Sonia Bassey MBE has been nominated for a Lifetime Achievers prize at this year’s National Diversity Awards.

The Chair of both Africa Oyé will be recognised at a black-tie ceremony in Liverpool next year, showcasing organisations’ and individuals’ outstanding devotion to enhancing equality, diversity and inclusion in their field.

The National Diversity Awards – in association with ITV News – celebrates the achievements of grass-root communities that tackle the issues in today’s society, giving charities, role models and community heroes recognition for their dedication and hard work.

Growing up in the vibrant and active L8 area of Liverpool, Sonia became an entrepreneur at just 19 when she established herself as a community artist and director of her own business, which she still runs today. She now works as Director of Public Sector Transformation for Cheshire and Warrington, leading transformation of services across the sub region.

As well as chairing the Board of Trustees at Africa Oyé – the UK’s largest celebration of African music and culture 1Sonia is also Chair of Liverpool charity Mandela8, who are developing a memorial, representing an outdoor classroom, to Nelson Mandela in Princes Park, Toxteth, Liverpool 8. Their programmes help to conserve and widely share existing historical and contemporary heritage, as well as supporting community development and cohesion.

Sonia has also previously served as Chair for the Merseyside Black History Month Group and in 2017 was awarded an MBE for services to the community in Liverpool.

Sonia Bassey MBE, said:

I come from a community that was written off by many institutions locally and its image destroyed by media perception nationally and around the world. A place where I and many of my peers were also written off. Yet I am here today celebrating having come this far in the National Diversity Awards. This is important, not only to me, but to young people who believe there is no hope for them. There is; you can aspire, you can achieve and you can be whoever you want to be. Dream big and there are people like me who have lived in your shoes here to support you.”

Paul Duhaney, Africa Oyé’s Artistic Director, said:

“Sonia’s dedication to diversity and activism in Liverpool is second to none and everyone at Oyé is delighted that she’s been recognised at such a prestigious awards ceremony. It’s thoroughly deserved and we wish her the best of luck on the night.”

The National Diversity Awards ceremony will take place on 26th February 2021 at the Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool. More information and tickets to the awards can be found at