Marsh Award for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

This Award recognises an individual or group, working within Barnardo’s services, that has made an outstanding effort to recognise and celebrate equality and diversity within their local community or nationally.

Nominations are made via Barnardo’s and judged by a panel consisting of Barnardo’s and MCT representatives.

Pictured above: 2013 Award winners, the Duke of Edinburgh Award Volunteer Expedition Team, who provided vital assistance to young people with disabilities taking part in Duke of Edinburgh Expeditions

Marcie Wright - RISE Cumbria 2022

Marcie volunteered alongside completing her Psychology Degree, which she entered into as a result of her previous experiences as a Barnardo’s service user. She is passionate about supporting young people who are in a similar position to her when she was their age. Marcie is incredibly keen on her personal development and has completed additional training in mental health, suicide awareness and safeguarding to name a few, in order to advance her skills and knowledge. She has used this knowledge to make each session with a young person tailored to their needs. Marcie also got involved with the virtual decider life skills group and assisted with co-facilitating these. She prepared fun, interactive ways to teach young people and sharing her own personal experiences to show them that there is a way for life to improve. The young people she works with trust her because she can empathise with them and show them that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Previous Winners

Katie Rogers

Katie is an exceptional volunteer for the Hertfordshire Family Support Service. She was born with no sight, but has never let being blind hold her back. She is a determined, enthusiastic young lady and her persistence in raising awareness of having a visual impairment is clearly illustrated in both her personal life and her volunteering. Katie is very organised and efficient, and has delivered training sessions for staff and volunteers at the service, which helped them understand how she manages day to day life as a blind person. She has been asked to deliver this training to other services and in schools, as part of Barnardo’s commitment to raising awareness about disabilities. Katie is living proof that having a disability shouldn’t hold a person back, and she is an inspiration to other volunteers with her commitment to the service.  

FLIP Family Support Volunteer Team

The Family Learning and Integration Project (FLIP) is a Barnardo’s family community working to support BAME families in South Belfast. They promote early learning, integration in the community and assist with access to a variety of cultural opportunities. The group started five years ago with just one volunteer and now have a team of six volunteers who have built capacity within the very culturally diverse community of South Belfast which is centred around two primary schools. 

Some of the volunteers are previous service users who now want to give back and they span a range of ages, religions and ethnicities, speaking 5 languages between them. The diversity in the team means that members of the local BAME community can identify with someone who can help them. The staff team could not run the activities that they do without the time, energy and commitment of the volunteers, especially during the coronavirus pandemic when they have adapted the activities so that they can continue online. 

The team put on a Volunteer Activity morning at the school, designed to show parents what volunteering could look like to them in the hope that they will feel encouraged to volunteer. The team have made an outstanding contribution to equality, diversity and inclusion as many of these parents had previously felt isolated, experiencing language and cultural barriers from the local school population. 

Dana Zuhair

Dana is an extremely committed volunteer with a passion and interest to protect children and use her safeguarding knowledge. She is a seeker of opportunity and often requests to experience volunteering roles across the Barnardo’s workforce in order to expand her knowledge. Dana is assertive in her approach and will positively challenge where she feels there is an idea to put forward or she senses injustice or misrepresentation. She witnessed a casual conversation between colleagues which highlighted some ignorance to recognising and welcoming diversity, and took the steps to rectify their way of thinking, without being confrontational. Dana is an integral part of working to make Barnardo’s more inclusive.

Peter McNamee

Peter has helped a number of young people in his role as a Befriender at the Care Leavers in Bristol. He is particularly committed to helping those going through the asylum process and recently supported a young asylum seeker who was facing loneliness and isolation, enabling then to engage with local services. Peter encourages others from the local community to get involved in volunteering, especially those with language skills which could be of benefit to those seeking asylum. He organised an event to spread the word to his community and as a result the local volunteer force is now majority BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) and male.

ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) Group

The ESOL group was established in 2011 in response to the growing needs of the local community by parents, carers and two volunteers. The group aims to help parents and carers learn and develop their English language so that they can support their children and integrate more into the local community. There are now three weekly ESOL classes, with learners attending from a diverse range of cultures and countries and the volunteers help learners find employment, better housing and even with securing their citizenship. The volunteers go and above and beyond for their learners, helping them develop much more than their English language, and receive excellent feedback from the learners who say that the group is vital to their confidence, self-esteem and their children’s emotional well-being.

