Our Supporters

Who are they and what do they say about us?

As a new organisation we have been really fortunate to get the support and endorsement from a number of individuals and organisations, who like us, share the desire to combat discrimination on any grounds.

Statements of support

Lord Victor Adebowale CBE

photo of Lord Victor Adebowale
Lord Victor Adebowale

“If ever there was a time for the great British community project it’s now, this country is facing big challenges both in managing its economic future, its democratic process and indeed in understanding the very nature of what it means to be British. The great British community is a great idea because it subverts the racist and bigot and educates the ignorant in a way that is human fun, empowering and inclusive. I’m happy to add my name to a growing list of supporters…go Michelle go girl.”

(Lord Victor Adebowale, MA, CBE)

Dr Husna Ahmed OBE

Dr Husna Ahmed
Dr Husna Ahmed

“The Great British Community Project is exactly what is needed at this time of economic tension and global crisis whether man made or through natural disasters. From a minority faith perspective I believe we need to show the positive contribution that the diverse communities are making to create a Britain which will be fit for the challenges which we have already begun encountering in the 21st century. I fully endorse the commitment to tackling racial and faith discrimination through this excellent project.”

(Dr Husna Ahmad OBE, CEO Faith Regen Foundation)

Dr Nick Barratt, Historian

Dr Nick Barrat
Dr Nick Barratt

“In this age of instant communication, we often forget to talk to one another – and so make judgments on someone’s background based on creed or colour. In reality, we are all different yet we all share common bonds, and by understanding where we come from, what we believe in and how we form part of the society that surrounds us is a vital part of our learning journey. The work I’ve undertaken in the field of genealogy, personal heritage and public history has shown me that these fundamental questions – who am I, where am I – are best answered at as young an age as possible, before prejudice or fixed opinion can be imposed. At the heart of understanding lies stories – stories about ourselves, our families, our culture, our identity and our beliefs. By sharing and telling, we find commonality where on the surface there might seem to be none. This is why I support this project – it is a fundamental step forward in improving our knowledge of one another.”

(Dr Nick Barratt, Historian)

Dame Ann Begg MP

Dame Ann Begg
Dame Ann Begg

“Britishness and diversity are 2 ideas that are inseparable. Through my work as an MP, I meet people from a range of different backgrounds, families and histories that all make a positive contribution to our country. I would like to applaud The Great British Community’s highlighting of the diversity of the people and ideas that have helped construct modern Britain and make our country such an amazing place to live. This is a welcome and positive approach to an issue that is central to all of our lives.”

(Dame Anne Begg MP)

Sir Peter Bottomley MP

Photograph of Sir Peter Bottomley
Sir Peter Bottomley

“The Great British Community is a project I welcome. Over 60 years ago the writer Dorothy Sayers declared that the English (she had explained that the person saying they were British meant English and the other way around) were the only people proud of being mongrel. She told of the delight with which we could each roll out our ancestry or some of the parts we know. Another writer, J B Priestley I believe, wrote that if like many we cannot name our eight great-grandparents, we cannot declare with certainty who we are so does it matter? I look for the time when the colour of my skin is as important as the colour of my hair or my eyes: something you may notice without leading to conclusions about the job I do, the experiences I have or the person I am. We ourselves are like our language, gaining from the strands that bind us together.”

(Sir Peter Bottomley MP)

Tom Brake MP

“We are right to celebrate the Great British Community in all its diversity and variety. Our island has always been subject to influences from both close and distant neighbours. These have strengthened our culture and character, making us the proud nation we are today.”

(Tom Brake MP)

Professor Ted Cantle CBE

“The Institute of Community Cohesion was established to provide a new approach to race, diversity and multiculturalism, and to building positive and harmonious community relations. I am delighted to be able to offer our support to the Great British Community, which seeks to recognise and celebrate Britain’s remarkable diversity in a novel and imaginative way.”

(Professor Ted Cantle CBE, Executive Chair, Institute of Community Cohesion)

Lord Carlile of Berriew QC

Lord Carlile
Lord Carlile

“For centuries Britain has built its success on talents drawn from all races, religions and beliefs. Our diversity is to be celebrated and shared. If we fear it, we fear ourselves.”

(Lord Carlile of Berriew QC)




Jane Clements

Jane Clements
Jane Clements

“The GBC project is both timely and unique, providing a fresh opportunity for people to celebrate both their own identity and the diversity of British society. In demonstrating that many threads woven together can make a strong cord, this project perfectly addresses the importance of engaging in dialogue and cooperation.”

