Gill Springgay has been nominated in the Positive Role Model category at the National Diversity Awards 2019 for her work in styling and providing makeup for transgender women.

Helping transgender women with their transition was not something Gill Springgay had initially intended to do when she launched her image consultancy service.

But when a male friend unexpectedly asked her to do his makeup, she realised there was no image consultancy service for a person who was transgender. She changed her client focus and launched Makeover Girl Reinvent Yourself, working with males who are transitioning or have already transitioned.

Now, following 10 years of helping male clients make the first steps towards transitioning into a female, she has been nominated in the Positive Role Model category at the National Diversity Awards 2019.

Gill, who works from her studio at her Eccleston home, says: “I used to be a housing officer for Chorley Council and I got made redundant. I always had a vision to set up a makeover and image consultancy business as I have always been interested in hair and makeup ever since I was a little girl.

“I studied at night school and set up a website.“A male friend came to me and asked if I could do his makeup and make him look female. He came to my home and we had a talk about how he would looking terms of clothes, hair and makeup and. I was completely amazed at how feminine I could make him look. He was happy and I thought I had a talent for it. I saw the possibility of what I could do.”

Gill began seeking out transgender support groups and visited the Manchester Concord social group, offering demonstrations every month. She adds: “I have never had any female clients. I decided to focus on transgender women. There are a lot of people who need my help and I have lots of clients in transition.”

Gill’s work reaches beyond teaching about hair and makeup, as she helps her clients become more confident in their new look and accept who they are. She adds: “I go out shopping with my clients and quite often it is their first step out. “I give them the ability to see themselves as females, rather than a man in drag. They never thought they could look feminine until I teach them how. “I give my clients makeup tutorials and look at their body shape so I can tell them what clothes suit them. I do a colour analysis and as I stock wigs to suit their face shape and skin tone.”

Gill develops strong friendships with her clients and supports them through their transitional journey.She adds: “I am not a trained counsellor but I can support my clients as I listen to them and help them feel relaxed. In some cases, I am the first person they have told about transitioning.
“I have a few links with gender clinics and counsellors where I can signpost people to.

“Not everyone is in transition. Quite a lot of clients seem to be the same age – in their 40s, 50s and 60s – who are married and have had children. “They have struggled to keep their identity in and are scared to make the first step. “It is hard enough dealing with their image as they thought they were male and they are now presenting themselves as female. Even though the concept is more accepted in society, it is still terrifying for the person. But when they are fully dressed they feel more relaxed as their brain is telling them they are a woman.”

Gill has more than 100 clients from all over the UK and has people coming from as far as London, Ireland and Scotland. She has also written various magazine articles on the subject and was poised to take part in a Channel Four documentary until her client no longer wished to take part.

Gill, who has two daughters aged 14 and 12, says: “I was the first image consultant exclusively for transgender women and I offer a specialist service so I have clients from quite far. I have links to a local B&B so people can stay overnight. I had Channel Four filming in my home as part of The Making Of Me. I was supposed to be on episode four but my client pulled out so we didn’t get aired.

“I have been lucky enough to have been invited several times to judge Miss Transliving in Eastbourne and Miss Rose Pageant in Scarborough, donating prizes and offering my sponsorship. I also attended the Beaumont Society Harrogate events for several years offering my services and sponsorship. I also voluntarily wrote regular fashion and beauty articles for their magazine. My service has grown and grown, so much so I have been mentored by Virgin, who is helping me upgrade my website and promote my business. I have been asked to represent them via their website, as they are big advocates of diversity.”

Part of Gill’s aim is to educate people about transgender and make the notion more accepted.
She adds: “My aim is to break down barriers and show it is normal. People who are transgender are no different to anybody else.”

Gill now needs your votes to be shortlisted for the next stage of the National Diversity Awards 2019, which take place at Liverpool Anglican Cathedral on September 20.
To vote, visit Voting closes May 31 and the shortlisted nominees will be announced soon after that.

Source – Written by Natalie Walker as featured in The Lancashire Post  –

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

Parents have spoken of their wishes to build a centre for children with autism.

Aaron and Rachael Pearson are looking to raise £50,000 for the Autism Inclusion Centre. The couple, from Denmead, have a son with the condition and want to expand on Rachael’s charity Autism Isolation No More which she runs from their front room.The centre will create a place where children with autism and their families can go to have fun and relax.

Aaron and Rachael’s plans come just days after the pair were both successful in winning national awards. Rachael won the Positive Role Model for Gender Award at the National Diversity Awards after she turned their living room into a sensory space for youngsters with autism.Meanwhile, Aaron won £10,000 worth of building materials after winning Jewson’s Building Better Communities Trade Hero 2018 award.

Rachael said: ‘We want to try and buy a piece of land so we can build a log cabin and move all our services from our living room there. ‘There will be a place for all the sensory equipment and children and families can go in and relax, parents can chat and join in a play session and stay for longer.’At the moment I can only work with families on an individual basis but I want to hold group events.

That’s beneficial for the children because social interaction is more enjoyable for them.’A number of Rachael’s family members are autistic including her two sons, her brother and nephew.She added: ‘I saw the lack of support my mother had with children with autism, it affected my life. If she had support there are so many things that could have been different.

‘As a parent of a child with autism you can feel lonely, the sleep deprivation is awful.’I provide support for parents and want them to know they’re not alone, I’ll never judge.’

Rachael and Aaron will use the prize from Jewson to help start the log cabin but need funds to get it off the ground. Aaron said: ‘We’ve got the building materials now we’re basically trying to get the project off the ground.‘It’s a mission we both have and it would fulfil us.’

Anyone wishing to donate should visit

Source – Written by Ellie Pilmoor & Tamara Siddiqui as featured in The News –

Choosing to inspire,We never want to retire,

Lives to save and protect,On the past we must reflect,

We take steps forward a learn from mistakes,In life there aren’t any retakes,

The people we meet,The ones we greet,

Stand tall on your feet,Listen and watch your life is a movie- take your seat,

Love and be proud of the person you have become,Unlock the door to your dreams – you are welcome ,

Every year,We must wipe the tears and choose to cheer,

Life is tough,The road is rough,

We are at our best,So forget the rest,

We are stronger than we ever believed we were and could be,Set your soul free,

Focus on the positives and the light, Be the star that shines so bright,

People gravitate towards your kind heart, You are your own cheerleader for your team that everyone wants to be a part,

Open your mind,The treasure you can find,

Dark days do bring rain,We suffer through a lot of pain,

From our struggles we have so much to gain, So go out and dance in the rain,

The world is full of people making a change for a better, Be a go-getter,

Life is a gift, So don’t just drift,

Leave footprints in the Earth’s core, You have the world to explore,

I am so lucky and blessed, To be right here I wouldn’t have guessed,

My life went off road for a while, I have chosen to smile,

Inspired by my strength and pain, I’ve realised from my darkness I have so much to gain,

I have so much more to give, To fate we must forgive,

Turn the darkness into light, Keeping dreams and goals in sight,

Empowering and inspiring people all around, Keep your feet on the ground,

If you give your best that is all that can be asked, With many hardships you have been tasked,

The strength you show, More than you know,

Helps to inspire and empower, In kindness always chose to shower,

You are rocking life and adding your own mark, One bright and beautiful spark,

Choosing to inspire, Never wishing or wanting to retire.

Black women are too often objectified, demonised and face threats to our lives just for speaking out. Our voices must be lifted, says ZITA HOLBOURNE – Winner of the National Diversity Awards 2012. Positive Role Model Award for Race.

Press for progress is the theme for this year’s International Women’s Day, focused on equal pay and standing up to gender violence and harassment.

To achieve gender parity at the current rate of progress we would have to wait 200 years.

We deserve equality in our lifetime, but to achieve it we need men as well as women to stand up for gender equality.

It’s encouraging to see women-led campaigns such as #timeup and #metoo but it is essential that women’s movements and feminist spaces are inclusive of all women.

Women who are black, migrant, lesbian, bisexual, trans, disabled, younger and older face not just gender discrimination and disadvantage but double or multiple discrimination and as such there is an even more adverse impact on them when it comes to achieving equal pay, accessing jobs and services and just having a seat at the table.

In addition to this, intersectional women face a disproportionate impact of austerity and as campaigners are more likely to face harassment, abuse, trolling, death threats and misogyny.

As if all of that was not hard enough to contend with, we are often excluded from women’s structures and movements or, if we are included, it is a tokenistic approach to tick the box.

Then, when we create our own safe spaces and practise self-care, we are accused of being separatist or oversensitive.

If we are to achieve progress for gender equality, we must build a movement that is fully inclusive of all women’s experiences and voices and not pay lip service to equality nor have a hierarchy of equality rights.

There should be no expectation of us to be twice as good as our white counterparts in order to participate.

We do not need to be talked about, as we are perfectly capable of speaking for ourselves.

Solidarity for the real struggles that black women and other intersectional women face has to be real and meaningful.

Symbolic solidarity is good, but we also need practical solidarity with a physical presence.

Black women, illustrated very clearly by the experience of Diane Abbott MP, are repeatedly targeted for abuse online and physically in an attempt to silence us.

We are objectified, demonised and face threats to our lives just for speaking out, whether we are standing up for the rights of women or black people or for the human rights of all of us.

