BIHR are delighted to announce that we have been shortlisted for the National Advocacy Awards 2018 in the category of Best Supporter.

Our work centres on the premise that human rights have a crucial role to play in the advocacy sector. We focus on people and work directly with advocates, their clients and wider community groups. Between 2014-17 we partnered with six groups* across England to support advocates to use human rights for positive everyday change with people affected by mental health and mental capacity issues. Through innovative training and development sessions, cross collaboration events with service providers, and co-development of a three-part human rights toolkit for service-users and advocates we reached over 5000 people.

Our training equips advocates with human rights knowledge and confidence, empowering their clients and enabling them to be heard and negotiate better treatment from public services.  Our independent evaluation concluded:

 “This project has powerfully demonstrated that human rights have a crucial role to play in increasing the capacity of the ... [advocacy] sector to ensure that people … have increased control and autonomy over treatment decisions and are treated with dignity and respect.”

The role of advocacy is fundamental and being able to support those who do this every day with human rights knowledge is paramount to us as a charity. The reason our training works, according to advocates is because we are not simply experts in the law but we translate that into practical concepts and tools for everyday use in a way that is meaningful. In the words of BIHR trained advocates;

The training made human rights tangible for us...we moved from thinking human rights were concepts we couldn’t make concrete, to something we could really use.”

“The resources have helped us raise issues with service providers because they are not confrontational, but facilitative.”

 “Our clients have better confidence in us as it’s given us another level of service we can deliver.”

 “The resources have helped us raise issues with service providers because they are not confrontational, but facilitative.”

We are now following up this work alongside advocates and their clients with the development of a new interactive website focused on supporting people to identify and raise human rights issues in health and care. We believe that this is invaluable in transforming people’s lives and ensuring everyone is granted autonomy, treated with dignity and respect and without discrimination.

We are so looking forward to attending the National Advocacy Awards Ceremony in Birmingham on October 26th. Thank you to those who have shortlisted us and to everyone else, please wish us luck!

Did you know 2018 is the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; if you think human rights for all people is something to celebrate, sign our digital card here: