Young Rochdalians showed hate crime the red card at a special football tournament to celebrate Hate Crime Awareness Week.
The tournament, held at Rochdale Leisure Centre on Friday, 9 February 2018, saw neighbourhood officers, youth services, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) and young people coming together to play football matches, learn about hate crime and build positive relationships.
70 young people aged between 12 and 16 attended the event, which aimed to provide a fun and safe platform for them to express their feelings, voice their concerns and speak to police officers about any issues they may be facing.
“Youngsters from different backgrounds coming together to discuss an important topic”
As well as the football tournament, the event, organised by Rochdale Youth Services, Empowering Minds and the Subsist Youth and Community Group, provided the young people with information on the various strands of hate crime, different types of hate incidents and what to do should they ever witness one.
Councillor Kieran Heakin, the council’s cabinet member for children’s services, said: “Football has the power to unite people so I was pleased to see youngsters from different backgrounds coming together to discuss such an important topic and share their views. I hope that now our young people know that hate crime is wrong and how they should report it, they’ll pass this important message on and continue to kick it out throughout future generations until it’s stopped altogether.”
“Bringing our communities together is extremely important”
The youth football tournament was just 1 of 11 community schemes that received Hate Crime Awareness Week grant funding from Rochdale Borough Council to help raise awareness of what hate crime is, increase hate crime reporting and celebrate diversity in the borough’s communities.
These schemes ranged from information stalls to coffee mornings, film screenings and drama workshops but will all have a positive impact on local communities within the borough of Rochdale.
The Mayor of Rochdale, Councillor Ian Duckworth, said: “Bringing our communities together is extremely important and I’m so pleased that our young people are leading the way in tackling unacceptable prejudices and hostility towards people because of who they are. We do not tolerate hate crime and I hope this great work will continue to support our overall aim of creating a safer and stronger borough for everyone.”