Forces Live Events (CSE) have won the prestigious GOLD EVCOM Clarion Award, the highest accolade in the LIVE: Diversity & Inclusion category in a ceremony held at the Design Museum, London.
Part of BFBS, CSE are the live events team responsible for delivering up to 80 shows, tours and live experiences a year. They have been around since 1946 boosting morale worldwide in war zones, at the front line and back in the UK for British Armed Forces, their families and veterans.
With the draw-down of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan CSE identified a need to diversify the services they offered with more focus on delivery in the UK, recognising the changing needs of the military community and supporting them in new ways to maintain morale. One of the key themes to these new activities is promoting equality, diversity and inclusion within the Armed Forces community.
In the awards entry CSE showcased two specific events as examples of its diversity and inclusion work. The first of which was the Gosport Service Families Picnic, an event which brought a number of service families together.
The children who attended the event were treated to experiences like meeting The Gruffalo, learning circus skills and Marz v Murz, a Bruno Mars and Ollie Murs tribute act who performed the greatest hits, all provided for by Forces Live Events (CSE).
Karen Gallagher, EVCOM Judge said:
“I’m absolutely delighted that CSE have won this award
"as an application, it really stood out because it can be very difficult to capture an event over the course of a day, but I really felt the mood of the day was embraced and the key messages really came out in terms of how to physically and meaningfully embrace equality and diversity”.
The second example was Portsmouth International and Diversity Day where Forces Live Events (CSE) partnered with military medical unit Joint Hospital Group South to help them celebrate cultural and LGBTQ diversity.
Forces Live Events (CSE) sourced the keynote speaker for the day, former Team GB Boxer and Strictly Come Dancing contestant Anthony Ogogo who delivered a fascinating speech.
Sgt Christine Hawkins who attended the Awards, approached CSE for help with this project which became the first of many diversity events undertaken by the team.
Sgt Hawkins, who collected the award alongside Sakina Bugge from CSE said:
“Today has been absolutely amazing, receiving this award with CSE and being recognised for our work by Joint Hospital Group and CSE working alongside us. The day came about where we were uniting and looking at diversity and inclusion within our unit and recognising how many individuals we’ve got from different units and different countries and just identifying and collaborating our unit diversity which is actually part of our fundamental unit statement.
"To be here at the Clarion Awards receiving the gold has just put the icing on the cake.”
Promoting equality, diversity and inclusion at unit level is being treated as a high priority among the Forces community.
CSE have worked closely with military units in helping them to deliver diversity days.
They have also engaged with education specialists to support the children of service personnel who attend state schools in the UK, plus Service Children's Education Schools in Germany and Cyprus, assisting them in delivering inclusive events that celebrate the Armed Forces community and enable a greater understanding and empathy towards the children of service personnel.
CSE have also helped other Armed Forces charities in the delivery of community events for veterans and their families.
Angie Avlianos, Events Manager for CSE crafted the award entry and has been involved in the evolution of the brand for the last 18 years.
“We are thrilled to receive this Gold EVCOM award, and are honoured to work alongside military units, helping them to champion their diversity and celebrate the unsung heroes of the Forces community, recognising the changing needs of that community and supporting them in new ways to maintain morale and welfare.”