Two disabled activists have won prestigious awards that recognise their work with pioneering disabled people’s organisations.
Mike Adams, chief executive of Essex Coalition of Disabled People (ECDP), said he was “honoured” to win RADAR’s person of the year award.
Adams has helped create a “beacon” user-led organisation that empowers disabled people to influence local services.
ECDP also provides high quality services to disabled people across Essex, and increasingly influences policy, both locally and nationally.
Since he took the post in 2007, Adams has overseen an increase in ECDP’s funding by 53 per cent, staffing by over 25 per cent and membership from 80 to nearly 1,500.
He said: “Our challenge is to make it the business of disabled people and disabled people’s organisations everywhere to lead the change required to enhance the everyday lives of disabled people in Essex and beyond.”
RADAR’s lifetime achievement award was won by Julie Jaye Charles, who has built up Equalities National Council (ENC), a national movement for black and minority ethnic (BME) disabled people and carers, since founding it in 2000.
Charles has helped develop advocacy, promote the take-up of direct payments in BME communities and helped tackle race discrimination in mental health services.
She said she was “still in shock” and “very humbled” by the award and hoped it would push the needs of BME disabled people higher up the agenda.
She said: “My pride comes from the amount of service-users that actually want to be part of ENC, who continue to knock on our door, just to be part of something that recognises their needs.”
The disabled young person of the year award was won by Riam Dean, who triumphed in a high-profile discrimination case after taking on the might of the American clothing giant Abercrombie & Fitch.
Other winners at the annual People of the Year Awards included the Association of Disabled Professionals, which won the careers award for its work in providing advice, peer support and networking opportunities for disabled people in professional and managerial positions.
And the efforts of a group of people with learning difficulties to encourage other disabled people to register to vote for the first time was recognised with RADAR’s access award.
Members of Promote the Vote, run by Cambridgeshire-based Speaking Up, have led 50 workshops explaining to other people with learning difficulties why they should vote, and have set up an accessible website to spread the message.
1 December 2009