Claire Harvey: "When people are able to be truly themselves, magical things happen!"
The Diversity Role Models CEO reveals why the DRM Spectacular is going to be awesome
Brilliant anti-LGBT bullying charity Diversity Role Models is throwing a huge fundraising gala to support their vital work and it's going to be incredible. The DRM Spectacular on 10 November is a chance to not only have a fab night out with like-minded people, but also to raise money to support this important cause. We caught up with DRM CEO Claire Harvey to find out more.
DIVA: For people who don’t know about Diversity Role Models, can you explain what this amazing charity does?
CLAIRE HARVEY: At DRM, our vision is a world where all young people can live, learn and thrive, regardless of differences related to gender identity and sexual orientation issues. We do this three ways: upskilling teachers in how to embed LGBT+ inclusion into their curriculum and behaviour management, supporting students by creating an age-appropriate safe space for them to explore difference and meet people that challenge their stereotypes. And thirdly, using this new empathy to help them think about the impact of the often "throwaway" derogatory language they use regarding LGBT+ people and how they could be more inclusive. Our results are impressive; more than half of the people who say they wouldn’t support an LGBT+ person in their school at the start of the session, have changed their minds at the end.
Brilliant. How has your time at Diversity Role Models been so far?
I have always loved DRM, so i jumped at the chance to be CEO and take it on the next phase of its development. That said, moving from a large corporate to a small charity is still a significant and daunting challenge. I've spent the last 5 months learning about how DRM operates, getting a solid foundation understanding to build from and most importantly, listening to our volunteers, supporters and critics. That has enabled me to shape a really exciting plan for the next three years.
What have been the highlights so far?
I've been overwhelmed with the level of support and goodwill that people have for DRM. Everyone is willing us to grow and develop, recognising the impact we can have on the next generation. I think people connect with the simplicity yet power of the storytelling model.
The Zipwire was a real highlight for me; not just doing it alongside people like Stella Duffy and Rachel Shelley, but seeing just how many people were prepared to throw themselves into thin air for us!
At DIVA HQ, we can't wait for the upcoming DRM Spectacular.
The spectacular is going to be a really special evening. Great entertainment, 400 people - new friends and old, mingling, having fun together and combining their passion to make a real difference to the lives of the next generation. We have purposely set the date at the start of Anti-Bullying Week, as we want to keep in people’s minds that the funds raised will go to preventing bullying and fostering empathy and understanding.
Importantly, we have worked hard to make the event inclusive - far too often these kind of events are predominantly centred around white men. I guarantee this event will have something for everyone to connect with!
The event we have created offers something for everyone: glitz and glamour but the opportunity to wear whatever makes you feel great, a stunning array of auction prizes from artwork to experiences, and a number of fun ways to be part of the action. The acts are all up and coming from within the LGBT+ community; again celebrating EXACTLY what we believe in… when people are able to be truly themselves, magical things happen!
It sounds fantastic. What are you most looking forward to about the event?
Two things for me personally. Firstly, I've had the pleasure of hearing one of the acts, Beverly Savarin, and she is absolutely out of this world. I can’t wait to be mesmerised by her again.
Secondly, i am looking forward to meeting a much bigger group of the DRM family, sharing a great evening with them and being able to share some of our plans for the future. The event will be DRM at its best - a group of amazing and diverse people coming together to show just what we can achieve, as well as the power of feeling included. Of course, as CEO I am also looking forward to seeing just how much money we can raise. We aim to raise £50,000 - this will help us offer support to over 50 schools and that's over 7,000 young people and 5,000 teachers.
The £50 price point is very affordable, especially as it includes a three course buffet meal. Was this a conscious decision?
Some of the feedback we heard following the last gala dinner, was that people wanted the event to be much more in-keeping with the DRM culture. We are proud of the diversity within our family of supporters and volunteers, and wanted everyone to be able to be part of this celebration of our work. We purposely structured the event with the £50 entry price so that as many of our supporters could come and be part of the evening as possible. That doesn’t mean we have scrimped on quality or that people won’t feel the night is full of glitz and glamour; the three course banqueting buffet looks absolutely amazing. We want people to have lots of fun, but also feel passionate and engaged so that they give whatever they can to the fundraising (whilst winning some prizes or getting an auction prize along the way) and know that in doing so, they have made a real difference to the lived experience of young LGBT+ people.
Tell us about the idea behind this year’s theme “come as you”.
DRM is all about celebrating the power of being able to be completely authentic and express what makes them happy without fear of "not fitting in". We wanted to reflect this in our Spectacular and ensure everyone was able to wear whatever it is that makes them feel completely brilliant. I am really looking forward to seeing what people choose! Personally, I’m wondering if PJs are "a step too far"… you will have to come and find out!
DRM Spectacular takes place Friday 10 November
Find out more about the event and buy your tickets here: diversityrolemodels.org/spectacular
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