Two West Yorkshire Police employees have been nominated in the national Control Room Awards 2019.

The awards are due to take place this Thursday (7 March) at the De Vere Orchard Hotel in Nottingham.

Chief Inspector Nick Rook has been nominated for the award for Services to the Public and police staff member Eddie McEvoy is nominated in the Special Recognition for Bravery and Courage category.

Chief Inspector Rook is one of only a handful of registered sight impaired officers in the UK and has previously been nominated in the National Diversity Awards and European Diversity Awards for his work as a role model for other disabled police employees.

He has been a serving police officer for 20 years but four years ago suffered health complications which resulted in him losing nearly all his sight in his right eye. Since then he has suffered complications with his left eye, also affecting his vision. He was determined to retain his current position in the Force Communications Department and is now using specialist equipment to ensure he can still work effectively.

Chief Inspector Rook returned to work as soon as he could after losing sight in his right eye and since then has assisted with rebranding and setting up the first operations centre for the National Police Air Service, designed a new shift pattern which reduced sickness levels and brought in a replacement command and control system which saved the Force thousands of pounds.

He is also an executive member of the West Yorkshire Police Disability Association, a role in which he engages with others and tries to break down disability barriers.

Chief Inspector Rook said: “It is humbling to receive such recognitions. What I am really pleased about, especially taking into account Eddie’s nomination, is that these awards shine the spotlight on the hard work my colleagues in Contact Management do every day behind the scenes.”

Police staff member Eddie McEvoy, who works as an Initial Contact Officer in the Force Communications Department, has been nominated for talking a potentially suicidal male off a bridge. He was off-duty at the time of the incident in January 2018.

Being an experienced call handler, Eddie was aware of the potential risks to himself of approaching an individual with mental health issues who was in crisis. However, he took the decision to stop at the scene, talked the male away from the barrier and walked with him off the bridge.

This is the second year in a row that Eddie has been nominated for a Control Room Award.

Senior Contact manager Tom Donohoe said: “The APD Control Room awards are an important way to recognise those staff who work tirelessly and with dedication and commitment, but are not always in the public eye.

“I am delighted that for the second year running West Yorkshire Police have been nominated. It’s great to be in company with unsung heroes from other police forces, the fire service and smbulance service.

“These awards are a great way to recognise all the work that these staff do, day in and day out.”

Source – West Yorkshire Police

Joshua Beckford is recognised internationally in over 90 countries for his extraordinary educational achievements.

A 12-year-old child Prodigy who is diagnosed with Autism, Joshua has already achieved more than most neuro-typical people in the world. At 2 years old, he quickly mastered reading fluently using phonics and was speaking Japanese by the age of 3. At the age of 6 he became the youngest person in the world to study Philosophy and History at Oxford University, gaining a distinction in both subjects. Joshua enjoys fund-raising for three Autism Charities, one in the U.K and two in Africa, and campaigns to save the environment. Last year, he wrote and presented a Poem ‘Saving Mother Earth’ at the TED x International Conference in Vienna. Joshua also designs and delivers Power-Point presentations on Human Anatomy at Community fund-raising events to audiences ranging from 200 to 3,000 people. We spoke with Joshua after he won The Positive Role Model Award for Age at The National Diversity Awards 2017. Here’s what he had to say:

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

Congratulations to all those Short- listed and each category of winners. They are the most incredible inspiring people who all deserve to be recognised for making a difference to people’s lives all over the U.K.

What were your thoughts after winning The Positive Role Model Award for Age?

I was so excited and happy. Although I have won many awards I still find it hard to believe that I won the National Diversity Positive Role Model for Age. During the announcements I closed my eyes and crossed my fingers and when I opened my eyes I heard my name being called as the winner. It was also so exciting to be dining in Liverpool Cathedral.

