Anti-racism gathering in Sunderland

Pupils from Richard Avenue Primary School during the question and answer session of  Show Racism The Red Card at Sunderland Civic centre with guest speakers including Gary Bennett. Gary is seen here answering one of the questions.
Pupils from Richard Avenue Primary School during the question and answer session of Show Racism The Red Card at Sunderland Civic centre with guest speakers including Gary Bennett. Gary is seen here answering one of the questions.
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AN anti-racism charity is set to hold its annual meeting on Wearside for the first time.

Members and supporters of Show Racism the Red Card (SRTRC), which has branches across the country, will gather at Sunderland Civic Centre, in Burdon Road, to celebrate its work and review the past 12 months’ activities.

Craig Bankhead, North East education manager with the charity, said he was looking forward to the invitation-only 2012 Annual Review, which is expected to attract people of all ages from across the North East on October 11.

“We’re expecting a good turnout,” he said. “These kind of events give us the opportunity to bring everyone to together in the region and catch up on what’s been happening in the past 12 months. It is the first time we’ve actually held it in Sunderland, although we do a lot of work at schools and community centres in the city.”

Craig said SRTRC has received a lot of support from Sunderland City Council, which was the first local authority to fund the work of the group, and continues to have the backing of the Sunderland Partnership organisation.

“We can’t thank them enough for the support that they’ve given us,” he said. “We’ve always had a great response from the people of Sunderland, people of all ages, and hopefully the event at the civic centre will help hightlight that.

“We’ve invited children from a local school to come along and there will also be a question and answer session with ex-professional footballers.

“It will be a great day.”

Earlier this year, SRTRC, where ex-Black Cats defender Gary Bennett now works as a coach, faced an uncertain future

Bosses from the 15-year-old group submitted an application in September for funding after it emerged it faced a deficit, posting a significant loss last year.

However, it was eventually handed £200,000 by the Government. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the money would help ensure the national game was not “perverted” by the “insidious influence of the far right”.

The state funding, from the Communities and Local Government budget, will cover lessons for 9,000 young people, resources for teachers and research into racism.

“SRTRC just seems to get bigger and bigger every year,” said Craig.

“We started out as a small group in the North East and now have branches across the country.

“It has been an amazing success and we want to continue our good work. We are making a difference.”

Twitter: @sunderlandecho