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Community work

Free Human Rights Workshops

Throughout 2020 and 2021, we ran free sessions for people accessing (or trying to access) public services, their loved ones and those who care for them – and the organisations supporting people. These sessions aimed to build the capacity of people to use human rights law in interactions with public services and tackle social justice issues affecting them during incredibly challenging times.

After the success of this pilot programme, we are pleased to be running annual Awareness-Raising Workshops for communities from 2022 - 2025.

How we ran our pilot workshops

We received funding from the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, the Tudor Trust, the Bromley TrustComic Relief (Covid fund) and the Three Guineas Trust. We started by delivering 27 workshops to 16 different organisations, including:

  • Disability Wales – we looked how human rights are protected in Wales and what it means when accessing care and support during Covid-19 and beyond.
  • Learning Disability England – we looked at human rights and visiting policies, supporting people to raise human rights challenges.
  • Scottish Autism – we supported people, loved ones and parents to know more about human rights, particularly the right to education and the right to family life.
  • Reducing Restraint Network – we looked at human rights and social distancing.
  • Tide – we supported Tide unpaid carers with separate sessions in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to understand their rights, particularly in home care provision.
  • Inclusion Gloucestershire – we supported people with physical disabilities and learning disabilities to know their rights and use them to create change in their lives.
  • Bristol Reclaiming Independent Living – we ran a BSL interpreted session to support people to use human rights to challenge local policies, we focused on personal assistants/loved ones being able to join health care appointments during Covid19. 
  • Croydon Mencap – we supported people with learning disabilities and/or autism, loved ones and carers to know more about human rights, particularly the right to be free from inhuman or degrading treatment and the right to family life.
  • Bromley & Croydon Women's Aid Coffee Morning - we supported a women's group to know more about the rights of people who have experienced domestic abuse, and showed them our new tool to support people with this.

Then, in May 2021, we invited community groups and organisations to apply for our 10 final workshop spaces. We were thrilled to hear from 34 groups in total, hailing from all over the UK, across the public, private and voluntary sector, and supporting people in a variety of situations, from people experiencing homelessness, to carers for people living with dementia.

We carefully selected 10 new partner organisations from across the UK:

  1. The Alliance for Inclusive Education
  2. Bristol Somali Resource Centre
  3. Cheshire Disabled People’s Panel
  4. dates-n-mates Scotland
  5. Friends, Families and Travellers
  6. HERe NI
  7. Northern Ireland Refugee and Asylum Seeker Women’s Association (Bomoko NI)
  8. Rock Trust
  9. Silverline Memories
  10. Welsh Refugee Council

These organisations support a range of different people and groups, including refugees and people seeking asylum; LGBTQ+ people; people with disabilities and their loved ones; Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities; and young people with experience of homelessness.

Over the summer, BIHR ran 10 bespoke human rights workshops alongside these wonderful organisations. In total, 159 people attended the workshops, building their knowledge and confidence to talk about their human rights when supporting people accessing or trying to access public services. Knowledge is power!

The impact

Facts, figures and feedback from our final 10 workshops:


people attended workshops across 10 partner organisations working in various areas


Participants described their level of knowledge of human rights law in the UK as 4/5 after the workshop versus 2.6/5 before.


Participants described their confidence using human rights when talking to staff in services as 4.3/5 after the workshop versus 3.2/5 before.

Carers Scotland Workshop Participant

"It is essential you go to this session as you will learn valuable information in your role as a carer in securing your rights."

Scottish Autism Workshop Participant

"In terms of advocacy support, the session provided snowballs for parents to throw!"

Disability Wales Workshop Participant

"Do it even if you don't think you have the time, you'll likely learn something you didn't know."

Rock Trust Workshop Participant

"This session made me realise we can all ensure human rights are respected, and I have the power to challenge public authorities when they are now!

Dates-n-Mates Workshop Participant

"Many attendees went on to think about how they can protect their human rights in their own lives after relating to some of the examples in the workshops."

Our 2023 workshops

Following the success of the pilot workshops, we ran another round of awareness-raising workshops in 2023. We worked with:

The impact

Facts, figures and feedback from our 2023 workshops:


of attendees felt more positive about human rights afterwards


Participants described their level of knowledge of human rights law in the UK as 4/5 after the workshop versus 2.4/5 before.


Participants described their confidence using human rights when talking to staff in services as 4/5 after the workshop versus 2.9/5 before.

