On 19th November over 200 network group heroes attended the inaugural Inclusive Networks Awards, the first ever awards dedicated to network groups, held at iconic live music venue Band on the Wall in Manchester.

Sponsored by organisations including PayPal, Fujitsu, EY, WeAreTheCity, Contracts IT, Manchester Pride, Diversity Jobs and Action for Children, the awards recognised the people who make the networks live and breathe, many of whom volunteer substantial amounts of their own time, as well as thank the organisations that support and encourage their work and that of an inclusive society.

Winners included the Manchester Lesbian & Gay Chorus for Social Network of the Year, Manchester based BNY Mellon and their collaboration with HIV charity George House Trust for Collaboration of the Year and Lloyds Banking Group, winners of the Investor in Network Groups award.

What makes these awards different is that they celebrate and reward the work of the doers, individuals and teams who show an extraordinary amount of commitment and dedication to support employees, the wider community and help influence the views of the wider public on their perception of the organisations they represent through their work – creating and developing more inclusive and diverse workplaces and communities. They’re real drivers for positive change.

It was an awards event with a difference that celebrated and recognised employee, professional and community focussed network groups covering all diversity strands and sectors, from all over the UK.

Thomas Anderson, Founder of the Inclusive Networks Awards, said : “Having Chaired an employee network group for many years I founded the awards to authentically recognise the doers and recognise all the different elements that make a network group successful. All of our finalists and winners really make a positive difference in the workplace and beyond and it was amazing to be able to recognise the awesome work, dedication, commitment and impact of network groups covering many diversity strands and sectors in the same room. It was a truly inspiring evening with a diverse crowd of network group heroes and it was an honour to celebrate the work of so many awesome networks at an authentic, informal, fun and diverse event.”

Our winners :

Employee LGBT Network of the Year, sponsored by Manchester Pride – PwC : GLEE@PwC

Employee Gender Network of the Year, sponsored by WeAreTheCity – EY : EY Women’s Network

Employee Race, Ethnicity & Cultural Heritage Network of the Year – North East London NHS Foundation Trust : Ethnic Minority Staff Network

Health & Wellbeing Network of the Year – Lloyds Banking Group : Access Network

New Network of the Year, sponsored by EY – Standard Life : Young Persons’ Development Network

New Network of the Year, sponsored by EY – Action for Children : Celebrate LGBT

Inter-Sector Network of the Year, sponsored by Fujitsu – Black Solicitors Network

Professional Network of the Year, sponsored by Contracts IT – Citymothers and Cityfathers

Social Network of the Year, sponsored by Canal St – Manchester Lesbian & Gay Chorus

Network Team of the Year, sponsored by Diversity Jobs – Tesco : OUT at Tesco

Network Leader of the Year, sponsored by Girls Out Loud – The University of Bradford, n-able : Cath Rose and Gill Cockburn

Inspiring Member of the Year, sponsored by Action for Children – Funke Abimbola

Collaboration of the Year, sponsored by Tuk In – BNY Mellon’s PRISM Network and George House Trust – UK AIDS Memorial Quilt

Network Event of the Year, sponsored by Barefoot Wine – PwC, GLEE@PwC : #bigGLEEday

Network Engagement Initiative of the Year, sponsored by PayPal – Transport for London, OUTbound : #RideWithPride

Network Champion of the Year – York St John University : Jo Thompson

Investor in Network Groups – Lloyds Banking Group

Guests were welcomed by the sounds of the Caribbean from the awesome Steeldrumband and the welcome bubbly was served by Barefoot Wine. The awards host, Manchester based stand-up Kate McCabe, was a hit with the crowd and provided lots of laughs throughout the fun and uplifting night. Further entertainment came from record breakers Ri Ri’s Dance Academy and local singer Maria Kelly.

Inspiring guest speakers at the event were Sanjay Sood-Smith, Apprentice 2014 candidate and Co-Founder of Tuk In, and founder of Girls Out Loud, Jane Kenyon, who each delivered awesome speeches that inspired attendees.

The event charity partner was anti-bullying charity Ditch the Label.

Winners photos can be found at www.inclusivenetworks.co.uk/awards/in-awards-2015-winners/