Report from HEAR’s policy and campaigns officer – AGM 2020

Policy and Campaigns report HEAR AGM 2020 -Mhairi McGhee

To support equality and human rights organisations in London to influence policy and decision-makers on issues that impact on their beneficiaries; share their specialist knowledge, experience and expertise with their peers and contribute to the development of policy.”

Pan-Equality Hate Crime
Reduce fragmentation and create a stronger combined voice in London’s hate crime sector through running London’s quarterly Pan-Equality Hate Crime network, feeding expertise and expert organisations into the Law Commission hate crime law review and Equality and Diversity Forum/Equally Ours Hate Crime contact group, particularly from under-reporting and intersectional communities
Deaf and Disabled Asylum Seekers and Refugees
Increase understanding of and improve responses to Deaf and disabled asylum seekers and refugees by leading for Deaf and Disabled ‘customers’ at the Home Office NASF Equality sub-group. This year ensured a rights based, pan-equality approach was used in the production of two HO induction booklets for new applicants and delivering an event for 70+, Intersectionality in Immigration.
LGBTQI+ Diversity
Finished LGBTQI+ work. Our example working with members to raise the profile and concerns of under-heard and intersectional LGBTQI+ communities demonstrated the how and why of involving Expert by Experience and user-led VCS, and that ‘hard to reach’ is a choice by delivering a programme where the knowledge of intersex, bisexual, LGBTQI disabled, BAMER and people of faith was given primacy.
Mental Health Equality
Working with BAMER user-led organisations in the borough covered by NWL CCCGs influenced the production of Equality Objectives to reduce health inequalities through commissioning and in the implementation the NHS Long Term plan. Designed and delivered a programme of peer-learning for BAMER mental health campaigners in NWL with training from BIHR, Equally Ours, NSUN, Black Thrive and BTEG. Having worked closely with Race on the Agenda and their Healthy Lives and Healthy Minds partners delivered a workshop based on the #HardlyHardToReach campaign at their conference.
Digital Exclusion
Pulling together the experiences of digitally excluded Londoners pan-equality. The production of the “7 Deadly Sins of Digital Exclusion” a one page briefing to highlight that digital inclusion is not about having a smart phone, silver surfer training or the last mile of optic cable or free broadband but creation, curation, entertainment and choosing not to engage online. We have advised Open Data Institute, Legal Education Fund, academics, VCS on how intersectionality, poverty and privacy interact to exacerbate structural inequalities. In development are a literature review, a programme of events to improve understanding of Digital Exclusion including an event with the ONS and London Plus about the Digital First census.
Moved HEAR’s membership and mailing functions onto Interests Me
Represented London’s equality and rights sector at the first day of the Examination in Public of the New London Plan the GLA planning and housing strategy
Delivered workshop about involving Experts by Experience for Intersectional Equality at international Intersectionality conference at the University of Edinburgh
Manage HEAR’s online policy and campaigns presence including twitter, google-group, Facebook and the website
Outside P&C
Drafted Volunteer Policy to enable HEAR Network
Commissioned to produce a literature review about intersectional stigma and mental wellbeing for Thrive LDN
Delivered training as part of Awards for All training Expert by Experience campaigners
To read the full report download this pdf

Policy and campigners officer started an additional 4th day a week in October 2019 as researcher for NetEquality

London’s pan-equality hate crime network, Tuesday 12th November, 13.30 (13.00 for FREE lunch!)

Prior to HEAR’s quarterly pan-equality hate crime network between 13.30-16.30, Inclusion London are hosting a meeting for Deaf and Disabled Peoples Organisations working on hate crime (between noon and 13.00)

Book your FREE place with FREE lunch through this link . This time our meeting is open to statutory stakeholders as well as VCS. Download Charities Challenging Hate Crime AGENDA 12.11.19.

CCHC 12.11.2019 short notice

Charities Challenging Hate Crime

Easy Read paper about stigma and mental wellbeing released on World Mental Health Day

A literature review based on HEAR members’ research and expertise has been translated into Easy Read. Now everyone can read how intersectional stigma, including hate speech and discrimination, can create and exacerbate mental health support needs.

