Positive Role Model Award for Public Sector
Deaf Communication Development Manager at St Andrews Healthcare, Shirley Farthing has worked tirelessly to champion and support the needs of people with disabilities, transforming lives and influencing change at regional, national and international levels.
We spoke with Shirley after winning The Diversity Champion Award for Public at The Excellence in Diversity Awards 2016.
This is what she said…
What were your thoughts after winning The Diversity Champion Award for Public?
I was dumbfounded! Speechless! I had prepared a short speech on my way up north to Leeds and it all just went out of the window! I know how Peter Kay felt on accepting his BAFTA award! This was totally unexpected – winning any kind of award does not usually happen to me. I was in a total daze and still now trying to get my head around it!
How did you feel about the other shortlisted nominees in your category?
Each one of them are highly commendable for their unique achievements on behalf of others. We were all so different and I cannot imagine the difficult decision the judges had to make.
What impact do you think your work is having on the Public sector, especially within St Andrews Healthcare?
I think it is important to train people and raise awareness on issues surrounding deafness and deafness and mental health within the workforce as well as with the patients and the wider public. The development of a highly specialist Deaf Service is at the heart of what I do.
After winning the award, what is your next step?
I plan to carry on doing what I can, as I always have done, both as part of my job and voluntarily. In fact, I am exploring new possibilities where I could next put my skills to good use as a volunteer, especially within and for the Deaf community and mental healthcare.
Why do you think it is important to champion diversity?
It is important to support and speak up for people who are perceived as ‘different’, because of their disabilities or disadvantages in order for them to have a valued place in society.
What were your thoughts on the awards? Did you enjoy the night?
It was an amazing night! And to be amongst all the highly deserving shortlisted nominees was humbling. Every one of them are winners!
I felt honoured to be nominated and privileged to win.