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

Lots of people has been sending me congratulations on social media. I saw that I was mentioned on the front page of the Liverpool Echo Newspaper and page 10 of the Voice. Just after the award I was shortlisted for yet another award from the Black British Entertainment Awards (BBE) and I was interviewed by Rosie Osbourne who interviews inspirational artists from around the world. An art dealer who owns an Art Gallery has purchased on of my drawings for his private collection. It’s really exciting to have my drawing displayed alongside famous adult artists in a Gallery. I am also featured in a new magazine called Stories of Success (S.O.S) produced by Black Youth Achievement and sponsored by University College London (UCL). This magazine highlights the success stories of African and African Caribbean people. 5,000 hard copies will be distributed Schools, Colleges and Universities across the U.K.

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

The National Diversity Award has allowed me to continue to inspire even more people. I am getting more speaking invitations than I can comfortably fit in. I have been invited to speak to young children who are running their own business at Price water House Cooper Offices in London Bridge

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

I think that my story is making a big difference to children everywhere who read about me. We get lots of positive comments on social media each day. It difficult to reply to all the comments. I have even appeared on an American Health website called Hearty Soul which has 2 million subscribers.

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

It’s important to highlight Diversity, Equality and Inclusion because it reflects how the world really is and it gives companies and organisations who promote Diversity, Equality and Inclusion an advantage over their competitors.

Who or What is your inspiration?  

My greatest inspiration is the ancient Egyptian father of Medicine and Multi-Genius Imhotep who lived 2,700 BC and my dad who taught me from when I was very young. This give me the confidence to dream big and know that I can achieve virtually anything.

The National Diversity Awards 2017 Post Awards Winners Interview What were your thoughts on The National Diversity Awards Ceremony?

I find the National Diversity Awards Winners interviews very inspiring. It was the largest collection of the most incredible people who are all helping to make the world a better place in one room. The ceremony was “out of this world” It’s the Golden Globe Awards for ordinary people to be recognised and treated like celebrities for making a difference to the lives of others. The Awards Ceremony will help to start to make positive change in the world.

Did you enjoy your evening?

I really enjoyed the evening which I will never forget. Everyone was looking smart and the entertainment was excellent. Just sorry I wasn’t allowed to go to the party because I was too young.

If you have been following me on social media you may have spotted that I was nominated for

The National Diversity Awards on International Women’s Day 2017. I had the great pleasure of attending the awards ceremony at the majestic Liverpool Anglican Cathedral on the 8th of September.

The night was aptly named in jest; ‘Donald Trump’s worst nightmare’ by comedian and National Diversity award-winner Adam Hill, as well as being incredibly inspired, I learned some huge lessons around tolerance.

Founded by Paul Sesay, with a focus on equality and inclusion, The National Diversity Awards celebrates the excellent achievements of grass-roots communities that tackle the issues in today’s society, giving them recognition for their dedication and hard work in striving for equality. It’s a hugely successful awards ceremony with this years awards being the sixth and biggest instalment yet with over 22,000 nominations.

I had proudly been nominated as a Positive Role Model for Race in the National Diversity Awards for the work I’ve been doing to bring diversity and race equality into the mainstream media and wedding industry. It was incredibly humbling to be amongst thousands of movers and shakers in the UK who are doing such meaningful things to push forward equality, a powerful and authentic camaraderie up until Friday, I simply had not experienced.

The camaraderie made me think about a few significant moments in our socio-political climates that have made a permanent dent in our history this year. Charlottesville and our racial divide. Grenfell Tower and our class divide. And after the current responses in the press about gender fluidity / gender neutral classrooms and John Lewis‘ decision to remove gender labels for boys and girls; all of the above events have opened up huge and divided debate, but what each of these moments all share in common is, intolerance to difference.

Why are we so intolerant to difference?

As a diversity consultant and of course founder of Nu Bride. I set myself up to be constantly questioned and challenged. As such, I spend a lot of my time defending diversity, justifying why diversity matters.