Download the Easy Read version here. At the beginning it includes easy read explanations of complex concepts like ‘intersectional stigma’ and ‘structural discrimination’.

If you need this is another format please get in touch

Please let us know if this version works for you and how we can do better. HEAR and the Expert by Experience professionals who did this brilliant (and long translation) want to know how best to communicate complicated papers like this.

What Londoners With Lived Experience Said contains recommendations for our statutory partners, based on expertise and good practice from user-led, experts by experience and frontline service providers, that when adopted with enable us all to work together for Mental Health equality in London.

Summary of What Londoners with Lived Experience Said


HEAR is Recruiting!

We are excited to announce that, due to funding from the National Lottery Community Fund Reaching Communities programme, through the City Bridge Trust Cornerstone initiative, HEAR is now recruiting for a third member of staff to join our  team to support equality and human rights work across London.


Mapping and Networks for Solidarity and Campaigning is an innovative and experimental partnership between equality networks working with grass-roots and user-led groups across London, experts in supporting small community groups use and benefit from digital tools and skills, and partners with long experience of making connections and sharing learning through digital platforms, and using social network mapping and analysis to further community development.


The aim of the project is to co-produce with small and user-led equality organisations in London a system that uses digital tools to build and strengthen their networks, enable better connections for collaboration, campaigning and solidarity, and enhance their voice and influence. The project will also have a key aim of sharing learning throughout the project, building a repository of resources that will be made widely accessible.


Principles of equality, accessibility, inclusion and the value of lived experience are at the heart of the project.


The Role:

Mapping and Networks for Solidarity and Campaigning Project Officer

This is a pivotal role in the project, based within HEAR as the lead partner, but working closely with all other partners and the wider HEAR Network membership across London. This is an experimental and innovative project, and we are looking for someone with enthusiasm, creativity and willingness to learn new skills and approaches.


Fixed term until June 2021 with possibility of some extension

£28,500 per annum pro rata   (21 hours per week) – possibility of up to £29,500 pro rata for an exceptional candidate

Plus pension scheme


Based near Kings Cross with travel across Greater London


Deadline for applications: 10am on Monday 30th September 2019

Interviews in Central London early October 2019


To apply please complete the application form and equal opportunities forms below and please do this carefully in conjunction with the below Job Description and Person Specification

No cvs please

Please let us know if you need alternative formats





Equal Opportunities Monitoring form


HEAR Application Form 2019


HEAR JD and Person Spec Reaching communities Network Development Officer



Open letter to London Mayor secured pan-equality support

In only a few days a pan-equality group of human rights and equality VCS have come together to sign a letter to London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

The letter demands that London’s City Hall must do more than just ‘talk the talk’ when it comes to challenging hate crime and support the tiny charity that runs National Hate Crime Awareness Week distributing merchandise for October’s event across all London boroughs.

As Brexit impacts on community cohesion and marginalised people are at increased risk of hate crime and targeted abuse in London, Mayor Sadiq Khan must demonstrate his commitment to challenging hate crime by working to support VCS partners who drive this work forward.

Please see and share this signed open letter to Mayor Khan NHCAW. To add your support please email letter to Mayor NHCAW
Please also see this crowdfunder from National Hate Crime Awareness Week aims to encourage local authorities (police and councils), key partners and communities affected by hate crime to work together to tackle local hate crime issues.

NHCAW coordinate the national week. Reported hate crime has gone up 17% in the last year, it has risen 123% since 2012.

We know that there are people who have been affected by hate crime who are suffering alone and we want to make sure they know the whole of the country stands in solidarity with them.

So far NHCAW project had helped get over 211 councils involved and we need your help to get the rest on-board.

NationalHCAW is about uniting communities and sharing a message of #HOPE

Open letter to Sadiq Khan to support National Hate Crime Awareness Week

Members of Charities Challenging Hate Crime last week asked HEAR to draft an open letter, for them and other HEAR members to support, asking the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and his deputies for Social Integration, Policing and Crime and London’s Victims’ Commissioner to support National Hate Crime Awareness Week 2019.

A section of the letter, including our requests, is below and the entire letter can be downloaded NHCAW open letter to Mayor Khan and deputy Mayors.

