Sports stars back hate crime awareness day at New York Stadium

Sports stars back hate crime awareness day at New York Stadium

By Dave Doyle | 21/09/2018

Sports stars back hate crime awareness day at New York Stadium
Johnny Nelson (centre) with two of the hate crime course participants

A HATE crime education scheme saw dozens of young offenders teaming up to paint a stadium’s steps — before taking part in themed craft activities.

The programme, run by restorative justice charity Remedi, encouraged the teenagers to reflect on their actions and re-imagine their lives.

After paying for their crimes in community service, they made hundreds of key rings and fridge magnets urging others to fight hate.

Around 60 youngsters from Rotherham, Sheffield, Barnsley and Doncaster all took part in the scheme.

Former boxing champion Johnny Nelson and ex-professional footballer Bruce Dyer attended a Step Up Beat Hate celebration event at New York Stadium and praised the young people for their work.

Sheffield-born Johnny, the longest-reigning cruiserweight world champion of all time, said: “I have first-hand experience of hate crime, having had to deal with racism all my life, including in my professional career over the years.

“No-one has the right to abuse someone, whether this is through racism, or because of how someone looks or acts, or the beliefs they hold.

“Hate crime needs to be stamped out and that is why I’m happy to support these young people, to raise awareness in the hope it will help deter other people from being abusive.”

Among those taking part was James Sabin (18), of Manvers, who was convicted of violence after a football match at the stadium.

He made amends by helping to paint steps for 18 hours and has recently started a furniture-making business.

“Because my crime was against the club, I have been giving back to the club,” said James.

“I also had some counselling to help me think about how I felt. I was going through some family problems at the time.

“The scheme has made me realise how much I have going for me and how much I have to lose. It has really helped.”

Established in Sheffield in 1996, Remedi has helped over 150,000 offenders and victims come to terms with crimes through restorative justice.

Nicole Slater, service manager for Rotherham and Sheffield, said: “This group was aged 14 to 18, though we do work with people as young as ten.

“A lot of them didn’t fully understand what hate crime was. These sessions explored that and gave them information on it.

“The artworks they have done will be displayed for others to see. It’s about influencing young people to influence their peers for the better.

“Young offenders are not the easiest people to motivate, but they all totally bought into what they were doing here.

“We’re confident that they won’t be getting involved in crime again.”

Former footballer Bruce Dyer, who became Britain’s first £1 million teenager when he joined Crystal Palace in 1994, said he too had been a victim of racial abuse.

“We need to make people understand this is a crime and it will not be tolerated,” he said.

Cllr Emma Hoddinott, chairman of the Safer Rotherham Partnership, said: “We welcome this project for raising awareness so that people realise just what damage and impact hateful actions or words can have on individuals.”

For more information on Remedi in South Yorkshire, call 07396 180803.


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