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Portland / The Verne IRC

Portland / The Verne IRC

Located high up on the cliffs of Portland Island off the Dorset coast, The Verne is the UK’s newest Immigration Removal Centre. Housing 580 male detainees, the centre has become the second largest in the UK after Harmondsworth. This former HM prison began holding detainees in March 2014, and officially became known as IRC The Verne in September 2014. The Verne continues to be operated by HM Prison Service. 

With our delivery partner Music for Change, we started delivering participatory music making workshops at The Verne in February 2015 after being asked to deliver a one-off workshop for Chinese New Year. Following the success of this workshop, which attracted around 100 detainees, MID was asked to provide a series of four more workshops for the year 2015-16 to allow more detainees to engage with music. The first of these four workshops took place in April 2015, and celebrated the Sikh festival of Vaisakhi. Future plans include a workshop in October to celebrate Black History Month.


Portland is a small peninsular, situated just 5 miles off the Dorset coastline and connected to Weymouth via Chisel beach. Home to just under 13,000 people, levels of unemployment in Weymouth and Portland are above average for the region. With 94.9% of the population of White British ethnicity, the region has low ethnic diversity.