I'm getting in touch on behalf of Team Margot – a charity that campaigns for more people to join the worldwide registers as bone marrow/stem cell donors, particularly those from Black, Asian, minority ethnic backgrounds and those with mixed heritage.
Last week, 'The Power of One' opened to the public at London's City Hall until 24th November. It's a portrait photography exhibition and a working collaboration between Team Margot and City Hall's Peer Outreach Team – a group of 30 young Londoners aged 15-25 years old from diverse backgrounds and life experiences. The exhibition features portraits of peer outreach workers, patients, donors. One of those featured in the exhibition is 37-year-old Wolverhampton native, Rajbinder Kullar, who is a stem cell donor herself and available for interview. She can talk about her experience of being a stem cell donor and how because of Team Margot, she joined the register.
Of Punjabi Indian heritage, Raj signed up to the register in May 2014 and in October of the same year was called up to donate. She continues to encourage people from her own community, and from within her family of Punjabi heritage, to register as stem cell donors. Only 21% of those from a BAME background are able to find a perfect match, compared to 69% with white northern European heritage.
OPPORTUNITY: Nikesh Shukla, author of The Good Immigrant and WriteNow 2017 mentor, says the WriteNow program is a great opportunity for marginalised writers
A nationwide campaign to mentor and publish new writers from under-represented communities is now open for applications.
WriteNow – a project launched by Penguin Random House, aims to find exceptional unpublished writers that are under-represented in books and publishing. This includes writers from a socio-economically marginalised background, writers who come from LGBTQ or BAME communities, or writers with a disability.
It will offer them one-to-one time with editors and access to literary agents, booksellers and published authors, including Kit de Waal, Bali Rai and Sathnam Sanghera, at regional events in London, Birmingham and Manchester, with the ultimate ambition of publishing new writers.
The programme was created last year and welcomed 150 new writers to the scene.
In a further effort to make book publishing more inclusive, Penguin Random House is also launching an industry first ‘Inclusion Tracker’ to measure the diversity of its new authors and employees.
The companies aim is for new authors and employees to reflect UK society by 2025.
Nikesh Shukla, author of The Good Immigrant and WriteNow 2017 mentor said: “WriteNow was a great opportunity for marginalised writers to be in a room with their peers, writers they respect and editors willing to offer them feedback.
ON A MISSION: Tom Weldon, CEO, Penguin Random House UK is determined to publish a wider range of voices and books to more fully reflect the diverse society we live in
“Sometimes this is all you need to show you that you can be a writer and you deserve success – being in the room. Well done WriteNow for inviting people into the room.”
Tom Weldon, CEO, Penguin Random House UK, commented: “We are determined to publish a wider range of voices and books to more fully reflect the diverse society we live in.
“Books and reading can make an enormous difference to people’s lives, expanding our imaginations and empathy and helping us make sense of different perspectives.
“As the UK’s number one publisher, our job is to tell the stories which aren’t often told. That’s why with WriteNow we are taking our teams outside of London and into communities to meet and mentor aspiring authors.
“We want to find and bring to life writing that connects with all readers, bringing the best new under-represented voices to bookshelves.”
Smokers in Bradford are being targeted by a new campaign to highlight the effectiveness of local Stop Smoking Services.
Cancer Research UK has launched an advertising campaign, aimed at increasing awareness and encouraging people to get help from their local Stop Smoking Service, which give smokers the best chance of giving up for good.
Starting on 13 March, and running across a total of 12 towns and cities across Yorkshire and The Humber, the three week awareness drive will see posters across the city.
The campaign highlights familiar frustrations smokers may experience, such as getting out of breath easily while playing football with their kids or when climbing the stairs. These examples are followed by information about the effectiveness of local Stop Smoking Services and how to access them.
The posters feature a simple message which fades out from black to grey to help illustrate the idea of running out of breath, and some digital versions of the posters actually invite people to experience the feeling of being out of breath while reading it.
Specialist support and prescription medication from Stop Smoking services give smokers the best chance of quitting for good. They offer free one to one or group support from a specialist team of advisers, along with stop smoking medicines which are available for the price of a prescription. Sessions usually start a couple of weeks before a person quits and the service can be tailored to an individual’s needs.
Cllr Val Slater, Deputy Leader and portfolio holder for Health and Wellbeing: “Many smokers know they should stop and want to, some may have tried to quit previously via willpower alone and failed. For a variety of reasons, we know a lot of smokers feel it is just too difficult for them to give up for good.
