Stroud Town Council has taken a stand against racism, xenophobia and hate crimes and has pledged its support in making people feel welcomed in the town.
Town councillors unanimously supported a motion by Councillor John Marjoram which “reassures all people living in this area that they are valued members of our community.”
The motions states: “We are proud to live in a diverse and tolerant society. Racism, xenophobia and hate crimes have no place in our country. Our council condemns racism, xenophobia and hate crimes unequivocally. We will not allow hate to become acceptable.
“We will work to support local bodies and programmes and provide the resources that they need. Our small grants, arts and culture and community support funds will be extended to include projects that fight and prevent racism and xenophobia.
“We reassure all people living in this area that they are valued members of our community.
“We are committed to ensuring that refugees are welcomed in this area.”
John proposed the motion following national reports of increases in hate crime and racism incidents following the referendum vote to leave the European Union.
“I’ve had people in Stroud who have come up to me and said they don’t feel welcomed here anymore and that they are now cautious about what they should say in public,” said Councillor Marjoram.
“The world is too small and people move around more. No one leaves their home unless they have no other choice. All of us need to make sure Stroud is a welcoming place.”
Town Mayor Kevin Cranston said it was important for people of all cultures and for refugees to feel safe and welcomed.
“Making a clear statement as a statutory body that we wish to be welcoming is a big boost to someone who feels excluded or threatened in our town.”