By Andy Hirst

Today marks the launch of a major event to encourage people to think about the importance of diversity and equality in Kirklees and how that drives innovation in the area.

The Kirklees Diversity, Equality and Innovation Awards will recognise businesses, organisations and individuals, covering all aspects of diversity including age, disability, gender, sexual orientation, race and religion.

In short, the award winners will have made a significant impact locally and are outstanding positive role models to others.

People are urged to send in nominations by the beginning of July – the sooner the better – and the awards will be held on Wednesday, September 21.

The awards are organised by the Kirklees Diversity = Innovation Network, a diverse group of organisations committed to creating a culture of belonging in their workplaces.

They realise that a diverse and inclusive workforce often leads to enterprise and innovation and members include Cummins Turbo Technologies, Syngenta who are supporting the awards along with Kirklees College, Kirklees Active Leisure, Kirklees Council and Haddletons legal services.

Similar awards were first held in Kirklees in February 2020 where the award for Outstanding Contribution to Inclusion and Diversity went to the Jo Cox Foundation set up in memory of murdered Batley and Spen MP Jo Cox to champion her beliefs including social cohesion, a fairer, kinder and more tolerant society and schemes to combat loneliness. 

Another winner in the 2020 awards was Destitute Asylum Seekers Huddersfield (DASH) for providing relief and support to asylum seekers and refugees in Kirklees to help them create positive lives and enhance social cohesion in the wider community.

Hugh Goulbourne, chair of the Kirklees Diversity = Innovation Network, said: “Numerous studies have shown that the most innovative and successful organisations are those that have a diverse pool of employees.

“Here in Kirklees we have people with a wide variety of views and backgrounds. We just need to find a way to break down barriers so that we can bring this rich mix of ideas and talent together more effectively within our organisations.

“That is why I am so excited that after 36 months of focused effort our network is launching the Diversity, Equality and Innovation Conference and Awards event in Huddersfield.
“This event will provide the opportunity for people in local organisations to learn how to create a workplace where everyone feels like they belong. It will also enable us to recognise the efforts of those who are already doing so much to break down racism, misogyny, unequal pay and other barriers for colleagues in their workplaces and in their community.” 

The 2022 awards will celebrate businesses and organisations who see equality as more than just policies, practices and a sense of social responsibility. It’s something that runs through the very heart of what they do.

The award winners will be announced after the first ever Kirklees Diversity, Equality and Innovation Conference at Kirklees College on Wednesday, September 21.

The conference will bring together businesses and organisations to explore how we can create more equal and inclusive opportunities in business and the community in Kirklees.

Topics will include effective leadership, attracting the best talent and how equality, diversity, inclusion and belonging improves productivity. 

The aim of both the conference and awards is to give people fresh inspiration, energy and ideas on how to make an impact on their own workplaces and communities.

The award categories are:

Diverse Business
An organisation that has demonstrated inclusive leadership and management which has attracted people from diverse backgrounds.

Inclusive Community Project
Recognising community groups that operate in an inclusive way by promoting equality, diversity and inclusion in their activities and a sense of belonging for the community they serve.

Public Service
Celebrating the stories of public service employees, teams and employee networks who are leading the way in promoting and delivering equality, diversity and inclusion while tackling discrimination among staff and Kirklees residents.

Best Diversity Innovation
A product, project or new way of working that has proved to be an outstanding innovation to promote, equality, diversity and inclusion – one that makes a positive difference to other people’s lives and wellbeing.

Inclusive Third Sector Organisation of the Year
This award recognises the exceptional work of Third Sector organisations including charities, voluntary and community organisations in the fields of equality, diversity and inclusion across Kirklees.

Diversity Champion of the Year
Recognising someone who has inspired others through their work on equality, diversity and inclusion or has actively tackled discrimination.

Outstanding Contribution to Inclusion and Diversity
This award honours an individual, organisation or enterprise that has made lasting and significant contributions to enhancing equality, diversity and inclusion.

To enter, visit the event website and complete an online entry form. The deadline for entries is Friday, July 1 at 5pm.  

For further information contact Katie Isaacson on

* Written by ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire freelance journalism agency AH! PR ( specialising in press releases, blogging and copywriting. Copyright Andy Hirst.