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Leon Mann receives award from prime minister Theresa May

PICTURED: Leon Mann (Image: The Prime Minister's Office/Points of Light)

COLUMNIST AT The Voice, founder of Black Collective of Media in Sport and co-founder of the Football Black List, Leon Mann has been given a Points of Light award from the prime minister.

Mann, who was recognised for his work to collect and monitor diversity data in sports journalism, encourage aspiring sports journalists to apply for new roles in the industry, and connect the future generation of diverse sports journalists with those working at major publications.

In a personal letter to Mann, Theresa May wrote: “Your dedication to improving access and inclusion within sports media is having a transformational effect on young Black professionals who aspire to work in the industry. By establishing the ‘Black Collective of Media in Sport’ and co-founding the ‘Football Black List’ you are inspiring the next generation of diverse sports journalists.”

Leon said: “It is an honour to receive this award for my work trying to increase diversity in the sports media. ‘Black Collective of Media in Sport’ recent research highlights a lack of BAME and female representation on screen and in the national newspapers that needs to be addressed urgently. The situation behind the camera, in newsrooms and within senior management is not much better. This impacts how stories are told, how communities engage with sport and how we portray diverse people. By working together, funding initiatives in this area and with strong leadership we can change this uncomfortable dynamic. I look forward to continuing to push this agenda forward.”

The Points of Light award is given to outstanding volunteers who have made changes in their community.

The chairman of Preston’s Black History Group has also received an honour from the prime minister this month.

Clinton Smith was awarded a Points of Light award in recognition of his work improve the information and understanding of the contributions black people have made to Britain.

Smith said: “I feel extremely privileged to be receiving the ‘Points of Light’ Award. Over the years I have tried to make a positive contribution to race, diversity and community cohesion. I have undertaken this without any thoughts about recognition or personal reward. I have been able to do this with the support and encouragement of the Members and supporters of Preston Black History Group (PBHG). Our work is to educate and to have pride in what we do and what we have achieved. The future is to ensure that the present and future generation will follow in our footsteps to continue what we have started. I feel very humble and proud to be receiving this award.”

Smith has chaired the Preston Black History Group since 2012. The organisation works to improve awareness of black history through events and various interactive activities.

As part of his role, Smith regularly hosts presentations at schools, libraries, museums and police forces to promote diversity.

In a personal letter to Smith, May wrote: “Through the ‘Preston Black History Group’ you are promoting cultural understanding, challenging misconceptions, and raising awareness of the far-reaching contributions African and African-Caribbean people have made to life in Britain. You should feel very proud of your inspiring work sharing previously untold stories and collaborating with local museums, galleries, and libraries.”

You can find out more about the Preston Black History Group here.

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