A new group to help grassroots organisations work together to combat hate crime has been announced by the Government during Hate Crime Awareness Week.

Minister for Faith, Lord Bourne confirmed that the new Hate Crime Support Group would help grassroots groups learn from leading charities and experts.

Bourne made the announcement on Tuesday, as he visited the memorial to Stephen Lawrence in Eltham along with Stephen’s father, Dr Neville Lawrence.

Stephen was murdered in a racist attack while waiting for a bus in 1993. The subsequent enquiry into the handling of his case led concluded that the Metropolitan Police Service was “institutionally racist”.

Describing how the new group would let grassroots groups develop skills in areas such as fundraising and website development, Bourne said it would ensure they have “the tools and knowledge to combat hate crime”.

He added: “Hate crime has no place whatsoever in British society. All communities must be able to live their lives free from fear of verbal or physical attack.”

Richard Benson, the former head of the Community Security Trust (CST), has been appointed chair of the new Challenging Hate Crime Support Group. He said it would “provide practical support to all those that work tirelessly to protect victims of hate crimes”.