Baroness Floella Benjamin OBE, DL, Hon DLitt (Exeter)

The Chancellor
Baroness Floella Benjamin OBE, DL, Hon DLitt (Exeter)

Baroness Floella Benjamin OBE is an actress, presenter, writer, independent producer, working peer and an active advocate for the welfare, care and education of children throughout the world. She has also headed a successful film and television production company for the last 25 years.

Floella was Chairman of the Women of the Year Lunch for five years, Chairman of BAFTA-Television, a member of the OFCOM Content Board, a Millennium Commissioner, a Governor of Dulwich College and Chair of Governors of the Isle of Sheppey Academy. She is now President of the Elizabeth ‘R’ Commonwealth Broadcasting Fund, a Vice-President of Barnardo’s, a Governor of the National Film and Television School and a member of the Independent Advisory Panel for UK City of Culture 2017. She is a Deputy Lieutenant of Greater London and, in 2010, was introduced to the House of Lords as a Life Peer, with the title Baroness Benjamin of Beckenham.

Her broadcasting work has been recognised with a Special Lifetime Achievement BAFTA which she cites as one of her proudest moments and an OBE. In 2012 she was presented with the prestigious J.M Barrie Award, by Action for Children’s Arts, for the lasting contribution she has made and continues to make to children’s lives through her art. More recently, in 2013, Floella was appointed an Honorary Fellow by The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

Floella has written 30 books, including Coming to England, which is used as a resource in schools in social and cross-curricular areas. The book was adapted into an award-winning film by her company for BBC Education.

In 2010 Floella completed her 10th consecutive London Marathon, raising thousands of pounds for children’s charity Barnardo’s. Her initiative ‘Touching Success’, aims to mentor and help young people, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds. She elaborates by saying: “We must be role models and use every opportunity to show young people how to conduct themselves and behave in an ethical way to make a difference in whatever way they can, to help preserve our world for future generations.

Floella says that her mother has been her lasting inspiration in life “because she taught me how to learn the art of contentment and she also instilled confidence in all her six children, making us believe in our abilities”.

Floella spoke in the House of Lords’ International Women's Day Debate, on the 6 March, about the contribution that women have made to the UK's economy.