On 14th June, in Leeds Civic Hall, people from community groups, charities, the city council and the police came together, with a common goal – to ‘Galvanise Leeds’ towards being a Hate free city.
Organised by Stop Hate UK, the event was held in association with Safer Leeds and Passion Works CIC and was one of the first of its kind in the city, in terms of having such a diverse audience, made up of those at the forefront of the city’s Hate Crime Strategy, but also those who are no less involved yet, until now, have perhaps not had the platform or the access to such resources.
The event had received funding and assistance from the National Lottery Awards for All, Leeds’s Community Safety Partnership, Safer Leeds and the University of Leeds.
After a welcoming address from our very own Chief Executive, Rose Simkins, it was the turn of Harvinder Saimbhi, Head of Anti-social Behaviour for Leeds City Council, speaking as Head of Operational Delivery, gave a great presentation on the progress made by the Leeds Hate Crime strategy and its priorities for 2018.
We then welcomed Leeds GATE, the award winning community members organisation for Gypsies and Travellers, who presented a video they had made themselves, highlighting the issues faced by the group’s members. This was followed by a passionate address from Sophia Thomas, Director of TransLeeds, who provide support and advocacy for all trans* identifying people across Leeds.
The morning’s keynote speeches were rounded off by Stop Hate UK’s Director of London Services, but in his guise as Chair of the Government Independent Advisory Group (IAG) talking about the Hate Crime National Strategy and Priorities.
Prior to the day of the conference, delegates were invited to select to participate in a number of workshops, facilitated by various groups and individuals and it was at this point the audience divided to join their chosen morning workshops.
The morning workshops were run by West Yorkshire Police, Stop Hate UK, Ann Chapman Consultancy and Leeds Development Education Centre & Voice Influence & Change Team, covering such topics as transport, reporting and monitoring Hate Crime in Leeds, what communities should be included and young people, respectively.
After a break for lunch, the afternoon workshops commenced, featuring topics such as Online Hate, Hate Crime in public places (city centre and nighttime economy, what makes a ‘safe place’ and engaging reporting and signposting in Leeds.
These workshops were delivered by Aspire CBS, the Sophie Lancaster Foundation, Stop Hate UK and Tea and Tolerance.
After another welcome refreshment break, the afternoon moved into a plenary session, introduced again by Rose Simkins, who welcomed the Ambassador of the Jo Cox Foundation and lead on the ‘More in Common’ movement, Kim Leadbeater, who delivered a rousing address on just how the tragic death of her sister Jo Cox has completely changed her life and focus, which certainly touched many members of the audience.
After a feedback session from each of the workshop groups, it was left for Rose to close the day and thank all the attendees, speakers and facilitators, plus those who had helped to organise this amazing and unique day.
Commenting on the day, Rose said “We are very proud that Leeds is such a diverse city, but we need to ensure that all people, whatever their identity, feel part of it and, when we say diverse, are we including everybody? We need to ensure that all voices are heard and that we all feel safe and secure in Leeds. I hope this event means there will now be a raft of things we can introduce that will make it even better.”
To find out more about Stop Hate UK or Galvanising Leeds, visit our website by clicking here.