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-

A police officer from Bradford has been hailed as a shining example for diversity.

PC Dharmesh Mistry was shortlisted in the final eight for the Positive Role Model Award for Race, Religion and Faith at the 2019 National Diversity Awards, which took place at the Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool on Friday (20 September).

Dharmesh, who is 49 and works at Trafalgar House Police Station, was chosen for the work he does both as a police officer and a community volunteer by the force’s People Officer Anna Button, who also uploaded a video on social media to encourage her followers to vote for him.

“It was an absolute honour to just make the shortlist of nominees,” said Dharmesh, who has served with West Yorkshire Police for 14 years.

“To be recognised nationally for the work I have done to raise awareness of diversity is just amazing and I would like to thank everyone who supported my nomination.”

Despite suffering with arthritis in both knees Dharmesh is very active in his community and volunteers with initiatives in Bradford which help the homeless and the vulnerable.

He is also a member of the city’s Hindu community and as a representative of the Black Police Association helped to deliver its ‘Natural Born Leaders’ programme to college students from Bradford.

“Volunteering allows me to give something back to the community – raising awareness  and making a positive difference to people’s lives,” said Dharmesh.

“I am also proud to represent West Yorkshire Police and will continue to do all I can as a police officer to strengthen the relationships between the police and the many communities of Bradford District.”

Chief Constable John Robins, said:

“I am delighted that Dharmesh has been recognised nationally for the work he does as a West Yorkshire Police officer and a volunteer.

“To make the final eight nominees for such a prestigious award demonstrates his total commitment towards championing diversity and working hard for his community.”

Sourced – As featured by West Yorkshire Police –



Fr Andrew was until recently Vicar of two parishes in London. He was the first working Vicar to marry a same sex partner in June 2014 and has faced strong opposition and considerable hostility from those opposed to LGBTQIA people’s rights within the Church of England. He is an outspoken critic of the leadership of the Church of England for its institutional homophobia and its discriminatory policies against its own LGBTIQIA clergy and members. As a member of General Synod, the parliament of the Church, he has contributed to the ongoing debate on human sexuality within the Church and helped produce a manifesto for change in the Church to promote equality and diversity in the Church of England. He continues to provide pastoral support and encouragement to many LGBTIQIA Christians in the struggle for greater acceptance and inclusion.




Jaspreet Kaur, better known as Behind the Netra for her poetry is a spoken word artist from East London. By day, she is a History teacher at a secondary school in central London, with an academic background in both History and Gender Studies. Her work aims to tackle issues related to gender discrimination, mental health stigma, decolonisation and more. The end of 2016 brought Behind the Netra the title of one of the Top 10 Most Inspirational Sikh Women in the UK. It’s been an incredible year for Behind the Netra, being in the national #thriveon advert with Idris Elba, working with the UN on the HeforShe campaign, presenting her first TED talk and recently won the Asian Women of the Year award and won a Rising Star Award for her inspiring work in education and teaching.




Dr. Baptiste has always been passionate about medicine; from a young age she aspired to become a doctor. After qualifying in 2013 she began working as a medical doctor in London. Currently Patrice is training to become a General Practitioner (GP). Dr. Baptiste is also a freelance writer and has written for the British Medical Association (BMA), the British Medical Journal (BMJ) and the Medical Protection Society (MPS), to name but a few. Patrice works closely with students who wish to enter top universities such as University College London (UCL) and study highly competitive courses like Medicine. During 2016 she launched DreamSmartTutors, an organization that aims to help prospective medical students; especially (but not exclusively) students from less privileged and BME backgrounds. As a STEMNET ambassador, Patrice aims to encourage students to pursue STEM subjects.




Kenyan-born, mother of one, Jacqueline Onalo is a barrister and solicitor of England and Wales. She is a senior human rights lawyer who contributes to Home Office policy consultations related to asylum, immigration and human rights law. Jacqueline is a fellow of the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce). She is an acclaimed and in-demand legal and leadership trainer who regularly fulfils requests for key note and motivational speaking roles. In the public sector Jacqueline is currently working with the NHS on development programmes targeted at ethnic minorities breaking the glass ceiling. She has devised and delivers JOLT Youth Leadership and Mentorship Programme. Miss Onalo is a Comic Relief African Diaspora ChangeMaker, one of 100 key African leaders selected for her extensive achievements in community and international development work in Sub Saharan Africa and the UK.




Alex Raikes MBE is Director (Strategic) of Stand Against Racism & Inequality (SARI), a specialist, charity dedicated to tackling hate crime and promoting equality and community cohesion across the Avon and Somerset area. SARI changed its’ charitable objectives in 2013 to allow it to support those facing other types of hate crime and to also promote equality and diversity for those with any legally protected characteristics. Alex is renowned for her passion, drive and specialist and practical knowledge on the implications of all forms of hate crime, in particular racist attacks and on delivering services to victims. She has an extensive knowledge of other equalities and support services in the region and during her time in SARI has been instrumental in implementing core procedures, developing anti-racist/ equalities related partnerships, designing and providing specialist interventions and projects in response to the many demands on SARI.




