Anything that makes our town a safer place has to be a good thing and it’s great when a campaign started in Bolton is deemed such a success that other areas across Greater Manchester want to adopt it too.
That’s exactly what has happened with the I’m Not Laughing campaign, which was launched by the Police and Bolton Council in June this year in an effort to make Bolton Town Centre a safer place for people with disabilities to visit and enjoy themselves.
The campaign is against ‘Hate Crime’ and was initially designed to educate bar staff about their moral and legal obligations with respect to ‘disability discrimination’.
Initiative of Sgt Paul Ellis of the Bolton Central Neighbourhood Policing Team, the idea came after learning about the experience of a 19 year old woman who suffered taunting and abuse from a group of men, while dancing in a Town Centre bar.
The woman has a condition known as ‘achondroplasia’ which restricts her growth and she was particularly upset during the incident by the fact that bar and security staff at the establishment did nothing at all to help!
The aim of the ‘I'm Not Laughing’ campaign is to ensure that anyone with a disability, visiting Bolton town centre on a night out can enjoy Bolton’s pubs and clubs without fear of being verbally or physically abused and is supported by Steve Morris, the fire fighter who was badly injured while tackling a house fire in Bolton in June 2008.
The fire claimed the lives of a 71 year old Grandmother and her 4 year old granddaughter and left Steve permanently disabled and his picture is being used on the campaign posters.
There are several different ways you can get involved in this campaign too:
• By liking the I’m Not Laughing facebook page
• Adding your story to the page
• Telling others about the page and the I’m Not Laughing campaign
• Respecting everyone who visits Bolton town centre to enjoy a night out
If you feel victimised or want to report hate crime in Bolton, there are a number of ways:
Report Online at www.bolton.gov.uk/hatecrime
Crimestoppers 0800 555111
Call the police 999 (emergency) or 0161 872 5050 (non emergency) or call into any police station.
There are a number of third party reporting centres across the borough where you see the 'Hate incident, Tell us' symbol.
Member since: 4th July 2012
I am David Ramsden, owner of thebestof bolton.