Big Brother star Brian Dowling and CBeebies presenter Cerrie Burnell returned to host the UK’s Largest Diversity Awards, celebrating Community Heroes for their commitment to inclusion.
Role models and charities were honoured nationwide at Friday’s ceremony at The Hurlingham Club, London, rewarding Britain’s most inspirational people for their fight against inequality.
Microsoft were just one of the brands supporting a skyfall of diversity talent – positive role models, community organisations and businesses from the LGBT, ethnic minority, age, gender, religion and disability communities.
Over 21,000 nominations and votes were received this year paying tribute to those from under-represented backgrounds who have dedicated their lives to enhancing the equality agenda.
After decades of supporting disabled children through her organisation the Touch Trust, Dilys Price OBE awarded the lifetime achiever award by Paralympic medallist Ade Adepitan.
A list of tremendous achievements were recognised by judges, including Dily’s incredible feat of pioneering the first British Adapted Physical Education Course, and becoming the oldest female sky diver at 82 years of age.
Another highlight of the evening came when Stephen Sutton was honoured with a Special Recognition Award, which was collected by his older brother Chris Sutton. Guests were reminded of Stephen’s courageous efforts for raising over £4 million for the Teenage Cancer Trust .
Human Rights Activist Peter Tatchell kicked off the night with an inspirational speech, and the ‘The Last Leg’ stars Adam Hills and Alex Brooker presented the positive role model award for disability to Sarah Chapman.
Freedom fighting refugee Aderonke Apata scooped the LGBT positive role model award, and Sonia Meggie took home the race, faith and religion strand for empowering people through her organisation Inspirational YOU.
Named 2014’s Disability Community Organisation of the year, Shabang! were hailed as ‘a perfect example of a community organisation’ and presented with their award by Able editor Tom Jamison and Ruth Mundy of Mouchel.
With support from international Cheerleaders, the unique campaign Give ’em Hope were commended for uplifting thousands who feel marginalised, isolated or limited by labels.
Brighton based project Allsorts, were awarded in the age category, and specialist organisation Working With Men collected their award in the gender category, for their bold work with young men.
‘So You Wanna Be In TV’ founder Rioch Edwards-Brown was applauded for improving the skills of disadvantaged and diverse youth to achieve a positive employment outcome within media.
Other winners included Karen Ingala Smith for Gender, Mohammad Zafran for Age, and Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust for the Diverse Company Award.
The night featured stellar performances from Liverpool boy band MiC LOWRY, and singing sensation Lemar.
The prestigious black-tie event has attracted a growing list of top employers including Microsoft, Lloyds Banking Group, Transport for London, PWC, Sky, MI5, The Open University, Financial Ombudsman Service, ThoughtWorks, Mouchel and Penna.
The National Diversity Awards will be broadcast on the Community Channel later this year.