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Awareness-Raising Workshops 2023: Our Impact

The Baring Foundation have generously funded BIHR’s Community Programme for three years, from 2022 to 2025. The project is to deliver on BIHR’s aim to strengthen the agency and voice of community and voluntary groups to address social justice issues using human rights.  

The programme has six different phases, that will repeat annually in what we are calling a “project cycle”. Stage three of this project cycle is delivery of our Awareness-Raising Workshops. 

This stage of the project cycle is the beginning of the human rights journey. This is an application-based programme of bespoke, introductory online workshops community and voluntary groups across the UK.  

The workshops are intended to build sustainable human rights knowledge in communities that access public services, as a means of creating and organising grassroots power. We planned the workshops to be delivered with a focus on interactive and participatory learning, introducing the Human Rights Act and the legal duties within it, focusing on case studies and real-life stories relevant to the organisation and the people they support.


We received applications from 57 groups from all four nations of the UK.


We hosted five workshops attended by 35 people including staff, volunteers, and people accessing services.


Following the workshops, 100% of attendees felt more positively about human rights. 

We wanted to ensure the application process was accessible. The main way to apply was through a google form, but we ensured that a word document application form was available in both plain English and Easy Read format. We also made it clear we would accept video and audio applications.

We received applications from a range of groups accessing public services in different capacities, including those experiencing homelessness and poverty, the LGBTQIA+ community, refugees, asylum seekers & migrants, recovery communities, women experiencing domestic abuse, people with disabilities, carers, and more. 

We then used a scoring system to select the organisations that received workshops. We wanted to ensure that the workshops were available to a wide variety of communities so the scoring system took into account whether groups operated in different areas of the UK, whether people accessing services would be able to attend, how many people overall would attend and the reason each applicant said they would benefit from the workshop. We also took into account the size and budget of different groups to ensure lower income groups were prioritised and looked for organisations we hadn't worked with before.

Five community groups were selected and received workshops.

Pembrokeshire People First

Pembrokeshire People First is a community self-advocacy organisation run for and by people with learning disabilities and/or autism. The group provides a number of free services and spaces for adults with a focus on developing life skills, maximizing independence and developing resilience, and includes a Campaigns and Political Empowerment Group. Pembrokeshire People First has previously collaborated with BIHR on Easy Read work development, and form part of our RITES Committee. When Pembrokeshire People First applied for an Awareness-Raising Workshop, they hoped to “captivate a wider audience of their members, to grow and empower a wider range of people with learning disabilities and autism to know their rights, and to subsequently have a better quality of life.” 


Dates-n-Mates is a friendship and dating agency run by and for adults with a learning disability, and connects people across Scotland. The group’s work is underpinned by a human rights-based approach, knowing that everyone has the right to live a life full of love! Dates-n-Mates applied for a free human rights workshop because they felt it would “would help our members to further understand what human rights are and how they apply in their day to day life - especially in regards to friendship, social life, independence, relationships and living their life without judgement and discrimination.” 

Poverty Action Network

Poverty Action Network was formed in 2016 by Marion Fellowes MP, to link together public representatives, organisations, churches and charities who aim to combat poverty in the Glasgow area. The network facilitates sharing of expertise, awareness and knowledge to strengthen working relationships that will allow more effective work on such a big issue. Poverty Action Network felt that a BIHR workshop would “benefit organisations that work with vulnerable people daily to gain further knowledge about the rights of their service users.” 

Joining the Dots Parent Carers Wales

Joining the Dots Parent Carers Wales provides peer support for parent carers of children and adults with disabilities and additional learning needs in Wales. With over 1000 members, the forum focuses on sharing resources, learning and emotional support. When applying for a free human rights workshop, the network felt “it is imperative that parents are aware of their children’s rights.”  

Asian Community Concern

Asian Community Concern works with women from BAME communities who are experiencing domestic violence and abuse. They provide counselling, advice and activities aiming to empower women to build confidence, identity and self-worth. When Asian Community Concern applied for a free human rights workshop, they wanted to “build the capacity of the team in order to properly support women and children to access the services they so desperately need”. 

Workshop Participant

“The BIHR Human Rights Awareness Raising Workshop was a great resource. It was well-tailored to address the issues [the participants] specifically face in their line of work, and I have no doubt everyone will now be able to apply the [Human Rights Act] to future casework.” 

Workshop Participant

“This has been illuminating and insightful”  

Workshop Participant

“I will now use human rights on a daily basis”

Workshop Participant

“It was very informative, and very well presented in a clear way”

Workshop Participant

“I feel empowered”

After the workshops...


was how people would describe their level of knowledge of UK human rights law versus 2.4/5 before.


of people fully supported the Human Rights Act versus 55% before.


was how people would describe their confidence discussing human rights with public services versus 2.9/5 before.


of people were more likely to rely on the Human Rights Act to make positive change in their work.

33% of participants also said they were more likely to use human rights to challenge or change a decision about someone’s individual access to services

Some examples provided included:

  • Mention it in dealings with public bodies  
  • Using it on a daily basis  
  • Considering everyone’s needs in a situation  
  • Calling out unfair treatment

As the community programme spans three years, the Awareness Raising Workshops phase will run once an annual phase for a total of three times. This was the first time the process had been trialled, and therefore it poses an excellent opportunity to consider learning from this phase that we can improve on for 2024 and 2025.  

When asked what specific support was necessary to take action to support people’s human rights in their life or work, 33% of participants asked for further capacity building workshops and 33% said a BIHR resource to embed the learning from the workshop.  

As this phase of the community project ends, the “Community Support Solutions” phase will begin. Partner organisations at this phase will be invited to apply with ideas for a support solution generated from the learning on the workshops, to embed longer-term social change through human rights advocacy and approaches in their organisation. 

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