to migrants, became cognisant of some of the ways in which the UK’s Hostile Environment destroys individuals, families and communities.  She believes that visitors offer crucial support to detainees who are too often isolated and made to feel forgotten, and in the strength of consistent, non-judgemental companionship when people are at their most vulnerable. 

Board of Trustees

Andrew Wilson, Chair of Board of Trustees

Andrew worked as a veterinary surgeon in Nottingham until his retirement, when he became involved in working with refugees and asylum seekers as a lay minister specialising in community ministry. As a volunteer and trustee with two local charities, he soon became aware of the injustices surrounding immigration detention, so when Morton Hall IRC opened in 2011, he became a visitor with Morton Hall Detainee Visitors Group. He seeks to contribute to the wider work done by AVID, which is essential not only to support visitors groups, but also in improving the lot of those detained without trial in a system which is fundamentally unjust.


Jane Ryan, Secretary

Jane is Secretary of the Board of Trustees. She is a solicitor at Bhatt Murphy Solicitors and has a background in prison law. Her current practice includes immigration detention and prison law. Jane joined the AVID board in February 2012 and is keen to learn more about the real experiences of detention. She joined AVID to support the work of AVID’s member groups, which she sees as increasingly important as the detention estate continues to expand.




Jennifer Choi, Trustee

Jennifer joined the AVID Board of Trustees in 2016. Her professional background is a dispute resolution lawyer, with experience in private practice and in-house in the financial services industry. Jennifer has spent time at Liberty where she visited people at various detention centres, through which she became aware of the some of the realities of immigration detention. By supporting AVID’s work, she seeks to raise awareness of the conditions and challenges faced by people held in immigration detention and hopes to offer some support in their lives.



Ciaran Price, Trustee

Ciaran has worked on migrant and refugee issues in Ireland, the UK and East Africa, and has a keen interest in charity policy. He has an MA in Public Administration and Public Policy from the University of York and a background in international relations. He is the communications officer for Migrants Resource Centre, where he is involved in promoting the voice of migrants, refugees and detainees on the issues that affect them. Ciaran joined AVID's Board of Trustees in 2016 from a desire to see immigration detention ended. He was moved to join AVID because it plays such an important role, bridging the gap between communities and those in detention, with the expertise to create change at the highest level and the passion and anger needed to never give up. 



Elizabeth Flint, Trustee

Beth joined the AVID Board of Trustees in January 2018. She is an Expert Witness in trafficking and modern slavery and an experienced practitioner in providing frontline support, advocacy, advice and guidance to victims of trafficking and modern slavery, refugees and asylum seekers and to practitioners and services supporting the same. She also has expertise in working with survivors of torture and gender based violence. Beth joined AVID to support the work of AVID’s member groups. She has experience of visiting and assessing detainees in detention through her work and can relate to some of the many challenges experienced by volunteer visitors. She hopes to help volunteers to better identify some of the many barriers to disclosure experienced by detainees and to help volunteers better support                                                                     their complex needs.