To sign the letter please email your name and organisation by 9am Monday 26th August to We will continue to accept signatures and support after the bank holiday, but to guarantee your name/organisation will be included in the published letter please sign ASAP.

Please share this letter widely. A template to request support from local authorities, the police and others, that members can used to approach their contacts will be made available shortly.

Mayor Sadiq Khan and Deputy Mayors Debbie Weekes-Bernard and Sophie Linden and Victims’ Commissioner Claire Waxman

…It has come to the attention of network members that despite commitments to reducing hate crime and targeted abuse in the Mayor’s Crime and Police Plan… MOPAC and the GLA have as yet made no contribution or commitment, financial or otherwise, to support National Hate Crime Awareness Week 2019.

…Since 2012, MOPAC has contributed a small but significant amount of money to enable the production and delivery of merchandise to facilitate hate crime awareness events across London.

This merchandise is used by City Hall, London Borough councils, the Met police, British Transport police, Transport for London, innumerable charities and social enterprises (including all those currently in receipt of MOPAC grants), schools and individuals, for their NationalHCAW events.

We the undersigned, therefore, urge the Mayor and his deputies to:

1. Immediately free up £30,000 and confirm funding so that 17-24-30 National Hate Crime Awareness Week can order, get delivery of and distribute merchandise across 33 boroughs to enable NationalHCAW to happen across London in 2019

2. Commit to sustainably supporting 17-24-30, National Hate Crime Awareness Week, the founders and organisers of NationalHCAW, with an annual contribution outside of MOPAC and GLA grants programmes, thereby treating NationalHCAW as a core-part of the work of the GLA through this small financial contribution

3. Commit to annually attending the NationalHCAW service of remembrance at St Paul’s Cathedral (or sending a letter of support if the Mayor, or a Deputy is unable to attend in person) to demonstrate support for and the significance of challenging hate crime in London


Agenda for Charities Challenging Hate Crime, 13th August

HEAR’s Pan-Equality Hate Crime Network
Charities Challenging Hate Crime
Tuesday 13th August 2019
14.00 – 16.00, arrivals and networking lunch from 13.30
Voluntary Action Islington, Pentonville Road, N1 9JP

13.30 Arrivals
14.15 Introductions and apologies
14.15 Race and faith hate debate
The Law Commission is reviewing all laws relating to hate crime and targeted abuse.
Survivors of race and faith hate are technically the most protected of the ‘protected characteristics’, however, many feel the law still does not work as well as it could particularly for intersectional and unheard communities for example BAMER and Muslim women, LGBTQI people of faith, black men with mental health support needs, GRT people and refugees. We are collecting expert by experience and frontline evidence to submit to the Law Commission review and champion the need for #ParityAndClarity
15.00 BREAK
15.15 National Hate Crime Awareness Week planning
We are delighted to be joined by Mark Healey founder of National HCAW and the team. They will present their plans for October and help add your events to their online map.
Get feedback on your plans, tell Local Authorities, police and others what you want from celebrations this year and perhaps arrange some partnership, cross-borough and pan-equality events for National Hate Crime Awareness Week 12th – 19th October 2019
15.50 Any Other Business
16.00 Meeting ends

Room available for networking until 17.30
Next meeting Tuesday 12th November 2019 p.m. at Voluntary Action Islington  @HEAR_Network

Download the agenda as a word document along with a summary of the Law Commission review through this link Charities Challenging Hate Crime AGENDA 12.08.19

7 Deadly Sins of Digital Exclusion

This is a working document that we have made in collaboration with our members.
We want to hear your thoughts about whether these 7 deadly sins of digital exclusion and ways of overcoming barriers reflect your experiences.
Is this useful to explain Digital Exclusion to commissioners, policy makers, businesses, digital natives and techy types? Do you have examples of good practice in challenging digital exclusion? Do you have examples of how to make ICT (Information and Communications Technology) work for social inclusion ?
We are also co-producing an event on Digital Exclusion so please email for more information or to get the 7 deadly sins as a pdf, word document or accessible format.

