CEO June update, by Matt Garvey


In May 2022, I became the 4th CEO of Diversity Role Models taking over the lead from Adam McCann who’d led the charity through the rigours of Covid. It would be fair to say the charity was still reeling from the effects of lockdowns when I took over. Our role model numbers had been devastated, schools were tentatively allowing us back into classrooms and many of our funding relationships had gone quiet. However, on the plus side we had secured a three year anti bullying project with the Department for Education that subsequently would prove transformative to the charity.

So, a year on, what is the state of Diversity Role Models?

First, the reasons to celebrate:

In 2021-22 the charity delivered anti-bullying to over 25,000 pupils across 200 schools to set a new record for Diversity Role Models. Most of that delivery was face to face with school confidence in, and hunger for, our workshops increasing daily. We have already passed that number this year (2022/23) and are on target for a new record of over 30,000 pupils in more than 250 schools.

The charity has opened new relationships and rekindled past relationships with amazing corporate supporters. 2021-22 saw a new high in funds raised, just under half a million. This year we expect that to increase to nearly £750,000. Furthermore, our volunteer numbers continue to recover and grow. We’re currently at 360 role models aiming for 400 by September 2023. We also have new ‘skills volunteers’ donating their expertise in areas such as fundraising, marketing and PR.

On top of this important work, we have rebranded our charity, run new and exciting events like our Clare Balding drinks reception in LGBT+ History Month, and branched into early years and post 16 workshops.

I am continually amazed by the passion shown for our mission. Those who work and volunteer for Diversity Role Models, as well as those who fund our work, have got behind us post-Covid to help us in our goal to end LGBTQ+ bullying.

The reasons for caution:

The demand from schools demonstrates the need for our work. Being LGBTQ+ remains the highest cause of school bullying, and figures show the toll on well-being and mental health can be devastating. Even with our growth, Diversity Role Models reaches less than 1% of schools in England.

Childhood should be the best experience for everyone and young people should not miss out on a kind and inclusive school life just because they’re different.

So, the state of Diversity Role Models is a cause for celebration, but our work has only just begun.

If you’re passionate about our mission then let’s end LGBTQ+ bullying together. Volunteer, donate or introduce us to corporate supporters. See the links below and, if you want to celebrate Pride 2023 with us come to our Summer Soirée and party as we raise £50k for 50 schools in the most disadvantaged parts of the country.