MPG announces new ownership and direction

In its 40th year MPG, Britain’s biggest LGBT business whose activities include: Gay Times (GT); DIVA; Prowler Stores; Prowler Distribution and Expectations, is delighted to announce exciting major changes and plans for future growth.

Chris Graham-Bell, previously the Chairman of the MPG Board, has now retired from the company he founded 40 years ago. At the same time all shareholdings in MPG have been sold and a new holding company has been formed. This company now incorporates some of the previous minority shareholdings together with two major shareholders Simon Topham, current CEO and a new investor, James Frost CEO of Coast Digital.

In the past 3 years Simon Topham has led the company in a process of restructuring and transition which has restored the company to profitability. He will remain CEO and lead the Executive Director team, which includes Kim Watson F IDM, Media and Marketing Director, Robert Hanwell, Operations Director and Anthony Martin, Finance Director.

James Frost who joins MPG as Strategy Director brings with him a proven record in online and digital business and together with Coast’s digital expertise MPG is set to benefit from working very closely on plans to greatly expand its digital media and online retail businesses.

As well as developing online and media brands, MPG will continue to invest in their flagship retail stores Prowler (in London and Brighton) and Expectations, including in 2015 a much expanded Mister B store.

There will also be ongoing investment in new products by Prowler Distribution.

MPG will remain a community focused operation, but as a revitalised digital company, will build on its wealth of talent and experience of LGBT business. Plans have already begun to invest and develop its market leading brands to continue the growth of its international business interests.

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Photo by DIVA Assistant Editor Carrie Lyell

Millivres Prowler Group gets high recognition in IoS Rainbow List 2014

It has been another great year for MPG in the 2014 Independent on Sunday’s newly named Rainbow List published 9 November 2014, honoring the 101 most influential LGBT men and women of the year in the UK

Jane Cyzselska Editor of DIVA was listed at number 27 (five places higher than last year),again as the highest placed LGBT magazine editor. DIVA contributor Sarah Westwood was in 30th place and DIVA contributor Susan Calman was also honored at number 31. A new entry at 41 was Aderonkw Apata, LGBT asylum campaigner, who is featured in the December issue of DIVA out next week.

Darren Scott GT Editor leapt to 57th place. He was a new entry last year in 98th place. Gypsy Boy author and GT columnist Mikey Walsh was also honored at number as a new entry at 70.

At the business end Simon Topham CEO, was credited in 60th place after 21 years of top level management, of this business and the changes he has made to culture and direction of the company in the past year.

In response to the news Simon remarked, “ I am absolutely delighted to be recognized for the second year running in such an important year for LGBT rights and the gay business community. I’m also proud that our Editors, contributors and some business and charity partners have been recognized too”

With a 4400 strong public vote 2014 featured many new faces and so to make room for some new faces, some previously listed went into a power partnerships list this time. There was also a section for newcomers to watch out for and International influencers and straight allies were also credited.

Kim Watson Media Director, joined the Independent on Sunday’s editorial team on the panel of judges for the second year running, along with Strategic Equality and Inclusion professional Christine Burns, celebrities Jon Amaechi and Charlie Condou, Ben Bradshaw MP and political journalist Charlotte Henry.

See the full list here and various side bars: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/therainbowlist/rainbow-list-2014-1-to-100-9848457.html

Independent on Sunday  Rainbow List 2014

Independent on Sunday Rainbow List 2014

Millivres Prowler media brands join OU in sponsoring Diversity Awards event

OU to serve as an award sponsor for third consecutive year at The National Diversity Awards

Joining prestigious companies such as Sky, Transport for London and the Financial Ombudsman Service as sponsors of this year’s Positive Role Model awards, The Open University has reinforced its ongoing support by sponsoring the LGBT category.The prestigious black tie event, in association with Microsoft, showcases the work of those who have demonstrated their outstanding devotion to enhancing equality, inclusion and diversity in today’s society.Rated by its students in 2012 as one of the top five  universities in the UK for satisfaction, The Open University has taught more than 1.8 million students since it was established in 1969 and continues to promote social justice and opportunities for all.