7 Deadly Sins of Digital Exclusion

1) Inaccessible technology – the device, programme, layout are not accessible to disabled and other people. This can be cluttered websites, small font, self-service terminals that are too high up or that a wheelchair user cannot get close to, undescribed images, relying on QR codes, online forms, insecure networks without clear directions as to how to get support, ‘reasonable adjustments’ or real life alternatives.

2) Technical and technological language – many Londoners speak English as an additional language. Many of us are not digital natives, and even those that are have differing knowledge, emojis are culturally specific and BSL users do not have the same grammar as verbal people. Communicate clearly, as you would meeting someone face to face for the first time.
TBH IRL = holg medal number 1

3) Intersectionality – discrimination from different stigmatised identities creates cumulative exclusions; like being in a road traffic incident at a crossroad. Someone who is a stroke survivor, not a digital native, speaks English as a second language and is living with domestic abuse will not be able to access the protection they need by your website being WCAG 2.1 AA compliant or some ‘silver surfer’ training.

4) Poverty – many UK policy makers and privileged people presume that getting online is cheap to the point of free. For intersectional people this is not the case. Devices, broadband and data, paper and printing and personal assistant hours all add up. Additionally the most excluded often have to be online for longer. Public services are increasingly pushed to become digital-by-default whilst their websites/apps are labyrinths of poorly designed, inaccessible and out of date information, meaning it takes longer to find what is needed.

5) Shared Resources – many marginalised people rely on shared resources to get online at home, in the library and by using hotspots. Shared devices and accounts at home mean less time and privacy to use. When using digital technologies in public spaces we rely on staff, friends or strangers to help us out. Would you feel comfortable online banking in an internet café with the help of a waiter? Would you hand your bankcard to a stranger to access transport?

6) Poor privacy – much of what we do digitally is as an individual. If you are reliant on shared resources or ‘help’ to access the digital world then your right to privacy is infringed. Maintaining your data rights and knowing if your online and IRL movements can be monitored is an important part of digital inclusion. Intersectional and poorer people are less likely to insist on their confidentiality or IRL alternatives and often feel compelled to give up their data rights even when they understand the risks. Even when breaches of privacy are unlikely or rare everyone has the right to refuse to log-on, sync-up, be GPS-ed or RFID-ed, or share their email or biometrics. Online forms rarely allow you to ‘prefer not to say’.

7) Risk – digital exploitation, harassment, theft and exclusion from statutory services, even those required for safeguarding, is of major concern to HEAR members. Public services duties are to provide services and protect citizens not get people ‘online’ or reduce staff. Without Expert by Experience involvement rather than harnessing the egalitarian potential of the digital revolution, we are embedding and exacerbating the discrimination and marginalisation that already exists.

Steps to including us in the digital revolution

1. Expert by Experience involvement – we can design, create, code, curate, review and consult. If you want something that will work for us, ask. Did you know that before the Deaf community became the first adopters of text messaging, SMS was an add-on companies thought would go out with the pager? DYK disabled people made London transport digital? Audio and visual announcements and countdowns on bus-stops all came from disabled campaigners. DYK that Steve Jobs was a refugee or that the herstory of coding is woman’s work?

2. Digital Inclusion is about more than ‘skills’ – it is pretty unusual to find someone in London with no experience using digital technology. Oyster cards, self-service check outs, mobile phones and on demand TV mean most have used ICT, even if they don’t know it. Academia is catching up with what marginalised communities have been saying for some time; digital inclusion is about using ICT when you want, for what you want, logging off when you want, when you can create your own online world and networks.

3. Write in plain English and include an obvious glossary – the digital world is an entirely different medium to a novel, newspaper or journal. Replicating the norms of writing developed for those media does not necessarily work on ICT. On the other hand digital interactions give us the opportunity to add sounds, images, movements and journeys that print media do not. When you do write use plain English. ICT allows footnotes and definitions to appear with a wave of a cursor.

4. Capitalise your hashtags and websites – our website can be read as He Are Quality if all in lower case (a very different meaning). Capitalising your hashtags and websites means they are easier to read, say and share, and your message won’t be misunderstood.

