On Tuesday, Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, in an unprecedented partnership with the Strong Cities Network (SCN), announced the creation of a new £800,000 fund, A Shared Endeavour, to empower communities to tackle violent extremism and a rise in hate crime offences in the capital.
With £400,000 from City Hall generously match-funded by Google.org, the new fund is part of Mayor Khan’s £1 million investment to support London’s first ever Countering Violent Extremism programme, launched in December 2017, in which the SCN featured prominently. Through the SCN, grassroots organisations will have the opportunity to bid for grants up to £50,000, providing them with the vital funding and resources to directly counter, prevent and provide alternatives to both online and offline hate and extremism.
This forms part of the Mayor’s wider initiative to partner with businesses in London to deliver impactful and sustainable solutions to hateful narratives in society. The SCN has played an important role in this endeavour. We have recently partnered with the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) to build public private partnerships to tackle hate and extremism in London.
“Communities are our greatest asset in countering hate, intolerance and extremism. That is why I am investing in them to give community groups the support and expertise they need.” Mayor Sadiq Khan
For London, one of the SCN’s founding member cities, this is an entirely new approach for uniting London’s businesses and society, and comes at a crucial time when reports of hate crime have increased 31 percent since 2015.
Globally, the threat we now face is not just one of violence by small, fringe groups, but of the mainstreaming of hateful ideologies, which drives polarisation. These new partnerships are essential if we are to address the scale of this problem, and we need a whole-of-society approach which fully involves all citizens through mainstream institutions – from sports and education, to culture and the private sector.
Cities play a leading role in building social capital, and London City Hall is demonstrating its unique position to convene the broad array of actors needed and to spur the partnerships critical to solving the challenges that underpin extremism. The Shared Endeavour Fund is only the start of this new programme of work.
Over the next year, beyond the fantastic opportunity that the Shared Endeavour Fund represents, we will be working with MOPAC to forge new partnerships with businesses to provide them with the necessary resources and tools they need to stand up to extremism. Beyond the financial support that is so sorely needed, they need access to data, communications, management, monitoring and evaluation and technology support, as well as investment in new forms of innovation and leadership. In return, businesses have enormous untapped potential, skills and resources to address social and political challenges.
The SCN intends to build on the momentum created by Google.org’s involvement in the Mayor of London’s work to attract more businesses to the table. This fund is also a wonderful opportunity to trial the grant-making model that the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), the SCN’s mother organisation, has developed with Google.org at the city level, after having tested it at the national level in the United Kingdom (Google Innovation Fund) and at the regional level in Europe (Google Impact Challenge).
Cities play a leading role in building social capital, and London City Hall is demonstrating its unique position to convene the broad array of actors needed and to spur the partnerships critical to solving the challenges that underpin extremism.