People get involved in extremism for many reasons – some because they have issues with people from other ethnicities or religions, but also for more human needs – difficulties in coping with bereavement and the need for a distraction and emotional support, protection from abuse both physical and sexual, feelings of anxiety, loneliness, low self-worth, the list goes on.
As a former far-right activist, I understand how difficult it is to leave the far-right and cope with the aftermath.
Many years after leaving, over time I met other formers and in 2017 several of us got together and after talking about how much easier it would have been if a group was around who could have supported us, Exit was born.
Starting of as a community group, with just a few formers, initially we operated as a mutual support group. Firstly, chatting online and then in time offline, meeting up occasionally and supporting each other, but then more people started reaching out to us and so we had to develop.
In 2019 Exit became a CIC (Community Interest Company) operating as Exit UK Solutions CIC, offering support to people many would walk away from, Racists and Nazis, but don’t.
Speaking to people directly involved in the far-right, our aim was to listen and via education, compassion, and understating show people that all extremism is wrong and involvement or support of any kind harms, not creates and in fact makes things worse.
Offering non-judgmental support, from a strictly non-political standpoint we highlighted how extremism hurts those involved, their families and the communities they live in and in doing this brought people back from the brink, where they sat on the fringes of society, back into the community to engage with others and become valued local citizens.
Feared and loathed no more, we show how society accepts people make mistakes and if those involved hold their hands up and own what they have said and done, then society will forgive.
Listening to the stories of hundreds of people over the years has simply re-enforced the reason why we set up Exit.
Helping others to, we know families suffer to, as when someone becomes involved in extremism it isn’t only the individual who suffers, but their families and the community they live in as well, because extremism is a disease and hurts everyone it comes into contact with.
Often feeling alone with no-one to talk to, families feel ashamed that someone they love has embraced hate, but over time we show how in most cases, people are recruited online, by people they don’t know and who are skilful recruiters, who seek to recruit people away from their families and into extremist organisations.
Developing over the years Exit has now become a charity and operates as Exit Hate (Charity number 1197666).
Looking to support people when they need it, we do as much as we can, operating without any major funding, other than support from a few small companies and individual donations, which allow us to have a couple of part time staff, with most of the work and support we offer provided by volunteers and supporters.
Seeking to offer support to anyone who needs it ,we support people involved in not just far-right extremism, but other forms of extremism as well, so no-one feels abandoned by society with no-one to talk to.
Never alone, Exit is here 365 days a year, whenever people need us, and we can be contacted by reaching out to us at –
P: 0800 999 1945