(Jane Clements, Director, FODIP)

Rokhsana Fiaz OBE

Rokhsana Fiaz
Rokhsana Fiaz

 “I am supportive of the Great British Community project because its focus on celebrating the positive contributions to British society by individuals from across all sections of our diverse communities is a noble and much needed one. Any endeavour that demonstrates the benefits and richness of UK’s diversity warrants being showcased through the Great British Community project in 2012.”

(Rokhsana Fiaz, OBE, Director, Change Institute)

Jim Fitzpatrick MP

“It’s entirely appropriate that The Great British Community project has a base in my constituency in East London, a part of the capital city that is renowned for its community spirit, past and present. Now, more than ever, we need to encourage those whose aim and objective is to promote goodwill and harmony. This project has shown great initiative in choosing to do so by reflecting back to the British public all that is best in our character, most particularly our assimilation of many different cultures – a process of assimilation, the end product of which is our ‘British’ culture and society!”

(Jim Fitzpatrick MP)

Jonathan Freeman

Jonathan Freeman
Jonathan Freeman

“The Great British Community Project is an inspired project that will provide a very human way of demonstrating how each of our lives are inextricably linked to each others. The concept will show how the fear of the ‘other’ that all too often underpins racism is simply an inability to appreciate this interdependence. But, more importantly, the Great British Community Project will give each of us the opportunity to celebrate and cherish our own Britishness and the enthralling ‘Bristishnesses’ of our neighbours.”

(Jonathan Freeman, National Operations Director, Mosaic)

Margaret Hodge MBE, MP

Photograph of Margaret Hodge
Margaret Hodge

“I think the Great British Community is a wonderful project. We had the BNP in my constituency at the last election. When you have people on the far-Right trying to divide our communities by spreading hate, we have to challenge their myths head-on and show that actually diversity is not a threat to our society, it enriches it and makes it stronger”.

(Margaret Hodge, MBE, MP)

Huda Jawad

Huwa Jawad
Huwa Jawad

“Having worked with and known Michelle over the last four years I can testify to the commitment and passion which she has illustrated to her work and the multitude of interesting projects she has overseen. She has an irrepressible sense of hope and thoughtful determination to bring people together, who would otherwise never meet, in a spirit of dialogue, education and interactions that shift mind-sets. I know that her Great British Community Project is one of the most ambitious and imaginative to date and I have every confidence that it will be a total success.”

(Huda Jawad, Programme Manager, Forward Thinking)

Boris Johnson

Photo of Boris  Johnson
Boris Johnson

“With the Olympic and Paralympic Games on the Horizon, we have an exciting year ahead and what perfect timing to launch the Great British Community Project! I am delighted to support this project as it seeks to celebrate the people in our lives of all ages and backgrounds that inspire us and improve our lives. There are fantastic individuals living in our midst. Some are recognisable names and faces; others are friends or neighbours, who are unsung heroes, quietly contributing to their communities and making this country the great place it is.

This is why I launched my Team London Volunteering Programme to increase volunteering in the capital and to celebrate the magnificent contributions of volunteers. For those of you in London who know family, friends and colleagues doing unpaid work in their communities, I urge you to nominate them for a Team London Star Award by going to www.london.gov.uk/teamlondon.

I would like to encourage all Londoners and those beyond to nominate their heroes, and I look forward to seeing the Great British Community mosaic of individuals build up over the coming year leaving us with a lasting impression of the real story of this city and country, one of hope and courage.”

(Boris Johnson, Mayor of London)

Dr Edward Kessler, MBE

“I would like to congratulate Michelle Lawrence and the Great British Community Project team for this excellent and much needed initiative. As Rev Martin Luther King said, we live in the fierce urgency of now and Britain needs this programme more than ever before. I am delighted to offer my full support.”

(Dr Edward Kessler, MBE, Director, Woolf Institute, Cambridge)

Simon Keyes

“Celebration is fundamental to building relationships across divisions of difference. It can help us cross the cultural boundaries that confine us and make us feel safe to reach out to others and believe in a greater humanity. St Ethelburga’s supports the vision of the Great British Community project of celebrating diversity and welcoming the stranger which are at the heart of Britishness.”