Championing for diversity, going ‘against the grain’, against the mainstream media and popular culture, where success and desirability has a bias on white, heterosexual, male and able-bodied, is no easy feat. It is isolating and it is tough.

Frequently challenged by the majority, by those who perhaps have become accustomed to privilege, by those who feel like strides towards equality can feel like ‘less than’ for the majority…

Well what about us? That’s not fair? All lives matter right?

Aside from the overarching theme to make each other and the world around us a better and more tolerant place, what the National Diversity Awards reminded me is that, not only is diversity important to give an accurate reflection of what life naturally is, celebrating diversity is imperative in educating and challenging this discourse, so difference is not questioned, so that it is seen as the norm. Until then, it will remain imperative to provide platforms for minorities, platforms that raise awareness of groups of people who have not been afforded the same opportunity as their peers because of their genetic make up, because of a bias that has been conditioned and hard-wired into our brains. A narrative that perpetuates our own subconscious bias, one that continuously tells us that disabled is less than, that women are less than, that homosexuality is less than, that black and ethnic minority groups are less than.

What the National Diversity Awards did beautifully, was to celebrate every aspect of diversity in a inclusive way. Which in my opinion is key, not segregating, not disempowering one over the other, but coming together, to shine a spotlight on those who are often assumed by our own subconscious bias as less than, but instead as incredible. As inspiring. As mind-blowing. As remarkable human beings.

There are so many more winners and nominees worthy of mention, some award-winners that stood out to me were, former actress and founder of Road Casting, Coralie Rose who won Entrepreneur Award of Excellence, for her commitment to casting real and underrepresented people in commercials, TV and film, inspired after not seeing people like herself or her family represented on TV and beyond. She was also responsible for casting the first Muslim girl wearing a hijab for H&M.

Another stand out winner was Community Organisation Award-Winner for Gender: Men Tell Health, a mental heath charity dedicated to helping men talk about their mental health and reduce male suicide.

Life Time Achievement award-winner Avril Hitman reduced me to tears, founder of Magpie Dance since 1985 an inclusive dance company for people with learning disabilities to express themselves through the power of dance her popularity was palpable. Positive Role Model for Disability winner and favourite James Sutliff – diagnosed with neurological disorder Dystonia which can cause muscle wastage, speech loss and lack of mobility. Defying all odds, James is a force to be reckoned with and was awarded for the impact he is making in the fitness industry as an extremely successful bodybuilder, personal trainer and disability coach.

And then there was the very talented and delightfully confident 12-year-old child prodigy; Joshua Beckford, who lives with Autism and exceeds exceptional expectations in academia, thought to be one of the smartest children in the entire world, who won the award for Positive Role Model for Age and brought the house down with an inspiring speech to follow your dreams. The confidence he naturally exuded was a lesson in itself

Hosted by The Scissor Sisters co lead vocalist, Ana Matroinc and Brian Dowling, with a goose bump inducing finale by delicious singer Mo Adeniran, winner of The Voice 2017, who blew the house down and got everyone on their feet with an impromptu jamming session with colleague Misha B – one of my favourite moments.

The awards had a refreshing focus on individuals, not just organisations and celebrities, but the grass-roots of communities across the UK following their passion and purpose to bring about positive change. Some overcoming incredible odds, others paving their own strident way to being the change they want to see in the world.

I left the National Diversity Awards feeling extremely inspired. I discovered that striving for diversity is not the lonely road I once thought it was. I personally didn’t make the finalist shortlist – but somehow my own journey in the National Diversity Awards seemed unimportant, I was inspired beyond belief by the camaraderie, by the inclusive tribe of equality seekers (or modern-day freedom riders as I like to call them) Not simply falling in line and accepting what is. But having the courage to be vulnerable, striving for more, recognising their part, their power and privilege in wanting and creating more for generations to come. I felt super proud to be part of that tribe.

