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DEBBIE DOMB

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

Hammersmith and Fulham Coalition Against Cuts (HAFCAC) is a campaign group led by disabled and older people in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. 

What we do

HAFCAC campaigns in Hammersmith and Fulham to break the link between disabled people and poverty.  Cuts in funding, benefits and support have affected the poorest and most disadvantaged members of society – older and disabled people.

Click here for the 2017 General Election Info Sheet

We work in Hammersmith and Fulham to:


Hold local decision makers to account on issues affecting disabled and older people.

Ensure disabled people are partners in making local policy.

Working positively with organisations that listen. 

Our journey so far has been expertly written up by Jenny Morris 

https://jennymorrisnet.blogspot.co.uk/2016/07/something-to-celebrate-story-of.html

HAFCAC has achieved great success so far:


Convinced Hammersmith and Fulham council to stop charging for home care services. This was huge! Hundreds of disabled and older people are better off, often by as much as £30-40 a week.  

Enabled the council to protect the essential funding that some local disabled people rely on (previously known as the Independent Living Fund). 

Run successful events for International Day of Disabled People (3rd December) in 2014, 2015 and 2016, all attended by 70+ people.

Started the Hammersmith and Fulham Disabled People’s Organisations network - a group of user-led Disabled People’s Organisations working together.

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. In Hammersmith and Fulham, charging disabled and older people for their community ‘home care’ services ended in April 2015. 

“In a civilised society, I believe home care is something people shouldn’t have to pay for.” Council leader Steve Cowan.

 


Announcement made at an event celebrating International Day of Disabled People 2014
Council leader Steve Cowan told a room packed full of disabled people and our allies: “There are 1,231 people in Hammersmith and Fulham who need help with everyday tasks that others take for granted, such as having a bath or doing the shopping. That help is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. In a civilised society, I believe home care is something people shouldn’t have to pay for.” 

WORK WITH HAFCAC

Hamersmith and Fulham Coalition against Cuts need a Development Worker. We are looking to employ a Disabled person to work with us for 10 hours a week. See more details ot how to apply in PDF version or click here to view in MS Word

 

HAFCAC News:

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: info@hafcac.org.uk

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