(Simon Keyes, Director, St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation and   Peace)

Rt Hon Sadiq Khan MP

Rt Hon Sadiq Khan
Rt Hon Sadiq Khan

“It’s incredibly important that we celebrate the diversity and vibrancy of modern Britain whilst also highlighting those things that unite us. There are strong communities up and down this country of which people from all backgrounds feel proud to be a part. But as people face a squeeze on their living standards and services we must all take on the responsibility to ensure our communities flourish and don’t become divided. The work of the Great British Community Project is essential to this and I am very happy to support them.”

(Rt Hon Sadiq Khan MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Justice)

James Kidner

“I congratulate Michelle and all the Great British Community team on this splendid initiative. We should all welcome this project which brings people together in reminding everyone of the rich diversity of British society today, and which celebrates the extraordinary contribution made by so many different communities to all our lives. If we are to coexist cheerfully in a globalised society, we need to find new ways to celebrate difference: the GBC gives the world a timely and imaginative model which I hope will gain the strong support it deserves”

(James Kidner, Director, The Coexist Foundation)

Rt. Hon. David Lammy MP

Rt Hon David Lammy
Rt Hon David Lammy

“I am very happy to lend my support to what is a very worthwhile initiative. I am proud to be part of a diverse and inclusive country, and strongly believe we should celebrate the strength this gives us as a community. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the valuable work you are doing in this area, and wish you all the best for the future.”

(Rt. Hon. David Lammy MP)

Danny Rich

Danny Rich
Danny Rich

“The Great British Community Project is an innovative way of demonstrating the diversity of the United Kingdom, the value which immigrants bring to Britain, and the welcome which the vast majority of Britons have offered to those who have newly arrived on these shores. Whether these immigrant families landed here generations ago or more recently, these new British citizens have worked in this country, fought for this country, served this country in so many ways, and continue to contribute to the country’s well-being. I have no hesitation in commending the aims of this project which are a practical demonstration of the economic and cultural richness of a diverse Britain.”

(Danny Rich, Chief Executive, Liberal Judaism)

Barbara Roche

Photo of Barbara Roche
Barbara Roche

“As Chair of the Migration Museum Project I am enthusiastic about the work of The Great British Community. Diversity has always been an important part of British life and the contribution of migrants throughout the centuries has enriched our society.

Understanding this fact is vital to appreciating our history”

(Barbara Roche, Chair Migration Museum Project)

Don Rowe

“The Great British Community is a timely and imaginative project that will enable people across the country to recognise that there is far more that unites people than divides them. This is such an important message at this time.”

(Don Rowe, Senior Advisor for Curriculum and Resources, Citizenship Foundation)

Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks

Photo of Lord Andrew Sacks
Lord Andrew Sacks

“The Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, would like to wish all involved in the “The Great British Community Project”, every success in their work.”

(Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks)





Revd Canon Nicholas Sagovsky

“The Atlantic (British) Isles have long been home to diverse communities: Britons, Welsh, Scots, Irish; migrant Normans, Jews, Huguenots, Russians, Poles; those from the former British Empire and those from the European Union – to name but a few. Layers of diversity have been held together, sometimes very painfully, within the changing identity of Great Britain. Today, as never before, we are faced with the challenge of creating one Great British Community out of many distinctive communities, each with their own particular gifts and skills to share. The Great British Community project is an exciting and imaginative way of saying, ‘We want to celebrate being British at a time when the eyes of the world are focused on Britain’s hosting of the Olympic Games.’ I think this is a great idea and I wish it every success.”

(Revd Canon Nicholas Sagovsky, Canon Theologian, Westminster Abbey)

Sana Saleem

“The Great British Community project is a fresh and exciting approach to looking at the important concepts of identity, community, diversity and co-existence. I believe that this initiative will bring together the energy and ideas of so many different people and this will serve as a platform for exploring a shared sense of identity for everyone that gets involved. Community, and what that means on all its different levels will truly be showcased by this innovative project.”

(Sana Saleem, Director, Muslim Mediation Service)

Rt Hon the Baroness Scotland of Asthal QC

Photo of Baroness Scotland
Baroness Scotland

 “In uncertain economic times such as these we all have a responsibility to make sure our communities become stronger and develop supportive environments to ensure they do not become divided. In this context the Great British Community Project provides a unique and timely opportunity for people to celebrate the diversity of British society and learn about the contributions to our society by people from a variety of backgrounds. Britain is not broken but some have been hurt and it will take all of us together to heal them. I would like to wish the Great British Community Project team the best of luck in their work.”

