If you’ve been anxiously waiting with baited breath to find out who has won the coveted 2020 Soldiering On Awards, your wait is almost over!
This evening we proudly announced the winners of the first three categories: Family Values, Working Together and Defence Inclusivity. And the next four Thursdays will see the other winners revealed during exciting Zoom events.
We kicked off tonight in fantastic style, with the fabulous actress Fiona Dolman compèring our first virtual award ceremony! The event was attended by the category finalists and sponsors, Patron Of the Soldering on Awards, the Rt. Hon. Earl Howe, and Lt General James Swift, Chief of Defence People.
The Earl Howe, Patron of the Soldiering On Awards said: “Despite the new virtual backdrop, the evening was a tremendous hour of celebration. All the finalists’ achievements cover an impressively wide range, from driving change in the Armed Forces environment and supporting our veterans’ community, to fields beyond Service life – be that sport, business, charity-work or public service.
“As the scope and prominence of these Awards has increased with each passing year, they add ever more value through the strong and positive messages that recognition gives to the vital and impressive work being done by our Nominees, Finalists and Winners in their communities.
“Huge congratulations to ALL our fantastic 2020 winners and finalists. Each and every one of you is an inspiration to us all.”
Our finalists were:
Col. Leona Barr-Jones – a respected leader and advocate for diversity and inclusion; instrumental in founding the National Steering Group’s “Step Change” Diversity and Inclusion Project.
Defence Diversity Networks – The MOD’s 30 Diversity Networks include those for race, gender, LGBT, faith, belief, parenting, youth and disability. They are formed by volunteers who are passionate about making a difference.
Regional Command BAME Engagement Team – increases diversity in the Military and leads to a better understanding of the Army within ethnic minority communities.
You can read more about these finalists here.
We are delighted to announce that the Winner of the Defence Inclusivity Award is…
Colonel Leona Barr-Jones
For over 20 years, the Colonel Commandant of Essex Army Cadet Force, Colonel Leona Barr-Jones, has been a respected leader and an advocate for diversity and inclusion. Instrumental in founding the National Steering Group’s “Step Change” Diversity and Inclusion Project, her objective is to enshrine inclusion and promote diversity throughout the cadet force.
Holding the post of National Chair of the Army Cadet Force LGBT+ Forum, Leona also delivers Diversity and Inclusion Training for national and local charities and business organisations. This includes the Chamber of Commerce and the Institute of Directors (IoD), where Leona is the IoD Easts’ Inclusive Director of the Year, recently delivering the opening address at its Open House Inclusivity Conference at Cambridge.
The Defence Inclusivity Award recognises the commitment and achievements of individuals and organisations in achieving greater diversity and inclusion throughout the Armed Forces Community.
Colonel Barr-Jones said: “Thank you so much to Landmarc the sponsors and to the Soldiering On Awards. Diversity and Inclusion is really really important to all of us who are involved in within the Armed Forces, thank you so much, I am just completely blown away.”
Lt Colonel Ren Kapur MBE, CEO of X-Forces Enterprise and Co-Chair of the Soldiering On Awards said: “We are thrilled to congratulate these inspirational winners and it was wonderful to gather everyone together and celebrate our amazing community in these challenging times.
“This virtual event wasn’t quite what we had envisioned but we want to thank all of the judges and particularly the sponsors for continuing to support the Soldiering On Community; making sure that everyone’s experience this year is as special as we can possibly make it.”
A word from our Sponsor…
Mark Neill, Managing Director at Landmarc Support Services said, “As proud sponsor of the Defence Inclusivity category, this is an exciting week for us as we find out who has won this year’s award. Each of our finalists has been hugely successful in achieving greater diversity and inclusion throughout the Armed Forces Community and we congratulate them all. Good luck Leona Barr-Jones, Defence Diversity Networks and the Regional Command BAME Engagement Team.”