Tony O’Shea-Poon (Pictured) Head of Equality, Diversity and Information Rights at The Open University said: ‘We’re delighted to continue our association with the Diversity Group and the National Diversity Awards as it enters its third year.’

Tony O'Shea-Poon

‘One of the areas where the awards excel is their ability to bring people and organisations with different objectives and focuses together, recognising our unique differences and, even more importantly, our common desire to achieve universal human rights and dignity for all.’ ‘It is always a great privilege and a humbling experience to be amongst ordinary people who are achieving extraordinary results through their dedication and passion for social justice, equality and inclusion. These are values that are central to our mission at The Open University which makes our continued involvement with the National Diversity Awards an easy choice.’

Paul Sesay, founder of the National Diversity Awards added, ‘Tony and his team work extremely hard to promote inclusion throughout their organisation. Their values and their passion embody everything which The National Diversity Awards stands for, and we’re honoured The Open University have committed to supporting the awards until at least 2016′.

The National Diversity Awards has previously received backing from celebrities including Stephen Fry, who hailed the event as “valuable” and said, “I am sure The National Diversity Awards will have nothing but a positive outcome for years to come”.

Human rights activist Peter Tatchell recently commented, “The National Diversity Awards are a wonderful celebration of the amazing individuals and organisations challenging prejudice and promoting understanding, acceptance and inclusion. I’m proud to be a supporter.”

Nominations for The National Diversity Awards are now open and close on 18th July 2014.

For more information please visit: www.nationaldiversityawards.co.uk

DIVA wins important Magazine of The Year Award

In January 2014  DIVA was named National LGBT Magazine of the Year in the Co-operative Bank’s Respect ‘Loved by You’ Awards 2013.
The awards were an opportunity for people from all over the UK (anyone in the world could vote too) to vote for their favourites in 27 diverse categories. Categories ranged from ‘LGBT Charity of the Year’ to ‘Inclusive Event of the Year’ and the bank worked hard to ensure all areas of life and interests were covered in the categories, and to ensure they had a real community feel.
Since communicating the‘Respect ‘Loved by You’ Awards’ four weeks ago Co-operative Bank have been amazed by the positive response. The awards have generated lots of interest and 8,753 nominations were received and the awards have reached over 2.5 million people on Twitter with lots of support from community groups, celebrities and charities. The winners of the awards are those that received the most nominations.
Co-operative Bank Respect LGBT Network Steering Group believe the awards offer a rare opportunity for the smallest community groups and events to be celebrated alongside the biggest. “ We don’t think there are enough opportunities to celebrate the inspiring work and positive impact of more isolated and community based groups, events and initiatives. We can’t wait to announce our winners!” Co-Op Rescpect Co-Chair Thomas Anderson said.
DIVA Editor Jane Czyzselska’s reaction to this important win was “We’re absolutely thrilled and delighted to have won this coveted award. The fact that we were voted for by members of the public makes the prize even sweeter! Thank you!”

DIVA was launched in March 1994 and is Europe’s leading magazine and mail order business aimed at LGBT women.
Respect is the Co-Operative banks Diversity & Inclusion steering group

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MPG highly recognised in Inde Pink List 2013

It has been a great year for MPG in the 2013 Independent on Sunday’s Pink List published 13 October 2013, honoring the most influential LGBT men and women of the year.

Simon Topham CEO, was credited as a new entry in 39th place, one of the highest places for a business person and well deserved after 20 years of effective top level management, of this business and the changes he has made to culture and direction of the company in his new role.

In response to the news Simon remarked, “ I am absolutely delighted to be recognized in such an important year for LGBT rights and the gay business community.”

Pink List winner Paris Lees writes for DIVA, Gay Times and launched META as a digital magazine with joint backing from MPG last year. High praise as Peter Tatchell, Human Rights activist was placed second with Clare Balding OBE.

Jane Cyzselska Editor of DIVA is a re-entry after two years judging the list at number 33, the highest placed LGBT magazine editor. As well as Paris, comedian and DIVA contributor Susan Calman was also honored at number 70.

Darren Scott GT Editor was also a new entry, after appearing on the journalist side bar last year, at 98th place. Former GT journalists Patrick Strudwick and Tris Reid-Smith were also honored and Paul Burston featured in the National Treasures list.