(Rt Hon the Baroness Scotland of Asthal QC)

Stephen Shashoua

Stephen Shashoua
Stephen Shashoua

“The GBC project bridges the gap between “us” and “them”, so that we can see who we really are, one British people. This is the promise of togetherness, of strength through diversity, where all of our differences move in harmony. Our cultures and identities are interwoven in the fabric of society, GBC shows this rich tapestry and challenges us to move together”

(Stephen Shashoua, Director, Three Faiths Forum)

Martin Shaw

Martin Shaw
Martin Shaw

“The Great British Community Project takes a fresh look at how we tackle the age old question of integration, a question that is more and more pressing as intolerance is increasing. Rather than just encourage one community to take the lead, this project encourages us all not just to accept diversity, but to celebrate it. I have known Michelle for many years, and have always been impressed by her integrity and ideals. I am convinced that with her enthusiasm, knowledge and commitment to this field, that the Great British Community Project will be successful, and make a lasting impact.”

(Martin Shaw, Fundraising and Management Consultant to the Not for Profit Sector)

Hardeep Singh

“The great British community project comes at a critical juncture in our history, providing a platform for a much needed reflection on the importance of Britain’s multi-cultural mosaic. In celebrating our common values, aspirations and beliefs we can work together, with an aim to overcome the shared political and economic challenges that lie ahead. I have no hesitation in supporting this worthy project”

(Hardeep Singh, Journalist, Broadcaster & Press Secretary for the Network of Sikh Organisations)

Harmander Singh

Harmander Singh
Harmander Singh

“The London Olympics offer us an incredible opportunity for helping us to celebrate the diversity that exists within the UK. The Great British Community Project provides a unique and interactive opportunity to get the British population to rally together to celebrate our coming together in support of Team BG and in support of each other. The Great British Community Project can provide the lasting legacy that the Olympic games were set up to deliver.”

(Harmander Singh, Sikhs in England)

Daniel Singleton

“The Great British Community project is a timely initiative as we look towards the eyes of the work resting on London in 2012. It is time that the U.K is recognised for our tolerance and freedoms which has shaped our history. London has some of the greatest diversity in the world because we recognise have been a place where people of many different nationalities and races can feel at home. What’s more we have been continually shaped by different peoples who have become part of our Island story. It is this variety of skills and traditions which has made Britain a Great Nation and a world leader for the last Millennia, but yet makes British culture so hard to pin down.”

(Daniel Singleton, National Executive Director, FaithAction)

Meera Syal

Photo of Meera Syal
Meera Syal

“Britain’s diversity is what makes this country so culturally vibrant, so artistically rich, so exciting to be part of as a creative. Alongside the 2012 Olympics, we are also hosting the World Shakespeare festival where artists from all over the globe are coming to celebrate their love of a British playwright who still speaks to the world, what an amazing celebration of how our heritages mix and celebrate each other and what a great advertisement for our Great British Community. I wish this long overdue project every success.”

(Meera Syal)

Bharti Taylor

Bharti Taylor
Bharti Taylor

“Diversity makes Britain unique and that diversity will help enrich the Olympic Experience. To be a part of the whole experience and reflect the wholeness of the British identity is an opportunity the Hindu Forum Britain looks forward to. We will work with The Great British Community and we wish the project well.”

(Bharti Tailor, Secretary General – Hindu Forum  Britain, Committee Member – Hindu Forum of Europe)

Michael Wakelin

Photo of Michael Wakelin
Michael Wakelin

 “I don’t believe there is anything more important, along with climate change, than our ability to live peacefully alongside each other. In order to do that we need to understand, love and respect each other – I believe the Great British Community Project’s creative and imaginative approach could make a real contribution to this process.”

(Michael Wakelin – Director of the Cambridge Coexist Project, former Head of Religion and Ethics at the BBC)

Vivian Wineman

“Britain’s diversity inched London ahead of other cities in its bid for the Olympic Games. From the English language to our favourite dishes, from business to culture, from science to sport, the positive contributions of the different peoples that have come together to make Great Britain are an enormous asset to our national life. The Great British Community Project is timely as we invite the peoples of the world to join us for the Olympic Games. Every visitor to our county will find people that share their origins, and the Great British Community Project will show them and us how all our communities are making Britain Great. We wish it every success.”

(Vivian Wineman, President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews)

Cllr Michael Winstanley

“This is a great project which builds upon the Olympic ideals and brings everyone together as one community. It is important that we all come together to share in each other experiences and value one anothers contributions to making us a strong society. I would like to wish The Great British Community project the best of luck in achieving all its aims.”

(Cllr Michael Winstanley, Mayor of Wigan)