All posts by Liz Laurence

Inspirational Diversity CHampion of the Month – August 2020

12 August is International Youth Day and with that in mind we have chosen Dante Marvin as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month.  Dante is a Young Ambassador for Variety, the Children’s Charity and Variety North West.

Dante was born with brittle bone disease and scoliosis. He has spent most of his young life in and out of hospital for treatment, including painful rod replacement surgery in his legs.  But refuses to let it get him down. He tells everyone he meets: “There are no disabilities, only abilities.”  It sums up the indomitable spirit of a youngster who inspires everyone he meets with his remarkable zest for life.

Dante first became involved with the children’s charity Variety when his mum Rachel asked for help to buy a new wheelchair. During the home visit, Dante dazzled the assessor with his optimistic outlook and she asked him to speak at an event.

His motto was a key mantra of his speech, which was such a success he now speaks regularly to audiences of adults to raise awareness while encouraging them to dig deep for the cause, helping to raise £30,000 for a Sunshine Bus.

Dante also visits other seriously ill and disabled children in hospital, not only bringing light and laughter to the wards, but also identifying children who could benefit from Variety’s support. He petitions the charity on their behalf for equipment such as lightweight wheelchairs and he’s even been known to do it when undergoing treatment himself.

His message to others is be resilient, be brave and never give up and just because you are disabled, you are no different to anyone else. Never forget that.”

To find out more about Dante see here

https://twitter.com/thedantemarvin?lang=en

To find out more about International Youth Day see here https://www.un.org/en/observances/youth-day

EDI annual report 2019/20

The EDI Strategy 2019-2022 is a declaration of the university’s commitment to place the promotion of equality, diversity and inclusion at the heart of the university. We believe that having a clear Equality and Diversity Policy Statement for students and staff reinforces our expectations of the values and behaviours that all members of the university community should exhibit: 

  • Treat others with respect at all times, and promote an environment free of all kinds of bullying and harassment.
  • Actively discourage discriminatory behaviours or practices.  
  • Participate in training and learning opportunities that would enable them to adopt best practice.

You can read the (EDI) Annual Report now.

Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – July 2020

24 July is Samaritans Awareness Day and this year it is known as The Big Listen, with this in mind we have chosen someone who has openly discussed their mental health situation, the actor and tv personality Denise Welch as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the month.

Denise is an actress and tv personality. She has featured in many well know tv shows including, Soldier Soldier, Waterloo Road, Coronation Street, Eastenders, Benidorm and Dun Breedin to name just a few.  She has appeared in many other tv shows and is a regular panellist on Loose Women.

Her mental health issues began following the birth of her first childShe refers to the clinical depression she suffers with as ‘The Unwelcome Visitor’ and although she has written before about her struggles her latest book is called ‘The Unwelcome Visitor – Depression and How I survive it’.

This type of book was something she would have found very useful over the last 30 years, within the book Denise reveals her ongoing journey from breakdowns to breakthroughs and through self-destruction to self-acceptance. It lets people know that ‘you’re not alone and you can live a happy and successful life alongside your illness’.

To find out more about Samaritans Awareness day see here

https://www.awarenessdays.com/awareness-days-calendar/24-7-samaritans-awareness-day-the-big-listen-2020/

To find out more about Denise see here

https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0919538/

Queenie author Candice Carty-Williams wins British Book Award

Candice Carty-Williams has said she feels “proud” but “sad” to become the first black author to win book of the year at the British Book Awards.

Her critically acclaimed debut novel, Queenie, fended off titles from authors including Lisa Taddeo, Oyinkan Braithwaite and Margaret Atwood.

She’s joined on the winner’s podium by Bernardine Evaristo, who was named author of the year.

Her Booker-winning novel, Girl, Woman, Other, won fiction book of the year. More

Jamie Chadwick set for substantial backing for journey to Formula 1

Jamie Chadwick says she hopes the “stars will align” after a securing substantial backing to reach Formula 1.

Chadwick signed for the Italian Prema team following support from Rodin Cars’ multi-millionaire boss David Dicker.

The 22-year-old will compete in regional Formula 3 from this August, with the aim of rising up to International F3 and F2 with Prema.

She said the opportunity was a “dream” and hopes to be in a position to compete in F1 “by 2023 or 2024”.

The British driver, who won the female-only W Series last year, tested a car developed by Rodin in New Zealand in March, leading Dicker to claim she was an “exceptional talent”.

Rodin are aiming to produce the world’s fastest track car and to make it commercially available, and partnered Chadwick as a driver who could help with on-track feedback. More

Black Lives Matter: a statement from the Vice-Chancellor, GSU officers, Chairs of EDI Committee & Chair of BAME staff network

We stand together in solidarity with our black students and staff.

As a university community and as individuals we are appalled by the senseless racist killing of George Floyd in the USA. We are equally saddened that the UK is not innocent. We know Sheku Bayoh, Kingsley Burrell, Sarah Reed, and many others have died in police custody in this country. We also all know about the racially motivated murder of Stephen Lawrence.

We need to see the situation for what it is and we need to be honest: these experiences exist and structural racism is present in our communities and in our universities. As employers, educators, researchers and community leaders we have a duty to act and an important part to play, and we should start with apologising for not doing enough and for not confronting racism with the urgency it deserves.

We also know saying this isn’t sufficient. We have a duty to do better. Equality, diversity and inclusion are founding principles of our institution and core beliefs of our students and staff. We know that world events and media coverage shouldn’t be the only driver for change but recent events and feedback from staff and students tells us that we need to do more.

