Thirty-five leading sportswomen have joined a charity programme to tackle the lack of diversity across sport.
Footballers Nikita Parris and Caroline Weir and five-time Paralympic champion Hannah Cockcroft are among those who have joined ‘Unlocked’, which has been set up by the Women’s Sport Trust.
The athletes share experiences and work with industry experts to help tackle issues relating to women in sport.
In total, 27 different sports are represented by the group.
“It has been a challenging year for many but as we come out of Covid-19 there is no better time to turbo-charge our effort and continue to unlock the value of women’s sport,” said Tammy Parlour, co-founder of the Women’s Sport Trust.
“We believe the best way to do this is by supporting these elite women and connecting them together.
“Individually they are strong advocates for change but together they are unstoppable.” More
A leading figure in the British disability movement, Mike Oliver, who has died aged 74, bridged its activist and academic wings and popularised the concept of the social model of disability. He went on to become Britain’s first professor of disability studies. More
Deaf Awareness Week takes place
between 6 and 12 May and with this in mind we have chosen Mat Gilbert as our
Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month.
Mat is a
professional rugby union player currently playing for Hartpury College
RFC. Mat joined Hartpury from Worcester
Warriors, having also played for Bath Rugby, the Scarlets and Modigliano
Apart from being
an experienced player, Mat is unusual in that he has achieved all of this
despite being severely deaf – he has played for the England Deaf team on
numerous occasions and is tireless in his efforts to encourage more
opportunities for deaf children to get involved in the sport.
is a long-serving ambassador for the charity Action for Hearing Loss. He supports many fundraising events across
the UK and has been the guest speaker at the charity’s annual Christmas Carol
find out more about Deaf Awareness Week see here
World Hearing Day is on 3 March and with that in mind we have chosen Eshaan Akbar as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month.
Eshaan Akbar is a comedian who began performing stand-up in 2014. He has appeared on many tv shows including ‘Frankie Boyle’s New World Order’, BBC Two’s ‘Big Asian Stand Up’, as well as on BBC Radio 4’s ‘The Now Show’, BBC Asian Network, and is a regular on TalkSPORT and LoveSport.
Eshaan, who is a proud hearing aid wearer, has been a staunch supporter of Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID) having performed in their Laughing to Deaf comedy fundraiser for two consecutive years, featured in #DontBeADonut campaign for Deaf Awareness Week in 2019, and acted as a spokesperson in the national media, including ITV.
A regular face on the comedy circuit, Eshaan has supported Micky Flanagan, Dane Baptiste, Hal Cruttenden, Rory Bremner, and Jan Ravens.
His show ‘Prophet Like It’s Hot’ at the Soho Theatre was a sell out, following a successful run at the 2018 Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
On 3 December it is International Day of Persons with Disabilities and with that in mind we have chosen Warwick Davis as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month.
Warwick began his career at the age of 11 when film producer George Lucas put out a call for actors under four feet tall. Soon Warwick was battling Stormtroopers in a galaxy far, far away as Wicket the Ewok in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. From there he went on to star in Willow, had several parts in the Harry Potter movies and has made numerous appearances in the Star Wars movies since.
He is also well known through his work on TV, including portraying a fictionalised version of himself in the Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant sitcom, Life’s Too Short. He also starred in a season of the comedy travel show An Idiot Abroad with Karl Pilkington. Warwick has also appeared with survivalist Bear Grylls on Bear’s Mission with Warwick Davis.
In 2014 Warwick became the first disabled person to regularly present a primetime show when he hosted ITV’s Celebrity Squares. For the last four years he’s presented ITV’s quiz show Tenable.
Warwick helps others build careers in show business through the talent agency Willow Management, which he co-founded. The agency specialises in representing actors under five foot tall, working for positive representation and more than niche roles.
He also founded the Reduced Height Theatre Company which casts theatrical productions entirely with actors who are little people, giving talented short actors a platform and also produced a musical, Eugenius!, which has had multiple theatre runs.
Warwick co-founded the charity Little People UK, which provides support to people with dwarfism and their families.
Chris Scott was falling towards the ground above Long Island, New York, when he realised that something was wrong.
An experienced skydiving instructor with around 6,000 jumps behind him, this should have just been another day at work. Strapped to Scott’s chest was a tandem jumper named Gary Messina, for whom the jump was an annual birthday tradition.
But when the men reached an altitude of 175ft, the parachute that had been slowing their descent suddenly collapsed. It had most likely been caught by a dust devil, a small unpredictable tornado that is the bane of skydivers, as it forms in the same clear conditions that are perfect for their sport. More
World Braille Day is on 4 January and with that in mind we have chosen Libby Clegg as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month.
Libby is a champion Paralympian athlete who has a deteriorating eye condition known as Stargardt’s Macular Dystrophy disease giving her only slight peripheral vision in her left eye and she is registered blind.
Formerly a keen ballet dancer, Libby took up athletics aged 10, first competing in middle distance and cross country running before taking up sprinting, she burst onto the international scene aged 16 at the 2006 World Championships in Assen, the Netherlands, when she won a silver medal in the T12 200m.
Libby made her Paralympic debut in Beijing in 2008, winning a silver medal in the T12 100m. Later that year, she was awarded third place in the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year. At London 2012, Libby won her T12 100m heat in a world record time of 12.17 seconds to qualify for the semi-finals and in the final, she ran a time of 12.13 to set a new personal best and take the silver medal.
Crowned Commonwealth Champion in 2014, Libby had to miss a number of major competitions through illness and injury. She was reclassified as a T11 sprinter in 2016 and went on to set a world record in the T11 200m at July’s IPC Athletics Grand Prix Final. Libby began working with guide runner Chris Clarke in February 2016 and the pair claimed T11 100m and 200m gold at Rio 2016.
In April 2019 Libby and her partner Dan Powell became parents to son Edward, however she was training by the summer, competing at the World Championships later that year.
In 2017 she was awarded an MBE for services to athletics and charity and has been awarded Scottish Athletics Athlete of the year a record seven times.
Libby is an Ambassador for Guide Dogs for the Blind and has her own guide dog Hattie and helps to support them by raising issues in the media.
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.”