The Department for Communities and Local Government, part of the British Government, has awarded £50,000 to the Sophie Lancaster Foundation. The grant is part of a larger fund given to four groups that have historically faced challenges in reporting and preventing hate crime – £375,000 in total.
The Sophie Lancaster Foundation was set up in 2007 by Sylvia Lancaster, whose daughter was murdered in 2007. Her killers were described as being motivated by Sophie’s Goth appearance at their trial. The case was widely discussed as an extreme and tragic example of intolerance and violence directed towards the Goth subculture.
In a statement on the Foundation’s website, Sylvia stated:
“For this funding to be granted in Sophie’s 10th anniversary year is validation of our work in my daughter’s memory. Sophie was murdered in a hate motivated attack and I have spent my time since the day she died trying to ensure no one else suffers because they are expressing their individuality”
“The UK Government have long recognised that hate crimes damage our communities and are supporting work to strengthen the education that is needed to challenge and prevent intolerance and prejudice.
We start with primary school age children while also training police and other professionals. We are grateful for this funding that will support us to develop resources that raise empathy and encourage the celebration, not fear, of ‘difference’.”
A spokesperson for the Foundation added “We intend to develop educational resources around the film Black Roses and reach new geographical areas”.
Secretary of State for Communities Sajid Javid described the groups who will receive the financial package as those that include race and faith groups, and those working at challenging the prejudice towards people from alternative subcultures.
“These funds build upon what government is already doing through the Hate Crime Action Plan to challenge the misperceptions that lead to hate crime and support victims from marginalised communities to stand up and report incidents.
Let me be clear. Hate crime has no place whatsoever in British society. We will not stand for it. All communities must be able to live their lives free from fear of verbal or physical attack.”
A spokesperson for the Department of Communities and Local Government described their long and fruitful relationship with the charity, stating “We’ve had a relationship with the Sophie Lancaster Foundation for a while and we identified an opportunity to fund their valuable work. This wasn’t a bid process, but rather the recognition of the need for certain groups to receive extra support.”
Responding to queries about government recognition of discrimination against people of alternative subcultures, they added “The fact that we are funding [the Foundation] alongside other charities shows that we do treat this kind of discrimination as a concern.
As Sajid Javid says in our press release, Holocaust Memorial Day is a time of the year that reminds us of what can happen if we sit back and let hatred grow without tackling it, and without thinking carefully about what kind of groups need extra support to help them raise awareness and to stand up to intolerance and prejudice.”
The other groups receiving funding are:
- True Vision: the police reporting portal for hate crime. New funding will help encourage groups that face challenges in reporting hate crime including Sikh and Hindu communities and recent arrivals from Eastern Europe; True Vision will also work with National Churchwatch, an organisation which works to counter hate crime against the Christian community
- The Traveller Movement: a charity that aims to improve reporting rates for hate crimes against the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities
- Show Racism the Red Card: a campaign to unite young people of different backgrounds using professional footballers and their clubs to educate against racism
Additional funding will go to National Hate Crime Awareness Week that takes place each October to develop the scope and depth of the programme and to encourage collaboration between anti-hate crime charities across the country.