Joyce Cook (CAFE’s Managing Director) has been shortlisted by The Royal Association for Disability Rights (RADAR) for a People of The Year Award, for her for her tireless campaigning for real equality and inclusion for disabled football fans.

Joyce has transformed the National Association of Disabled Supporter into a powerful force for change, battled for access improvements to stadia and facilities in the UK and secured a new Centre for Access to Football in Europe (CAFE), a registered UK charity seeking to ensure that all disabled people can follow football in Europe by achieving equality of access to the game in all UEFA member states.

Manchester United fan Joyce, who is herself disabled and uses a wheelchair, travels extensively to matches across Europe and has a hands-on and empathetic understanding of the many challenges that disabled supporters face.

Joyce said: “It is an honour to be shortlisted for this award and recognised in this way. I would like to take the opportunity to thank the dedicated team around me, as they’ve played a huge part in ensuring that equal access for our disabled fans becomes a reality and is not purely a vision.”

CAFE Chairman, David Bernstein, added: "Joyce thoroughly deserves this acknowledgment. She is extremely dedicated to the cause, a pleasure to work with and a true inspiration to us all.” 

The winner’s presentation for RADAR’s People of the Year (POTY) Awards will take place on November 30 at Battersea Evolution. Frank Gardner OBE, BBC Security Correspondent, will host the awards ceremony. Presenters and speakers include the Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow MP, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions the Rt Hon Yvette Cooper MP, ex-Armed Forces Major Phil Packer and former No 10 Communications Director Alastair Campbell.

Chief Executive of RADAR Liz Sayce, adds: “In tough economic times disability equality matters more not less. We look forward to working with those organisations who already support RADAR’s work and reaching out to those we need to get on board to future proof equality. Making Britain a fairer place for everyone living with ill health, injury or disability is a simple matter of social justice. It also makes economic sense – those companies that draw their workers from across all communities as well as seeking as wide a market as possible for their goods and services are best able to withstand economic hard times and come out strong. Those public services that serve the whole community quite simply provide better services for everyone.

Our RADAR People of the Year Awards celebrate pioneers of difference who are already working to make equality and human rights for all disabled people a reality. We celebrate the achievements of every one of the shortlisted individuals and organisations that are helping to bring that vision closer.”

Published 20/11/2009