• WAVES Counselling Project

WAVES Counselling Project Honoured at UK’s Largest Diversity Awards



Legendary comic actress and TV presenter Sally Phillips hosted the 10th annual National Diversity Awards on Friday 4th February.


Community organisations and role models from across the UK headed to the breathtaking Liverpool Cathedral on 4th February to witness the countries 2021 winners being crowned the best of British diversity.


WAVES Counselling Project beat seven others in the running for the Community Organisation Award for Gender



Through its staff and 50 volunteers, The WAVES Counselling Project provides free therapy to anyone aged 16 or over in Cornwall who has experienced or is experiencing domestic abuse regardless of age, gender, sexuality, income, disability, ethnicity, or psychological status. According to the crime survey for England and Wales year ending March 2020, an estimated 5.5% of adults aged 16 to 74 (2.3 million people) experienced domestic abuse in the last year, for Cornwall that translates to an estimated 31,128 people who have experienced domestic abuse. To date, this exceptional project has worked with over 3110 clients who have experienced domestic abuse and completed free therapy sessions, equating to over 13,345 hours of therapy. Their amazing volunteers have generously provided over 50,135 hours of their time, which is having an immense impact on their service users and the wider community.


Walking up to the stage to receive their award, hearing the voices of clients who had benefited so much from the free therapy The WAVES Counselling Project provides in Cornwall, Manager Jo Stone and Counsellor Danny Byrne could not quite believe they had won the award, left speechless and wondering if what was happening was truly happening.

“We would like to thank all of our counsellors and volunteers who give their time to our cause, our clients for their bravery and the trust they place with our project, our funders who help us deliver our free therapy service, and Cornwall Refuge Trust for their continued support of the project; for us to win this award means so much to a project like ours in Cornwall, and we thank all those who nominated our service to make this spectacular achievement a reality”

WAVES was proud to be amongst so many amazing nominees for the diversity awards, all heroes leading the way for greater change, acceptance, and understanding across the UK. Stars also joined the awards ceremony wishing to thank nominees for their time and efforts as well as present the awards, including Katie Price, Heather Small, Harvey Virdi and Shane Ward to name a few.


We at WAVES are so thankful to NielsenIQ, Harvey Virdi, and Sally Phillips for giving us our award provided by the National Diversity Awards, the hugs and reassurance provided was comforting to us all who were still so much in shock!

"Last year presented historic challenges for everyone, but with them we have also seen extraordinary and heroic achievements of people fighting to keep some of our most vulnerable communities supported” said Sally Phillips. “We need a spotlight on our communities, human rights and care for those on the outside like never before. We need to meet, exchange ideas and resources and pool skills more urgently than ever. I am ever-grateful for the NDA network and couldn’t be prouder to have returned to their tremendous awards as host for a second time.”


ITV News have been working in conjunction with organisers leading up to the ceremony to highlight shortlisted nominees on regional and national news channels. The ceremony, which was also live streamed, has been described as the ‘golden globes of the diversity world’ among attendees.


In addition to real life diversity heroes, a number of special guests made an appearance at the UK’s largest diversity awards to show their support for the incredible nominees who have changed the lives of many.


Actor and comedian Richard Blackwood, footballing legend John Barnes and one of the country’s favourite TV chefs, Ainsley Harriott praised charities for their staggering achievements.


Moonpig and Auto Trader were amongst some of the brands sponsoring the pioneering awards that have paid tribute to over one thousand grass root charities and diversity champions since its inception. Other companies shining a light on diverse talent included The British Army, The Open University, Direct Line Group, Kantar, MI5, MI6, GCHQ, Lush Spa, Avast Foundation, NielsenIQ and Rathbones.


An astonishing 50,000 people nominated last year alone with 124 nominees being recognised for their various achievements nationwide. Amongst those being commended were the real stars of the show; From an anti-knife crime activist to a support group helping hundreds of people with Multiple Sclerosis; Liverpool’s grand Cathedral was filled with goodness.


The evening was kicked off by founder of the NDA's Paul Sesay, discussing the importance of the National Diversity Awards and what inspired him to create the ceremony.

“The past decade has been an incredible journey” said Mr Sesay. “I continue to be extremely proud of the nationwide platform that has grown year on year and remain humbled by the astonishing work that is being carried out by individuals residing from grass root communities who effectively inspire, encourage, and uplift others to achieve unbelievable accomplishments.”

