Imagine a scenario where someone is stirring up hate in your community. Maybe it’s just one person, maybe it’s an organised group. Maybe you don’t have to imagine, because it’s happening in your community right now, and it’s really vile.

You want to respond - you want to make things better, and stand up to hate - but you’re not sure how to get started. Who do you contact first? What will make things better, and how do you make sure you don’t make things worse?

It’s exactly for scenarios like this that the team at Hope Not Hate Charitable Trust have put together a new website hub, jam packed with information and resources designed to be accessible and useful for anyone who wants to take a stand against hate and make a difference.

Our site includes examples of real life scenarios where we have worked with local people to make a difference when hate has come calling. From the EDL planning to reignite physical confrontations between communities in Bradford in 2001, to the long term change brought about by a community newsletter and positive activities on an estate where the BNP had gained purchase in the West Midlands, through to the power of a unified response celebrating the diversity of Golders Green when threatened by a neo-Nazi rally. We have put together resources which we think will help others when hate comes to town.

Over all the years we’ve been working in communities, we have always found that the vast majority of people are proud of the place they live, and just want to get on with their fellow residents. Even if residents admit they don’t necessarily have that much contact with everyone who lives or works near them, most people are happy to live side by side with others. But sometimes, something comes along to change that. A threat to the unity of a community can come in many guises, and some are easier to spot than others.

Many tensions that arise in communities are because of an outside threat, but don’t underestimate the trouble that can be caused by division arising within a community too.  Sometimes hate comes as a response to an event or incident which impacts on a whole community, but hate does not have to be the default response, even to terrible events such as a terrorist incident or the exposure of organised child sexual exploitation.

Whatever the cause, we believe that taking the time to think strategically about what a community is seeking to achieve by responding will affect the outcome of any response. Every scenario is different, and what worked last time in your town might need to be altered for a new situation. Carefully thinking about objectives, strategy and tactics can make all the difference in how successful you are.

It is also vital to think about how you build support for your campaign, and how to reach different groups in your community, and adapt your messaging accordingly. The message that appeals to an active anti-racist will be very different to the one that strikes a chord with someone who has not considered getting involved in taking a stand before. We recommend working on a plan to get different groups involved and use influencers in the community. That might be someone in a formal position like an MP, or someone who does not even see themselves as an influencer, but is a popular local volunteer at a youth club or football team.

On our site, we have resources including videos, explainers and a downloadable guide to running an effective campaign. We’ve also included a guide to different hate groups, as well as a guide and links to help people report and get support if they experience a hate crime.

The underlying message we most want people to be able to take away from this new project is that, when hate comes to town, we don’t have to respond to it by closing in on ourselves as communities. With the right planning and confidence, we can use this threat as an opportunity to celebrate all that is good in our local area. It is an opportunity to rally the community and say that we all stand strong together against hate.