LGBT Foundation Heroes Award Winners

LGBT Foundation Heroes Award Winners

LGBT Foundation’s fifth annual Heroes Awards recognises the outstanding contributions of individuals, groups and organisations that have made a difference to the lives of local lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people in the past year. This year’s Heroes has seen the largest number of votes in the history of the awards with over 670 nominations across 9 categories and over 10,875 individual votes received from across the UK and beyond! The nominees were put to public vote with the winners of each of the 10 categories being announced at a ceremony on Thursday 28th January, at the Radisson Blu Edwardian Hotel in Manchester – supported by Barclays.


Volunteer of the Year – Jen Yockney

For almost its entire 21 year history, Jen has run Manchester’s social and support group for bisexual people, Biphoria. Jen also edits Bi Community News, the UK’s only bisexual magazine, and campaigns all year round to fight bi-invisibility and erasure.

Public Sector Partner of the Year – Police with Pride North West

Police with Pride have been promoting LGBT equality within the North West police service for more than a decade. Their support and ethos has recently been adopted to establish a new National LGBT Police Network.

Community Group or Organisation of the Year – Sparkle

The Sparkle weekend and fringe celebration every year sees thousands of people come to Manchester to celebrate the worlds largest trans celebration ever. The festival is open to all who identify as trans, their friends, family and supporters and hosts live entertainment, talks, workshops and Sparkle fringe events.

LGBT Role Model of the Year – Kate O’Donnell

Kate has used her personal experiences of growing up as trans in her theatre show Big Girls Blouse to help raise trans visibility. This year she toured the show nationally working with local LGBT choirs, hosted trans pride in Brighton and won best LGBT show in Brighton Fringe. She has raised money for trans charity Mermaids and has just won a Manchester Be Proud Award for helping to make the city a happier and safer place for the trans community.

LGBT Venue of the Year – Via

Via, which is based on Canal Street, has been nominated this year for their continued support to the community including Pride, Sparkle, the Trans Memorial and the Friends of Sackville Gardens.

Community Champion of the Year – Beckie Fox

As one of the organisers and champions of Sparkle, The National Transgender Charity, Beckie has worked to ensure that trans people are offered a weekend of retreat and safety during Sparkle. Beckie also runs the website which has discussion forums and groups for trans people.

“The importance of these awards is that they are voted by our community and the general public to celebrate the ‘heroes’ that have challenged homophobia, biphobia and transphobia, are role models for the community and have helped make a difference to the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people”

Business of the Year – Serenity Security

Serenity Security was created by two LGBT directors who wanted to shatter the stereotype of the old-school ‘bouncer’ and believed that training and customer service are paramount in the industry. Supporting charities, they are proactively involved in promoting Manchester’s Gay Village and supply security staff to a number of venues within it as well as the rest of Manchester and the UK.

Barclays Ally Award – Andrew Rhodes

Andrew Rhodes is the Deputy Chief Constable for Lancashire Constabulary and has 24 years’ policing experience in a range of areas covering investigations, firearms and counter terrorism. He is the national lead for wellbeing & engagement; a portfolio that is developing local and national approaches to workforce resilience. Since his appointment as Deputy Chief Constable, he has embraced the valuing difference agenda and fully supports LGBT communities.

Alan Turing Memorial Award – Tony Cooper

This award was developed in partnership with Manchester City Council and celebrates an individual or group that has made a difference to LGBT people in Manchester. This year’s winner Tony Cooper has done a lot of work with the LGBT community and is a Trustee for Sparkle, the National Transgender Charity; a multi Publican Award Winner; Community Patron of Manchester Pride; Chair of the Manchester Pride Community Collective and Chair of the Friends of Sackville Gardens Association. From one of the nominations: “Tony’s words really come from the heart when he speaks about LGBT issues. He stands strong for Sparkle and Manchester Pride. I feel the community does not have a better spokesperson for all the issues we continue to face.”

Outstanding Achievement Award – Martin Wells

Awarded by LGBT Foundation’s Board of Trustees to Martin Wells, Chair of the Out with Prostate Cancer support group, for making an outstanding contribution to the lives of LGBT people. One of the nominations said: “It has to be Martin Wells for not only setting up the first support group for our community around prostate cancer but for being arguably, one of the UK’s foremost out LGBT people seeking to secure better treatment and care for LGBT people affected by cancer.”


A special award was also presented to David McGovern, Chair of LGBT Foundation, in recognition of his outstanding contribution towards improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans communities. David is stepping down as Chair of the charity this year and has acted as Chair since 2007.

Paul Martin OBE, Chief Executive of LGBT Foundation said : “2014 and 2015 has seen the fight for equal rights continue around the globe, but closer to home we are here tonight at LGBT Foundation’s Heroes Awards to celebrate the amazing work of those people who work tirelessly to ensure that the LGBT Community have support and have a voice.”

“The importance of these awards is that they are voted by our community and the general public to celebrate the ‘heroes’ that have challenged homophobia, biphobia and transphobia, are role models for the community and have helped make a difference to the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people.”

“The calibre of nominees is particularly high this year and each would be deserving winners. We sincerely value the contribution of all our nominees, and the differences they all make to the lives of LGBT people – truly they are heroes.”

LGBT Foundation would like to thank Barclays, Leopold Marketing and the Radisson Blu Edwardian Hotel for their support.

We’ll publish photos from the event as soon as these are available.


About The Author

Thomas Anderson

Founder and MD of Inclusive Networks. Thomas was Chair of the award winning LGBT network for The Co-operative Group, ‘Respect’ (2011-14). Thomas named the network and designed and managed all of the branding, communications and engagement until he stepped down from the role of Chair in March 2014. He also created the branding, name, was Editor of the quarterly magazine and developed the launch of the UK’s first Inter-Retail LGBT network ‘CheckOUT’. He contributed to the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index 5 Year review. In recognition of his work in the diversity field he was shortlisted for ‘Diversity Champion of the Year’ at the 2013 European Diversity Awards, shortlisted for ‘Role Model of the Year’ at the 2012 Lesbian & Gay Foundation Homo Heroes Awards and shortlisted for the ‘Positive Action’ award at the 2013 Asian Fire Service Association Fair & Diverse Awards. He also won the 2012 ‘Pride of The Co-operative’ award. He was a judge for Scotland's biggest diversity awards, The Icon Awards in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

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