“With help from one of our Stop Smoking advisers in Bradford, offering support and advice, you will have the best chance of quitting for good. You’re around three times more likely to stop smoking* if you use a local Stop Smoking Service rather than going it alone. The proof is there with hundreds of former-smokers in Bradford who quit for good after using the Bradford District stop smoking service ”
Scott Crosby, Regional Tobacco Control Policy Manager, Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “We’re pleased to support Cancer Research UK in delivering this campaign. Smoking rates in Yorkshire and The Humber are higher than the national average therefore it’s important that those who want to stop, are aware of the best way of achieving that goal”
In Yorkshire and The Humber, around one in five people (18.6%) smoke, which is higher than the UK National average of one in six (16.9%)**. And the rate of deaths caused by smoking in the region is 313.1 per 100,000, higher than the UK national average (274.8 per 100,000)***.
George Butterworth, Cancer Research UK’s Tobacco Control Manager, said “We can’t forget that tobacco is the single biggest preventable cause of cancer. It is linked to at least 14 different types of the disease including most lung cancers – the leading cause of cancer deaths in Yorkshire and the Humber****.
At Cancer Research UK we have a vision for the future – a tobacco free UK where, by 2035, fewer than one in 20 people smoke. If we are to realise this ambition, then it is vital to help smokers beat their addiction for good. That’s why we’re running this campaign, and why we’re also working hard to protect local Stop Smoking services from further Government budget cuts. We believe that every smoker should have access to the most effective method of giving up smoking, which is available through specialist Stop Smoking Services”
To find a stop smoking advisor who’ll give you the best chance of quitting for good visit nhs.uk/smokefreelocal or contact the Bradford District Stop Smoking Service on 01274 437700
AMBASSADORS: The night further strengthened links between Bradford College and White Ribbon (l-r) Brian Mitchell, Chris Green and Ikram Butt
White Ribbon campaign commends people committed to ending violence against women
Two West Yorkshire MPs joined Bradford College for a night to celebrate efforts to end violence against women, honouring the characters working hard behind the scenes to eliminate one of society’s most serious concerns.
Naz Shah, MP for Bradford West and her Labour colleague for Dewsbury and Mirfield, Paula Sherriff, both spoke at the inaugural Bradford College White Ribbon Awards Evening.
The awards, held in the College's Advanced Technology Centre, recognised the work of individuals and organisations in the region to tackle male violence towards women and girls.
The White Ribbon Campaign asks men to take a stand against gender violence.
Bradford College has been accredited by the organisation since 2014 and social work lecturer Brian Mitchell is an ambassador for the movement.
PASSIONATE: Bradford West MP, Naz Shah, spoke about her own experiences
Founder of the campaign, Chris Green, was also in attendance at the awards night, which was hosted by Mr Mitchell along with another of the campaign’s ambassadors, Ikram Butt, the former rugby league international recently made an Honorary Fellow of the college.
MP Naz Shah told the audience that it was a cause close to her heart.
“Because of my own personal experience as a child of a parent who went to prison because she murdered an abusive partner, I am very passionate about the campaign,” she said.
“The thing I like about the White Ribbon Campaign is that it puts the responsibility at men’s feet.
“I applaud every man sat here. For you to be our advocates is a massive thing.”
Awards on the night were presented to a plethora of causes including Bradford domestic violence charity, Staying Put; the Keighley Domestic Violence Agency; Imam Qari Muhammad Asim MBE; Bradford College Students’ Union; Unipol; and Lenka Kaur - the Inclusion and Diversity Coordinator at Bradford College.
The campaign also handed our Certificates of Recognition to Kirklees Council, Hull City Council, School of Rock and Media, Oasis Academy Lister Park and The Sophie Lancaster Foundation.
Halima Khan, of Cricket Beyond the Boundary Line, and Major Lisa Marr, of the British Army, were also recognised for their groundbreaking cricket match between a Women’s Combined Services XI and an Inspirational Women XI at Yorkshire County Cricket Club during the summer.
BOOKWORMS: Manchester kids with an imagination-sparking Bookbench they have designed, inspired by Roald Dahl's 'The Enormous Crocodile' (Pic cred: Mark Waugh)
As part of Manchester City Council's Read Manchester campaign with the National Literacy Trust, benches shaped like open books will be decorated by local schools and community groups, and displayed in public venues to help spark the city’s interest in reading.
The year-long Read Manchester campaign was launched back in June this year in partnership with the National Literacy Trust.
An imaginative initiative, it wasn’t long before the campaign won the backing of Coronation Street actress Jennie McAlpine, who joined youngsters at the launch in Manchester Central Library to see one of the BookBenches for herself.
The announcement comes as research conducted at the start of the campaign shows that two thirds of pupils in Manchester enjoy reading, but also highlights room for improvement - both in reading habits and attitudes.
The survey of over 5,000 eight to 18-year-olds from 60 schools found that just 38.7 per cent of children and young people in Manchester read outside class every day and almost a third only read when they have to.
