Bedfordshire school children to become anti-hate crime ambassadors

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Bedfordshire school children are to become anti-hate crime ambassadors, thanks to funding from PCC Kathryn Holloway of a new school initiative focused on the Holocaust.

Bedfordshire’s Anti-Hate Crime Schools’ Project - a collaboration between Bedfordshire Police, the Anne Frank Trust UK and the Bedfordshire PCC – has been launched through a showcase exhibition of Anne Frank’s life and history, and a moving speech from her step-sister and holocaust survivor Eva Schloss.

The aim of the project, which was launched at Mark Rutherford School on October 10, is to train schoolchildren across Bedfordshire to become anti-hate crime ambassadors, raising awareness of the effects of abuse and prejudice among their peers and to prevent it happening in their schools.

“The importance of these anti-hate crime ambassadors became immediately apparent when I was talking to the children at Mark Rutherford School,” said PCC Kathryn Holloway.

“Many of them were aware of a little of the Anne Frank story, and the horrors of the Holocaust, but until today they hadn’t made the connection between the discrimination faced back then and as a result of faith, colour, race or disability today.

“When Holocaust survivor Eva spoke of her experiences in a concentration camp and of how she had both known Anne as a little girl and seen her diary at first hand, as her mother went on to marry Anne’s father Otto, you could genuinely have heard a pin drop.

“Immediately she finished she was surrounded by pupils shaking her hand and wanting to have a selfie with her which shows the huge impact her incredibly moving speech had on those who were listening, including me,” said Commissioner Holloway.

Bedfordshire Police’s hate crime sergeant James Hart, said: “We work hard with partners to create a more inclusive society, to stamp out prejudice and promote unity in our communities.

“By working with schools and educating around hate crime at an early age we work towards eroding preconceptions and raising awareness that everyone deserves to live a life without fear. Our young people play a huge part in our vision to end hostility in Bedfordshire.”

The Police and Crime Commissioner gave a grant of £15,000 to the Anne Frank Trust UK as part of her Victims’ Fund.

The Anne Frank Trust UK is an educational charity which uses Anne Frank’s life and diary to empower young people with the knowledge, skills and confidence to challenge all forms of prejudice and discrimination.

Their interactive programme includes an exhibition of Anne Frank’s life and diary combined with workshops and an ambassador programme.

The Anne Frank Trust UK was established in 1991 by the family and friends of Otto Frank, following his wish for an educational organisation to be set up in memory of his daughter Anne.