Celebrities including Stephen Fry and Beverley Knight are voicing their praise for a national awards scheme promoting diversity and social cohesion, due to be held in Manchester in September.
The National Diversity Awards (NDA) ceremony, to be held at the Midland Hotel, will honour individuals and organisations that have done outstanding work in the fields of race, LGBT, gender, disability and age discrimination across the country.
Actor and television presenter Stephen Fry thinks the NDA will have a positive outcome and wishes the event every success.
He said: “It is important to come together and focus on those who have demonstrated an outstanding work ethic in order to enhance equality, diversity and inclusion.”
The NDA, the UK’s first national diversity awards, have said that they are ‘thrilled’ to bring the awards to Manchester as ‘diversity is one of its greatest assets and strengths.’
The city’s own Paralympics ‘golden couple’ Sarah and Barney Storey, who are currently training for London 2012, said that they are delighted to support the NDA.
They said: “The rich tapestry of our nation comes from the fact we are blessed with talented individuals from across the globe who chose to work and live in the UK.”
Judging this year’s nominees will be: Paul Sesay, CEO of the Diversity Group, Dr Rob Berkeley, director of Runnymede, the UK’s leading race equality think tank; Denise Keating, CEO of the Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion, representing age in employment; Mark Shrimpton, Deputy CEO of Radar, a disability rights charity; Penny Newman, CEO of Platform 51, a national charity for vulnerable women, and; Jane Czyzselska, the editor of DIVA magazine for lesbian women.
Soul singer Beverley Knight said that she would have liked to attend the awards, but she will be on honeymoon during the ceremony.
Lending her support, she said: “Britain is brilliantly diverse. We are every kind of people. I love the idea that there is an awards ceremony that celebrates our differences and their positive effect on all our lives.”
The NDA recently dropped a long term supporter of the awards, controversial private prisons company The GEO Group UK, following a Mancunian Matters probe into the group’s background.