Bournemouth has a special place in the heart of the Human Rights Tour team as it was our first stop in a seaside town this year! We were also delighted to have attendees present from such a diverse and wide range of organisations, including Bournemouth Council, Social Services, Care Quality Commission, disability support services, Bournemouth University, the Race Equality Council and many others.
Our first guest speaker, Jonathan Waddington-Jones, from Access Dorset and Dots Disability (our local partners for this event), spoke eloquently about the situation faced by disabled people, older people and carers in Bournemouth and Dorset more widely. He explained how changes to welfare are impacting heavily on the lives of these groups and affecting their human rights in a significant way. These points really hit home when we take a look at equalities statistics for the local area:
- Over 20% are disabled people with a range of impairment types
- More than 20% are aged 65 or over
- At least 10% are unpaid carers
Even more sobering is how disabled people are twice as likely to live in poverty as non-disabled people and how harassment and hate crime are extremely common and hugely underreported: forty percent of people interviewed said they had been frightened or hurt (physically, mentally or verbally) by another person because of their disability or age.
Colette Bennett, Senior equality Development Officer, Equality South West, then updated everyone on the latest policy developments on equality and human rights for the South West region. Attendees were also given a preview of the BIHR Guide for Carers – officially being launched with our project partners, n:compass, in Preston on October 30th. However, this guide was particularly relevant for our Bournemouth attendees as many of them were carers or had people caring for them.
"It was really good that we could do things on our own, so it wasn't boring - the mixture of talking and tasks are really good." - Practical Trainee at Bournemouth 2026 Trust
Whilst examining Human Rights law, interesting questions around absolute and non-absolute rights cropped up, for example, whether people who behave badly lose their entitlement to certain human rights. Sanchita Hosali, Senior Policy and Legal Affairs Advisor at BIHR, explained that although some of our rights can be limited or restricted in certain circumstances it is important that we don’t lose our human rights altogether as we are all born with them and they are universal: human rights apply to everyone no matter what.
In terms of using human rights in everyday situations the discussion focussed on balancing the rights of the individual against the needs of the wider community. Sometimes our rights do need to be limited or restricted in some way but it is important that any such restriction is legitimate and proportionate, a good way of thinking about it is - we wouldn’t use a sledgehammer to crack a nut.
"Great day, well presented by professionals who know their subject and put it across in an engaging way. Thank you." - Business Manager, Access Dorset
The UK Bill of Rights Commission always elicits interesting conversations, and in Bournemouth only two of our attendees had even heard of the consultation which highlights the question: how open is the process? Is there a need to engage more people in the debates around our rights? Check out this blog by BIHR’s Director, Stephen Bowen on exactly these issues.
One delegate made the noteworthy point that the Commission seemed to be asking certain questions to prompt certain answers, which doesn’t allow for a proper debate about our human rights protections.
Finally, one of the clear highlights of this #16cities Tour event was the masterful production of a piece of 3D bunting – see the evidence below!
Next up: Brighton! If you are interested in attending a tour event near you, helping us build our bunting, and exploring human rights more closely please sign up here.
“@BIHRhumanrights @Equality_SW @AccessDorsetUK. Great presentation really informative.” Bournemouth Tour attendee tweets on the day
If you are already attending a tour event and are a Twitter user, then please tweet using our event hashtag #16cities; the best ones will be featured on this blog!
"The two facilitators were very committed and enthusiastic about the work they are doing." - Bournemouth Tour event attendee