THE SOPHIE LANCASTER FOUNDATION

Sylvia welcomed our delegates and guest speakers to the conference where we explored "Alternative Solutions to Hate Crime"

The day started with a film of the new Home Office Minister, Lynn Featherstone, who, as she was unable to attend, recorded her presentation in which she explained how there are more than five strands to hate crime and the how work of the Foundation provides a holistic approach to raising awareness and challenging thinking.

Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner, Clive Grunshaw spoke about how tackling Hate Crime was a priority and that partnership working was very important. GMP's ACC Garry Shewan followed with a humbling presentation about how he was so inspired by Sylvia and the team's work in schools in Greater Manchester that it led him to lead the way with GMP becoming the first Police Authority to monitor and record Alternative Subculture Identity Hate Crime last year.

None of us were prepared for the powerful contribution Gena Buchan provided as she shared her horrific experience as a victim of alternative hate crime two years ago in Edinburgh. Her attack is described in the interview with Radio 5 Live:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02ctp3s

We are indebted to Gena for coming along to support our day.

We continued the thread of justice by introducing Carl Gaffney, the Crown Prosecution Service Barrister who worked on Sophie's murder. Carl gave a profound insight into the shocking attack and heroic bravery of Sophie that night. He talked about how she made the ultimate sacrifice that night in trying to stop a hate crime. He urged delegates to do all they can in ensuring hate crimes treated seriously. It was a highly professional yet personal presentation.

Dr Jon Garland from the Department of Criminology at Surrey University delivered the findings of his research with the Leicester Hate Crime Project. He focused on the findings of Alternative Subculture hate crimes and incidents and the extent of the problem. You can find more details here:

http://www2.le.ac.uk/departments/criminology/research/current-projects/hate-crime/about-the-project

The morning session closed with the Foundation's campaign manager Kate talking about how we use social media not only to raise awareness of Hate Crime but as a platform for people to share their experiences, offer moral support, signpost victims and communicate with our partners. This alternative approach to making sure social media is a force for good, a place where we can be one community and work together to support each other.

It was great to see people take the opportunity to network over lunch and many cards were exchanged - leading to more partnership working in the future we hope.

The second half of the day focused on education. We were proud to launch the SOPHIE Primary School Educational Resource following the pilot in East Lancashire. Lisa Bennett, our Education Project Worker, presented the evaluation of her work with twelve Primary Schools. The evidence of how impactful the resource has been was overwhelming and we look forward to rolling out the programme in the new year. The first training session for teachers will take place in January. The two young girls who read their poems about how damaging bullying is added a sense of how urgent this work really is.

Dr Stephen Minton of Trinity College Dubliin, Ireland delivered his findings of how research and project work around "Alternophobia and bullying" The project in Ireland has revealed again how wide spread prejudice and bullying of young goths, emo and moshers is. We will share his paper next week.

The delegates were the first to see a preview of the new BBC film of "Black Roses - The Killing of Sophie Lancaster" featuring Julie Hesmondhalgh and Rachel Austin. The film will be completed in the new year and a shortened version will be on the BBC Education Zone, while the full version will belong to the charity for our use in education. The producer Susan Roberts introduced the film and a break was needed after the clip - such is its power.

The day was brought to a conclusion by Professor John Grieves CBE, chair of the UK Hate Crime Advisory Board, of which Sylvia is a member. Hes been asked to summarize the day and did so in a very interactive way. He asked delegates to use the letters in S.O.P.H.I.E. and rewrite what it stands for following their impressions of the day - quite an eyeopener ! John suggested " S - solutions O options P partnership H help I inspiration E engagement ... He explained how Sylvia was one of the most heroic people he has ever had the privilege to work with - We have to agree!

A full evaluation of the day will be prepared and shared with all delegates and on our website as soon as possible. Again, we thank everyone who took time out of their busy schedules to join us. Stacey and Adam worked wonders with the staff from Burnley Mechanics who were fantastic at making the day run smoothly. Thanks to all the media for covering the event and to the National Lottery Local Papers Award and Lancashire PCC for funding the day and our volunteers who helped us on the day.