Kirklees celebrated the very best champions of inclusion and diversity at the John Smith Stadium in a prestigious awards ceremony last night, the first of its kind.

The event was hosted by Kirklees Council to celebrate the diverse nature of Kirklees by recognising and rewarding organisations and teams that are passionate about inclusion and diversity, those who strive to include others who might otherwise be excluded from activities and opportunities, and are inventive in the ways they achieve it.

The event honoured organisations as exemplars in promoting outstanding inclusion & diversity, and individuals who have been acknowledged for their contributions and commitment to improving practices and making working environments more inclusive.

Shabir Pandor, Leader of Kirklees Council said “We want to recognise and celebrate those that go above and beyond in ensuring that no matter what your background, sexuality, faith or ethnicity you are not treated or viewed upon any differently than others.

The nominees for this awards ceremony have done just that and we recognise their hard work in ensuring inclusion and diversity. They set the benchmark for what we should all be doing so everyone, whether a resident of Kirklees or a visitor, or our member of our organisations is not looked upon or treated differently. 

When people see the name Kirklees, I want them to know that it is a place that welcomes everyone, where our culture is one of openness and inclusion. I am proud to live here and be a part of a community that is so welcome.”

Winners on the night included:

Kirklees TV for the Diverse Business award

Kirklees Local TV won the Diverse Business award for celebrating local and regional successes, influencing new talent and helping to build more cohesive communities. Through their numerous projects they have seeked to inspire individuals and groups and to increase the social and economic outreach of communities.

Gup Shup & Chai for the Inclusive Community Project award

Initially Gup Shup & Chai was established to offer a safe space where women in the Birkby community could meet to chat and enjoy a cup of tea. The group has since evolved to bring together parts of the community who would not usually interact, creating a place where the residents can learn about each other’s cultures and make new friends.

Rawthorpe & Dalton Library for the Public Service award

The team at Rawthorpe and Dalton library and Information Centre have gone above and beyond to deliver a friendly and inclusive library service to meet the needs of the whole community. The library supports volunteer-led groups and a host of community events, ensuring that they are welcoming to all ages, genders and ethnicities.

Kirklees Local TV: Windrush for the Best Diversity Initiative award

Kirklees Local TV won the Best Diversity Initiative award for creating ‘Windrush: The Years After, a Community Legacy on Film’. The film pays tribute to members of the African Caribbean community that migrated to Kirklees between 1948 and 1971.

Kirklees Duke of Edinburgh Award Trust and DASH were joint winners for the Inclusive Charity of the Year award

Kirklees Duke of Edinburgh Award Trust has won the award for their outstanding work in providing young people with the opportunity to build skills and prepare for adult life.

DASH have won the award for providing relief and support to asylum seekers and refugees in Kirklees, empowering them to create positive lives. In offering this support, DASH aims to improve social cohesion in the wider community.

Maysoon Shafiq, Al Mu’minum The Believers for the Diversity Champion of the Year award

Maysoon Shafiq from Al Mu’minum the Believers has been nominated for her work in breaking down cultural barriers and bringing the community together.

One of the most anticipated awards of the evening was the Outstanding Contribution to Inclusion & Diversity award which went to the Jo Cox Foundation.

Kim Leadbeater, Ambassador for The Jo Cox Foundation, said: “It’s an honour to accept this award on behalf of everybody at The Jo Cox Foundation, tonight is everything that Jo believes in. it’s a room full of truly inspirational people and I’m really pleased that Kirklees Council put this event on. Everybody needs to keep up the amazing things they are doing because Kirklees is a great place to live and work and there’s a lot to be very proud of.”

The awards ceremony was hosted by Owen Williams, CEO of Calderdale & Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust. A speech was also given by Jacqui Gedman, Chief Executive of Kirklees Council.