With this in mind, we are committing to a review of all of our equality and diversity work and by the end of September 2020 we will be sharing our detailed plan of action setting out how we will do more to achieve systemic and long-lasting change for our students and staff. As part of this, we will be reflecting on the work done by the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, the BAME attainment gap project and the BAME Staff Network.

The Vice-Chancellor will also be appointing a member of staff to work directly with her 1-2 days per week, on a secondment basis, to champion and deliver this important work.

We recognise that we also have a responsibility to educate ourselves and we will shortly be sharing resources for students and staff across the university.

In the meantime, we recognise how tough, hurtful, and traumatising the last few weeks have been to our black students and staff.

If you need support now, or at any time in the future, you can contact the Wellbeing Service or GSU Advice Service (for students) or the Employee Assistance Programme, a wellbeing champion or a member of Human Resources (for staff).

You can also join our BAME Staff Network (by emailing Natasha Abreo) or GSU’s BAME Student Society by emailing Mayo Femi-Obalemo, or email any suggestions you may have about how the university should take further action to Naseer Ahmad or Simone Murch from our EDI team.

Black lives matter.

Professor Jane Harrington

Vice-Chancellor and on behalf of the University of Greenwich

Dr Sandhi Patchay

Chair and on behalf of the University of Greenwich BAME Staff Network

GSU Officers

On behalf of Greenwich Students’ Union

Gail Brindley, Director of HR & Professor Mark O’Thomas, PVC, Faculty of Liberal Arts and Science, Co-Chairs, and on behalf of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee at the University of Greenwich

Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – June 2020

From 8 – 14 June it is Diabetes Awareness Week and with that in mind we have chosen Gary Mabbutt as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the month.

Gary was a professional footballer who made more than 750 appearances playing for Bristol Rovers and Tottenham Hotspur, and also won 16 caps for England. He is best remembered for his 16-year spell at Tottenham Hotspur, where he played from 1982 until 1998, winning the UEFA Cup in 1984 and the FA Cup in 1991.  His final appearance for the club came against Southampton on the last day of the 1997–98 season.

Gary has type 1 diabetes, and became an icon for many children with the condition. He famously appeared on the BBC’s children’s television programme Blue Peter where he demonstrated injecting insulin into an orange to show how he dealt with his condition on a daily basis.

After more than two decades in the sport, Gary is now Vice President and Patron of Diabetes UK, using his status as a well-known diabetic to raise awareness of the condition and encourage people with diabetes to live full lives. 

He currently works as an ambassador for Tottenham Hotspur football club as well as the Football Association, Diabetes UK and the Willow Foundation a national charity that provides special days for seriously ill 11-40 year olds.

Gary was awarded an MBE in the 1994 New Year Honours for services to football.

To find out more about Diabetes Awareness Week click here https://www.diabetes.org.uk/get_involved/diabetes-week

To find out more about Gary see here https://www.performingartistes.co.uk/artistes/gary-mabbutt

Inspirational Diversity CHampion of the month – May 2020

Mental Health Awareness Week will take place from 18-24 May 2020 hosted by the Mental Health Foundation with the theme of ‘kindness’. With this in mind we have chosen George Ezra as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the month.

Georgeis a singer, songwriter and musician.  He first started supporting the mental health charity Mind after seeing friends and family affected by mental health problems. He then began experiencing anxiety himself after returning home from an intensive touring schedule and started encouraging his fans to donate to us throughout his UK tour in 2017. He has recently also opened up about his diagnosis of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) on his podcast ‘Phone a Friend with George Ezra and Ollie MN’.

He has supported various initiatives including Time to Talk Day, Mind’s ground breaking partnership with the EFL and the Mind Media Awards.

George has held a number of fundraising shows for Mind at London’s Union Chapel and the Royal Albert Hall, raising over £170,000 to help fund vital services.

George was announced as an Ambassador for Mind in July 2019 in recognition of his outstanding dedication.

To find out more about Mental Health Awareness Week see here

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week

To find out more about MIND see here https://www.mind.org.uk/

To find out more about George see here https://www.georgeezra.com/

Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – April 2020

World Austim Awareness Day is on 2 April and with this in mind we have chosen Chris Packham as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the month.  Chris is a naturalist, nature photographer, television presenter and author.

He is particularly known for his work as a television presenter, which began in 1986 with the BAFTA-winning BBC1 children’s programme The Really Wild Show and nature photography series Wild Shots on Channel 4.

Since June 2009, he has co-presented the BBC Two nature programme Springwatch and its sister programmes Autumnwatch and Winterwatch.

He formed the production company Head Over Heels with producer Stuart Woodman, making wildlife programmes for Discovery Channel, National Geographic, and the BBC.

In October 2017, he presented a documentary about his experience as a high-functioning person with Asperger’s, ‘Chris Packham: Asperger’s and Me’ and at the same time he became an Ambassador for the National Autistic Society.

He is vice-president of the RSPB, the Wildlife Trusts, Butterfly Conservation, the Brent Lodge Bird & Wildlife Trust, The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust and Grace Secondary School (The Sudan) and a patron of many others.

In 2011 he was awarded the Dilys Breese Medal, by the British Trust for Ornithology, for his “outstanding work in promoting science to new audiences”.

In December 2013, he was made an honorary Doctor of Science by the University of Southampton, having originally graduated from the university more than 30 years earlier.

In December 2014, Packham was voted “Conservation Hero of the Year” by readers of Birdwatch magazine in association with the online BirdGuides website for his work in publicising the illegal slaughter in Malta of millions of migrating birds.

In October 2016 he received a Wildscreen Panda Award for Outstanding Achievement and in 2019 he was awarded a CBE for services to nature conservation.

https://www.un.org/en/events/autismday/