In the media

These media reports have been driven by stories researched and briefed by One Life To Live. 

Guardian story about an asylum-seeker's attempted suicide in a Colchester hotel

Hotel/Bibby Stockholm suicide attempt

One Life To Live worked with local Colchester charity RAMA to expose the effect on asylum-seekers’ mental health of Robert Jenrick’s announcement of hotel closures. A 23-year old Nigerian asylum-seeker hung himself when he saw his room number, and a message about being transferred to the Bibby Stockholm, on a whiteboard in his hotel reception in Colchester. Coverage was achieved in the The GuardianThe TelegraphLBC interviews (Thomas Hourigan & Nick Abbot), The CanaryDaily ExpressEssexLiveFreedom NewsSocialist WorkerBristol LiveBournemouth Daily EchoWales OnlineThe Justice Gap and the International Bar Association

Bexhill purchase on Newsnight

Working with the local Save Northeye campaign group, One Life To Live researched the history of the former Northeye prison at Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, and revealed to the media that the government had paid 142% more for the site than the vendors, who had bought it just 13 months earlier. Full coverage is listed here and includes Newsnight, the Guardian, The Times, Private Eye, The Independent, the Evening Standard, Perspective, BBC News, the Scottish Herald, the London Economic and Planet Radio – and a thread on Reddit.  

The Times splashed on fire safety

One Life To Live published Bibby Stockholm – Floating Grenfell?, the fire safety briefing which led to widespread media coverage from 31 July, notably in the The Times. It also appeared in the GuardianIndependent, LBC, Sky News, BBC, Evening Standard, Metro and Dorset Echoand in The Australian. Yorkshire Bylines had an especially detailed report.

The coverage led to a week’s delay in the first arrivals on the barge (although already 7 weeks late by then). It also led to the Fire Brigades Union demanding a meeting with the home secretary, Suella Braverman. 

The Guardian on a failed policy

One Life To Live published The Bibby Stockholm – At what Cost?, a report into the cost per head of containing asylum-seekers on the Bibby Stockholm barge rather than in hotels. The government has justified the use of the barge, and former military sites, by claiming that they will be cheaper for taxpayers than the then £5.6 million per day hotel bill. This briefing proves otherwise, as reported in the Guardian.  

ITVx on Bibby Marine's roots in slavery

One Life To Live researched the history of Bibby Marine, the company which owns the Bibby Stockholm barge. The company’s founder, John Bibby, co-owned three slaving ships which, between 1805 and 1807, transported 737 people from Africa to the Caribbean. When slavery was abolished in Britain in 1807, Bibby used the money he’d made to set up the Bibby Line.

In 2023, it cannot be right for this company to be holding people of colour, against their will, on one of its vessels. So One Life To Live sent an open letter, co-signed by NGOs, MPs, councillors and peers, asking Bibby Marine to stop. This was covered in several places including ITVx and the Guardian. One Life To Live is grateful for the support of the Refugee Council.

Cheaper to book suites at the Savoy 

Based on the costs report published in July 2023 (which found that the Bibby Stockholm barge won’t be cheaper, per head, than hotels), it was a simple matter to use the modelling to calculate the costs to have fewer people on board.

With a cohort of just 22 people, as of 9 August 2023, One Life To Live found that it would be cheaper to put asylum-seekers up at the Savoy and to treat them to dinner at Langan’s. Instead, they get a bunk bed and as much personal space as a car parking space on a 47-year-old rusting hulk. This was the splash in Yorkshire Bylines on 9 August 2023.

Of course, there isn’t Legionella at the Savoy, so the asylum-seekers could have stayed there for longer than 4.5 days.   

Dorset Echo on retraumatising people

One Life To Live published The Trauma of Water, a briefing about the risk of retramatising people who have already made dangerous crossings to reach safety, including the Med, the Balkan Rivers and/or the English Channel. This was covered in various papers but Dorset Echo did a good story.

Around 27,000 migrants have been recorded as missing in the Mediterranean alone since 2014. Those who survive the journey may be traumatised by the danger of the journey, seeing other people go overboard and drown, being trafficked, or issues like dehydration and violence.