image alt here

Clare Balding (she/her)

Clare Balding is an award-winning broadcaster and author. She has worked on every Olympic Games since 1996 and on every Paralympics since 2000. Clare won BAFTA’s Special Award for her work on London 2012 and continues to present major events in sport, factual documentaries, and Royal events, including for BBC One, commentary of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and most recently, The Coronation of King Charles III.  A passionate campaigner for equality and women’s sport, Clare is also a best-selling author of numerous book and children’s novels. In June 2022, it was announced in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List that Clare had been awarded a CBE for her services to Sport and Charity. Clare was invested as a Commander of the British Empire by HRH The Princess Royal in December 2022 at Buckingham Palace.

"I am delighted to be a patron of a charity doing such essential work with young people. You can change the law but it is attitudes that are at the heart of society. Only by changing attitudes do we make real progress." - Clare

image alt here

Linda Riley (she/her)

Linda is a powerhouse in the diversity and inclusion sector, starting initiatives such as the Rainbow Honours, British and European Diversity Awards, the Pride Power List and many more. Linda has been the publisher of DIVA magazine, Europe’s leading brand for LGBTQI women and non binary people since 2016; and is the founder of Lesbian Visibility Week. Linda is a former Board Director of US based LGBT campaign group GLAAD (2013 - 2019) and is a House of Stonewall Golden Champion for Stonewall Housing. and became a trustee of the Peter Tatchell Foundation in 2022. In November 2017, Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities, Dawn Butler MP, appointed Linda as the Opposition Labour Party’s LGBT Diversity Lead. Linda won 'Trans Ally of the Year' at the Trans in the City Awards in 2021. She is also a former Stonewall Award winner and Business Icon of the Year from the Icon Awards 2017.

"I am delighted to have been appointed a Patron of this charity and will do my utmost to help continue its growth - bullying in schools has a lifelong effect on many of us. As a same-sex co-parent, I am especially aware that children can be singled out because they’re perceived to be different at precisely the time in their lives when they need support and reassurance. Diversity Role Models plays a vital part in delivering this essential change in attitude." - Linda

image alt here

Charlie Condou (he/him)

"Diversity Role Models is an amazing organisation, working directly with young people to tackle homophobic bullying in schools and I'm honoured to be a patron." - Charlie

image alt here

Ash Palmisciano (he/him)

Ash Palmisciano is an actor, speaker, and writer from Leamington Spa. For the past four years is has played Matty Barton in itv's Emmerdale; the soap's first ever trans character. Previous credits include British Film institution Short film - ‘Pop’, ‘Boy meets Girl’ BBC 2, ‘Summer in London’ Royal Stratford East. Writing credits include: The Lady that dances, Channel 4’s random acts, and TedX talk ‘Your truth is your Super Power YouTube.

"Being a patron for Diversity Role Models means the world to me. If I’d had seen someone similar to me when I was younger, life would've been so much easier - I hope to help and inspire others to be themselves; that way we can live the life we deserve. My favourite quote is ’Be who you needed when you were younger.'" – Ash

image alt here

Gyasi Sheppy (he/him)

Gyasi Sheppy hails from Lisburn in Northern Ireland and in summer 2021 landed his dream job as a regular TV presenter for the BBC. Gyasi’s background is in entertainment with a passion for theatre and television. Before moving to London in 2020, Gyasi ran cross-community stage school in Northern Ireland with a focus on building relationships through the arts. Gyasi also worked as a entertainer for The Walt Disney Company before working in his local hospital and then a London hospital throughout Covid. It was from there Gyasi was discovered for a regular presenter role for BBC Children’s and after a rigorous audition process landed the job. Since then he has presented for CBeebies, BBC Studios, UKTV and Children in Need. He is passionate about on-screen representation  and creating opportunities for people of all ages to develop and pursue their dreams.

"It is my absolute honour to be asked to be patron of an organisation who’s ethos directly aligns with my own. The work Diversity Role Models does on the ground is so important and vital in making younger minds understand the real world around them, in all its shapes, sizes and formations. I cannot wait to get stuck in with passing on this wonderful message through their work and my work." – Gyasi

image alt here

Rev Steve Chalke (he/him)

Steve Chalke founded the Oasis Trust in 1985 with a vision to build inclusive local communities. Oasis is now one of the largest charities in the UK, as well as working in seven other countries. It provides housing, education – now a MAT with 52 academy schools - healthcare, various other community-building initiatives and now works with the Ministry of Justice creating the UK’s first Secure School. Steve is also an author, speaker, former UN Special Advisor on Human Trafficking and a Baptist minister. He holds an MBE and various honorary fellowships, all awarded for his work in social inclusion and justice. He continues to lead Oasis and is the founding minister of Oasis Church Waterloo in central London – a place of inclusion where all are welcome.

"Rather than simply applauding the work of Diversity Role Models, I want my support to be active, because their pioneering work in education is essential. The greatest strength the human race possesses is our diversity rather than our sameness. Ours must therefore be the generation that consigns LGBTQ+ bullying to the dustbin of history. This is DRM’s ambition as they work to embed a culture free of homophobic and transphobic discrimination, where every young person can thrive because they know they are valued and celebrated. That is why I am proud to be a patron of Diversity Role Models, and part of their team." – Steve

image alt here

Anthony Watson (he/him)

"I feel truly honoured to be a Patron of Diversity Role Models. The work Diversity Role Models does in visiting schools across the UK to offer advice and guidance to both students and teachers, in challenging homophobic bullying and celebrating equality, diversity and difference is absolutely vital to support our LGBT youth." - Anthony

image alt here

Rob Madge (they/them)

Rob Madge is an Olivier award nominated actor and playwright. They began working in the West End at the age of 9 (mostly playing Cockney urchins), appearing in Mary Poppins, Oliver!, Les Miserables and the original RSC cast of Matilda the Musical. After reading English Literature at Warwick University, Rob trained in Musical Theatre at Royal Academy of Music and went on to perform in the UK and International tours of Les Miserables and Disney’s Bedknobs and Broomsticks. They are best known for their solo show My Son’s a Queer (But What Can You Do?) which won the WhatsOnStage Award for Best Off-West End Production in its initial run at the Turbine Theatre and went on to sell-out runs at Edinburgh Fringe and London’s West End (The Garrick Theatre and The Ambassadors Theatre), receiving an Olivier Award nomination for Best Entertainment or Comedy. Other work includes roles in the London Palladium pantomime and making comedy sketches on TikTok, Twitter and Instagram.

"I am honoured to be a patron for Diversity Role Models. Pride should not be learnt later in life, it has to be fostered and nurtured from an early age. The change we need to see is totally dependant on the messages we send our youth and I am thrilled to stand alongside a charity such as DRM that makes its mission to assure those in schools that might be perceived as 'different' that they are valued and important."

image alt here

Claire Sweeney (she/her) 

Actress, singer, and TV personality Claire Sweeney is best known for her role as Lindsey Corkhill in the groundbreaking lesbian storyline on Brookside. Currently appearing on Coronation Street, Claire’s career has spanned iconic musical roles to TV appearances on Loose Women, Celebrity Big Brother, and Strictly Come Dancing. A vocal ally, Claire continues to amplify her support for the LGBTQ+ community. She actively engages in Pride, and LGBTQ+ campaigns, which has seen her shortlisted over a number of years for both the British Diversity Awards and European Diversity Awards. 

“As a dedicated ally to the LGBTQ+ community and a parent myself, I'm proud to serve as a patron for Diversity Role Models. Every child deserves a secure and accepting school environment, where they're free to be themselves. Let's work together to make schools a safe space for all.”