Sir Ian McKellen, the openly gay veteran actor, has added his name to a list of people and organisations condemning all forms of hate crime in the London borough of Tower Hamlets.

The No Place For Hate pledge places responsibility on individuals, communities and all organisations to challenge discrimination and improve community safety.

It is supported by hundreds of residents and more than 30 local organisations and was launched in December 2008 by Tower Hamlets council.

Sir Ian, who is a patron of Bethnal Green youth charity Step Forward, signed the pledge at the charity’s annual meeting.

Sir Ian said: “As a neighbour and supporter of Step Forward for many years, I am still impressed by the effect caring professionals can make on a community. Tower Hamlets needs specialists who can untangle the mess which makes young lives unhappy and unproductive.

“Obviously this work must continue to be supported by local government and local individuals who care about their community.”

Tower Hamlets council’s hate crime policy and partnership manager Menara Ahmed commented: “I am delighted that Sir Ian McKellen and Step Forward have signed up to the No Place For Hate pledge.

“It is vital that we all work together on this. Everyone has a duty to make sure Tower Hamlets is no place for hate. Together we can truly make a difference.”