Comic actress and writer Sally Phillips hosted the 08th annual National Diversity Awards on Friday 20th September.
Community organisations and role models from across the UK headed to the breathtaking Liverpool Cathedral on 20th September to witness the countries 2019 winners being crowned the best of British diversity.
ITV News have been working in conjunction with organisers leading up to the ceremony to highlight role models and community organisations on regional and national news channels.
Rachel Corp, Acting Editor, ITV News, said; “We were delighted to work with the National Diversity Awards to showcase some of the important and inspiring stories of the nominees across our news platforms. We recognise and support the devotion of those involved in highlighting equality, diversity and inclusion.”
The ceremony, which was also live streamed through ITV News’ YouTube channel, has been described as the ‘golden globes of the diversity world’ among attendees. In addition to real life diversity heroes, a number of special guests made an appearance at the UK’s largest diversity awards to show their support for the incredible nominees who have changed the lives of many.
Football pundit Chris Kamara (pictured above) joined Dragons Den alumni Levi Roots to praise role models and charities for their outstanding achievements. Scouse sensations Philip Olivier and Jennifer Ellison also showed their support alongside the cast of Hollyoaks and Emmerdale. Gold Medal Paralympian Hannah Cockroft MBE took to the stage to honour those fighting injustice and discrimination.
Taking home one of the big gongs of the night, Sir Lenny Henry CBE was the recipient of the Celebrity of the Year Award for his ongoing commitment to increasing diverse representation across the media industry,
“Diversity to me means involving everybody without any discrimination” Said Henry. “It means having integrated groups in society, it means fairness and total inclusion and that’s what the National Diversity Awards are about. This is about everybody being on the bus and nobody being left behind. And that’s what diversity and inclusion is about – nobody being left behind.”
HSBC UK and Direct Line Group were amongst some of the brands sponsoring the pioneering awards that have paid tribute to over 850 grass root charities and diversity champions since its inception. Other companies shining a light on diverse talent included The Open University, The British Army, Nielsen, MI5, Lush Spa, Financial Ombudsman, Kantar, Auto Trader UK and Morgan Sindall Construction & Infrastructure.
A record 28,543 people nominated this year alone with an astonishing 126 nominees being recognised for their various achievements nationwide. Amongst those being commended were the real stars of the show; From a reformed gangster educating children on the perils of crime, to the first ever holistic wellbeing and sexual health service for trans and non-binary people; Liverpool’s grand Cathedral was filled with goodness.
The energy in the room was an intrinsically positive one, with each nominee being extremely supportive of each other. The evening was kicked off by founder of the NDA’s Paul Sesay (pictured above), discussing the importance of the National Diversity Awards and what inspired him to create the ceremony.
“Each year we witness selfless work being carried out by community groups and role models who do not ask for the thanks and praise that they deserve”. Said Mr Sesay. “It is a privilege to recognise your bravery, resilience and courage.”
Soap star Bhasker Patel presented the first award of the night to 12 year old activist Emily White, who created ‘The Department of Ability Comic’, featuring five disabled superheroes with Emily as the leader!
Strongbones Youth Ambassador Myles Sketchley was next to receive an award in the positive role model category for campaigning tirelessly for young people with disabilities. The UK’s leading ‘super manny’, Joss Cambridge-Simmons was gifted with the gender accolade for challenging stereotypes and taking modern childcare to the next level.
Patrick Ettenes was named LGBT role model of the year for raising awareness and understanding of HIV and dementia, whilst Darryl Laycock was awarded the positive role model for race, faith and religion for educating over 160,000 children on the perils of crime.
C-Lash founder and breast cancer survivor Codilia Gapare scooped the the Entrepreneur of Excellence Award for revolutionising the beauty industry by creating the first ever false lashes range for chemotherapy patients.
Another highlight of the evening came when Wirral based charity The Hive Youth Zone (pictured above) accepted the Community Organisation Age Award for welcoming 160 young people per night at the state-of-the-art facility.
Optical retail chain Specsavers were presented with the Diverse Company Award and CliniQ were hailed for changing the way that holistic wellbeing sexual health HIV services are now informed for trans and non-binary people.
The Josephine & Jack project were commended for using life-sized rag dolls to teach people with learning difficulties about sex and relationships, and Andys Man Club were applauded for becoming one of the most important organisations working to help men today, with 10,000 men using the groups last year alone.
Musicians in Exile beat seven other competitors for their work uniting asylum seeking and refugee musicians through the universal language of music, and L6 Community Association emerged as the winner of the Multi-strand category for improving the lives of 89,743 residents in one of the most disadvantaged areas of the country.
Author, speaker and longstanding sports editor of Britain’s leading black newspaper ‘The Voice’ for over 19 years, Rodney Hinds received the prestigious lifetime achiever award with a list of tremendous achievements being recongised by judges.
Featuring an array of local talent performing at the ceremony, Batala Mersey welcomed guests with their mighty Samba Reggae Drummers, World Champion Dancers Jelli Studios wowed the audience with an energetic performance portraying a powerful message, and the ceremony concluded with X factor’s LMA Choir filling the grand Cathedral will their stunning vocals.
Designed to highlight the country’s most inspirational and selfless people, the NDA’s are supported by the likes of Stephen Fry, Katie Piper and Adam Hills amongst many. Talk show legend Graham Norton said;
“Promoting and celebrating diversity is close to my heart, which is why I am thrilled to support The National Diversity Awards! Congratulations to all of this year’s nominees, you all deserve to win!”
The National Diversity Awards was a real feel good ceremony, where each nominee had earned their right to be in attendance for their fantastic work in their specific community.
The UK’s grandest celebration of diversity was a wholeheartedness event refreshingly celebrated in such swanky style, that it was evident who were the stars of this show, the well-deserving, humble and extraordinary nominees.
full list of winners is as follows:
Positive Role Model for Age:
Positive Role Model for Disability:
Positive Role Model for Gender:
Positive Role Model for LGBT:
Positive Role Model for Race, Faith & Religion:
Community Organisation Award for Age:
The Hive Youth Zone
Community Organisation Award for Disability:
The Josephine & Jack Project
Community Organisation Award for Gender:
Andys Man Club
Community Organisation Award for LGBT:
Community Organisation Award for Race, Faith & Religion:
Musicians in Exile – The Glasgow Barons
Community Organisation Award for Multi-strand:
L6 Community Association
Entrepreneur of Excellence:
Celebrity of the Year:
Sir Lenny Henry OBE