RadioReverb has been Brighton & Hove’s local, not-for-profit radio station for the past 11 years, dedicated to providing a stimulating forum for learning and the expression of local ideas. They’re committed to community cohesion through broadcasting shows that reflect the diverse communities that make up the area. Their core value is to provide open access to radio for people under-represented, misrepresented or invisible in mainstream media. This remarkable station broadcasts 24/7 on 97.2FM, DAB+ and online and has a listenership of approximately 30,000 people, with a potential global reach, thanks to their online stream, listen-again service and podcasts. To date, they have provided a platform for numerous pioneering and award-winning shows, including Carousel, a show made by and for people who have learning disabilities, and Sophie Cook Talks, the station’s second trans-presented show.

We spoke with Tracey Allen at RadioReverb after they won The Community Organisation Award for Multi Strand at The National Diversity Awards 2018. Here’s what they had to say:

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

It was superb to be amongst such a diverse range of groups and it made me aware of great work that I didn’t know was going on.

What were your thoughts after winning The Community Organisation Award for Multi Strand?

Wow! Unbelievable! What an honour!  Thank you – this is a massive achievement for such a small organisation.

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

Everyone is ecstatic and we have had fabulous praise from other media organisations, locally.

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

We are now looking at what we do, but more importantly at what we don’t do and how we can further improve, so that we can keep our title with pride.

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

Giving marginalised groups a voice is central to what we do and we know it makes a difference, even if sometimes it’s not popular. It raises awareness and brings new support.

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

It’s important to educate, inform, give support and help groups to have a stronger voice.

Who or What is your inspiration?

The team at RadioReverb!

What were your thoughts on The National Diversity Awards Ceremony? Did you enjoy your evening?

It was everything I wanted it to be!

Touchstone – the Beeston based mental health and wellbeing charity – is celebrating winning the National Diversity Awards in the Diverse Company category at a star-studded night at the breathtaking Liverpool Anglican Cathedral.

The awards were held on 14 September and saw individuals and organisations from across the UK crowned the best in British diversity. A record 24,584 people nominated this year alone with an astonishing 124 nominees being recognised for their various achievements nationwide.

NDA Founder and Chief Executive Paul Sesay thanked attendees for their passion and commitment to inclusion:

“Thank You. Thank You for striving to make the world a better place to live, and thank you for your outstanding contributions to Equality, Diversity & Inclusion. You should all feel extremely proud, and we have no doubt in our minds that you will continue to make waves for a long time to come.”

Touchstone’s Chief Executive, Alison Lowe said on receiving the award:

“Touchstone is committed to inclusion and our effort is focused on achieving this for everyone. The National Diversity Awards were a brilliant way of telling the world about our passion for justice and fairness and winning the Diverse Company category was a vindication of the energy and resources we invest in delivering this vision. Thank you Paul and the team for letting our staff shine.”

Touchstone CBT Therapist, Simone Stephenson-Bellwood attended the awards with fellow colleagues.

“I’m incredibly proud working at and for Touchstone” she said. “Alison Lowe is the most inspirational leader. She leads by example and has created an environment across a large organisation where it is safe to bring your whole self to work (if you choose) and people will still support, respect and value who we are.

“We all do our best for Touchstone because our organisation genuinely cares for us and we can give that same care to our service users.”

Source – South Shields Life

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.”


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