The report, Children and Young People’s Reading in Manchester in 2016, also shows that there is a particular need to engage boys and older pupils in reading.
The BookBench project is part of the year-long programme of Read Manchester activities set to encourage more children and adults across the city to enjoy reading and to raise awareness of the power of reading to transform lives.
After being decorated with designs inspired by books, novels, comics and poems, the BookBenches will be displayed in venues throughout Manchester, including leisure and shopping centres as well as in theatres, museums and art galleries. Families will able to follow a trail to discover the benches and take part in a series of fun activities and events around them.
National Literacy Trust research also shows the important impact that reading for pleasure can have on children and young people’s attainment.
Pupils who enjoy reading very much are three times more likely to read above the level expected for their age, compared to those who don’t enjoy reading at all.
Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust said: “While it is extremely positive to see that two thirds of Manchester pupils enjoy reading, the survey has highlighted a need to get more children reading outside the classroom and to close the gap between boys’ and girls’ reading.
“Decorating BookBenches with scenes and characters from stories is a great way to inspire children to read more widely, while trails and events around the BookBenches will take reading out of the classroom into the community and encourage families to talk about and enjoy books.”
CRICKETING TRIO: (L-R) Mark Arthur, CEO of Yorkshire County Cricket, Halima Khan, director of CBBL and Ikram Butt, White Ribbon ambassador at Yorkshire County Cricket Club
White Ribbon Campaign takes to the crease at Headingley
Cricket stars from both the men’s and women’s games - as well as celebrities, sport stars and politicians - will be aiming to 'Bowl Out Domestic Violence' when they take to the field at Headingley on Sunday 4th September.
Organised by Cricket Beyond the Boundary Line (CBBL) in support of the White Ribbon Campaign - set up to tackle domestic violence against women and children - the event will consist of two T20 matches.
Halima Khan, a director of CBBL said: “Cricket is a powerful tool for engagement in bringing people from different backgrounds together, whilst raising awareness of the White Ribbon campaign.
“For me personally, I am extremely proud to be showcasing the diverse range of women who play cricket from a grassroots level and especially those from the South Asian community. The event is set to be a fantastic day for everyone to get involved and show their support”
Mark Arthur, CEO of Yorkshire County Cricket commented saying: “Yorkshire County Cricket club is delighted to support the White Ribbon Campaign and all at Headingley are very much looking forward to hosting the day’s events.
“As a Club, we pride ourselves on supporting worthwhile initiatives such as this one, especially when the campaign chimes so well with cricket’s culture of respect. We sincerely hope the event proves successful in raising awareness of domestic violence.”
The Combined Services representative Major Lisa Marr, who is Head of Engagement, said: “The Armed forces are delighted to take part in the women’s cricket march at the iconic Headingley stadium. As an equal opportunities employer we are fully supportive of any initiatives to get more females involved in any sport regardless of age, ethnicity, religion or background”.
Each of the teams will be playing for the 2016 Cricket Beyond the Boundary Line White Ribbon Trophy. The women’s games will be captained by Salma Bi, who is the first British Asian and Muslim woman in history to play for Worcestershire County Cricket Club, whilst the men’s Parliamentary select XI will be led by Lord Patel of Bradford, who is also a director of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) as an independent member.
ALL-ROUNDERS: Mark Arthur and Ikram Butt look forward to taking to the field on 4th September
One of those taking part in the parliamentary game, Leeds North West MP Greg Mulholland, commented: “I’m delighted to be supporting the White Ribbon Cricket ‘Beyond the Boundary Line’ event and want everyone to get behind this amazing charity.
“It is important that we celebrate and inspire others to follow suit and I congratulate the organisers for arranging what promises to be a fantastic event,” added Greg, who is an official White Ribbon Campaign ambassador along with current Yorkshire and England cricketer Adil Rashid and Rugby League legend Garry Schofield OBE.
Ikram Butt, sports campaigner and White Ribbon ambassador commented: “Sport has a tremendous influence over men's and youth culture. Young men and women play sport, watch sport, and participate in sports culture socially.
“Sport provides an avenue for promoting safe and respectful behaviours amongst men and young people. We are delighted and very grateful to be provided with this wonderful opportunity by Mark Arthur and to Bowl Out Domestic Violence in all its shapes and forms.”
The White Ribbon XI team are delighted that the National Asian Cricket Council (NACC) have accepted their invitation to lead the team.
Founder of the NACC Gulfraz Riaz commented: “The NACC are delighted to be supporting this hugely important event and we looking forward to taking on the Parliamentary Select XI on the Headingley pitch. The NACC team which will be captained by Kabir Ali, former England and Lancashire player.
