It was such an honour to be recognised as an entrepreneur of excellence and represent the LGBT community at the National Diversity Awards. Sitting in the same room as so many amazing individuals and organisations who work tirelessly to support their communities, at the NDA Awards Dinner, was humbling. It is often easy to forget that we still need these activists, campaigners, support groups and community leaders to build diversity and inclusion within the UK. In fact, being nominated and then shortlisted gave us the inspiration to strengthen the Planet London website and undertake a complete site redevelopment to ensure Planet London (and Brighton) is even more accessible and offers even more for the Lesbian, Bi and Queer women’s community.
When we read the nomination reasons that came in from a number of people we have supported over the last few years, we were struck at how one simple idea to bring inclusion to the lesbian, bi and queer (LBQ) women’s community in London has grown, evolved and really helped the women we set out to support.
From an events calendar that aimed to be a comprehensive and accurate source of information and encourage a diverse and thriving social community for LBQ women to a growing portfolio of affordable business support opportunities aimed especially at micro businesses run by LBQ women, building on mobile technology with the My Pocket Planet app – Planet London is THE place for women to connect with their community and grow their ideas to create spaces women can connect. We wanted to make sure that LBQ women will always have somewhere they can go and be themselves and that meets their needs.
There are not a lot of opportunities to give recognition to LBQ women working incredibly hard to create exciting, different, diverse, creative and safe spaces for their community, nor are there many places for event organisers to raise their own profile. We are currently running the grass roots focused Ultimate Planet Awards to give that opportunity to say thanks, “you made a difference in my life” – to recognise the passion behind the LBQ social community. Change starts at the grass roots and this level of change is so often ignored as it’s not always sexy or media friendly work. It’s not about the winning – it’s about every now and then being reminded of the difference made to people’s lives by the things you do with only passion as a driver.