Religion and Belief Open Meetings – Avery Hill and Medway

Thank you to those who had attended the first meeting in October at the Greenwich campus. We value your contribution so far and shall be in touch shortly.

Why should you attend?

The Open Meeting for staff is just the beginning. It will be an opportunity for you to tell us what you think the planned Forum on Religion and Belief should include;

· Bring your expertise in any area of Religion and Belief
· Raise any concerns you may have
· Tell us what you are already doing in the University around Religion and Belief
· Volunteer for the forum

We hope to further improve student experience, and offer growth and enrichment opportunities for both students and staff.

If you would like to be part of this new venture, please register your attendance on either of the links below or get in touch if you cannot attend but wish to express an interest.

Avery Hill. Mary Seacole S011

Thursday 26th November 4.00 pm – 6.00 pm

Register your attendance by clicking on the link below:


Medway. Blake Building B028

Wednesday 9th December 4.00 pm – 6.00 pm

Register your attendance by clicking on the link below:

We hope you can make it.

Claire W. Clark Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager
Catherine Martindale, Roman Catholic Lay Champlain. Member of the Chaplaincy Team



Allotment gardening ‘can boost mental well-being’, according to study

allotment gardening

Gardening in an allotment can improve mood and self-esteem, according to research by two universities.

The study, by Westminster and Essex universities, questioned 269 people – around half of whom did some gardening.

The results revealed that those who spent as little as 30 minutes a week in their allotments saw significant gains in mental well-being, according to the Journal of Public Health.  More

Mental health equality call gets high profile backing

Mental Health Celebs

A campaign calling for an increase in funding for mental health services in England has been launched.

Over 200 celebrities have backed the push for mental health to be treated as seriously as other illnesses.

It was launched by former mental health minister Norman Lamb, Conservative MP Andrew Mitchell and former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said treatment had made “great strides” but more could be done to improve services.

The government increased overall mental health funding to £11.7bn in 2014/15.
But Mr Lamb said people with mental ill health “don’t get the same right to access treatment on a timely basis that everyone else gets”. He called it a “historic injustice.”

His son was diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder at the age of 15 and Mr Campbell has spoken about his battle with depression.  More

Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – November 2015

April Ashley

Transgender Awareness Week, starts on 14 November leading up to Transgender Day of Remembrance on 20 November, when transgender advocates raise awareness of the transgender community through education and advocacy activities. With this in mind we have chosen April Ashley as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month.

April is a model and restaurant hostess and one of the first British people to undergo gender reassignment surgery.

April was born George Jamieson and joined the Merchant Navy in 1951. Following two suicide attempts which resulted in being discharged from the Merchant Navy and being sent to a mental institution, April moved to London from Liverpool. Having started cross-dressing, she moved to Paris in the late 1950s, began using the name Toni April and joined the famous French entertainer Coccinelle in the cast of the drag cabaret at the Carousel Theatre.

In May 1960 April had pioneering seven-hour-long sex reassignment surgery. Following which all her hair fell out and she endured significant pain, but the operation was successful.

After her surgery April became a sought-after model who was photographed by David Bailey and featured in the pages of Vogue magazine. But the joy at her successful transition was not to last. Later in 1961 she was betrayed by a friend who sold her story to the Sunday People for £5. She never worked as model again in Britain and she would continue to suffer prejudice and discrimination in the decades that followed.

In 2005, after the passage of the Gender Recognition Act 2004, April was finally legally recognised as a female and issued with a new birth certificate.

In December 2012 April was recognised for her tireless work on behalf of the transgender community, being awarded an MBE for her services to transgender equality. She was also awarded a Lifetime Achievement honour at the European Diversity Awards 2014

A major exhibition ‘April Ashley: portrait of a lady’ was held at the Museum of Liverpool from 27 September 2013 to 1 March 2015. There is also a film being produced about April’s life.

To find out more about April and her work see her website at