Croydon libraries to end partnership with LGBTQ+ hate crime service

Croydon library. Pic: Anna Wadsworth

An LGBTQ+ hate crime service is to leave Croydon on March 31 after the council cut its funding after three years.

The service, run by the Metro Charity, aims to support members of Croydon’s LGBTQ+ communities to tackle biphobic, homophobic and transphobic hate crimes.

It works with individuals, representatives of communities affected by hate crimes, key partners and local authorities, including local libraries, to develop local strategies to support LGBTQ+ people and eliminate hate crime in Croydon.

Mark Healey, who was employed by Metro Charity to run the Croydon Hate Crime Service, made 52 visits to Croydon libraries this year, engaging with over 2,000 Croydon residents and handing out information about reporting hate crime.

Healey believes the service is important to Croydon residents and should continue if possible. He tweeted: “Approached in Shirley Library by one of the women from the knitting group. ‘Would you like me to talk about hate crime’? So I joined the knitters at their table – about eight women in their 60s, 70s and 80s. They knitted while I talked about what hate crime is and who it affects. The difference between crimes and incidents.

“We talked about gay people, disabled people, Roma Gypsy Travellers and Trans people. There was stuff they supported and stuff they didn’t. I’m not here to change your minds I said – I just want to ensure that anyone who is affected by hate crime can get the support they need.

“One lady talked about her grandson who said he liked to wear dresses. She loves his anyway. Another talked about the Lesbian who is happily married with a child now, but looking back how they struggled. We recognised how things have changed and will continue to change.”

Healey also spoke to them about the need to raise awareness of hate crime. How people need to improve operational and community responses to hate crimes. Learning from what has happened before so we can prevent it happening again.

“It is conversations like these that need to continue in Croydon. I hope we can raise the funds to keep these library visits going,” he added.

As the service is due to close in the next few days because of a reduction in funding from Croydon Council, Croydon residents will have to seek alternative hate crime services through CATCH, RainbowBoroughProject and ReportHate.

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