Mr Sesay surprised long-time NDA Judge and twice shortlisted nominee Simon Green during his speech with a Special Recognition accolade for his outstanding dedication to disability rights. Seasoned Bridgend Fundraiser Simon has defied disability, cancer, and massive health challenges to plan numerous fundraising events.


Taking home one of the big gongs of the night, Harvey Price was the recipient of the Celebrity of the Year Award and accepted the award with mum Katie, for their deeply personal documentary which garnered over 5 million views in 30 days.


Presented by scouse sensations Jennifer Ellison and Phillip Olivier, the first positive role model award of the night went to creator of the award-winning anti-knife campaign #KEEPSHEFFIELDSTAINLESS, Anthony Olaseinde, for challenging the mindset of young people around Serious Youth Violence.


Disabled talent agent and filmmaker Abbie Hills was next to receive an award in the positive role model category for working tirelessly to create a more diverse and inclusive entertainment industry. Hot on the heels from the Love Island Villa, finalists Faye Winter and Teddy Soares gifted the gender accolade to Black Girls Hike founder, Rhian Fatinikun for creating a nationwide hiking group addressing the lack of representation in the outdoors.


Mental health advocate Keith Winestein was named LGBT role model of the year for his dedication to HIV and AIDS awareness across four decades, whilst Intermission Youth Theatre Founder Darren Raymond was awarded the positive role model for race, faith and religion for transforming the lives of disadvantaged youths living in deprivation.


R;pple Suicide Prevention Founder Alice Hendy scooped the Entrepreneur of Excellence Award for creating an online interceptive tool and free mental health support which has saved countless lives. Another highlight of the evening came when b:friend accepted the Community Organisation Award for building community connections, reducing isolation and supporting over 1,200 elderly neighbours in South Yorkshire.


OVO Energy were presented with the Diverse Company Award, and MS Together were hailed for supporting 700 young people who have been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.

Typhoons RUFC were commended for being Lancashire’s first inclusive rugby club, and


WAVES Counselling Project were applauded for providing free therapy in Cornwall to over 3100 people who are experiencing domestic abuse.


Bad Form beat seven other competitors for closing the representation gap in the British Publishing Industry by platforming Black, Asian, and Marginalised writers. Furthermore, Changing Lives Community Services emerged as winners of the Multi-Strand category for developing an early intervention and prevention project helping over 1000 children learn about the dangers of gangs.


CEO of the LGBT Foundation, Paul Martin OBE received the prestigious lifetime achiever award with a list of tremendous achievements recognised by judges, including helping over 40,000 people each year.


Jelli Studios wowed the audience with an energetic performance, and the ceremony concluded with nineties icon Heather Small filling the grand Cathedral with her stunning vocals. Designed to highlight the country's most inspirational and selfless people, the NDA's are supported by the likes of Katie Piper, Graham Norton and Adam Hills amongst many.

Actor and award-winning comedian, Stephen Fry said;


“The UK is becoming more and more diverse. It is valuable that a national event is being held to celebrate our differences. Even now in today’s modern society we are still tackling issues of prejudice and discrimination, so it is important to come together and focus on those who have demonstrated an outstanding work ethic in order to enhance equality, diversity and inclusion. I am sure The National Diversity Awards will have nothing but a positive outcome for years to come.”

The UK’s grandest celebration of diversity was a tremendous occasion, and even more special to celebrate 10 years of rewarding those who do not seek thanks or praise but no doubt have an immense impact on people’s lives across communities nationwide. It was evident who the stars of this show were, the well-deserving, humble and extraordinary nominees.


The full list of winners is as follows:


Positive Role Model for Age: Anthony Olaseinde

Positive Role Model for Disability: Abbie Hills

Positive Role Model for Gender: Rhiane Fatinikun

Positive Role Model for LGBT: Keith Winestein

Positive Role Model for Race, Faith & Religion: Darren Raymond

Community Organisation Award for Age: b:friend

Community Organisation Award for Disability: MS Together

Community Organisation Award for Gender: WAVES Counselling Project

Community Organisation Award for LGBT: Typhoons RUFC

Community Organisation Award for Race, Faith & Religion: Bad Form

Community Organisation Award for Multi-strand: Changing Lives Community Services

Entrepreneur of Excellence: Alice Hendy

Celebrity of the Year: Harvey Price

Special Recognition: Simon Green

Diverse Company: OVO Energy

Lifetime Achiever: Dr Paul Martin OBE

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