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London fund to tackle violent extremism

An £800,000 fund, with support from Google.org, seeks to tackle violent extremism and a rise in hate crime offences in London.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan launched the programme at Google offices with £400,000 from City Hall, match-funded by Google.org – Google’s philanthropy arm. The new fund, run with the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), will go to grassroots groups because evidence shows, the organisers say, they are best placed to counter hate, intolerance and extremism. Organisations will have the opportunity to bid for grants up to £50,000.

The launch event pointed to the deaths of Jack Merritt and Saskia Jones in the London Bridge terror attack in November 2019, a rise in racist, homophobic and Islamophobic hate crime offences reported, and anti-Semitic graffiti in Hampstead and Belsize Park in late December.

As for what tech firms need to do, to ensure their platforms and tools are not used to promote hate and intolerance or fund-raise for extremism, Sadiq Khan said that flagging harmful content on social media platforms needs to be made easier and it needs to be spotted and removed faster. The Mayor also launched a network of civil society groups who wish to stand up to hate and extremism. Groups will be invited to join share best practice, irrespective of how successful they are in bidding for this fund.

Sadiq Khan, said: “Extremism, intolerance and hate crime of any kind has absolutely no place in our city and I have worked closely with the police and all communities across London as we battle against this scourge. Sadly, we have also too often seen extremism on our streets with the horrific terror attack in London Bridge in November last year – as well as homophobic, anti-Semitic and Islamophobic incidents. We know that leaving the EU will raise tensions and bring new challenges – that is why it is so vital we empower our communities to help deliver change now.

“Violent extremism is one of the biggest threats facing London and our country. We simply must do better at working together to safeguard the vulnerable and stop people from promoting these vile ideologies with such horrific consequences.”

Rowan Barnett, Head of Google.org, EMEA and APAC said: “Keeping the online community safe is our top priority. As part of this commitment, Google.org supports solutions that fight hate and extremism at a local level which help foster positive change in the UK. We believe communities and grassroots programmes are an incredibly important part of the effort to encourage collaboration, cooperation, and sensitivity across London. We are pleased to support the Shared Endeavour Fund to tackle extremism and hate in our capital and look forward to working closely with the Mayor of London and the Institute for Strategic Dialogue.”

Applications by charities and voluntary groups must be made by March 22; visit www.groundwork.org.uk/london-grants/shared-endeavour-fund.


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