COMMUNITY activists protested against a visit to a popular Hampshire venue by controversial politician Nigel Farage.

Dozens of people gathered to speak out against the visit to the Concorde Club by the former UKIP leader.

Activists told the Daily Echo that he “stirs up hatred” and division, and they were protesting to spread an alternative message.

Mr Farage has been criticised and accused of racism by people including Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and activists said they feared he would “spread hate and division” in Eastleigh and Southampton.

They say he is a figurehead for right wing politics in the UK.

Before the protest, they gathered at Lakeside Country Park near the club, where they sung songs of peace and had a picnic.

Close to the club, there were also 65 flags European Union flags lining the road to the venue.

On Sunday evening campaigners gathered outside the club where they protested against ‘An Evening with Nigel Farage’, which cost £63 for non-members of the club.

Organiser of the protest Steve Squibbs, 38, from Eastleigh said: “We are not here to say that Nigel Farage can’t speak. We think it is important to have an alternative message put forward to see that he does not speak for us.

“The message we want to give is that without migrant workers, the health service would collapse. Eastleigh is a diverse area and we reject the image that Farage has of ‘white Britain’.”

Another person taking part was Anna Ridehalgh, 74, from Swaythling.

Ms Ridehalgh said: “We can’t understand why he gets so much coverage when a lot of it is trying to promote himself as a personality.”

Eastleigh is close to the heart for Farage, 52, as he contested a by-election in 1994 but only managed to attract 169 more votes than Screaming Lord Sutch of the Monster Raving Loony Party.

Since those days, Farage has proved a divisive figure.

Mr Farage returned to Eastleigh in 2013, for the by-election, where he promoted the UKIP candidate Diane James.

Manager of the Concorde Club Jamie Mathieson defended the venue’s decision to host the event.

Mr Mathieson said: “It’s not a political talk, it’s about Nigel Farage’s life. The Concorde has no political slant either way.

“It’s a free country, people can say what they want and that includes him.”