FOUNDER / CO-DIRECTOR
Kath is a former TV producer and media business development director. Since moving to Scotland in 2017 she has pioneered the launch of Scotland’s first MBA LGBT+ scholarship and more recently, a new culture-led LGBTQ+ PhD research programme in partnership with the University of Edinburgh.
She is an LGBTQ+ inclusion activist-advocate and social entrepreneur whose work has been recognised with numerous accolades. These include a Spirit of Manchester Award for ‘Most Successful Campaign’ for the anti-LGBTQ hate crime campaign ‘Safe to Sing’ from 2015, nominations for ‘Positive Role Model (LGBT+)’ at the National Diversity Awards in 2016 and 2017, and finalist for ‘LGBT+ Role Model of the Year’ at the LGBT Foundation’s Hero Awards in 2016.
Further national awards also include ‘Volunteers of the Year’ Museums and Heritage Award for leading the Community Curator volunteer team on the ‘Never Going Underground’ LGBT+ rights exhibition at the People’s History Museum in 2017, the same year Kath was named a national finalist in the Deutsche Bank Awards for Creative Enterprise (DBACE).
As well as designing and managing Somewhere’s projects, Kath works part-time in learning support, as a study skills tutor to students with Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD), and since 2002 she has mentored over 120 students one-to-one. Kath also enjoys being a business mentor to LGBTQ+ organisations and individuals and is co-authoring a forthcoming book about LGBTQI+ entrepreneurship, to be published by Emerald in 2022.
Thomas is the former Chair of The Co-op's national LGBT+ staff network 'Respect'. During his tenure the organisation became the No1 Private Sector employer for LGBT people in the UK (Stonewall WEI) and the most followed, active and awarded employee network group in Europe.
He went on to launch Inclusive Networks to celebrate and promote workplace diversity and inclusion all over the UK. In 2017 Inclusive Networks won two awards at the Business Innovator Awards and was shortlisted for the ‘Community Initiative of the Year’ award at the British LGBT Awards.
He was also a driving force behind the launch of the UK's first Inter-Retail LGBT+ network, 'CheckOUT', he contributed to the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index 5 Year review and has shared his experience at various workplace conferences and sta network events around the UK and Europe, including Adidas (Germany), Stonewall (Cardi) and PwC (Manchester).
Following the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Thomas
organised Edinburgh’s community vigil.
In recognition of his work in the diversity field he was shortlisted for the 'Diversity Champion of the Year' award at the European Diversity Awards and the 'Positive Action - Diversity Award' at the Asian Fire Service Awards in 2013.
“As a queer person working in the LGBT sector for almost a decade, I’m compelled to keep an open mind about what Community means for myself and others, and how life for LGBTQ+ people in Scotland is evolving.
Along with developing inclusive social programmes for LGBT Health and Wellbeing, I also work closely with Trans communities and families to improve wellbeing and access to support and whilst I love creating a sense of community, I also love being reminded that change, learning and acceptance of difference is vital.
I imagine the ‘LGBTQ+ Community’ can for many, feel like a concept, a buzz-phrase or someone else’s idea, and it can for me sometimes too. But here in Edinburgh, it has also felt like a real physical experience for me, that can heal, support, connect and enrich myself and others around me.
Until shame (internalised or directed), discrimination and inequality is a thing of the past, there will always be a need for safe, affirmative LGBTQ+ spaces and I’m thrilled to be involved in some of them here in Edinburgh.
I’m most excited about Somewhere being able to create experiences that never make you question whether you belong. And where the systems and people around you enable you to recognise your own power and a pride in your identity.”
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