Janet Webb

Janet supports young people with disabilities through the advocacy group ‘6th Sense’, a group involved in influencing local, regional and government decisions on disability issues. Drawing on her own experiences as a member of the group, she helps other members to develop the skills and confidence they need to campaign for solutions to the problems experienced by young people with disabilities.

Janet has represented the group at a range of academic and high level strategic planning meetings across the UK, delicately articulating her own experiences to encourage young people in similar situations to gain the confidence to influence change. Her experiences and her ability to relate to the young people using the service means that they feel comfortable with her and confide in her on a different level to other members of staff.

Mahmood Akhtar and Joe Harrison

Mahmood Akhtar

Mahmood volunteers with Barnardo’s, providing individualised support to disabled children and young people from black and minority ethnic communities in Rochdale. Through his support, he helps families, children and young people to access local services, activities and opportunities within their communities, and enables disabled and non-disabled children to play and learn alongside one another.

Using his language skills, Mahmood also works with families in the area who do not have English as a first language access their local services. He also shares information relating to cultural or religious requirements with his colleagues, which helps the organisation to develop a more culturally-aware and sensitive service.

Joe Harrison

Joe volunteers with the ‘All About Children’s Centre’ in Essex, helping out with the Early Years Sessions. He identified a Lithuanian family who needed additional support and went above and beyond to make the service more inclusive to them.

Joe continues to work closely with the family, taking it upon himself to translate many of the story books used during the sessions at the Centre, despite having no prior knowledge of Lithuanian. He has also worked closely with the rest of the group at the Centre to develop their basic knowledge of Lithuanian so that they can ensure that their services are fully inclusive for the family.

Peter Stocks and Shiada Latif

Peter Stocks

Peter has volunteered with the LGBT Group in Halifax since 2006, making an invaluable contribution to supporting young people who have experienced serious and profound hostility and abuse as a direct result of their sexuality, including serious assault and exclusion from the family home which has led to poor self-esteem.

Peter is a retired teacher who makes time each week to catch up with the young people he is supporting. He is a mentor and role model to young people in a difficult period of transition and is often the first person the young people will go to if they have a problem they want to discuss.

Shiada Latif

Shiada volunteers by befriending and supporting parents and families in Reading, working with them consistently over a 9 month period to help them find solutions to problems that they’re experiencing. She has provided a great deal of support to other volunteers and has worked to influence change within the local Pakistani community by encouraging other Muslim women to come forward to volunteer.

Shiada takes a leading role in supporting group work within local Asian and Muslim communities, and as she speaks three languages she has been able to reach out to a diverse population of families in the community. She attends regular training in order to develop her knowledge and skills as a volunteer and is a real asset to Barnardo’s.

Duke of Edinburgh Award Volunteer Expedition Team

This small team of four volunteers have provided vital assistance to young people with disabilities who are taking part in Duke of Edinburgh Expeditions. The team show enormous commitment to their roles, volunteering in excess of 160 hours every time a group is taken on an expedition.

The four volunteers are an inspiration to the young people they work with and an essential part of the support service, without their commitment and expertise the service would not be able to run at all.

Nargis Gulzar

Nargis has volunteered with Barnardo’s family support service for the past 18 months. In this time she has helped dozens of families, children and young people who have been experiencing difficulties with issues such as mental health and isolation. She was instrumental in setting up the South Derbyshire Peer Mentor Group and actively supports local young people who have low self-esteem or low confidence.

Nargis has drawn on her own experiences to develop sessions around cultural awareness with the young people, which has led to open and honest discussion around culture, equality, diversity and discrimination. This has now been extended to the local mother and baby group and Nargis is currently in the process of organising a cultural awareness day for the group in conjunction with the young people she works with.

Marjorie Holt

Marjorie is a volunteer mentor to four women in Manchester, helping them to develop their English skills in order that they can pursue their own aspirations. She is a dedicated and passionate volunteer – managing to continue to commit her time despite having broken her leg in the snow.

Marjorie tailors each session to the needs of the individual and maintains contact with Barnardo’s to ensure that she is pursuing best practice. She is already beginning to see progress within the group as one of the women who she supports has recently begun to volunteer at the local hospital.