Our 2024 workshops

In 2024, we expanded our reach to offer free human rights workshops to 15 community groups across 14 workshops. This included:

  • Aberdeen in Recovery (this workshop was also attended by Caithness Family Support Group)
  • Allies for Justice & Families for Justice
  • Association for Young People’s Health
  • ATD Fourth World
  • Awesta Charitable Organisation
  • Bristol Reclaiming Independent Living
  • Bristol Refugee and Asylum Seeker Partnership
  • Devon and Cornwall Refugee Support
  • Dudley Voices for Choice
  • People First Dorset
  • Rochdale Women’s Welfare Association
  • Supported Loving
  • The Traveller Movement
  • Wyeside Arts Centre

The impact

Facts, figures and feedback from our 2024 workshops:


was how people would describe their level of knowledge of UK human rights law compared with 2.8/5 before.


was how people would describe their confidence discussing human rights with public services compared with 3.2/5 before.


said they would recommend a BIHR human rights session.

Ambiya Khatun, Organisation Lead at Rochdale Women’s Welfare Association

“Our team at RWWA loved the human rights workshop and feel empowered after Sanchita delivered that session, it was nice to have our concerns regarding accessing and using the provisions validated. We were able to look at the framework in a positive way, and as though it was for ALL humans. Having a case study that focused on an issue that we regularly face was genius. I can see the team are ready to start quoting the duties owed. The narrative has definitely changed.”

BRIL survey response

“Very good well worth doing.”

Diana Skelton, Organisation Lead at ATD Fourth World

“Our group had a wide diversity of learning and communication needs and felt the pace of the workshop was well adapted for all. We very much appreciated Phoebe taking the time to respond thoughtfully to so many individual questions. And it was eye-opening for many of us to understand the role that ombudsmen can play when rights are violated.”

Claire Bates, Organisation Lead at Supported Loving

“It was a wonderful workshop and it was very powerful to hear people with learning disabilities being told about their rights in regards to sex and relationships. This is so rarely spoken about and it was great to have this opportunity to do this together. Thank you.”

Yvonne MacNamara, Organisation Lead at The Traveller Movement

“Attending the human rights training workshop was an enlightening experience that equipped our team with the basic knowledge and tools needed to advocate for justice and equality for Romani and Traveller communities.  This invaluable training will empower us to champion human rights and foster positive change for all.”

Zainab Homam, Organisation Lead for Awesta Charitable Organisation

The event provided an overview of the 16 Human Rights delivered by Carlyn in a highly professional yet exceptionally friendly environment. The immediate outcome has been requests from interested parties across the UK to deliver the same program to their communities. I truly look forward to more similar events covering all aspects of Human Rights for every citizen, besides refugees and asylum seekers across Britain.”

Alan Chalmers, Organisation Lead for Aberdeen in Recovery

“The workshop was very good as some of the people knew nothing about human rights. It gave people a greater understanding about their human rights and, yes, everyone has Human Rights.”

Sarah Offley, Organisation Lead for Dudley Voices for Choice

“From the start of setting up the awareness session it has been an easy and thorough process. Jacob spent time to understand what we did as a charity and what we would most benefit from as a team. As an inclusive team Jacob was able to provide information in a way that could be understood and used by everyone. The session went well and everyone fed-back that they were excited to take their learning into the community and share with our community groups. Thank you for making the whole process easy and so accessible.”

Our partners

Everyone at BIHR would like to say a massive thank you to our funders, the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, the Tudor Trust, the Bromley TrustComic Relief (Covid fund), the Three Guineas Trust, and the Baring Foundation, without whom this important work would not have been possible.

And thank you to our partner organisations for sharing your time, ideas and experiences with us, all of which helped bring these human rights workshops to life.

The future of these workshops

The aim of this project was to support people accessing, or trying to access, public services, as well as their loved ones and those who care about them, to know about and use human rights in their conversations with public officials.

The data gathered across all the groups we worked with evidences that the knowledge and confidence of attendees in using human rights increased significantly. Our pilot workshops in particular were delivered at a time when the aftershocks of the pandemic were still being keenly felt. Having lived through this period where we have seen human rights put at risk, supporting people to recognise where human rights are relevant, and use them to create positive change in their lives and the lives of their loved ones, has never been more important.

We are committed to continuing to support people and their communities to know about their human rights and have the confidence to talk about and advocate for their rights in everyday situations where they interact with public bodies.

We are now pleased to be able to run annual Awareness-Raising workshops from 2022 - 2025, kindly funded by the Baring Foundation.

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