The best of British diversity was celebrated and honoured at The National Diversity Awards, the UK’s largest diversity awards.
Role models and charities across Britain joined to celebrate at Liverpool Anglican Cathedral, where the most inspirational people were rewarded for their fight against inequality.
The awards were hosted by actor and comedian Richard Blackwood and ITV News presenter Charlene White. The evening was kicked off by founder of the NDA’s, Paul Sesay, discussing the importance of the National Diversity Awards and what inspired him to create the ceremony.
Following on, David Isaac CBE followed, sharing with the audience what he hopes to achieve as Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission. His speech was met with a rapturous applause from the inspired audience.
After decades of supporting thousands of women through services to Literature, education, women’s rights & interfaith relationships, Qaisra Shahraz was awarded the Lifetime Achiever Award by former England football international Sol Campbell. A list of tremendous achievements were recognised by judges, including Qaisra’s incredible feat of using her literary work as a tool for intercultural dialogues with thousands of university students and children around the world.
Another highlight of the evening came when Union J member Jaymi Hensley gifted the driving force behind the evolution of the LGBT+ network at Hampshire County Council, Moira Smyth, with the LGBT title.
Actress and comedian Sally Phillips awarded autism campaigner Aston Avery with the positive role model award for disability for raising in excess of £20,000 for charity, whilst Neomi Bennett was honoured with the Entrepreneur of Excellence Award for creating the life saving product Neo-Slip.
Named 2016’s Celebrity of the Year, Annie Wallace was hailed for being ‘the first transgender person to play a regular character in British soap history, changing the face of television’, whilst Channel 4 were recipients of the Diverse Company Award.
Britain’s youngest person ever to have been awarded a British Empire Medial (BEM), Sajid Rashid scooped the age positive role model award for his tireless fundraising and profound impact on the community.
The awards received a record 20,000 nominations and votes, paying tribute to grass root communities nationwide. Positive role models, community organisations and entrepreneurs from the LGBT, ethnic minority, age, gender, religion and disability communities joined together to support a skyfall of diversity talent.
Microsoft were just one of the brands supporting the awards, alongside adidas Group; Financial Ombudsman Service, Kier, PwC, MI5, GCHQ, MI6, ThoughtWorks, Direct Line Group; Transport for London; ITV; The Open University; and The Voice Newspaper & Able Magazine.
Speaking on the night, Sesay said, “The grassroots organisations that The National Diversity Awards recognise are pioneering amazing initiatives on equality diversity and inclusion; and we need to promote, empower, profile and acknowledge their extraordinary achievements.”
The full list of winners are as below:
- Positive Role Model for Age: Sajid Rashid BEM
- Positive Role Model for Disability: Aston Avery
- Positive Role Model for Gender: Dr. Sylvia Forchap-Likambi
- Positive Role Model for LGBT: Moira Smyth
- Positive Role Model for Race, Faith & Religion: Keesha Edwards
- Community Organisation Award for Age: AIM Academy
- Community Organisation Award for Disability: Glasgow Disability Alliance
- Community Organisation Award for Gender: Women4Africa
- Community Organisation Award for LGBT: Mermaids
- Community Organisation Award for Race, Faith & Religion: Black Cultural Archives
- Community Organisation Award for Multi-strand: Victory Hants
- Entrepreneur of Excellence: Neomi Bennett
- Celebrity of the Year: Annie Wallace
- Diverse Company: Channel 4
- Lifetime Achiever: Qaisra Shahraz