A Huddersfield business and inspirational people who have set up amazing projects in their communities were the winners in the Kirklees Diversity, Equality and Innovation awards 2022.
The best diverse business went to Birkby-based Deluxe Beds Ltd led by Asian woman Khatiza Bibi, and its workforce consists of 15 different nationalities speaking 11 languages, mainly drawn from the local community and belonging to disadvantaged ethnic minority groups.
The award for Outstanding Contribution to Inclusion and Diversity went to Tanisha Bramwell who founded the Bramwell Sports Development Team in 2015 in Dewsbury Moor in response to cuts in youth services but it’s just grown and grown.
She set up a group for girls involved in anti-social behaviour in Dewsbury Moor, helping to break down religious and gang divides, and other projects she runs include anti-knife campaigns, sports programmes; a food bank for the vulnerable, elderly and people in need; mental health campaigns and open advice sessions on housing, employment, benefits and education.
The awards which took place on Wednesday 21st September 2022 were the culmination of a day-long event at Kirklees College which started with a conference where two panels answered questions about diversity, equality and innovation.
Both events were organised by Kirklees Diversity = Innovation Network and were sponsored by Kirklees Council, Kirklees College, Kirklees Active Leisure, Syngenta, Cummins and Haddletons business and legal services.
Both events were hosted by Yorkshire journalist Andy Hirst from AH! PR who previously devised and hosted the Examiner Community Awards for many years.
He said: “The people and projects nominated for the awards are truly awe-inspiring. It never ceases to amaze me what brilliant work goes on in Kirklees carried out by dedicated volunteers who just do it for one simple reason – they want to help others in any way they can.”
The award winners were:
Inclusive Community Project
Winner: Chickenley Community Centre in Dewsbury which has services and projects to help absolutely anyone in the community and puts on activities such as youth, job, social, gardening and luncheon clubs.
Runners-up: Serendipity Creative Writers which holds creative writing sessions across Kirklees to improve people’s confidence, sense of wellbeing and promotes good mental health.
Communities Together which has promoted equality and diversity in Kirklees since 2006, including staging the Sangam Festival which spotlights South Asian heritage in Kirklees, supporting the ethnic minority LGBTQ+ community and setting up a helpline for domestic abuse victims.
Inclusive Third Sector Organisation of the Year
Winner: Rainbow Baby Bank is based in Heckmondwike and supplies families and mums-to-be across Kirklees with baby equipment, nappies, toiletries, clothes, baby food and formula milk. Its leaflets are printed in several languages as many who are desperate for help or are the most vulnerable may not have English as a first language. The charity also helps five local domestic violence refuges.
Runners-up: Huddersfield Literature Festival for its diverse management team and an incredibly diverse festival programme that embraces all communities with most of the events low cost or free to make them accessible to all
The Moonlight Trust based in Dewsbury that helps humanitarian work both in the UK and worldwide. This includes food banks and survival kits for the homeless in the UK and emergency aid for refugee camps in places as diverse as Ukraine, Greece, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Public Service Award
Winner: Linda Johnson who is the Improvement and Relationships Manager at Kirklees Council and has been nominated for her work creating the Iroko Project to tackle racism against the Black and Caribbean communities in Kirklees. Linda sought the views and experiences of 300 people from the communities to draw up an action plan of six priority areas that would make a real difference to people’s lives.
Runners-up: Alex Feather is the Creative Minds Co-ordinator for Kirklees, a charity hosted by South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. Alex has taken the lead on many community projects which support people from all backgrounds and cultures to improve their mental health and wellbeing through creativity and art.
Kirklees Council Local Offer Team which challenges disability inequalities and discrimination by helping families with children who have disabilities or special educational needs overcome barriers when accessing information about the services they need. Before the team started work around 1,000 people sought information each month and that has now risen to 14,500 a month so they are making a big difference to a lot of lives.
Best Diversity Innovation
Winner: Dial Wood Carriage Riding for the Disabled is a Huddersfield-based charity that provides horse riding therapy and carriage-riding but has taken inclusivity to another level with a riding simulator which is a mechanical horse attached to a simulator that was a massive help during covid and meant people could keep on riding, helping to build their strength and co-ordination and was a great release from the isolation of lockdowns.
Runners-up: South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust that provides mental health, learning disability and community services in Kirklees and set up the Black, Asian and Minority Covid 19 Project in North Kirklees after it was discovered a high number of members from these communities had lost their lives to covid 19.
Sensory World in Dewsbury, a community interest company equipped with lighting, technical equipment and toys which are all proven to help children and adults on the autistic spectrum. It also has special facilities for people with visual impairments and wheelchair users and runs social clubs and groups, including for people with dementia.
Winner: Deluxe Beds Ltd in Birkby.
Runners-up: Hive Community Caféis a community interest company based on John William Street in Huddersfield town centre set up last autumn that offers a safe space for people with learning disabilities or dementia, hosts groups for teenagers identifying as LGBTQ+ and specialises in vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free food.
Kirklees Library Service which has worked incredibly hard over the last two years to increase the diversity of its workforce including setting up an apprentice scheme and rethinking the application process. As a result, diversity on the library workforce has increased by 262% in its younger employees aged under 30 and there has been a 67% increase in the number of Black, Asian and minority ethnic employees because of the changes.
Diversity Champion of the Year
Winner: Dawn Pearson who is the Communication, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Lead for South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. Dawn has also set up many schemes including transgender training for staff and supporting the development of the staff Black, Asian and ethnic minority network, the LGBT+ staff network and setting up a disability staff network.
Runners-up: Martyn Haymonds, a volunteer with Serendipity Creative Writers who has channelled his experience as a social worker and mental health issues into helping Serendipity to grow by speaking to funding organisations, setting up workshops and promoting it far and wide.
Maysoon Shafiq, Founder and Director for Al Mu Minun (The Believers), a non-profit organisation dedicated to serving the community. She is a faith leader and hospital chaplain who works tirelessly on many projects to promote inclusivity and diversity, helping people to understand the religion of Islam.
Outstanding Contribution to Inclusion and Diversity
Winner: Tanisha Bramwell.
Runners-up: Noushin Aslam who founded the Moonlight Trust in memory of her brother, Amaar Aslam, after he was robbed and murdered in Dewsbury in 2008. As a female charity led by Noushin, it has attracted women from ethnic minorities and marginalised groups to become part of local and international movements.
Rosie Buxton who chairs Dalton Together and is an absolutely inspirational figure in the Dalton ward area of Huddersfield which includes Dalton, Rawthorpe, Moldgreen, Waterloo and parts of Leeds Road. Her motto is ‘together we make good things happen’ and Dalton Together is a community led partnership that’s both diverse and inclusive to ensure the area gets the support it needs both now and in the future.
The awards were held in the afternoon and in the morning the conference featured two panels of people involved in Diversity, Equality and Innovation. They were:
Milton Brown, chief executive at Kirklees Local TV
Ruben Alejandro, group head for diversity and inclusion at Syngenta
Claire Paxman, brand ambassador and director of global training at Huddersfield company Paxman
Suhaila Gayatiri Binti Abdullah, integration and positive change manager at Destitute Asylum Seekers Huddersfield (DASH)
Palvinder Singh, principal and chief executive at Kirklees College
Clr Shabir Pandor, leader of Kirklees Council
Hugh Goulbourne, senior associate at Haddletons legal and business services
Evy Meirhaeghe, diversity relations manager at Cummins
Rachel Spencer-Henshall, Director of Public Health at Kirklees Council
Kathy Morris, manager for culture and learning development at Paxman
The event is available to watch for anyone who missed it on the event website www.kirkleesdiversityandinnovation.com