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ELANE HEFFERNAN, OUR DEVELOPMENT WORKER WRITES ABOUT HER NEW ROLE AT HAFCAC
Disabled People need to fight for equality and HAFCAC has been right in front of that fight. I am excited to start working for HAFCAC. We need to be more powerful in local politics. My job is to get more disabled people on board and to make our voice stronger.
I am going to work with other Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) to make us more effective. Together we can speak up strongly for what disabled people want to happen in our area. Hammersmith and Fulham Council have agreed that disabled people should be involved in how services we use are run. This will mean talking together about what kind of services we need and how they should be run. This is called CoProduction. HAFCAC has been leading on CoProduction of disabled people’s services.
One part of my job is to hold meetings for DPOs to come together in a DPO Network. This will mean meeting up to talk about what we want to work on together. I will also help the DPOs to get involved in CoProduction so that we can make sure the Council does what it promised to do.
There are a lot of disabled people. If we all use our votes, we can be a powerful force. I am going to work to help disabled people to take part in elections and to use our votes. I will do this by talking with the person who runs elections at Hammersmith and Fulham Council. We will make new posters about how to register to vote and easy read forms for registering to vote. Later, I will work with other disabled people to CoProduce with the council, new materials for their website, that disabled people can use about voting.
Please contact me to join HAFCAC and get involved. Together we are strong.
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”
Who we are
ELANE HEFFERNAN joined as our new Development Worker
Calling local Disabled residents - register to vote!
A 2017 Electoral Commission survey of disabled voters found that many Disabled people still face barriers to registering to vote and voting. Disabled voters should have access to good information and support to ensure we can cast our votes with the same confidence as non-disabled voters. Click here to read full article.
International Day of Disabled People 2017
Thank you for coming to the celebration of the International Disability Day 2017! It was great to see lots of people there - we hope you enjoyed it. Big thanks to everyone who spoke and our wonderful compere, Liz Bentley. And of course to Hammersmith and Fulham council and Lyric Hammersmith for supporting the event. See some photos please click here.
Hammersmith & Fulham Coalition Against Cuts, ADKC Centre, Whitstable House, Silchester Road , London W10 6SB
Tel: 020 8960 8888 ext 21 SMS (not typetalk) - 07899 752 877 Email: email@example.com