Abuse, prison, drugs and heartbreak all form Ellie Lowther’s path to her ‘true self’.

Steve Billon’s childhood dreams always cast him as the leading lady in a Wild West film.

It would take 40 years to confront confusion and become Ellie Lowther, a Teesside nana finally happy in life.

“I knew I wasn’t right,” Ellie said. “But I didn’t have the insight to actually understand what it was.

“As far as I was concerned people like me didn’t exist back then, so I just tried to fit in.

“You end up with little ambition and led down dysfunctional paths.” The 52-year-old’s journey from man to woman put everything at risk.

Abducted by a serial killer, beaten up on the streets of Middlesbrough and disowned by her family, she managed to overcome adversity and finally find her true self.

Ellie’s school years were difficult. She felt different, but didn’t know why.

“I didn’t do what little boys did,” she said. “Getting changed in a room full of boys was the most horrible, unnatural thing – and I didn’t even know why.

“I struggled with school work. I was worrying about puberty. If you’re trans it’s a very dramatic time.”

At 15, she ran away from home after an argument with her parents.

With a stash of Bowie albums and £20 in her pocket, she finished her milk round and got in a lorry.

The adventure would bring Ellie, then a schoolboy, into the clasp of delivery driver – a man she would identify decades later as Robert Black, a Scottish serial killer convicted of murdering four girls.

“He raped me,” said Ellie, who has waived her right to anonymity as the victim of a sex crime. “I didn’t have any words to say. I thought I was going to die. I just froze.”

Ellie managed to slip out of the van and make it back to Teesside – but the incident cast a shadow that still haunts her today.

“I will always be a survivor, but my trans identity has nothing to do with being a survivor. They are two totally different things,” she said.

“I didn’t have the words to say what I had been through. I was just a 15-year-old scared of puberty.”

Alone with no one to talk to, Ellie went down the wrong path.

She got in with the “wrong crowd”, started smoking cannabis to mask her insecurities and performed petty thefts that landed her in Medomsley Detention Centre.

“I thought I would be leaving there in a box,” said Ellie. “When you’re in there, there’s no one on your side.”

On the outside, her identity struggle persisted: “My subconscious life was female. When I woke up I would think ‘wow, I’m still male’.

“When you have to wear a mask, you’re not actually your own true self.”

Ellie only came to terms with her gender identity after banging her head in Ingleby Barwick while working as a postman in 1998.

Determined to get answers and break out of denial, she underwent therapy through the NHS.

It allowed her to discover “a truth deep within” that would change her life beyond recognition.

Steve became Steph in 2011 and began physical transition in 2012. She would later change her name again to Ellie.

“I was always female. I saw the world through female eyes,” she said. “But I wasn’t trans. Why would anyone be?

“But now I realise the person I am today is the person I have always been. I now understand the value of being my true self.”

Sticking out “like a sore thumb”, Ellie suffered unprovoked physical and sexual abuse on the streets of her hometown.

She was also “disowned by all and sundry” including her dad, brother and sister.

But while others struggled to accept her, Ellie had accepted herself and became finally happy in life.

“I’m ecstatic. I’m very happy in life now. The work that I do is very, very fulfilling.

“My private life is very, very happy. I’m surrounded by brilliant friends. My friends are my family.

“It took me 44 years to realise who I was so if it takes my family a few more years, that’s OK.

“I always leave the door open for reconciliation.”

Her children – three sons and a daughter – have mixed views on their dad’s change, but her four-year-old granddaughter has only ever known her as Nana Ellie.

And although not in a relationship at the moment, ex partners from her life as Steve are now Ellie’s “girlfriends”.

“I’m now exclusively attracted to men. Some trans people’s sexuality totally flips. Some it doesn’t.

“There’s no one size fits all. I class myself as a heterosexual woman.”

Ellie draws strength from a divine source: “I’m a Christian. I always believed I should have been a priest.

“God loves trans people. Jesus knows my struggles before I knew them. Bigoted Christians shouldn’t be criticising anyone.”

Inspired by God, she is focusing on making a positive change in the world by sharing her struggles and acting as a trans role model.

She established Trans Aware in 2017, hosts her own radio show on local station CVFM and has just been shortlisted for a National Diversity Award.

“There’s a lot of hatred out there,” she said. “If we can’t tackle it, where is it going to stop?”

According to equality charity Stonewall, a quarter of trans young people attempt suicide, 40% have been attacked or threatened with violence and two thirds have faced discrimination.

“I realise the general public may have a problem getting their head round it,” continued Ellie.

“But I’m not asking people to understand me. I’m asking them to accept me as myself. When we accept people, the whole world works better.

“I may have an extreme history but every trans person has a struggle. They all had a time in their life when they didn’t fit in.

“When we allow people to be their true authentic selves the world benefits.”

Written by Keane Duncan, as featured on Teeside Live – https://www.gazettelive.co.uk/news/teesside-news/abducted-imprisoned-disowned-now-transgender-16591970?ref=BNTMedia&utm_medium=facebook

An HR consultancy based in Newport, Shropshire that works with executive boards and management teams supporting their development and growth and advising them on gender, diversity and inclusivity matters is celebrating it’s a run of successes at awards this year.

Teresa Boughey, founder and MD of Jungle HR and Jungle Diversity has been announced as a finalist of the Midlands BCC (Business and Community Charity) Awards in the Most Influential Business Person of the Year category.

This category recognises not only the successful business they run but showcases how they inspire others around them, how they demonstrate their authority in their field and how they have the gravitas to be noticed and respected by others.

This follows being announced as a Regional finalist last month (July 2019) for the Midlands Female Entrepreneur in the Forward Ladies National Awards.  In June 2019 Teresa won the “Woman Who Achieves – Change Champion for Women in Business” Award for the second year running and in January 2019 she was listed as one of the top 100 Female Entrepreneurs in the peak b’s list f:Entreprenurs list. Teresa said: “Wow, what a year so far!  I’m very honoured to be nominated and then shortlisted for the work that I do championing diversity and equality and acting as a positive role model for businesswomen and female entrepreneurs. “My mission is to help over 10,000 companies to create an Inclusive workplace culture where they feel respected and valued for their unique difference.”

Teresa is the creator of the tribe5 Diversity & Inclusion Methodology™ which provides a framework to help organisations assess and progress on their Diversity and Inclusion journey.  Earlier this year Teresa’s book ‘Closing the Gap – 5 steps to creating an Inclusive Culture’, based on the tribe5 principles, reached Amazon Number One Bestseller in three categories – HR and Personnel Management, Business and Finance Reference (Kindle Store) and Human Resource Management.

It overtook other esteemed authors such as Simon Sinek, Patrick Lencioni and Sir John Whitmore, demonstrating its value to high-level business professionals across the spectrum. As a bestselling author, keynote speaker and regular commentator, Teresa is now seen as a key person of influence particularly in the areas of diversity and inclusion.

This year so far she has been a judge at two business awards, a speaker at several International Women’s Day events, keynote speaker at the Festival of Global People in London, joined the Black Country Chamber of Commerce (BCCC) Women in Leadership Steering Group committee, spoke at the BCCC Women in Business launch event and will be speaking at Shropshire Council’s Leadership Conference in September. Award winners for the 12 categories of the MBCC Awards will be announced at a black-tie event which attracts over 450 guests at Aston Villa Football club on Saturday 16 November 2019.

The MBCC Awards receives over hundreds of nominations and thousands of votes annually. Founder Zoe Bennett said: ‘This is our 4th annual awards and they get bigger and better each year. By showcasing people that are selfless, considerate to others and go that extra mile, the awards openly encourage and inspire others to do the same.

Source – Shropshire Live . com

Bradford Council’s Colours Youth Network from Bradford District has been shortlisted for the community organisation award category at the National Diversity Awards 2019.

Over 28,000 people were nominated for this year’s National Diversity Awards (NDA), with an astonishing 124 nominees being recognised for their various achievements nationwide.

Community organisations and role models from across the UK will head to Liverpool Anglican Cathedral on 20 September to witness the country’s 2019 winners being crowned the best of British diversity.

Bradford’s Colours Youth Network was founded four years ago by a group of youth workers who are all people of colour and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ+) who wanted to work to create services locally and nationally for young people who are both people of colour and LGBTQ+

Bradford Council’s youth service has been a key supporter of the network which is also partnered by Manchester Pride Trust, Unmuted Birmingham and Gendered intelligence London.

The network has put on three national residential events for young people, and have regional quarterly meet ups where young people run workshops for their peers.

Workshops run by young people include: ‘My Existence is Political, Surviving School, and Self-portraits’ an arts based workshop. The young people will re-run these workshops at the national residential, which will take place between 27 and 30 August in Windermere.

The national residential will build on the group’s first national conference which took place at Birmingham University in 2018. The conference was organised with the support of Lady Phyll and UK Black Pride and was attended by more than 80 young people.

Norrina Rashid, Bradford Council’s Advanced Practitioner for Bradford East Youth Service, said: “We’re thrilled that our project has been narrowed down from 28,000 nominations and is now up against just eight others. I want to thank all the young people and our partners who have worked so hard to get this project up and running. It’s a project that has made a huge difference to the young people involved by giving them confidence and a voice.”

Councillor Abdul Jabar, Bradford Council’s portfolio holder for neighbourhoods and community safety, said: “I want to congratulate the Colours Youth Network on their nomination. This is a prestigious award and their nomination shows the calibre of the work that these young people, and the youth workers who support them, have been doing.”

Designed to highlight the country’s most inspirational and selfless people, the NDA’s continue to gain endorsements from high profile figures such as Stephen Fry, Sir Lenny Henry CBE and Graham Norton.

Amongst others being honoured are a reformed gangster, a Junior Bake Off Star and a host of campaigners and activists, all of whom work tirelessly to combat injustice and discrimination in very different ways.

Previous winners include actor Warwick Davis, football’s equality and inclusion organisation Kick It Out and freedom fighter Abbey Kiwanuka.

Paul Sesay, Founder and CEO of the National Diversity Awards added “A record amount of nominations and votes were received this year, the most we have ever received. I know our judging panel had an incredibly difficult task of whittling down the nominees to create an outstanding shortlist.

“So many heartfelt testimonies really showcased how these people and organisations are having a profound impact on the lives of others, and I applaud them for their dedication to each specific cause. Congratulations to all of our shortlisted nominees, it is a privilege to recognise your bravery, resilience and courage and I am honoured to share this with the nation. I look forward to congratulating you in person in September”.

To view a full list of nominees please visit www.nationaldiversityawards.co.uk/shortlist

Source – www.Bradford.gov.uk

A TRANS rights defender has been nominated for a prestigious award in recognition of her work promoting positive attitudes to diversity.

Ellie Lowther has been shortlisted for the Positive Role Model Award for LGBT at the National Diversity Awards (NDA).

In 2012 Ellie came out as a binary trans woman and, after realising there was a lack of inclusive service for the trans community, decided to dedicate herself to providing that support network.

She shortly set up Cleveland Transgender Association and in 2017 founded the charity Trans Aware – the first trans-specific registered charity in the North-East which has now helped over 300 people.

Ellie currently holds many positions in local and national schemes aimed at spreading diversity such as Our House Project, via 2020group, in the Teesside area which provides a safe living space for those who identify as trans.

She also helps write policies such as the trans inclusion framework – used by schools in the Stockton-on-Tees area and for Cleveland Police to aid those coming out as trans within the force.

The social rights promoter also creates and delivers workshops for organisations throughout the UK and travels the country delivering programmes to young people via National Citizen Service.

Ellie will be attending the NDA awards night, held at Liverpool’s cathedral, in September, and said she was blown away when she received the nomination.

She said: “When I heard about the shortlist I was shocked.

“Just to realise my work is being recognised and counts for something, it’s amazing. I’m really pleased to be on the shortlist.

“I know everyone that has been shortlisted and they’re all amazing people who have done amazing things so it’s fantastic company to be in.

“I’m very much looking forward to it.”

Ellie’s main line of work consists of raising awareness of trans rights amongst young people, increasing diversity in community organisations, and promoting the global trans movement online.

She said she wants to continue promoting awareness to help enable people to feel comfortable in themselves.

She added: “I have always been a community type of person but this is my work.

“I’m out there doing it every day and I love what I do because I’m able to spread that awareness.

“I want to help create a world that allows people to be who they are.

“It’s all about empowering people to be themselves because that’s when they are at their best and that’s when they can achieve what they set out to do.”

Source – The Northern Echo

A Teenager from Widnes who has raised more than £30,000 for charity is shortlisted for a prestigious National Diversity Award.

Aidan Jackson, 17, started his fundraising work more than four years ago and is in the running for a positive role model award for age.

On his nomination, Aidan said: “I am totally shocked, surprised and honoured to have been shortlisted for this amazing award.

“I want to thank every single person who nominated me and those that support my fundraising as without their support I wouldn’t be in this position now.”

He started fundraising after close friend Olivia Walker passed away in 2014. Her family set up a foundation in her memory The Olivia Alice Foundation.

His many challenges in that time include a Mile of pennies, sponsored walk, swimming the distance of the English Channel Crossing in a pool, raffles, car boot sales and craft stalls.

He even filled the local rugby stadium with 10,900 teddy bears before sending the teddy bears off to help children around the world with an organisation called Bearlyloved.org

He also collected sleeping bags, coats, warm clothing and toiletries for the homeless in Liverpool and then distributed them of an evening over a couple of weeks.

I hold an annual Christmas Carol Concert Fundraiser for the community in the garden at my home.

He is currently raising funds for community defibrillators and since August last year I has managed to buy five community defibrillators and am now on to raising enough funds for community defibrillator number 6, which will be installed at Halton Haven Day Hospice in Runcorn.

On his charitable work, he said: “I don’t always find my fundraising easy as due to my age and Aspergers, ADHD along with problems with my legs.

“I don’t let this deter me and have been in situations that many of my peers haven’t had the opportunity of.

“I have recently been ill in hospital but I am determined to continue to help as many people as I possibly can.”

HSBC, Direct Line Group & MI5 have recently been announced as sponsors of the pioneering awards that have paid tribute to over 700 grass root charities and diversity champions since its inception. Joining the likes of Auto Trader UK & Morgan Sindall Construction & Infrastructure, ITV News are also listed amongst a host of companies showcasing their support to recognising diverse talent.

An MI5 spokesperson said: “It is MI5’s mission to keep the country safe and it’s vital that we represent the diverse society we seek to protect.

“We are at our strongest when we have the richest mix of the best talent, working together in an environment that allows people to thrive. Put simply, our diverse workforce is crucial to our operational successes.

“We are pleased to be able to demonstrate our ongoing commitment to inclusion through our continued support for these awards.

“They are an important way of recognising and celebrating the good work being done across the country to promote inclusivity, diversity and provide opportunity for all.”

Designed to highlight the country’s most inspirational and selfless people,

The National Diversity Awards are endorsed by high profile figures such as Stephen Fry, Sir Lenny Henry CBE and Graham Norton.

More than 28,000 people were nominated this year alone, with an astonishing 124 nominees being recognised for their various achievements nationwide.

The winners will be revealed during a ceremony at Liverpool Anglican Cathedral on September 20.

Amongst those being honoured are a reformed gangster, a Junior Bake Off Star and a host of campaigners and activists, all of whom work tirelessly to combat injustice and discrimination in very different ways.

Actress and comedian Sally Phillips will host the event.

She said: “Acknowledging and celebrating the hard work and stand out achievements of role models and community groups throughout the UK is a genuine honour for me.

“Having attended the Awards back in 2016, I experienced this fabulous ceremony first hand and I cannot wait to be back this year celebrating the dedication and commitment of some of the UK’s most luminous and exceptional people.”

Paul Sesay, founder and chief executive of the National Diversity Awards, added “A record amount of nominations and votes were received this year, the most we have ever received.

“Congratulations to all of our shortlisted nominees, it is a privilege to recognise your bravery, resilience and courage and I am honoured to share this with the nation.

“I look forward to congratulating you in person in September”.

To see the full list of nominees, visit

www.nationaldiversityawards.co.uk/shortlist

Source – www . Runcorn and Widnes World . co . uk

Jenni Pettican has been shortlisted for the UK’ Largest Diversity Awards

Jenni Pettican from Corringham, Essex has been shortlisted for the Positive Role Model for Disability at the National Diversity Awards 2019.
Over 28,000 people nominated this year alone and the results are finally in for the National Diversity Awards (NDA), with an astonishing 124 nominees being recognised for their various achievements nationwide.

Community organisations and role models from across the UK will head to the breath-taking Liverpool Anglican Cathedral on 20th September to witness the countries 2019 winners being crowned the best of British diversity.

Amongst those being honoured are a reformed gangster, a Junior Bake Off Star and a host of campaigners and activists, all of whom work tirelessly to combat injustice and discrimination in very different ways.

Jenni was diagnosed with connective tissue disorder, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome in 2016. She also has a form of Dysautonomia called Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome and suffered with a CSF leak which took 4 surgeries to diagnose and fix in 2017.

After struggling to find answers to her seemingly unrelated symptoms Jenni left university in 2015 in search of a diagnosis. She returned in 2017 and this summer will be graduating with first class honours from the university of East Anglia. She began to document her journey with her conditions online in 2017 and shares weekly videos of daily life with her conditions in the hopes of helping others and making them feel less alone. She also makes regular awareness videos to share knowledge about these little-known conditions with sufferers, the general public, and the medical community. You can find Jenni’s YouTube channel at Youtube.com/c/chronicallyjenni

On being nominated for the award Jenni said:
‘It’s been completely overwhelming. I got my first proper job interview, found out I’d achieved a first in my degree and that I’d been shortlisted for a national award all in the same week! I can’t believe that something I made to help as many people as I can in my tiny corner of the internet is being recognised on a national level. I’m so grateful to everyone who nominated me their words were so beautiful and made my heart so full; I hope I can do them proud. The other nominees look amazing and I’m very excited for the ceremony in September.’

HSBC, Direct Line Group & MI5 have recently been announced as sponsors of the pioneering awards that have paid tribute to over 700 grass root charities and diversity champions since its inception. Joining the likes of Auto Trader UK & Morgan Sindall Construction & Infrastructure, ITV News are also listed amongst a host of companies showcasing their support to recognising diverse talent.

A spokesperson for MI5 said;
“It is MI5’s mission to keep the country safe, and it’s vital that we represent the diverse society we seek to protect. We are at our strongest when we have the richest mix of the best talent, working together in an environment that allows people to thrive. Put simply, our diverse workforce is crucial to our operational successes. We are pleased to be able to demonstrate our ongoing commitment to inclusion through our continued support for these awards. They are an important way of recognising and celebrating the good work being done across the country to promote inclusivity, diversity and provide opportunity for all.”
Designed to highlight the country’s most inspirational and selfless people, the NDA’s continue to gain endorsements from high profile figures such as Stephen Fry, Sir Lenny Henry CBE and Graham Norton. Actress and comedian Sally Phillips will take centre stage on 20th September as the official host of this year’s ceremony.

Reflecting on the forthcoming celebrations, Sally said;
“I am delighted to be hosting the 2019 National Diversity Awards. Acknowledging and celebrating the hard work and stand out achievements of role models and community groups throughout the UK is a genuine honour for me. Having attended the Awards back in 2016, I experienced this fabulous ceremony first hand and I cannot wait to be back this year celebrating the dedication and commitment of some of the UK’s most luminous and exceptional people.”

Previous winners include actor Warwick Davis, footballs equality and inclusion organisation Kick It Out and freedom fighter Abbey Kiwanuka. Paul Sesay, Founder and CEO of the National Diversity Awards added “A record amount of nominations and votes were received this year, the most we have ever received. I know our judging panel had an incredibly difficult task of whittling down the nominees to create an outstanding shortlist. “So many heartfelt testimonies really showcased how these people and organisations are having a profound impact on the lives of others, and I applaud them for their dedication to each specific cause.
Congratulations to all of our shortlisted nominees, it is a privilege to recognise your bravery,
resilience and courage and I am honoured to share this with the nation. I look forward to congratulating you in person in September”.

To view a full list of nominees please visit www.nationaldiversityawards.co.uk/shortlist

Source – www . Yourthurock . com

Cheryl Robson, the founder and publisher of Aurora Metro Books, has been shortlisted for a Lifetime Achiever Award at the National Diversity Awards.

The awards, held at Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral on 20th September, honour positive role models, entrepreneurs and community organisations.

Robson has been nominated in recognition of her 30-year career publishing drama, fiction and non-fiction that celebrates marginalised voices.

She first founded the Women Writers Workshop in 1989, which led to the creation of her press. It now has an extensive catalogue of titles focused on women, LGBTQ and BAME writers or subjects. Aurora Metro’s Virginia Prize for Fiction, dedicated to unpublished novels for adults or YA readers, written by women, is currently open for submissions. Robson is also campaigning and raising funds to erect a statue of Virginia Woolf in Richmond-on-Thames where the writer lived with her husband Leonard.

Robson said: “I was thrilled to have been acknowledged by the publishing industry with an IPG nomination earlier this year, and being recognised by the National Diversity Awards, where the competition is even tougher, means a great deal. We have built a very diverse list of amazing authors from more than 20 countries, and we’re always looking for strong, original voices.”

In the last year, the indie press has bagged an IPG nomination and a Pen Translates Award for Gabi Reigh’s work on classic Romanian novel by Milhail Sebastian, The Town with Acacia Trees, to be published by Aurora Metro in the autumn. This month, Chris Woodley’s Next Lesson was longlisted in the Polari First Book Prize.

Robson joins seven other nominees including sports editor Rodney Hinds on the shortlist.

Source – www . The Book Seller . com

Big Issue ambassador Sabrina Cohen-Hatton has been shortlisted for a National Diversity Award after the story of her remarkable rise captured the imagination of the nation.

The inspirational 36-year-old featured on the cover of The Big Issue magazine telling her story of how she went from selling the magazine as a teenager to becoming one of the country’s most senior female firefighters.

Cohen-Hatton was in charge of the fire service’s response to 2017 London terror attacks in Finsbury Park and Westminster and is also a prize-winning academic.

She chronicled her incredible life in the book The Heat of the Moment: Life and Death Decision-Making from a Firefighter and became an ambassador for The Big Issue earlier this year, greeting vendors at a House of Lords reception.

Now, her incredible work has been recognised with a National Diversity Awards nomination in the Positive Role Model Award for Gender category and she will find out if she is a winner at the ceremony in Liverpool Anglican Cathedral on September 20.

A delighted Cohen-Hatton said: “This is so fantastic! Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to nominate and vote.

“I’m really humbled, very excited and completely touched. Thank you so much.”

Cohe-Hatton will be among 124 nominees to reach the final stages, which will be presented by actor and comedian Sally Phillips, after more than 28,000 people were put forward for consideration.

Previous award winners include actor Warwick Davis, football’s equality and inclusion organisation Kick It Out and freedom fighter Abbey Kiwanuka.

Paul Sesay, founder and CEO of the National Diversity Awards, said: “A record amount of nominations and votes were received this year, the most we have ever received. I know our judging panel had an incredibly difficult task of whittling down the nominees to create an outstanding shortlist.