If the global women’s movement is to be truly progressive, inclusive and achieve gender parity, it has to be a movement that is led by all women for the benefit of all women.

We have to acknowledge our intersectionality and recognise that some women have more privilege than others and some women are more disadvantaged and marginalised than others.

We have a real chance to build on the momentum of current women’s movements and in marking the 100-year anniversary of some women gaining the vote, but, unless we stand with all our sisters and lift all our voices, progress will be slow.

This must come hand in hand with challenging the patriarchal society we live in and it means that men must be accountable for their actions and examine their own behaviours.

I am part of an all-black women’s choir called Nawi Collective. We sing for freedom, for equality, for justice. We are named after Nawi, who was the last survivor of the all-women Amazon army in the kingdom of Dahomey which is believed to be the inspiration for the Dora Milaje warriors of Marvel’s Black Panther.

Our collective is made up of inspirational and strong, predominantly young, black women and, before and after our performance exactly one week before International Women’s Day at London’s Jazz Cafe in the green room, we debated the meaning of feminism and who feminism is for.

All the women I spoke with felt that current feminist movements were not about them and the struggles they face because of race, ethnicity, gender, age, class etc and were not inclusive of them.

Our collective, while focused around singing and performing, is equally important as a safe space to come together, recharge our batteries, exhale and feel invigorated for the struggles of #everydayracism and #everydaysexism we must navigate to get through each waking day.

It was founded by an amazing young black woman, Amina Gichinga, who is our choir leader, a musician, vocalist, campaigner and activist.

Such spaces are essential for women who face multiple discrimination in the same way spaces for other intersectional women exist, for example, the fantastic Sisters of Frida providing a space for disabled women.

Many other women globally create safe and empowering spaces for women, sometimes at great risk to their own safety, such as the rural women’s groups of Swaziland, with 350 women coming together to form a Progressive Women’s Charter that was launched on International Women’s Day in 2016 and includes declarations relating to patriarchal culture, religion, gender, land, food sovereignty, marriages, governance, education, health, disabilities and media.

In Swaziland one in three girls experience sexual violence, 31 per cent of women are HIV positive, marital rape is legal and out of 65 delegates to the House of Assembly only four are women.

Every other month, for the past three-and-a-half years, my organisation Black Activists Rising Against Cuts UK has been co-ordinating solidarity and humanitarian aid distributions and convoys to our sisters and brothers who are refugees in northern France.

While the majority of those who are currently there are men or boys, there are a number of women, many with young children, who have faced horrific experiences, forcing them to flee for their lives on long and perilous journeys to face inhumane conditions living outside in Calais and other parts of France and Europe, where they are often harassed by police who take and destroy tents and blankets.

Where are the voices of these women in the discourse about gender equality? They are not included and are scapegoated as less than human, coming to steal jobs and housing by politicians and the media.

Those celebrities using their voices to say #metoo #timesup and #pressforprogress have the privilege and opportunity to use their global positions to bring about real change in the way people think of feminism and women’s movements. So my message to them for IWD is to not just lift your own voice but to use your power to empower all women to use their voices — if you have a platform, share it with a sister.

Sometimes in order to make progress we have to challenge not just those outside but challenge our own perceptions about what progress looks like.

Zita Holbourne is the national vice-president of PCS, a member of the national executive of Artists Union England, elected to the TUC race relations committee, co-founder and national chair of Barac UK, an artist, curator, poet, author, writer and vocalist. She is elected to the Action for Southern Africa (Actsa) NEC and you can read more about the charter and our solidarity work with Swazi women via

Source: Morning Star.

A KNUTSFORD resident and social enterprise founder has been shortlisted for a National Diversity Award in the positive role model for gender category.

Jane Kenyon, who founded Girls Out Loud in 2010, has made the list after 22,000 nominees were considered.

Girls Out Loud aims to raise the confidence and aspirations and teenage girls in the north west and north Wales, by pairing them with female role models. To date, the organisation has worked with more than 5,000 girls across 35 schools.

Jane said: “I am absolutely thrilled to have been shortlisted for a National Diversity Award. It’s wonderful to have been recognised along with the other shortlisted nominees. There’s so much brilliant work going on across the country to improve diversity and I’m looking forward to celebrating that at the ceremony.”

The awards will be presented at Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral on September 8, with a ceremony showcasing the achievements of those bidding to enhance equality, diversity and inclusion.

The NDAs are supported by Stephen Fry, Adam Hills and Sir Lenny Henry among many others.

Paul Sesay, founder and CEO of the awards, 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.”

Written by Ned Bristow, featured in The Knutsford Guardian –

National Diversity Awards

Copyrights © 2019 National Diversity Awards / All Rights Reserved

Web Design by Marketing Originals