Celebrating diversity and being an inclusive business owner and advocate goes beyond the tick box exercise – the ‘I’ve done it once’ badge of honour. Do it again and again and again and again. Not so it’s tokenism, not so it’s a badge of honour, but because it’s a true reflection of the remarkable souls who make up the United Kingdom.

Only when we consistently see different versions of intelligence, success, power, desirability, in our communities, in our workplaces, in our schools, in lecture halls, in our boardrooms in magazines, on TV, in films, on catwalks, that go beyond the pre-conditioned stereotype, will we truly start to accept each other as equals and evolve.

Join me in being that change.


Latest Blog

A Night To Remember…..

  • 2 years ago
  • written by NDA

Liverpool is an amazing place. One of those places you need to visit again and again to get the real feel of the place. It is full of culture, history and vibrancy. But why were we there? We were there, of course, to attend the National Diversity Awards.  The National Diversity Awards is a prestigious black-tie event that recognises, honours and  celebrates roles models, charities, organisations and entrepreneurs that are dedicated to enhancing diversity, equality and inclusion.

And I was amongst them…

I was honoured to have been nominated, let alone shortlisted from 22’000 applicants, to receive an Award for “Entrepreneur of Excellence.” Although I did not win, it was amazing to have been recognised and I appreciate all those that voted.

The Journey

My partner Dean and I jumped in a taxi with a couple we heard were going to the same place as us. We immediately clicked. As we got talking,  it was clear that we were sitting amongst two very special people. James Sutliff told us that he suffered from dystonia, a rare disorder that affects the neurological system as the body suffers from abnormal and repetitive spasms. This means speaking and eating can be a real challenge for James. It’s an invisible disorder. He said he just woke up one day feeling unwell. After he took a nap, he woke up and realised that his speech was slurred and severely distorted. He has been living with it for seven years.

His wife Sam is a phenomenal woman and never have I met a couple so in sync. The intuitive connection they both have was quite moving. Although we could understand most of what James was saying, Sam seamlessly filled in the gaps and interpreted. James told us in the car that he was nervous and that he hadn’t planned a speech. He had been nominated for Role Model for Disability.

Having an understanding of what it is like to live with a disability or disorder, James knows what it is like to feel marginalized. He is now a Disability Fitness Coach and model who coaches those who have severe autism, suffer from low self-esteem and have disabilities. He works on their physical fitness as well as their confidence at an emotional level and he achieve results! He is on a crusade to raise awareness about dystonia. By the time we left the car, we wanted James to win and were excited to have met such a down to earth and incredible couple.

On entering the cathedral, we were greeted with champagne and canapes. It was a glamourous affair and it was refreshing to be amongst movers, shakers and change-makers. I have to give kudos and respect to Paul Sesay, The Founder, for having the vision to create this event to celebrate so many people making a difference in the world. We took a few photos and I practiced my pose on the cathedral stairs (still working on it)  before we made our way to our table. Table 37!

Table 37

Now, I have to say,  I think we had the chattiest table in the whole cathedral. What I loved the most was that it truly was diverse. Each and every one had a story and a cause that was important to them and the support and cheers from the table were particularly touching. We had only known each other for the space of a few hours but were rooting for each other to win.

Here are a few of our table buddies who were up for nomination

  • Faye Waddams – Positive Role Model Award for Disability (her blog is here).
  • Revd. Andrew Foreshaw-Cain – Positive Role Model Award for Race, Faith and Religion
  • Kerri Swindells – Community Organisation Award for LGBT (National Ugly Mugs)
  • Gary  Pollard  –  Community Organisation Award for Gender (Men Tell Health)

     –(taken from Gary Pollard’s blog Men- Tell Health) Read here: Gary’s blog 

Other table mates were Kieran Bohan, Dell from Ugly Mugs, Luke Levine and Jacqueline Pollard (Gary’s lovely wife.) It was also great to finally meet my Facebook friend Sarah Lovatt-Ellis from Hyper-Fusion Theatre Company in the flesh who had also been nominated for an Award as well as the lovely Leanne Armitage, a young woman with a huge vision.

