Football helped to drive BNP out of Barking and Dagenham, charity finds

12:05 17 January 2012

Supporter: MP Jon Cruddas praised Searchlight for confronting extremism

Supporter: MP Jon Cruddas praised Searchlight for confronting extremism


Race campaigners successfully used sport in their fight to help stamp out the British National Party in the run-up to the 2010 elections, a new report has found.

Hundreds of youths played football in the Hope Not Hate Cups in Dagenham put on by anti-fascist group Searchlight, making a stand against racism before the general and local elections.

Searchlight then continued to expose the BNP’s extremist agenda, as Nick Griffin launched his failed bid to oust the Labour MP for Barking, Margaret Hodge, and seize control of Barking and Dagenham Council.

The anti-fascist group group also worked on the Gascoigne estate in Barking, raising awareness of race and identity issues by showing young people films about the Holocaust and helping Kosovan youths integrate.

The three-year drive helped to change attitudes towards race, dispelled negative views about asylum seekers and instilled new ones about identity, according to a report by the equality charity Trust for London, which funded the projects in the borough.

A Searchlight spokesman said: “We’re very proud the Hope Not Hate campaign was able to play a role in turning back the tide of extremism in Barking and Dagenham.

“But the real credit goes to the ordinary men and women who turned out in large numbers to decisively reject the BNP’s agenda of prejudice and division.”

Searchlight put on two football tournaments at Dagenham Town Show in Central Park.

The first Hope Not Hate Cup drew 100 players in 2008, then 200 joined the tournament the following year.

A further 200 youths took part in an anti-racism sports day at Dagenham Park School in School Road in 2008.

Jon Cruddas, the Labour MP for Dagenham and Rainham, attended the sports day.

He said: “I am a massive supporter of the work of Searchlight. Their work here in Barking and Dagenham with all sections of the community – in the schools, on the streets, football, boxing, celebrating St George’s Day and many other examples has been fantastic.

“They confront extremism in whatever form it takes and deal with it in precisely the same way – a story of hope not hate.”

Dagenham Park school deputy headteacher Trevor Irving added: “This collaborative exercise was enjoyed by all and demonstrated the benefits of living and working in a multicultural community.”


Latest News Stories

13 minutes ago
Homeless Ray Bryant has been reunited with his daughter, Annie Bryant, after she spotted an appeal on Facebook aiming to get him housed by Christmas.

A homeless man broke down in tears as he was reunited with his long-lost daughter for the first time in 20 years.

Red or Dead designer Wayne Hemingway outside Buckingham Palace with wife Gerardine after receiving MBEs from the Prince of Wales. Picture: PA

Goodbye Berlin, so long, Shoreditch – the next wave of artists could be flocking to the borough under plans for a unique creative hub.

Yesterday, 17:06
Howard Linskey, the Mayor of Barking and Dagenham and the author Martina Cole at the Barking and Dagenham ReadingFest writing project award ceremony

Budding bards and scribes were given awards for poetry and prose by a bestselling crime writer at a literary ceremony.

Yesterday, 15:04
An artist's impression of the new development

A redevelopment being hailed as a “cultural milestone” will bring 147 private flats and a three-screen art house cinema to Barking.

Most read news


You could be splashing the cash at Topshop!

Just imagine what you could do with £1,000 to spend at Topshop.

You won't need to fork out for groceries for a while!

Asda, one of the country’s leading supermarkets, prides itself in being one of the cheapest places to shop, so you can be sure that your money will go a long way here!

Digital Edition

Read the Barking and Dagenham Post e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder