The Hurlingham Club in West London played host to the National Diversity Awards ceremony for 2014 on Friday which saw another incredible and inspiring list of winners emerge. 

The event continues to grow in stature, scale and glitz and it’s clear that ‘diversity’ is happily not the flash in the pan or tick-box exercise as some cynics have previously judged it. The mix of organisations that put diversity at the heart of their operation and individuals that become role models to others don’t just fade into the background but are recognised for their role in caring about where our society is headed. Such people really do make an enormous difference to the way people think and certainly there were people in the room on Friday night for whom life will never be the same again as a result of their nominations and awards.

Campaigner and activist, Peter Tatchell helped to kick the evening off in fine style with his own brand of understated controversy; untangling in a few strokes the Coalition Government’s austerity measures, several of which having affected many of the people in attendance. It’s easy to see why he’s such a hero to so many people. His honesty and sincerity were themes that reached on to the end of the evening, showing again that it’s always right to do the ‘right thing’.

Awards were presented for all of the strands of diversity and Able Magazine editor, Tom Jamison was on hand to present the ‘Community Organisation Award for Disability’. As usual, the field of nominees was strong and included: Cafe JJ, Fightback, 4Up, I Am Me Scotland and eventual winner, theatre group Shabang!

Shabang is a fully accessible theatre company that gives a platform for the performing arts and the award was collected by one of their young actors, Ruben, who has used his experiences with the group to land a part in acclaimed CBeebies television programme, Tracy Beaker Returns.

Ruben took the stage with a huge smile and gave the National Diversity Awards 2014 a big thumbs-up. Well deserved!