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Tree is a symbol of love not hate


Councillors joined together to plant a symbol of spreading love not hate during National Hate Crime Awareness Week.

The Sweet Gum tree was also planted to mark Srebrenica Memorial Day, at Stratford Park in Stroud.

Stroud District Council is committed to equality, diversity and inclusion and supporting those who are most disadvantaged in the district, and the tree planting followed a training session from Phil Sullivan, Chair of Gloucestershire Hate Crime Group, designed to help SDC staff support victims of hate.

“An objective of the Council Plan, which maps out the council’s priorities up to 2026 is to embed equality, diversity and inclusion as a priority across the Council and the district with targeted support for those who experience the most disadvantage in our communities,” said SDC Community Services and Licensing Committee Chair Chris Brine.

He was joined by SDC Leader Catherine Braun, Deputy Leader and Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Working Group Chair Natalie Bennett, Environment Committee Chair Chloe Turner, Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Working Group member Robin Drury-Layfield, Training lead for Gloucestershire hate crime group Robin Agascar, Mr Sullivan, and SDC Senior Neighbourhood Warden Jeff Neathway at the arboretum which is run by the council and dates back to the 1800s.

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Councillor Braun added: “We gathered together to plant a symbol of hope for a more inclusive future, and to send a message of solidarity with those who have experienced hate crime in our district”

National Hate Crime Awareness Week took place from October 8 to 16 with the theme of #SpreadLoveNotHate

Srebrenica Memorial Day was on July 11 this year but tree planting takes place at the Stratford Park arboretum during the Autumn.

The council’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion working group which actions the priorities of the Council Plan, tackles hate in all forms, including antisemitism and Islamophobia.

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