Kim Watson Media Director, joined the IoS editorial team on the panel of judges for the first time, along with Strategic Equality and Inclusion professional Christine Burns . Their influence made a difference to the variety, diversity and inclusiveness of this list, which saw a greater balance of gender, ethnicity, disability trans and bisexuality. 2013 featured many new faces as MPs and well known celebrities were given their own side bar tributes, thus a rise in recognition of some important organizations, campaigners and community groups is noticeable. (Ben Summerskill and Heather Peace sent their nominations via e-mail as they were unable to attend this panel session). There was also a section for newcomers to watch out for and top Internationals were also credited.
See the full list here http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/news/the-independent-on-sundays-pink-list-2013-8876183.html IoS Pink List 2013

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Millivres Prowler Announce new charity partnerships

In a new partnership which demonstrates an ongoing commitment to the community, the media and retail divisions of MPG are devoting special focus months to fundraise and raise awareness for six important charities.

Simon Topham, Managing Director of MPG commented “Millivres Prowler Group was born out of the gay liberation movement in the 70s and played a major role in raising awareness of HIV in the 80s and 90s. Our company has strong community bonds and we are keen to strengthen these even further. In the past we have been a principal donor to and sponsor of Stonewall, in addition to being a regular media sponsor and supporter of arts-based and Pride events”.

Focus months will comprise special fund-raising activities within the Prowler and Expectations stores, editorial and advertising features within GT (and in some cases DIVA), in addition to a range of other projects designed to raise the profile of all partners concerned. The schedule of the focus months is as follows:

Positive East
GMFA
The Food Chain
AVERT
National AIDS Trust
PACE

Mark Santos, Chief Executive of Positive East said:

‘Positive East is at the heart of the community of East London so to partner with a company with equally strong community bonds is just the perfect match for us. And it’s not just about money. A strong partnership has to benefit both organisations so we are delighted to be able to provide free HIV testing in Expectations. Can I thank MPG and say how very much we are looking forward to working together.’

Matthew Hodson, Chief Executive of GMFA commented:

“Each year thousands of UK gay men of all ages hear the devastating news that they have contracted HIV. Despite welcome improvements in the treatment of HIV there is no cure and living with the virus presents ongoing emotional and physical challenges. We’re thrilled to be working with MPG on this new initiative. Together we will raise awareness of the particular challenges of HIV in the 21st century and involve gay men in the delivery of new, frank and innovative campaigns to prevent new infections, improve gay men’s health and reduce the harms associated with HIV.”

Siobhán Lanigan, Chief Executive of the Food Chain said:

“This partnership is a chance for us to spread the word across the UK about the importance of good nutrition for people living with HIV. The gay community was at the very heart of The Food Chain when we began and that is still the case today in our 25th anniversary year. This is a great way to celebrate that contribution and we’re delighted to be working with MPG and the other charities.”

Simon Forrest, Chair of the Board of Trustees for AVERT commented:

“The provision of accurate, clear and evidence-based information about HIV & AIDS is still one of the most important components of HIV & AIDS work. Enabling people to make informed choices about their lives, empowering and supporting them to mobilise communities is demonstrably valuable and important in both prevention and provision of treatment and care. AVERT is proud and pleased to partner with MPG with its strong links and focus on community. We look forward to helping to spread further awareness of AVERT’s role and contribution and much more importantly, refocus hearts and minds on HIV prevention.”

Deborah Jack, Chief Executive of NAT said:

“We are really excited to be working in partnership with Millivres Prowler and, as a small charity, are really proud they chose us for this opportunity. World AIDS Day is on 1 December so we are particular pleased to see our dedicated month will be December due to the heightened interest in HIV around that time.”

Margaret Unwin, Chief Executive of PACE said:

‘Since 1985, PACE has worked with LGBT people to improve their mental health and well-being. We are delighted to be linking up with MPG on this exciting venture which will give us the opportunity on February 14th to focus the spotlight on healthy relationships. And it’s a real bonus to get to know the other charities in the partnership and ensure we work really collaboratively for the benefit of the LGBT community. Fantastic!’

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