“Congratulations to all of our shortlisted nominees, it is a privilege to recognise your bravery, resilience and courage and I am honoured to share this with the nation. I look forward to congratulating you in person in September.”

Source – www . Big issue . com

Our founder, Edwina Dunn OBE, has been nominated for the Positive Role Model Award at The National Diversity Awards an award ceremony that celebrates the outstanding achievements of diverse heroes and life-changing charities for their exceptional fight against inequality.

As well as being the founder of our charity, The Female Lead, Edwina is also the co-founder of the international data science company dunnhumby, a business she launched in 1989 from her kitchen table. She was responsible for launching Clubcard for Tesco which was the first mass customisation loyalty programme in the world and resulted in Tesco doubling its market share in less than 3 years. Edwina is passionate about seeing more girls go into STEM careers and showcases inspirational role models through The Female Lead.

“I am truly honoured to be nominated for the positive role model award. Congratulations to everyone who has been nominated and I cannot wait to learn more about the wonderful work you’re all doing”

As a team, we’re proud to see Edwina being recognized for all of her efforts working in schools promoting diversity and providing role models for young women. Over the last decade, Edwina has spearheaded various campaigns including chairing ‘Your Life’, a Government-backed campaign to encourage more young people to consider careers in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) industries.

Edwina Dunn believes that every great story about a woman is worth telling especially if it inspires a girl to follow her lead. Today, we want to share Edwina’s story with you to highlight what an exceptional role model she has been for us and girls everywhere.

Thank you for all of your support!

The Female Lead Team

Source – The Female Lead . com

Nominations have now closed for The UK’s largest diversity awards as judges begin preparing to announce this year’s shortlist.

The National Diversity Awards have been inundated with inspirational messages from across the nation, praising diversity heroes, entrepreneurs and community organisations.

With nominees waiting patiently to see who will be crowned the best of British diversity, organizers recently caught up with last year’s winners to see how receiving their accolade has affected their lives.

“Winning the N.D.A is the single most gratifying moment of my life” Said Rachael Pearson, winner of the Positive Role Model Award for Gender.

Founder of autism isolation no more, Rachael converted her home into a sensory space for children and parents, providing access to all the sensory equipment they could possibly need.

“It’s made me so proud and happy; I feel truly blessed to be part of such a towering beacon of diversity and inclusion for the nation. It’s given me an extra shot of get up and go for it. It’s fulfilled something in me that I wasn’t even aware I was missing”.

Echoing this sentiment, Rachel Jury, creator of the pioneering blog ‘Rocking2Stomas’ said “I cannot put into words what the National Diversity Awards night meant to me. I felt honoured to even be there amongst some amazing inspiration and brilliant people who have helped their communities in so many ways. The award represented hope and it felt like a win for the stoma community as a whole and another step in awareness”.

Rachel is an amazing young lady with a life-limiting condition which has resulted in her having two stoma bags – a Urostomy and an Ileostomy. She created her pioneering blog in January 2017 due to lack of online information and created a Facebook group called ‘Double Baggers Ostomy Support Group’, finally forming a place in the community to go for support.

The iconic awards have recently announced new supporters and returning sponsors such as MI5, Auto Trader UK & HSBC. The prestigious black-tie event has also attracted a growing list of endorsements from celebrities who are actively supporting the diversity agenda including Sir Lenny Henry, Graham Norton & and Adam Hills.

This year’s host Sally Phillips will take centre stage at the breathtaking cathedral on 20 th September as the UK’s most inspirational and selfless people will come together to honour the rich tapestry of our nation,

“I am delighted to be hosting the 2019 National Diversity Awards. Acknowledging and celebrating the hard work and stand out achievements of role models and community groups throughout the UK is a genuine honour for me. Having attended the Awards back in 2016, I experienced this fabulous ceremony first hand and I cannot wait to be back this year celebrating the dedication and commitment of some of the UK’s most luminous and exceptional people.”

With the ever-increasing need for cohesion between communities from all walks of life, the National Diversity Awards is sure to deliver this year’s grandest celebration of diversity.

Source – Able Magazine

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