“We are keen to bring together the cricketing family, as we all get behind CBBL and the White Ribbons 'Bowling out Domestic Violence' campaign. I urge all the communities to come and support the day".
There will be a festival style atmosphere at Headingley on the day, including a climbing wall, bouncy castle , the Army Band and even Bhangra drummers - showcasing the diversity Yorkshire has to offer.
ECB Chief Executive Officer, Tom Harrison, said: “It’s great to see cricket at the heart of this initiative and have so many different cricketing communities involved. Our sport has a proud tradition of fair play and showing respect for the opposition – values which we believe fit perfectly with this campaign and are easily translated into everyday life. Our congratulations to CBBL on organising the event and best wishes to all the teams involved.”
BACKING: Dr Radha Modgil is supporting the Public Health England campaign
Public Health England asks ‘How Are You?’ in latest campaign
A GP turned broadcaster is backing the latest Public Health England campaign to get people to take control of their health now, to enjoy the benefits later.
‘One You’ is the biggest campaign since Change4Life and is reaching out to members of the South Asian communities, who are at higher risk of suffering from preventable diseases compared to the general population.
Via an online test, ‘One You’ gives people the chance to reappraise their lifestyle choices, put themselves first and do something about their own health before it’s too late.
It is well reported that South Asian people are more likely to suffer from type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease.
Modern day life makes it hard for people to live healthily, with bigger portions for everything we eat, a desk-bound job or a long commute.
GP and Broadcaster, Dr Radha Modgil has joined other celebrities such as The Hairy Bikers, Actress Linda Robson and football pundit Chris Kamara to encourage people to take a moment in their busy lives to ask themselves an important question we rarely have time to consider seriously: ‘How Are You?’, and help people make healthy changes by taking the new ‘How Are You’ online health quiz.
Dr Modgil said: “I’m pleased to be supporting One You, it’s a fantastic campaign which empowers people to make simple changes that can benefit their health and wellbeing now and in the future.
“Many diseases that affect South Asian people and shorten their active lives can be prevented by making simple healthier choices like being more active, eating well, drinking less alcohol and being smoke free.”
The ‘How Are You’ quiz can help you to start to take control of your health now and can be completed at http://po.st/tF7z9q.
AMBASSADORS: Ikram Butt and Qari Asim are both ambassadors of the White Ribbon campaign
Former rugby international reiterates commitment to ‘tackle’ violence against women
Sixteen days of activism are currently taking place across the UK as men stand up to violence against women as part of the national White Ribbon campaign.
Established more than ten years ago in Britain, the project has grown in size every year and is backed by high profile politicians, celebrities and sportspeople, wearing the charity’s badge.
This year, many members of the House of Commons wore the emblem on White Ribbon Day.
A number of ambassadors represent the initiative locally, from a range of backgrounds, including former England rugby international, Ikram Butt.
In his role as sports campaign manager, Ikram has successfully created a presence for White Ribbon in a number of sports and first began working with the group seven years ago.
SPORTS: Chelsea star, Eden Hazard, wears the White Ribbon badge alongside sports campaign manager, Ikram
He praised the public response to the 16 days of action this year through a number of awareness projects.
“We have been overwhelmed by the support from many of the organisations and agencies that we have been working with over the years and this year we have had a fantastic response,” he said.
“From a cross section of parliamentarians, local authorities, colleges, universities, voluntary and faith organisations and individuals they have all spoken out in support of the campaign.”
Ikram admitted that he knew little about the campaign when he first signed up to be an ambassador in 2008 yet quickly grew into his role.
Launching the sports project last year, it has already proven to be a successful way of interacting with men and boys in regards to the White Ribbon campaign.
He added: “Tackling the sporting arena seemed logical for White Ribbon as it would allow access to and the ability to influence the mind-set and attitudes of men and boys.
“In my experience as a former professional rugby league player, I have witnessed first- hand inexcusable behaviour that when I look back now, by being a bystander and not speaking out, I was just as guilty as the perpetrators.
“Unfortunately, there is still very much a dressing room culture within the sporting environment, whereby derogatory remarks or ‘banter’ goes unchecked. Without the presence of females, the boys and men are uninhibited and unashamed to discuss, or brag about their exploits and conquests.
“For this reason, working with men is crucial to encourage them to report violence and not be bystanders because domestic violence is one of the most chronically under-represented crimes.”
Local sports legends such as Garry Schofield have pledged their support to the campaign alongside internationally renowned names like Chelsea FC’s Eden Hazard.
White Ribbon Day coincides with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and is followed by 16 days of activism against gender violence.
Men and boys in particular are encouraged to wear the white ribbon in support of the campaign.