Wednesday, 8 February 2012


At the Len Medlock Voluntary Centre, Boston, Lincolnshire, this morning, delivering the fourth in a series of seminars for the Regional Equality and Divesrity Partnership (REDP) on the Human Rights Act 1998.

Strictly speaking, the part on the Human Rights Act is delivered by Chino Cabon from The Race Equality Centre (TREC), while I present a Beginners Guide to REDP.

The purpose of these seminars is to help Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) organisations appreciate the relevance of the Human Rights Act 1998 to their mission and understand its relationship to equality and diversity issues, as well enabling them to take part in the current debate about the UK withdrawing from the European Convention on Human Rights and replacing it with a new UK Bill of Rights. These topics will feature prominently in REDP's next regional event, in Derby, 22 March.

As we were involved in a traffic accident on the way back from the seminar in Mansfield last week, we have to get a hire car this morning and can't leave Leicester till 0900. That's cutting it fine to get to Boston within two hours, but we manage it, by the skin of our teeth.

Gathered in the Len Medlock Voluntary Centre (photo above) this morning are five people, representing three local VCS organisations:

This is the smallest turnout we’ve had for one of these seminars, but there’s nothing disappointing about that. It’s part of our remit to get out and about in the region, to meet with VCS organisations on their home turf as often as is practical. It’s more normal practice for the larger body to sit in one of the urban centres and crook its finger, so that smaller groups have to come to it. That’s not the REDP way though and we’ve tried to make it a hallmark of our work that we reach into places that others would consider hard to reach, or somehow not worthwhile because not every seat in the room is filled. Although it wasn't part of our thinking at the time we made that decision, it's proved to be suited to the exigencies of the time.

The centre is no longer able to provide catering for events such as ours today, so after I've presented my introduction to REDP, I take orders for sandwiches and head out in search of the nearest Marks & Sparks! On the way, I get a good feel for Boston – what I later find out should have involved a round trip of about 20 minutes takes me the best part of an hour, thanks to the usual grand tour provided by Google Maps on my iPhone.

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