Anti-racism campaigners in Kingston are celebrating after winning government funding to take their activism across the country.

After some hard-fought campaigning over two years, Kingston Race Equalities Council (KREC) were awarded a grant to tackle National Race Hate Crime by the Home Office, a spokesperson told the Comet.

With Home Office support, KREC aim to set up a National Race Equality Alliance project in order to work with Race and Equalities Councils and allied organisations.

"A number of Protected Characteristics under the Equality Act 2010 were receiving attention and victims were being referred to agencies after suffering Hate Crimes such as Islamophobia, Homophobia and Anti-Semitism.

"There were no facilities for referring Race Hate Crimes to any agencies even though they formed over eighty percent of all reported Hate Crimes in the UK," a KREC spokesperson pointed out, explaining why they wanted to expand their campaign nationally.

Surrey Comet: KRECKREC

KREC said they also plan to set up referral systems for Race Hate Crimes across the UK.

"We are delighted that the Home Office has shown faith in KREC and made the grant award which shows evidence of the great work we are doing within this region," Chief Executive Officer John Azah told the Comet.

"We intend to use the work taking place in the Royal Borough as a good exemplar of how Partners should work to tackle Hate Crimes in a region, to showcase best practice through the work of the Hate Crime Action Group and to make sure victims of Race Hate Crime receive an adequate and an appropriate service and get their voices heard," he added.

KREC work in Kingston communities to tackle racism and xenophobia in all forms.

Under the stewardship of the dynamic and tireless Mr Azah — who is also a co-founder of Kingston Carnival — KREC work on community outreach in Kingston and elsewhere to dissuade residents, particularly the youth, from racism and violence.

Surrey Comet: KREC outreach work in KingstonKREC outreach work in Kingston

Their strategy, which won favour with the Home Office, is multilayered.

KREC undertake specific case work, support ethnic minority communities, encourage organizations in the borough to develop and monitor equality policies, and boost awareness about race equality through public awareness campaigns.

Mr Azah told the Comet how KREC's model impressed the Home Office and how their work in pointing out flaws in the existing system was crucial.

"This successful Home Office grant is a culmination of very hard campaigning work by KREC to draw attention to the need to provide victims of Race Hate Crime with an adequate and appropriate service at a time when they have suffered abuse and could have been traumatised.

"The existing service did not meet the needs of all victims and we had to act decisively to highlight the flaws in the referral systems and to make sure that the same service received by some victims was accorded to all victims," he said.

Surrey Comet: KREC connect with young people and the police in KingstonKREC connect with young people and the police in Kingston

Mr Azah praised Kingston Council (RBK) for their support and initial funding that helped the campaign maintain momentum long before national funding was secured.

"The award of this grant and this work on Hate Crime would not have been possible if the Royal Borough of Kingston had not supported our efforts through its own grant aid to KREC and the Leader of the Councillor Liz Green’s drive to have a comprehensive Hate Crime strategy locally," he said.