Two hours in, and we were ecstatic that Gary won it for Table 37…er I mean..all the fantastic work he has been doing. On a serious note, his organisation, “Men Tell Health is a male-focused mental health Community Interest Company. Their aim is to reduce male suicide and to help men understand, manage and accept their own mental well-being. They do this differently to almost everyone else. They do it in the way they talk about mental health, initially by using humour to destigmatise and to engage. This extraordinary organisation is the brainchild of Gary Pollard who lives with PTSD, depression and acute anxiety. What started out as a blog expanded to fill a major gap for men struggling and looking for help, creating a site that talked to people like a friend would, not like parents or Doctors. Men Tell Health are now the only men-specific mental health organisation in the region of Teesside, running three different types of men-only groups including SpeakEasy, PopStart, and ReBoot. Their life changing work has not gone unnoticed.”- NDA website.

Gary is a legend and truly deserves this Award and I know he will go on to help many more men. Men need outlets just as much, if not more so than women, as they are often taught to “suffer in silence” or grow up with the notion that “Big Boys Don’t Cry” or told to “Man up.” My belief is it is this very conditioning that suppresses a man from expressing himself and therefore leading to expressing himself in a much more harmful way further on down the line. What I love about Gary’s work is that he offers men a safe space to share their story and anxieties without judgement and with humour.

Another highlight was seeing my good friend Robyn Smart. I first met Robyn when I interviewed her on my Periscope Show, “Book Journey Mentor Uncut” on WOWTV. See interview here Interview Part I    Interview Part II    Prior to that, I remember spotting her at The Mind, Body and Spirit Festival quite a while ago now and being impressed with her plight to empower young children who were going through and overcoming an illness. I also loved her mission to empower young girls of Black Caribbean and African Heritage by creating strong protagonists, celebrating their culture and putting them on the map of  Children’s Fiction in the literary world!  She too had been nominated for an Award and was up for Positive Role Model for Gender.  Ten minutes before the second half of the Award ceremony, Robyn was saying she did not think she would win…

Screams exuded from our table when her name was announced as the winner! Well done Robyn. Well deserved!

Taking the opportunity to explore Liverpool, we visited the sites, one of which was Slave Museum. Having visited many similar museums and exhibitions before, I wondered what would be new. What struck me most was not the horrific abuse my ancestors faced but that the long-lasting effects of slavery still hang in the air. Reading the accounts of some of Liverpool’s residents (1940s-1970s) was heartbreaking. The overriding thought at the end of it all was, how much has really changed?  In school we are taught that slavery was “abolished” in 1807, however, slavery in British Colonies was only brought to an end in 1838 and 1865 in the USA, 1869 in Portugal and 1888 in Brazil. The ending of the slave trade did not end slavery itself. I look at the world today and wonder how free are our minds? Although the physical chains and shackles were removed, racial prejudice and systemic racism are very much alive and kicking today.

What this reinforced to me, is that we still have a long way to go in terms of equality but  it is up to us to put ourselves out there, break the mould and make a change. If our image cannot be found in mainstream books, if there are no Black literary heroes, if we are not celebrated and portrayed positively in mainstream media, then it is absolutely up to us to not sit back, to not complain about the way things are, but to make a real change and break barriers in a space of unity and strength through collaboration and with the spirit of “umoja” (Swahili for togetherness/unity).   As Martin Luther King said, “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.“~ Martin Luther King, 1963

What was reinforced to me was the importance of the journey. It was great to have been nominated and it would have been amazing to have won, but my appreciation and gratitude are rooted in the steps that it took to get there. Conscious Dreams Publishing started off as a seed, an idea sprung from meeting so many women with powerful messages and stories that went unheard as well as a desire to place the unseen and unheard in the spotlight so that we can become our own storytellers, game-changers and change-makers. It started with a dream and the dream is coming true.  Three years ago, I published my first book looking for validation from mainstream publishers and getting “Nos.” I knew nothing of the industry but my determination to share my message with the world was stronger than my desire to stop. Stopping would have meant that 25 valuable stories and books would not have been published.

