Since we last gathered for the awards, Liberate has launched its DIFERA accreditation scheme for organisations across the islands to show that they are diverse, inclusive, fair, equal, respectful and accepting places to work. The response to the scheme has been very positive with five Jersey and two Guernsey organisations now accredited, some of whom were represented at the awards night, and a number of other organisations in line for this year and next.
The Channel Islands first accredited bank, Standard Bank, attended the awards ceremony. Liberate has been working with Standard Bank for a few months now and in our discussions about how organisations can do more with the DIFERA accreditation, Standard Bank came up with a great idea that we are calling DIFERA+ Pay it Forward. You can read more about it here. We were delighted that Standard Bank chose to launch DIFERA+ at the awards night.
At the heart of DIFERA is the message that diversity makes groups and organisations stronger. With the implementation of Brexit, it is predicted that the islands’ populations will become more diverse as people come to the islands to work from further afield than the EU.
In what is an election year for Jersey, it is vitally important that we have politicians who understand what it means to be from a minority group in society and who remember to think about the few when putting in place policies for the many. Youth parliaments show the kind of creative thinking that happens when you ask a different group of people the big questions.
This year, a very – by his own admission – different candidate will be attempting to become a States of Jersey Senator – Anthony Lewis, our keynote speaker at the 2018 awards evening. At the time of the awards evening, both Bailiwicks had yet to pass anti-discrimination legislation to protect disabled islanders. Jersey has now done this with an addition to the Discrimination Law coming into force on 1 September 2018. Ant’s speech was, therefore, very timely as we consider the way in which we select our politicians. Does it need some reasonable adjustments to level the playing field not just for those with aphasia, but for others who may suffer from conditions that mean a gruelling physical schedule of pounding the streets with leaflets and doing the rounds of the polling stations is beyond their ability?
If we want to encourage more diverse voices in our States that reflect the diversity of these islands, we need to ask how we enable those with caring responsibilities, those for whom English is a second language and those who do not have the disposable income to run a political campaign to stand successfully. At the moment, the system favours – well, you can see who the system favours.
Ant’s speech got a standing ovation at the awards and we wish him every success in his bid to become a Senator.
The evening opened with a preview of the Jersey Green Room Club’s production of “Priscilla Queen of the Desert” and closed with Laydee and the Amp taking to the stage.
We owe a huge debt of thanks to Channel Television, especially to Karen Rankine, Hannah Bechelet and Lydia Hamilton who agreed to allow us to use their already formed Diversity Panel as our judging panel for the awards. Thank you also to panel members who gave their time to read the nominations and make the very difficult decision as to who should receive the award in each category. The judging was incredibly tight and it came down to one or two tiny factors in determining the winners.
The Liberate Committees of Guernsey and Jersey would like to thank the Pomme d’Or for their support and sponsorship. We would like to thank our main sponsors, Lloyds Bank and Citi – we really could not have done this without you. We would like to thank those who nominated organisations and those who were nominees – the awards are all about the amazing work you are doing.
Best Small to Medium Employer (up to 80 employees) (as nominated by their employee(s)) – BCR Law – the first DIFERA accredited law firm in the Channel Islands, the judging panel were impressed by their early adoption of DIFERA and their involvement with the ‘Every Child Our Future’ scheme;
Best Medium to Large Employer (more than 80 employees) (as nominated by their employee(s)) – Deloitte – the judging panel were moved by the personal stories of two employees who had been supported by Deloitte’s inclusion initiatives for Muslim employees and women;
Best Service Provider (as nominated by themselves or the general public) – The Channel Islands Co-Operative Society – the CI Co-Op’s autism hour is not related to the core business of the CI Co-Op, but is a genuine attempt to include an excluded minority in a day-to-day activity. As such, the judging panel felt that it was exactly the sort of initiative that the awards were set up to encourage;
Best Educational Initiative (as nominated by themselves or the general public) – Guernsey College of Further Education – the depth and variety of educational activities undertaken by the college to promote inclusion across the campus impressed the judging panel (award being collected by Hugo Forrester of Liberate Guernsey);
Best Not-for-Profit Support Initiative (as nominated by themselves or the general public) – Helping Wings Jersey – the time and effort taken by this small charity to get the permission necessary to install a hand control in their aircraft so people with lower limb disability can experience flying made the judges’ decision in this category.
Two awards that are in the gift of Liberate were presented, too. The Liberate Special Award was given to the States of Guernsey, Alderney and Jersey in recognition of their work in introducing same-sex marriage legislation to the Channel Islands. The Liberate Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Margaret McDonaugh MBE in recognition of her service to youth theatre projects in Guernsey (award being collected by Deputy Emilie Yerby of States of Guernsey).
For many years, Margaret taught drama in Guernsey Schools. She started the Guernsey Youth Theatre in about 1977 – as a by-word for inclusion. She continues to gather in youngsters of all abilities to her workshops, productions, summer schools and theatre trips – all to promote, foster and facilitate drama and theatre for young people and the wider community. Margaret was made an MBE in 2006 for services to youth theatre.
The awards ceremony will be held in Guernsey in 2019.
To find out more about the awards, please visit www.liberate.je/awards