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.

The full list of winners is as follows:

Positive Role Model for Age:
Emily White

Positive Role Model for Disability:
Myles Sketchley

Positive Role Model for Gender:
Joss Cambridge-Simmons

Positive Role Model for LGBT:
Patrick Ettenes 

Positive Role Model for Race, Faith & Religion:
Darryl Laycock

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:
Codilia Gapare

Celebrity of the Year:
Sir Lenny Henry OBE

Diverse Company:

Lifetime Achiever:
Rodney Hinds

Source – As featured in Keep The Faith –

The National Diversity Awards celebrate the positive role models in communities across the UK tackling the issues in today’s society.

The awards began in 2012 and showcase community organisations, innovative entrepreneurs, inclusive employers and inspirational role models.

This year’s awards, in association with ITV News, are taking place at Liverpool Cathedral and hosted by actress and comedian Sally Phillips.

There were 28,000 nominations for this year’s awards, which will be presented in the following categories:

  • Positive Role Model: Age
  • Positive Role Model: Disability
  • Positive Role Model: Gender
  • Positive Role Model: LGBT
  • Positive Role Model: Race, Faith & Religion
  • Entrepreneur of Excellence
  • Diverse Company
  • Celebrity of the Year
  • Community Organisation: Age
  • Community Organisation: Gender
  • Community Organisation: LGBT
  • Community Organisation: Race, Faith, Religion
  • Community Organisation: Multi-Strand
  • Lifetime Achiever

Sourced- As featured by ITV News-



Born in a village in India, Barnali witnessed floods and earthquakes which devastated her local community. This sparked her lifelong passion working to combat the effects of natural disasters through scientific solutions. She is a recognized seismic expert working as a Technical Director at Mott MacDonald. She appeared on BBC2 documentary ‘The Imagineers’, highlighting the work of engineers and their solutions to major global hazards. She participated in EEFIT field mission to Nepal following the earthquake and has worked to foster an effective partnership between private companies and Aid organisations. She was recently selected by Financial Times and EM power Empower Future Leaders as top 30 future leaders in the BAME community. This recognition is inspirational as it highlights the support that she can provide for other young women in engineering in a powerful way, challenging the status quo!




Jane is a serial entrepreneur, coach, speaker, author, visionary and powerhouse on the female empowerment stage. For the past 12 years, via 2 aspirational brands Well Heeled Divas and Girls Out Loud, Jane has facilitated personal transformations for thousands of women and teenage girls. After a corporate career in marketing, Jane left a director-level job, age 28 to pursue her own business portfolio, and over the next 10 years was involved in 7 businesses. At 35, she stepped back and changed direction, as the need for a more cause related path called. She retraining as a coach and found her flow empowering others. In 2007 she set up Well Heeled Divas to support women and this opened the door to Jane’s next passion, raising the aspirations of teenage girls and in 2010 she founded the social enterprise Girls Out Loud.


2017 WINNER: 


Robyn Smart is a groundbreaking children’s book author, mentor, and CEO for Unlimited You Empowerment Program. Robyn is currently taking the world by storm with her self-published children’s books that focus on diversity and the human experience. She is an inspiration for any woman experiencing obstacles in her path and struggling to surpass them. 5 years ago Robyn developed a mystery illness resulting in the loss of her speech and memory. She began having seizures and a plethora of other illnesses which still plague her to this day. Unable to pursue her career in law and bedridden most days, Robyn began to write. Her first book My Magic Scarf was born; A tale of a young girl faced with Leukemia, and most recently her new book Who Am I? has been published. Robyn is a true example of determination and resilience, demonstrating role modeling through her attributes and attitude to life.




Bharulata is a real life story of determination, perseverance, bravery, tenacity and indomitable courage of a lone woman fighter who rose from the lowest strata of life. She is considered a role model by many females. Childhood was tough; having lost her father at young age, life brought many struggles including the prejudice of family members towards girls. Abandoned by her mother, she suffered incredible cruelty. Traumatized from her early years, Bharulata turned her life around and has dedicated her time to highlighting the inequality and injustice young girls face across the world. Last year, Bharulata drove solo from the UK to India, driving 35,838 kilometres across 32 countries and the Arctic circle, to raise awareness of “Save Girl, Educate Girls” campaign. On the face of hardships and difficulties, through her sheer grit, determination and self-belief, Bharulata has achieved milestones.




Born into a very strict family who did not believe in education for girls, Nusrat was removed from school aged fourteen and sent to Pakistan. She was not allowed to go to university after her A levels, instead was taken abroad to be married to a relative. Her forced marriage broke down due to extreme domestic violence. Nusrat then entered university as a mature student and single mum. Nusrat graduated with BA honours in English literature and won scholarships to complete legal qualifications. She was awarded an honorary LLB honours. Nusrat later founded Chadwell Heath Asian women’s Network to provide counselling, support and a safe space for other Asian women. She is now completing LLM honours.
Nusrat has pushed boundaries and against all odds followed her path to success, inspiring a new generation of women to break barriers.




At 6 years old, Helen contracted a potentially fatal kidney disease which resulted in her being hospitalised for 6 years. During this time she was sexually abused. Throughout her teens Helen battled with anorexia, bulimia, anxiety and was a prolific self-harmer. Determined to use her own pain to help others, Helen utilised her drama degree to enable people with mental health issues, those who were isolated and disaffected and those with disabilities to express themselves. One group she worked with was a support group for young people with Autism, called CASPA. Over the last 15 years she has plunged herself into developing this amazing organisation into the successful, beautiful charity it is today. This remarkable individual has used the tragic events in her own life to propel herself forward and rise above to model resilience and determination and instill it in others.


Joeli Brearley



Joeli is a relentless campaigner for gender equality and a mother of two young boys. She is the Chief Executive and founder of The Motherhood Plan CIC, which operates the ‘Young Mums Collective’ and ‘Pregnant Then Screwed.’ Pregnant Then Screwed exists to protect, support and promote the rights of mothers who suffer the effects of systemic, cultural, and institutional discrimination through various activities, including: A free legal advice service, a website where women post their stories of discrimination anonymously, lobbying the Government for legislative change, and a mentor scheme that supports women who are considering legal action against their employer. The ‘Young Mums Collective’ enables mums under the age of 25 to fulfill their career aspirations through live streamed workshops and peer to peer support. Since 2015 Joeli has supported over 1000 women who have encountered discriminatory behaviour.


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