Journeys in our lives count. It’s easy to stop when the journey gets tough, but we mustn’t. No matter what we are going through, push on. Meeting James was a humbling reminder that, no matter what we face in our lives, we can turn it into a positive; we can turn it into a way to lead the way for others. Meeting James reminded us to never take anything for granted and to appreciate every step of the journey for tomorrow, as we desire it, is not granted.

And, as he graced the stage to accept his Award, Dean and I knew that our night was complete. Our cab companion we met at the start of our journey, who was so nervous about getting up on stage and speaking, won the Role Model Award for Disability, and as we cheered him on, I couldn’t think of a more deserving winner!

A local children’s charity is celebrating after being honoured with a top award at The National Diversity Awards held at the Liverpool Anglican Cathedral. 

The Childhood Tumour Trust, based at Winchelsea Beach, beat seven others in the running for the Community Organisation Award for Disability at the ceremony, held last Friday (September 8).

The glittering ceremony honoured role models and charities, rewarding Britain’s most inspirational people for their fight against inequality. Ana Matronic, best known as the female co-lead vocalist for Scissor Sisters, joined forces with TV presenter Brian Dowling to host the event. The Childhood Tumour Trust (CTT) is a new charity founded by Vanessa Martin.

Vanessa Works locally the NHS and has actively campaigned to raise awareness and get better care for those with Neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF1). Vanessa has two daughters, Nicole and Molly. Nicole has complex NF1 and Vanessa says she is the inspiration behind CTT. “Because of the confidence that Nicole gained from attending camp in the USA, organised by the Children’s Tumour Foundation, the idea for a new charity for children and young people was born – to enable others to have the same experience,” she said.

Vanessa has run two camps in the UK and is keen to link up those with NF1 – wherever they live in the world, give them a stepping stone into adulthood, ensure they know they are not alone and give hope for their future. She represents CTT on the patient and public involvement panels for research bids and said: “I am passionate about raising awareness and better care for children and their families affected by the condition. Neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF1) is more prevalent than Cystic Fibrosis, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, and Huntingtons Disease combined. Yet so little is known about it. “Amber Rudd MP has been supportive of the charity and understands the need for better awareness of the condition and the impact that it has on so many who have it.

Speaking at the ceremony 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!”

On receiving the Community Organisation Award for Disability Vanessa said: “We are delighted to have won! It’s very exciting. The award isn’t just for me it’s to give the people living with the condition the recognition they deserve. I am over the moon.”


A director at a Bromley charity has been honoured at the National Diversity Awards.

Founding Artistic Director of Bromley based charity, Magpie Dance, Avril Hitman BEM received a Lifetime Achievers Award last Friday (September 8).

The ceremony was hosted by Scissor Sisters singer Ana Matronic and Scissor Sisters singer Ana Matronic and was set up to reward people fighting against inequality.

Ms Hitman beat seven others to get the award.

She said: “I’m honoured and delighted to have received this prestigious award for my work with Magpie Dance over the last 32 years.

“I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who voted and has supported me over many years.

“The National Diversity Awards highlight the importance of diversity and inclusion in society and I’m very proud to be the recipient of this year’s Lifetime Achiever Award.”

A record 22,000 nominations and votes were received this year. A spokesperson from the Award organisers said: “After decades of supporting thousands of people with learning disabilities through the art of dance, Avril Hitman BEM received the prestigious lifetime achiever award.

“A list of tremendous achievements were recognised by judges, including Avril’s determination to challenge perceptions surrounding disability and impacting on the wider world of dance, health and education.”

Magpie Dance are based at the Churchill Theatre in Bromley and run dance classes, summer schools and workshops for people with learning disabilities in Bromley and across the UK.