Tony is an entrepreneur, singer-songwriter, award winning author & Empowerment Coach. For 25 years he’s been investing in some of society’s most disadvantaged people, transforming lives through creating and delivering holistic programmes and workshops, just as his mentor did for him 35 years ago when, as a teenager, he made himself intentionally homeless in pursuit of his purpose. In 2003, Tony founded Urban Voice UK which invested more than £1.5 million pounds into empowering ambitious individuals enabling women and young people from the Black and Ethnic communities to express their musical and entrepreneurial talents. As a result many individuals have gone on to achieve success in a variety of careers across the globe including music artists Alexandra Burke and Leona Lewis to name a few. This October his Grow Personal Success and Business Coaching programme celebrates their 5th NatWest Bank supported Awards.


2017 WINNER: 


Currently Assistant Director of Finance and Procurement at a London Housing Association, Morenike continues to make transformational changes and contributions to the organisation. In addition to her day job, Morenike is passionate about developing and seeing others excel in their chosen career. Having mentored several candidates, Morenike recognised that many are being held back from higher aspirations, largely due to a negative mind-set and ineffective work ethics. Identifying the gap in the marketplace has compelled her to create “Career Nuggets”, a social enterprise aiming to bridge this gap. Morenike is also an award winning author of 2 bestseller books, selling over 1,000 copies to date. This remarkable individual is being applauded for giving back so much on top of her day job, including investing her own funds and time into Career Nuggets. Her impact within the BAME community is outstanding.

We spoke with Morenike after she won The Positive Role Model Award for Race/Faith/Religion at The National Diversity Awards 2017. Here’s what she had to say:

What were your thoughts on the other shortlisted nominees within your category?

They were all phenomenal, I thought that all shortlisted nominees were all winners, doing amazing work in different capacities.

Although you were unable to attend the ceremony, what were your thoughts after winning The Positive Role Model Award for Race/Faith/Religion?

I still completely overwhelmed, I didn’t think I would win it, as the category was very strong. However, I am grateful to the person (s) who nominated and voted for me. They have given me a gift that money cannot buy – they have given me so much joy and encouragement. I really want to appreciate Paul Sesay for creating such an amazing platform too. I am sorry I was unable to attend due to being caught up at a prior engagement of educating and empowering some youths in the area of their career development. It still seems like a dream and it is so nice to be recognised and appreciated. Winning the National Diversity Award has motivated and encouraged me more to continue to do what I am passionate about, which is giving back and helping people progress in their desired careers.

What reaction have you received from supporters/fellow employees since winning the award?

I have received so many congratulations from so many different people. Winning the award has created a lot more awareness of me and my social enterprise ‘Career Nuggets’. People have been checking me out on my social media platforms, sending me messages… all this as helped me gain greater exposure.

How will you utilise winning the award?

Firstly, I am going to use The National Diversity Award winner signature. Winning the award has given me the confidence to look for new opportunities in areas I would not have considered before. Presently, I single-handedly sponsor all that I do, now I am going to venture out and look for people to collaborate with and possibly get some sponsors too. I am sure this award will allow me to leverage with large organisations and gain their support.

Now that you have won a National Diversity Award, what are you going to go from here? What are your next steps?

My next steps will be  now to speak much more about areas of diversity and winning a National Diversity Award will give me the courage and strength to do so. I feel like I am now an ambassador of The NDA and will encourage others to nominate. Winning a National Diversity Award will empower me to share my knowledge of Diversity and Inclusion.

In your own words, how do you feel the work you are carrying out is making a difference?

I am making a difference because I am reaching individuals who may not have had as many opportunities as others might have had in the areas of career. Having a career is beyond having just a very good qualification. I help people find solutions to the gap they have from where they are (As is position) to where they want to be  (To be position) in their chosen career. I have been able to give people hope, skills, financial independence and access to opportunities they wouldn’t have come across. I believe I am also a connector and have been able to use my network to create opportunities for others.

Why do you think it is important to highlight Diversity, Equality and Inclusion?

It’s so important to highlight Diversity, Equality and Inclusion in all we do because we can achieve much more by having people from diverse backgrounds working together. For example, a diverse office is a beautiful place to work, allowing people to be themselves leading to a ‘realness’ and positivity within the work place. It increases productivity and helps businesses to grow.

Who or What is your inspiration?

My inspiration is my late mum, she was a single parent who just gave as much as she could to allow us as many opportunities as we could without a father figure at home. We were content and never felt like we missed out on anything. She had so much drive for her two daughters to succeed in life. I am also a Christian so my faith in God is also my inspiration and driving force behind what I do.


National Diversity Awards

Copyrights © 2019 National Diversity Awards / All Rights Reserved

Web Design by Marketing Originals