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The Small Steps story

In 1981 when I was only 14, I joined the far-right group Birmingham Against the IRA. Watching the IRA killings on TV made me furious. One day after school, I was handed an anti-IRA leaflet; it asked a very simple question: ‘Do you think terrorism is right or wrong?’ I thought, ‘This is my chance to fight back.’ It was patriotic and made me proud of being British. I later found out that the group was part of the National Front (NF).

I was a teenager with a mother who was dying of cancer. Members of the group would drive my mum to hospital, offer me help and support whenever I needed it. They became part of my family and it gave me a sense of security. I thought that they were on the right side of history. Very quickly I was sucked into their world.

I was too young to understand what I was getting myself into. I wasted the best part of my youth, leafletting, recruiting, attacking anti-violence marches and joining a racist church. By the time I opened my eyes, I had lost my mum, dad, wife and friends all because of the far-right’s divisive ideas. All those years achieved nothing but more violence and racism in the communities I was brought up in.

As a 14-year-old I walked unchallenged into the world of far-right extremism. That is why I founded Small Steps to stop vulnerable young people from getting caught up in the manipulation and lies of the far-right movement. Since 2015, our small but dedicated team has delivered countless workshops and mentoring sessions across the UK to raise awareness of the dangers of far-right extremism, racism and violence. Our courses are tailored to specific groups such as schoolchildren, frontline services professionals and community leaders, and provide training and advice on how to tackle the issues that draw people to far-right narratives. We help expose the flaws within the far right, and highlight the signs of far-right activity and radicalisation.

Nigel Bromage, founder.

Meet the team

Darren Carroll, ex-EDL member

When I joined the English Defence League (EDL) in 2009 I felt that the far right offered me a chance to be heard. I had grievances about my local area. We had Islamist groups in our town centre and we were worried about our future and the lack of prospects. Having a collective voice seemed attractive.

However, very quickly the EDL turned into an anti-Muslim group rather than a movement against extremism. I did not like the racism and the shame that came with it. I felt that I lost my identity when I was labelled a racist. I left the EDL in 2011 and have been working hard towards a more cohesive Britain ever since.

Kieran Devlin, ex-BNP member

I discovered the British National Party (BNP) on the internet. Being a former member of the armed forces, I was attracted to the fact that they were patriotic and revered the army. I liked the camaraderie and the feeling of exclusivity. I felt like I was part of a collective.

It took me six years to realise that there was a darker side. There was a lot of racism behind closed doors, and I discovered the lies and corruption within the party. I realised that they were promoting politics of fear and division, fabricating lies on race and immigration, and I couldn’t keep my head buried in the sand any longer. I am now committed to showing young people that there is another world out there, one beyond hate and intolerance.

Our Volunteers

We couldn’t do our work without our amazing Small Steps volunteers. They come from all over the country, from many different backgrounds and work in a variety of roles to help us bring our communities together. Their commitment to Small Steps and raising awareness of the far right is remarkable.

Our partners

The far-right threat

The far right has become increasingly visible in recent years – online and on the street. Promoting a divisive narrative, far-right groups exploit the general public’s anxieties about the rise of Islamist extremism, deprivation and global conflicts.

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Support and speakers

We help organise events and specialist speakers for communities, educational establishments and professionals who are tackling far-right extremism. We also provide information packs and offer one-to-one guidance and advice through our confidential support services.

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