First new treatment for sickle cell in 20 years

The first new sickle-cell treatment in 20 years will help keep thousands of people out of hospital over the next three years, NHS England has said.

Sickle-cell disease is incurable and affects 15,000 people in the UK.

And the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence said the hope of reducing health inequalities for black people, who are predominantly affected and often have poorer health to start with, made the drug worth recommending.

It called it “an innovative treatment”. More

LGBT Sport Podcast at 200: Jessica Andrade, Gareth Thomas, Jack Dunne and other memorable episodes

There was the cricket match that made history. The 9/11 hero who inspired the world’s largest amateur rugby tournament. The Formula 1 world champion who spoke out as an LGBTQ+ ally. And the elite referee who shared his story publicly for the first time.

The LGBT Sport Podcast has covered all of those stories – and many, many more – over its 200 episodes. So picking out its most memorable moments is quite a challenge.

When we published our very first podcast on 25 September 2018, with a basic and only a general understanding of how to get episodes into a person’s feed, we weren’t sure how long we would be around for.

Yet in the three years since, we’ve covered a wealth of stories across more than 40 sports. More

The Magic Circle appoints its youngest, and first female, president

Times have changed in the magic industry. Tricks aren’t just about sawing people in half these days – they also teach people about climate change.

It’s different at the top too – a 28-year-old woman has been elected president of The Magic Circle.

It’s the first time a woman has held the title in its 116 year history.

Megan Swann is now the president of the organisation, founded in 1905, for British magicians.

She’s also its youngest. More

Sara Cox to become first woman to referee Premiership game

Sara Cox is set to make history on Saturday as the first woman to referee a Premiership game.

Cox will take charge of Harlequins’ home opener against Worcester Warriors.

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) made Cox the world’s first female professional rugby referee in March 2016.

Last year, she became the first female assistant referee in English rugby’s top flight and was the first woman to take charge of an English top-tier game in the Premiership Rugby Cup in 2018.

“Huge congratulations to Sara Cox,” Premiership Rugby tweeted.

“She’ll become the first woman to referee a #GallagherPrem league game on Saturday. Continually making history.”

First UK LGBT business champion appointed

The UK’s first LGBT business champion has pledged to build a bridge between the government and the LGBT community.

Iain Anderson, executive chairman of public relations firm Cicero, will focus on improving workplace equality at a small business level.

One CIPD report suggested 40% of LGBT employees had experienced conflict at work, rising to 55% of trans employees.

Earlier this year, the government’s LGBT advisory panel was disbanded after several members quit.

One, Jayne Ozanne, accused the government of creating a “hostile environment” for LGBT people.

The members left over the government’s handling of LGBT rights and amid claims it was “dragging its feet” on a pledge to ban so-called conversion therapy.

“I definitely see my role as a link between the LGBT community, government and business and I want to build a bridge between the three parties,” Mr Anderson said.

“If businesses see me, and in turn government, putting in place tangible ways to allow LGBT people to be themselves, they’ll understand that this is a priority area and do more about it.”

Mr Anderson, a Stonewall ambassador, was appointed to the new unpaid position by equalities minister Liz Truss. More

Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – September 2021

World Alzheimer’s Month is the international campaign every September to raise awareness and challenge the stigma that surrounds dementia. September 2021 will mark the 10th World Alzheimer’s Month. The campaign was launched in 2012 and World Alzheimer’s Day is on 21 September each year.

With that in mind we have chosen Phyllis Logan as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month.

Phyllis is one of the most recognisable faces on British television, having starred as Lady Jane Felsham for eight years in the BBC’s much-loved antiques comedy drama, Lovejoy, before becoming synonymous with another British classic, Downton Abbey, in which she rules the roost as housekeeper Mrs Carson, nee Hughes.

In 1983 she won a BAFTA for most promising newcomer for her role in the emotional drama Another Time, Another Place and she has numerous other film credits to her name, including Nativity! and the Mike Leigh classic Secrets and Lies.

Phyllis is a Dementia UK Ambassador and a passionate supporter of Dementia UK’s work, having witnessed her mother’s struggles with a cognitive impairment and her mother-in-law’s difficulty following a diagnosis of dementia.

She has appeared on television multiple times to promote Dementia UK’s Admiral Nurse Helpline and our Time for a Cuppa fundraiser – each time causing a huge spike in calls.

