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It is with huge sadness that Hammersmith & Fulham Coalition Against Cuts (HAFCAC) announces that Debbie Domb, one of our founding members, died last week, aged 60.
In our eyes Debbie will always be a fearless and principled freedom fighter for Disabled people’s rights, both in Hammersmith & Fulham where she lived and also across the country. Debbie stood for inclusion and equality for everyone, particularly challenging bad policy and practice towards Disabled people regardless of who the bad decision maker was.
HAFCAC formed in 2006 as a non-funded Disabled People’s Organisation (DPO) to challenge the then Conservative Council’s attempts to start charging Disabled residents for basic support to live independently in the community (when their manifesto on which they were elected said they would not).
Debbie gave her all to whatever needed to be done, giving much of her precious energy to get behind the campaign to end discriminatory homecare charging. From the early days Debbie was involved in working on our petitions, lobbying Council meetings, campaigning on the streets for Disabled residents to register and use their vote and involving local residents and organisations in our work.
She was the practical person running our infamous HAFCAC pub quizzes at the Goldhawk pub, persuading local shops and residents to support us. Monies raised were used to campaign - bringing Disabled people and non-Disabled people together. She kept a keen eye on our finances in general and she knew exactly what went into the pub quiz cash box!
Debbie employed her own Personal assistants using a direct payment from the Council to enable her to live her life as fully as she could. She challenged the second class citizenship often heaped on Disabled people and promoted our right to have choice and control over our lives. She gave many people work as personal assistants as they supported her to just be Debbie.
As the Council got closer to implementing the charging policy, HAFCAC worked with the Public Law Project to challenge the Council’s decision. The legal case known as Domb v THE LONDON BOROUGH OF HAMMERSMITH AND FULHAM taken by Debbie and two other Disabled residents was a clear message to the Council that enough is enough. Debbie knew that nothing has ever changed for Disabled people without our struggle and involvement.
When the government closed the Independent Living Fund (ILF) in 2015, Debbie lobbied the new Labour administration in Hammersmith & Fulham successfully, protecting peoples ILF support packages. During the national ILF campaign outside the DWP central office at Caxton House she was almost crushed by a police charge on a peaceful demonstration.
Debbie is a legend to us in Hammersmith & Fulham. Many local Disabled residents who never knew her are much better off today, due in part to her efforts. We live in the only local authority in England that does not charge Disabled people for ‘home care’ support. Debbie and HAFCAC call it Independent Living.
We will all just miss her terribly, her infectious smile, her wit, her challenge and principles and her ability to put herself on the line when she needed too. Strong women like Debbie don’t come into our lives every day and we are so grateful that she did. As an organisation we would not have been as successful as we have been without her.
Our thoughts are with Debbie’s family, her friends, her Personal Assistants and everyone that was touched by knowing her.
Kevin Caulfield, Tara Flood, David Webb, Peter Gay
In remembrance of Debbie Domb - a message from Council Leader, Cllr Stephen Cowan
"Debbie Domb was one of the people that played a pivotal role in setting Hammersmith & Fulham on a course to make our borough the most accessible community in the country for Disabled people and she pushed the national debate to a more enlightened position. Debbie was a quiet hero. She stepped up, made her case, fought for change and won. Because of that, thousands of people, who may never know her name, have had their lives made better”
Hammersmith and Fulham Disabled Residents survey
IN 2017, Hammersmith & Fulham Council set up a Disabled People’s Commission to look at how to make life easier for disabled people living and working in the borough. The Commission is made up of local disabled people from across the borough.
They want to know about your experiences as a disabled person of local services and support. They have put together a survey called ‘Nothing About Us Without Us’. The survey is here https://lbhf.citizenspace.com/finance-and-corporate-services/h-f-disabled-residents-survey-2017
The survey will provide the Commission with vital up to date information about local disabled peoples’ lives. This will enable disabled people to have a say in the decisions made about their support, and tackle the barriers they face to participating on an equal basis with others.
The Commission will use this survey to put together a report about our experiences to help make positive changes.
HAFCAC need as many people to complete the survey as possible – please send it to all the disabled people in Hammersmith and Fulham that you can.
Please also help other disabled people to complete it who do not have internet access. Or you can let the Commission know so they can support them - contact Kevin Caulfield (Policy Officer to Disabled People’s Commission) at Kevin.Caulfield@lbhf.gov.uk or call 0778 9095049.
Hammersmith and Fulham Coalition Against Cuts (HAFCAC) is a campaign group led by and for disabled and older people in the London borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.
HAFCAC was originally set up to oppose the introduction of charging for community ‘home care’ services. As a result of the legal challenge that we brought in 2009 and our continuous campaigning, Hammersmith and Fulham Council listened, understood our concerns and took action, announcing it would abolish charging.
Human Right of Disabled Ignored
Published on 13 February 2012
Funds that help disabled people live an independent life are to be cut. The Government's Independent Living Fund is to be stopped. Disabled campaigners claim it is violating their human rights and delivered a protest letter calling on Maria Miller, Minister for Disabled People to overturn the decision. (Source: http://ynuk.tv)
Click here to view response from Andy Slaughter on the Independent Living Fund
Published on 09 February 2011
David Cameron's met with Hammersmith residents in January Catch up with what was said by clicking here.
Published on 05 January 2010
HAFCAC Loses Appeal Against Council Cuts
Published on 11 September 2009
You may have heard by now that we lost our latest appeal.
Hammersmith & Fulham, ‘the Borough of Opportunity' – Lord Justice of Appeal says the Council ‘sacrifices free home care on the altar of a Council Tax reduction for which there was no legal requirement'.
We have had a lot of support from people in different ways since we started two-and-a-half years ago. So thank you all for that.
We will be thinking about how we can keep our campaign alive and kicking looking at other ways to challenge negative policies that affect disabled and older people.
HAFCAC on Channel 4 News
Click here to read George Osborne's favourite council has cut council tax and improved services, but vulnerable residents warn that it is at their expense published on 07 October 2009 by Guardian newspaper.
Hammersmith & Fulham Coalition Against Cuts, Dawes Road Hub, 20 Dawes Road, Fulham, London SW6 7EN
Telephone and SMS: 07421 768581 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org