Debbie-Lyn Connolly Lloyd has won the Sefton Diversity and Inclusion Award, sponsored by Sefton Council, at the 2023 Pride Of Sefton Awards. Photo by Kevin Brown Photography

An inspirational Southport woman who works tirelessly to improve accessibility in Sefton and beyond has won the Sefton Diversity and Inclusion Award, sponsored by Sefton Council, at the 2023 Pride Of Sefton Awards. 

Debbie-Lyn Connolly Lloyd was presented with her award by Mayor Of Sefton Cllr Clare Carragher. 

Since being diagnosed with a serious neurological condition in 2022, and becoming a wheelchair user, Debbie-Lyn has worked tirelessly to ensure that all restaurants and bars in and around Sefton are completely accessible to disabled customers. 

She has implemented an innovative idea, the first of its kind, for disability friendly symbols to be added against venues on TripAdvisor as well as leading a campaign to enforce The Equality Act 2010, at the point of a business start up. 

The campaign will see stickers displayed in windows alongside the food hygiene rating for passing customers, compiling an extensive list of venues in Sefton which are fully accessible to be issued to tourism information and media and contacting venues directly to ask for amendments to be made to become fully inclusive.

Debbie-Lyn Connolly Lloyd said: 

I was in fantastic company, with some of the most inspiring, hard working, selfless, talented individuals in Sefton.

“I think we can all agree that it feels so nice to be celebrating the good in our community. I think we need that.

Debbie-Lyn Connolly Lloyd has won the Sefton Diversity and Inclusion Award, sponsored by Sefton Council, at the 2023 Pride Of Sefton Awards. Photo by Kevin Brown Photography

Debbie-Lyn Connolly Lloyd has won the Sefton Diversity and Inclusion Award, sponsored by Sefton Council, at the 2023 Pride Of Sefton Awards. Photo by Kevin Brown Photography

“Thank you to everyone who supports me, cheers for me, shares my posts, liked my posts, follows me, supports my business, or tells a friend about my mission. You all make it possible to reach more people, for me to help more people who have struggled with adversity in their lives.

“My mission is to fight hard for the underdog, the under-represented, the people who can’t find their own voice right now, so that in turn they find their power, their purpose, their fire, and their voice…. and they continue to inspire more to do the same.

“Representation matters. This nomination will mean more of a platform for everyone who ever had a dream. 

“I will, together with Dawn Patricia, Steve Ashcroft, Southport Access For Everyone and all of you who support me, keep providing opportunities for people wherever I can, to feel included, represented, important, heard, seen, and most importantly; good enough.” 

Debbie-Lyn Connolly Lloyd has won the Sefton Diversity and Inclusion Award, sponsored by Sefton Council, at the 2023 Pride Of Sefton Awards. Photo by Kevin Brown Photography

Debbie-Lyn Connolly Lloyd has won the Sefton Diversity and Inclusion Award, sponsored by Sefton Council, at the 2023 Pride Of Sefton Awards. Photo by Kevin Brown Photography

A Finalist in the category was Café Arden in Southport, is a great little café on Eastbank Street that gives students of Arden College with autism and other learning disabilities the opportunity to interact with the general public while getting invaluable hands-on experience both in the kitchen and front of house

This café is part of Arden College, a college for students with autism. 

The other finalist was Becky Woods, the Headteacher at St Nicholas Primary School in Blundellsands, who has been the driving force behind a schools ‘Diversity and Equality’ concert for more than a decade. 

It features around a dozen schools from the Crosby area, and has been held at Crosby Civic Hall, The Atkinson, Southport Floral Hall and this year at Pontins.

Supported by Sefton Council, the concerts encourage schools to include pupils in song, dance and music performances who may not ordinarily feature in such concerts on a public stage. 

The joy it gives to youngsters and their families is inspiring.

The Pride Of Sefton Awards were organised by Mikhail Hotel and Leisure Group and by Stand Up For Southport, with support from In Demand Radio. 

VIP guests included Mayor of Sefton Cllr Clare Carragher, while the night was hosted by In Demand Radio presenter Claire Simmo and TV presenter Fraser Dainton. 

Entertainment was provided by Kelly Bond and Soul Jam. 

Money was raised for the Steve Prescott Foundation and the ICU Steps charity, a cause close to Mikhail Hotel and Leisure Group Chairman Andrew Mikhail after his long battle in intensive care in hospital against Covid-19 during the pandemic. 

Do you have a story for Stand Up For Southport? Please message Andrew Brown via Facebook here or email me at: mediaandrewbrown@gmail.com

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