To find out more about Phyllis see here

To find out more about World Alzheimer’s Day see here

Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – AUgust 2021

The Paralympics starts on 24 August and with that in mind we have chosen Lee Pearson as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month.

After discovering para-equestrian dressage whilst watching the 1996 Atlanta Paralympics on TV, Lee started riding and has gone on to win gold at every Paralympic Games since. He took the triple title (team, individual and freestyle) at the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, 2004 Athens Paralympics and 2008 Beijing Paralympics, setting an equestrian world record by being unbeaten at three consecutive Paralympic Games.

In 2003, he became the first disabled person to have won a title at the British Dressage National Championships competing against non-disabled riders when he took the 2003 elementary restricted title.

Competing at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, Lee came away with three medals, Team gold, Individual silver and bronze in the Grade Ib competition; 2015 saw him secure Team gold and two Individual silvers at the European Championships out in Deauville.

At Rio 2016, Lee’s career achievements were recognised when he was chosen to be the Paralympics GB flagbearer for the Opening Ceremony, leading the team into the Maracana at his fifth Games. 

Once competition got under way, Lee swiftly claimed the 13th Paralympic dressage medal of his career with a silver in the individual competition, scoring an impressive 74.103 on his horse Zion.  Lee’s fortunes changed in the individual freestyle test (Ib) where he went on to secure his eleventh Paralympic gold medal – his 14th of any colour.

Lee is a charity ambassador for the Donna Louise Hospice in Stoke and the Midlands Air Ambulance amongst others.

Awarded an MBE in 2001 and an OBE in 2005 in recognition of his monumental equestrian success and services to sport for the disabled; he then received a CBE in the 2009 New Year Honours List for services to equestrianism and disabled sport.

Lee’s achievements and contribution to equestrian sport was recognised when he was knighted in the 2017 New Year Honours.

To find out more about Lee see here

To find out more about the Paralympics see here

Women’s Institute magazine features first trans woman cover star

The Women’s Institute is featuring a trans woman member on the cover of its magazine for the first time.

Petra Wenham, a member of Cake and Revolution WI in Suffolk, appears on the July/August issue of WI Life, the organisation’s membership magazine.

She said she felt “accepted and honoured” to be on a platform to raise awareness of transgender issues.

Cake and Revolution said Ms Wenham “deserves to be acknowledged and celebrated”. More

Inspirational Diversity Champion of the month

24 July is the Samaritans annual awareness campaign ‘Talk to Us’ also known as the ‘Big Listen’ and with that in mind we have chosen Fearne Cotton as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month.

Fearne Cotton is an author and TV and radio presenter.

She is an ambassador for MIND the Mental Health Charity and lends her support to their major campaigns such as RED January and Time to Talk Day, hosted their Mind Media Awards in 2017 and has visited a local Mind to learn about Mind’s work within the community.

She first publicly opened up about her experience of depression in 2017 before writing HAPPY, a book about finding joy in the everyday and letting go of perfection. Since then, she has released her follow up book CALM and has started her podcast HAPPY PLACE, in which she interviews various individuals about their life experiences, including Mind’s President, Stephen Fry.

Fearne has also launched her Happy Place Festival, previously welcoming Mind to host a pop-up stand at the live event and supporting Mind through the virtual event in 2020.

To find out more about Fearne see here

To find out more about the ‘Talk to Us’ campaign see here

Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – June 2021

Diabetes Awareness Week runs from 14 – 20 June and with this in mind we have chosen Nina Wadia as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the week.

Nina is an actor well-known for her roles in EastEnders, Still Open All Hours and Goodness Gracious Me.  She is also an Ambassador for JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) and has supported them since her son, Aidan, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2017 at the age of 10.

In 2019 Nina published a book on her family’s experiences of diabetes and the research undertaken to better understand the condition, with the idea of supporting children with type 1 diabetes, Bionic T1D.

The book empowers children who are facing the challenges of managing type 1 and helps them get to grips with type 1 technology such as insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors.

As well as supporting the type 1 community, Nina has given invaluable support to JDRF. She generously donated her winnings from Celebrity Catchphrase and Celebrity Tipping Point to JDRF, and in 2019 presented a BBC fundraising appeal on their behalf. She has also given her time by hosting an online event to celebrate the ground-breaking launch of the artificial pancreas.

In January 2021 she was award the OBE for her services to entertainment and charity.

To find out more about Diabetes Awareness Week see here

To find out more about Nina see here

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