Able Magazine was again privileged to be media partner with the National Diversity Awards, who have secured themselves as the premier event honouring everyday role models and organisations leading the way to greater opportunity for diversity to flourish across Society.

Lead singer of the Scissor Sisters, Ana Matronic joined TV presenter, Brian Dowling to host the awards which were again held in Liverpool’s stunning Anglican cathedral to honour individuals and organisations across all strands of diversity. Nevertheless, there were several winners from the disability community.

Able Magazine has supported the National Diversity Awards from its inception six years ago and again, editor, Tom Jamison was on hand to present the Positive Role Model for Disability Award, joined on stage by Hollyoaks actress, Amy Conachan.

Body Builder James Sutliff was clearly surprised and thrilled to accept the award which recognises his impressive social media following to highlight issues regarding the neurological dysfunction disorder, Dystonia – which Sutliff himself lives with.

The Community Organisation Award for Disability was scooped by the Childhood Tumour Trust who have dedicated themselves to improving the lives of young people and their families affected by neurofibromatosis type 1.

Presenter of TV show, The Last Leg, Adam Hills, accepted the award for Celebrity of the Year and the Lifetime Achiever was announced as Avril Hitman BEM, who has devoted years of service to learning disabled people through Magpie Dance which she founded in 1985.

Able Magazine editor, Tom Jamison said: “With a record 22,000 nominations and votes received this year, it’s clear that anyone that reached the shortlist stage has done very well indeed.

Able Magazine continues to support the National Diversity Awards because they really do live and breathe their values. Honouring individuals and organisations that promote diversity so passionately raises awareness and a sense of empowerment that is difficult to measure. It’s Able Magazine’s privilege and pleasure to be involved as media partner.”


A community worker who has dedicated more than 40 years of her life to helping people in Blackpool has been shortlisted for a national award.

Wendy Pearce, 72, is in line for recognition in the Lifetime Achievement category at the National Diversity Awards. Over the years she has worked with schools, young offenders and first time parents to try and improve their lives. And despite clocking up more than four decades, she has no intention of retiring just yet.

Wendy, who lives in Bispham, said: “I was speechless when the email came through informing me I had been shortlisted. “You don’t expect this kind of accolade after all the years of not being recognised.” The mother-of-three and grandmother has helped generations of people, and is still handing out advice now. She said: “Only a few months ago I had 26 young women on the babysitting course I run. “But over the years I have worked with a lot of young people in Blackpool, many of whom have come here from other parts of the country and so don’t have anyone close at hand. “Some are now in their 30s or 40s, and I bump into them when I am shopping or out in town. “I see young people with a lot of different issues but when they get their confidence, they are like butterflies taking off when they see what they can achieve. “There is always something you can find that they can shine at. Young people don’t see youth workers as a social worker, or a parent, or a teacher. “We slowly build up a relationship with them so they tell us things they wouldn’t tell other people, and it’s our job to ensure they get the help they need.” Wendy currently works for Blackpool Boys and Girls Club and the UR Potential on Central Drive.

Over the years she has also worked for the Youth Offending Team, Homestart on Grange Park and with the Millennium Volunteers, as well as at schools. She said: “I don’t want to retire, as there is still so much to do. “The work keeps me young and on my toes, and I just like watching young people grow and develop.” The presentation of the awards will take place at the Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool on September 8.

The awards are supported by a number of celebrities including TV presenter Graham Norton. He said: “Promoting and celebrating diversity is close to my heart. “I want to wish all of this year’s shortlisted nominees the best of luck for the ceremony, you all deserve to win.”

SOURCE: Blackpool Gazette:

The charity devoted to Crimean War nurse Mary Seacole has been shortlisted for a national diversity award.

The Mary Seacole Trust has been shortlisted for the National Diversity Awards (NDA) 2017.

Photo: Barney Newman

The charity, which promotes the legacy of Crimean War nurse Mary Seacole, has been nominated for the Community Organisation Award in the Race, Religion and Faith category.

