Greater Manchester Hate Crime Awareness Week takes place from the 5th to the 9th of February is recognised each year by the ten boroughs that make up the Greater Manchester County, promoting a message of a county that is ‘Too Great for Hate’. Manchester is one of the most diverse cities in the UK with almost 200 languages spoken in the city; it is truly multi-ethnic, multi-faith, multicultural and multilingual. However, in 2023, 10,424 hate crimes were reported across all boroughs in the Greater Manchester County and across all five strands of hate. Though this has fallen by 367 from 2022, the number of hate crimes being committed is 10,424 too many. Many hate crimes still go unreported and hate crimes against alternative subcultures are not recorded within those figures. It is time to take a stand against hate crime in Greater Manchester.
The secondary Greater Manchester Hate Crime Awareness Week resource contains a brochure and presentation covering the strands of hate, unmonitored strands, the impact of hate and how we can all make a stand. Please feel free to download and if you do use our resource, please let us know by using the hashtag #WeAreSophie
Make a cup of tea and settle down as this isn’t going to be a quick read! It seems a good time to reflect on our year at The Sophie Lancaster Foundation 🖤
After losing Sylvia in 2022 your outpouring of support and solidarity with our mission absolutely blew us away. We are in such a divided world, and sadly the need for tolerance and inclusion is more needed than ever. We may have different faiths or no faith, different politics, different looks, like different music or have different interests, but the one thing that unites all of our supporters is the fervent belief we have the right to be ourselves. To have the right to be ourselves also dictates the need to respect other people and their choices. There may be many conversations we need to have, but to get anywhere, we have to take the hatred out of those conversations.
We have had an incredible 2023. We launched the results of the alternative subculture hate crime survey last month. For the first time we have empirical data which shows the dreadful effects of hate crime on alternative people. This will have a huge impact on our work and direction in 2024. Our 2023 festival programme was the most successful in our history and we met more people and sold more merchandise than ever before. This keeps us going as a Foundation, so thank you for your support. We launched free educational packs online as we know how schools are struggling for resources and input on these issues, and our anti bullying and hate crime resources were brilliantly received. They were downloaded by 36 educational settings nationwide and have a potential reach of 18,000 students. Every young person who has their mind changed about people who are different to them, or has their empathy level increased, has the potential to make a difference to someone’s life. We launched the Profound Pound in April this year, where supporters can donate a pound to help us continue to make a difference and we managed to raise £3048. We know how hard it is for many of you right now and we are so grateful for your support.
The most important part of this post is to thank you. Thank you to the beautiful alternative community and to all of you who stand by our side. We could not achieve anything without you. Thank you for your collaboration, your festivals, your fundraisers, for sharing your stories, for your belief in us. Sylvia always said we have the best supporters in the world. We truly do. Thank you for making 2023 an unforgettable year and we look forward to what comes next.
Everything we do, starts and ends with Sophie. She will continue to inspire us and direct our work. Thank you to you all, for the part you play in ensuring her legacy. Together we are Sophie.
Thank you to everyone who participated in our Make A Noise festival this year, it was a real success.
All the bands and contributors alike were absolutely fantastic, and it was so lovely to see the community come together and remember Sophie’s birthday.
We started proceedings with a set from Light The Cannons, an alternative rock band from Germany. Following their set we had Second Cities from the UK, then Hateful Chains from Finland, messages from supporters including Robin Ince, short stories from author Tracey M Carvill and then to finish the night, Swedish goth-rockers, Dark Side Cowboys.
We were also able to raise £465 which is incredible – so thank you, everyone.
Anti-Bullying Week takes place from the 13th to 17th November 2023, organised in England, Wales and Northern Ireland by the Anti-Bullying Alliance. Too often, bullying is dismissed as banter, with bystanders staying silent about the bullying behaviour that takes place and the hurt it causes. It is time to make a noise, take a stand and be the change to stop bullying in our schools. Let’s make some noise about bullying!
Both the Primary and Secondary resources contain an assembly presentation and accompanying brochure, covering bullying behaviour, cyber-bullying and how to be an upstander. Please feel free to download and if you do use our resource, please let us know by using the hashtag #antibullyingweek
Download the resources by filling out the quick form below. Once completed, options to download the primary and secondary school resources will appear.
73% of alternative subculture hate crime is not reported;
27% of those subjected to hate crime have experienced suicidal feelings;
80% of respondents experience at least one form of hate crime on a regular or occasional basis.
In 2022, the Sophie Lancaster Foundation conducted the largest survey ever undertaken to find out how hate crime is affecting the daily lives of alternative people. Sixteen years after Sophie died, we still get emails and calls every week about bullying, harassment and assaults. Parents write in to say, “I’m worried my child is going to be another Sophie”. We created a steering group with top academics and hate crime experts to gather empirical data showing the true effects of hate crime on the alternative community.
The Law Commission stated in their Hate Crime Review, published in December 2021, that there was no evidence that people from alternative subcultures were being targeted for hate crime and there was no need to extend protection this this group. Well, the evidence is here.
What are people experiencing?
71% have been regularly or occasionally verbally abused
87% have been threatened or harassed in person
56% have been physically attacked
How does it make them feel?
