BOURNEMOUTH businesses have united to promote women’s safety with a town centre charter.

The Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Unity Promise has been launched by three women working to combat misogyny, gender-based violence and inequality.

A launch event held on March 20 brought businesses from across different sectors to sign the charter, including retailers, taxis, buses and clubs.

Jasmine Ecclestone, Victoria Sheppard and Tor Byrnes have been working on the concept for over a year, taking inspiration from other cities and adapting it for Dorset.

Jasmine, marketing manager at The Old Fire Station, said that she had enough and wanted to make a change.

Victoria, operations manager for Sandpolo, Sandfest and Oktoberfest, said: “We want businesses to take responsibility and have passion for it like we do.

“We want everyone to take ownership by acknowledging current issues and be proactive and not reactive.”

The unity promise consists of seven commitments and will support businesses with training on how to improve safety for women and girls.

Tor, creative director of arts by the sea and DJ, emphasised that this is not just a night-time issue.

Victoria added that venues can be one of the safest places, but problems arise when females are coming off the bus or walking through the gardens.

Marc Fear, manager of Cameo, said: “I think it is a great idea, anything that supports the safety of the town.

“If they do not feel safe, then they will not come out. We are 100 per cent behind it.”

Susie O’Neill, business liaison officer at Bournemouth Town Centre BID, said she supports the project and ensuring that around the clock women and girls feel safe.

Dorset’s Police and Crime Commissioner, David Sidwick, said it is a “really good initiative” and that although violence is reducing in the town, everyone has a part to play, including the police.

"What is really important is not only that people are safe but that people feel safe and this helps with that", he said.

The unity promise artwork, created by a local artist, will also be spread across derelict buildings in the area to spread the message and empower women to feel safe.

For more information or to sign the charter email