UK charities and other role models, including British celebrities grime artist Stormzy, actress Denise Welch and actor Riz Ahmed, are among those nominated for their work to promote equality, diversity and inclusion.

The Mary Seacole Trust has taken over from the Mary Seacole Memorial Statue Appeal, the organisation which ran a 12-year community fundraising campaign to build a statue of the Jamaican-Scottish Victorian nurse who had been almost forgotten for over 100 years.

The statue was unveiled in June 2016 in the grounds of London’s St Thomas’ Hospital, across the Thames from the Houses of Parliament.

Mary Seacole Trust chair Trevor Sterling said: ‘We are thrilled to be shortlisted for such an important award.

‘The statue was funded by donations from thousands of individuals and organisations, bringing together people from a wide range of fields – the NHS, the military, the arts, politics and many others.

‘While the statue is important in symbolising and recognising Mary’s contribution, there is now an opportunity and responsibility to harness this unprecedented diversity of support to create a legacy beyond the statue.’

Mr Sterling said the recognition was an important milestone as work began on the trust’s key projects – educating schoolchildren about Mary Seacole and encouraging diversity in leadership within both the public and private sectors.

National Diversity Awards founder and chief executive Paul Sesay said: ‘I am so proud to be able to witness the journeys of some of the most inspiring role models this country has to offer.

‘Each year I am overwhelmed with the quality and quantity of nominations, and those shortlisted should know how privileged I am to share your stories with the nation.’

The awards ceremony will be held in Liverpool  on September 8th.

SOURCE: Nursing Standard:

FARNHAM yoga teacher Cathy Richardson has been shortlisted for a national award as a result of her inspirational, encouraging and supportive approach to her clients, both through teaching yoga and in her

other professions as a confidence coach and recruitment consultant.


Cathy discovered the benefits of yoga for her own health and well-being when she was in her 40s. She went on to train as a yoga teacher and set up Diversity Yoga when she was approaching 50.



She now teaches a range of yoga classes and retreats across Surrey, Hampshire and in Italy. Diversity Yoga is only one of three businesses set up and owned by Cathy.




In 2009, after a successful career in recruitment and subsequent to twice being made redundant in one year, Cathy started her recruitment consultancy, CR Associates, in Farnborough.


She has gathered nearly 30 years’ experience in the sector, including specialising in recruitment for the automotive industry.



Through her work with job candidates she found that she had a talent for coaching, and having gathered a wealth of expertise and experience in the field, she began Soapbox, her coaching skills company.


She said: “I have been shortlisted in the diversity award for age category because I help people across such a breadth of age categories.

“Having reached 50 and continuing to grow in my professional and personal life, this nomination means so much to me as it recognises that supporting young people still in education with their communication skills is as important as helping someone in their 70s enjoy yoga for the first time and improve their wellbeing along the way, things I feel equally proud of doing in my daily life.

“Right now, I am in the best physical, mental and emotional state I have ever been. I have moved from darkness to light, conquered depression and now have a passion for sharing this love and joy to help others.”


Cathy has received praise from dozens of her clients, particularly from her yoga classes, one of which takes place at The Studio at Durham House in Farnham, for her award shortlisting.


As well as dealing with the rejection and practical challenges of being made redundant, Cathy, who is originally from South Africa, has overcome more than her fair share of adversity, which helped fuel her drive to turn her life around and help others.

“I’ve suffered a number of very serious health problems since childhood and have undergone numerous treatments and operations over the years. Divorce and work-related stress led to depression and weight gain and I had to turn my life around,” she continued

“Whether I am teaching yoga or helping someone overcome a fear of public speaking, my starting point is recognising that one size does not fit all and to absolutely respect that each person is different.”

The National Diversity Awards on September 8 is an annual celebration of the contribution of individuals, groups and charities in promoting diversity regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, sexuality, disability or background.

SOURCE: Alton Herald,

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