5. Digital tools are just tools – there is a drive and assumption that the only benefits of getting people online are getting them into work. In fact the biggest and best uses of digital technology are for entertainment and social interactions. If you use ICT to chat on skype, watch reality TV and share Bollywood songs why shouldn’t marginalised people? The benefits of digital inclusion are far beyond the world of work.

6. Advertise people’s rights and ways to IRL alternatives – public services have a duty to provide services and make ‘reasonable adjustments’. Burying a phone number, complaints procedure or office opening hours deep in a website is bad for business, and for public sector providers, breaches their statutory duties.

7. When someone comes in or calls do NOT direct them to your website – in the 21st century most people will have got your phone number from your website (not the yellow pages!) If they didn’t it is because they can’t. Sending someone to your website is unacceptable. At the minimum offer to email someone a link to the exact page or print and send the document required. Ideally if someone has come looking for a person it is because they need a person, not a screen.


Tower Hamlets No Place For Hate #EndHateTogether award winners

Tower Hamlets’ No Place for Hate Champions Project has won another award, this time from London’s Equality and Human Rights sector!

Our #EndHateTogether award, celebrating innovative and cutting edge work challenging hate crime pan-equality and cross-sector, was presented to Mayor John Briggs alongside officers from the Hate Crime and VAWG (Violence against Women and Girls) teams, and a number of the 100+ local Champions that have been trained to challenge all forms of hate since the project’s inception.

The award was presented on 2nd July by Mhairi McGhee at an event which also included the raising of the Pride flag at the Town Hall.

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets said: “The diversity of our East End community is one of our greatest assets. Our No Place for Hate Champions work tirelessly to promote positive messages about how we all benefit from stronger and safer communities, and how we all have a role to tackle discrimination and hate crimes in all their forms. I was delighted to receive this award as we raised the Pride flag over the Town Hall” 

The Tower Hamlets No Place for Hate Champions Project recruits local volunteers to go out into the community and promote community cohesion by raising awareness on hate crime, and also increasing confidence to report and challenge hate crime.

The project has successfully recruited and trained 138 Champions who have collectively delivered over 1086 projects and activities that have brought people together and promote peaceful co-existence. To date these schemes have reached more than 65,000 people, including marginalised groups across the borough. 

Shalina Akhtar, No Place for Hate Champion said: “As a Hate Crime Champion I know anyone can be a victim of hate crime, therefore it can impact individuals as well as communities as a whole. It is imperative that we educate our communities and raise awareness of Hate Crime to help victims seek support. As a victim of hate crime incidences, I understand how life changing these experiences can be and how important it is to be believed and supported.”

A number of champions were at the presentation as were representatives from the council, local LGBT forum, local police and the chair of the No Place for Hate Forum, Reverend Alan Green. 

For further information about Tower Hamlets’ No Place for Hate Campaign, including how you can sign our No Place for Hate Pledge visit

EndHateTogether TH

Prioritise Peer-led and make London a Human Rights City – ways towards Mental Health Equality

Mental Health equality is an area of interest and expertise for many HEAR
members. The causal links between exclusion, discrimination, isolation and poor mental well being are well documented.

Organisations run by and working with marginalised, including intersectional, Londoners have, therefore, extensive knowledge of the discrimination and barriers experienced by those with Mental Health Support Needs (MHSN) and have developed practical, efficient ways of overcoming them.

What Londoners with Lived Experience Said  is a literature review presenting HEAR members’ expert knowledge of intersectional communities that are of significant interest to London policy makers.

The recommendations in What Londoners with Lived Experience Said are drawn from good practice and provide a framework that can work for many intersectional and marginalised Londoners. They include London becoming a Human Rights City and City of Sanctuary and prioritising peer-led interventions.

Summary of What Londoners with Lived Experience Said
This paper also suggests some communities that require further outreach, focus and investment to improve Mental Health Equality; these are Londoners at risk of exploitation, faith communities and BAMER people; ““Racism is a political issue. Inequality is a political issue. Mental health is a political issue. We should hold politicians to account” (National Survivor User Network, 2018, ‘A Call for Social Justice Changes to Policy and Practice That Will Improve the Lives and Mental Wellbeing of Mental Health Service Users from Black and Minority Ethnic Communities’)