84% Made me feel anxious
69% Made me avoid certain areas or routes
37% Made me change my appearance/the way I dress
27% Made me feel suicidal
27% Made me want to move from my home
What is the situation with Hate Crime Reporting?
73% of respondents have never reported their hate crime
29% said they didn’t think anyone would take it seriously
13% stated they did not know who to speak to
12% said nobody could have done anything to help
You can read the findings of the full Alternative Subculture Hate Crime Survey here and take a look at the Sophie Lancaster Foundation Commentary, which outlines the background to the survey and our commitment to do all we can to change the situation. Our Commentary explains in more detail what needs to happen next, including the development of stronger partnerships with the police and justice system and consultation with the alternative community on what needs to be done to encourage and support hate crime reporting.
This is huge news, as it is the first time that this data has been truly quantified. The survey clearly reveals the levels of abuse, harassment and violence that people are subjected to because of their subcultural status. It absolutely makes the case why alternative subculture hate crime should be treated in exactly the same way as the monitored strands.
We know so many people find joy, community and genuine life affirmation from being part of an alternative subculture and to be demonised, harassed and victimised for no more than being yourself is appalling. It is even harder when people who are in a position to help, are influenced by the same negative stereotyping of alternative people and quote the victims innocent ‘choices’ and not the perpetrator’s actions.
We will continue to consult the community in our efforts to improve the situation. If you suffer from Hate Crime, please do report it; our Commentary document has the details of who to contact. Thank you for the trust you place in us, we are always humbled at your love and support.
The Sophie Team
Thanks to those from the hate crime sector and to academic partners who have supported us in this research – Professor Jon Garland and Moslem Boushehrian, the University of Surrey; Mike Ainsworth, SLF Trustee and National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) Independent Advisory Group on Hate Crime; Dr Steve Minton, University of Plymouth; Professor Neil Chakraborti, Centre for Hate Studies, University of Leicester; Rose Simkins, Stop Hate UK; Kari Berg and Nik Carlsson, RTSI, (Right to Subcultural Identity, Sweden).
The Sophie Lancaster Foundation is proud to be launching our first FREE National Hate Crime Awareness Week secondary school resource!
National Hate Crime Awareness Week takes place from the 14th to 21st October 2023, starting a national campaign to bring people together across the UK to advocate against all forms of hate crime and make communities a safer place to be.
The resource contains an assembly presentation and accompanying brochure, covering all angles of hate crime, hate incidents, reporting hate and hateful behaviours in and around school. Feel free to download and if you do use our resource, please let us know by using the hashtag #SLFHCAW23
We have decided to create a space on our website dedicated to our supporters who are no longer with us, and it was their wish or that of their families to raise funds in memoriam for the Foundation.
Currently on the page, there is Jake “Mettle” Ettle-Isles. Jake was well known and well loved in the metal community, having even performed at Bloodstock Festival. Jake’s latest project, Cybervoid, had a new EP on the horizon which his bandmates decided to release and donate all proceeds to the Foundation
On the page, there is also Marie Windridge, a long term supporter of the Foundation and avid Download Festival goer. The year she passed, her friend attended the festival, holding Marie’s crutch high in the air amidst the crowd
Please take a moment to read the page and tributes. Jake’s fundraiser is live now, so check that out too. Thank you all so much, once again we are so touched…
It is the start of a brand-new academic year, which brings magnificent opportunities to make a genuine difference within our schools! 🖤
Our Autumn Term Train the Trainer course can ignite the spark of positive classroom culture, respect towards difference and a new personal perspective that will leave a lasting impression with each academic year to come. The course is delivered over two twilight sessions, each lasting 2-hours, equipping professionals who work with young people with the skills and knowledge they need to help students unpick their own assumptions and develop greater critical thinking skills through S.O.P.H.I.E. workshops in their organisation.
The first session takes place on Thursday 19th October 2023, followed by the second session on Thursday 2nd November 2023, from 16:30 until 18:30.
Places on our course are priced at £400 per delegate, this includes the S.O.P.H.I.E. boxed resource and an optional third follow up session to share feedback and thoughts after you have delivered your first workshop sessions. Our Autumn Train the Trainer course is available to book now, with limited places! If you would like to book a place on the course, please fill in our train the trainer booking form here or email email@example.com for more information.
If you are interested in booking a train the trainer event for multiple staff your organisation, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss the training event further. We hope to see you there! 😊
Well, we are feeling the love, aren’t we? We are so grateful for all your wonderful messages of support and affection. It feels amazing to know you have our backs, you know, absolutely, that we have yours 🖤
We have news! The logistical and staff issues have been resolved and we can now be in the Arena. This makes a huge difference as we get to see as many of you lovely people as we can. So it looks like we are back on! 🤘
Thank you for everything you do to support us.
If you are not at Download, new S.O.P.H.I.E. merchandise can be purchased online. Everything is available to pre-order and will be in stock by the start of June. Our merchandise sales do keep us going and enable us to keep spreading the word, so please support us if you can.
It’s true to say we were a little bit teary last night reading all your lovely words. Our community is truly the best. We will keep doing all we can to support you. Together we are SOPHIE, together we are stronger ✊🖤