NUDSA is a charity that was started by a small group of NUFC fans in 1998 to try to represent disabled supporters and help to improve disability provisions at the club. Throughout its existence NUDSA has been run by a voluntary Committee that has worked closely with officials at NUFC, working together to ensure that NUFC is now one of the leading lights in football when it comes to provisions for disabled fans. St. James’ Park currently has over 230 wheelchair spaces, provides many spaces for ambulant disabled fans, has a sensory room and 2 changing places – It’s come a long way from the small lean-to in front of the Leazes End that used to house disabled supporters not long before the time NUDSA was formed.
As well as working with the club, NUDSA also provides social opportunities for its members with at least 4 functions a year held at St. James’ Park. NUDSA also works to try and organise a few away trips each season for its members, which is a real treat as most NUDSA members don’t get to go to many matches.
NUDSA’s 20th Anniversary event, generously sponsored by Fun88 and supported by Sodexo, was held in The Bamburgh Suite at St. James’ Park on Friday 28th September. It attracted over 200 guests who were treat to a night of entertainment, including a Q&A session with former Toon favourite John Beresford and TV host Roger Tames and two sets from the excellent Baldy Holly Band. Guests also had the opportunity to win one the 20 fantastic raffle prizes that had been donated as well as the chance to bid on the silent auction that had unique items donated by Alan Shearer, Rob Lee and Tim Krul. All proceeds from the night will help to fund future NUDSA events and activities, whilst also securing the charity’s long-term future.
NUDSA Chairman, Gareth Beard said “I’m very proud of what NUDSA has achieved both in our work with NUFC and in the opportunities we provide for our members, this event was a fitting celebration of NUDSA’s journey over the past 20 years. Long may it continue.”
NUDSA Secretary, Paralympian Stephen Miller MBE said “It’s amazing to think how far NUDSA has come in 20 years, our first event was held in the bar at Gateshead Stadium with about 50 people and now we have over 200 guests in the Bamburgh Suite, unbelievable! The success of NUDSA is down to the Committee who all give their time for free to help drive the association, and our members who support everything we do. Hopefully we can have more nights like this.”