Nick Lowles on the launch of the HOPE Education Fund, a new initiative from the HOPE not hate Charitable Trust

I was really excited to announce the launch of a new initiative from the HOPE not hate Charitable Trust: the HOPE Education Fund.

The HOPE Education Fund is a new way to support the Charitable Trust’s work in schools, and I wanted to ask all supporters to consider becoming a member today.

HOPE not hate’s groundbreaking research published over recent years in Fear and Loss has shown that Britain is increasingly riven by anger. The country is divided. At the same time, more people are exposed to far right memes and messages online, leading to more people expressing or experiencing hate in their daily lives. 

This is all true for young people too. The HOPE not hate Charitable Trust team see it every day through our work in schools. Our team hears Islamophobia and other forms of racism in most of their visits – most often it is subtle, or unconscious. Sometimes it is hardened and vile. Increasingly, our team is seeing quite shocking misogyny being expressed by young men who are blasted with anti-feminist messages online and have picked them up.

The work HOPE not hate already does in schools already make a big impact. With a small but effective team, we’ve been able to speak to 18,523 young people over the last 12 months, in 109 different schools. We prioritise schools where our in-depth polling data shows that we’re needed most. 

As well as speaking in classes, we’ve developed an ambassadors programme that has recruited 955 young people to take part in intensive training to be advocates in their own schools and social circles.

We know what we do works: teachers have told us. “HOPE not hate has really helped with compassion, and respect, and it has also helped with the children discipline and their respect for each other”, according to one primary school teacher in Essex. “Relatable to the children and got them actively involved” according to an Academy teacher in Norfolk. I could go on for a long time with this sort of feedback but you get the idea.

While our work is schools is going from strength-to-strength, it has always been on an uncertain funding footing. We are determined to keep our support for teachers and schools free, but without more financial certainty we aren’t able to guarantee that. That’s why we’re launching the HOPE Education Fund. By becoming a member of the fund we believe that – with your support – we can ensure that we can continue, and even grow, our work in classrooms. I am determined that we are able to continue to offer our support to schools free of charge.

I am really proud that the leaders of the NEU teachers’ union Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney have agreed to become Patrons of the HOPE Education Fund alongside UNISON’s Dave Prentis, children’s author Emma Shevah, and Guardian columnist Owen Jones.

We know this work is needed more than ever. We know it works. And we know that the HOPE Education Fund can help put this work on a stable financial footing so we can keep the lessons free to schools. I hope you’ll consider becoming a member today over at the HOPE not hate Charitable Trust site: https://charity.hopenothate.org.uk/donate/the-hope-education-fund/5/credit-card