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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)
H&F Council to launch Disabled People’s Commission
Hammersmith & Fulham Council is launching a Disabled People’s Commission as part of its drive to improve services and accessibility for all communities in the borough.
Too often, disabled people are overlooked when councils are both designing and delivering services. With the launch of its Disabled People’s Commission, H&F will look into the experiences of disabled people in the borough to help make positive changes to increase equality and inclusivity for all those who live in, work in and visit the borough.
Cllr Stephen Cowan, Leader of the Council, said:
“I want Hammersmith & Fulham to become the most accessible and inclusive borough in London and this new Commission will help show us the way to deliver this vision.
“As Commission Chair, I know that Tara Flood will draw on her excellent track record in disability campaigning. Tara is also a local resident, with vital first-hand experience of what life is like for disabled people in the borough.
”H&F Council is committed to putting residents at the heart of decision making, doing things with people and not to them. Under Tara’s leadership, I am confident that our Disabled People’s Commission will give disabled people in Hammersmith & Fulham a voice and a platform that they have all too often been denied in the past.”
Tara Flood, on her appointment as chair of the Commission, said:
“This is an exciting opportunity for Disabled people across the borough to come together and be part of a radical change – a change that will begin to see a new way of doing things – services that are co-produced with Disabled people. Hammersmith & Fulham is a borough that wants to hear what we, as Disabled people, have got to say so I’m really looking forward to chairing the Commission and turning words into action!”
If you are a disabled person who lives or works in Hammersmith and Fulham and would like to be part of the new Commission then please contact Fawad Bhatti at firstname.lastname@example.org setting out some details about you, your experience and why you want to be on the Commission.
It is hoped that we can launch the Commission with a first meeting in early September so please submit any expressions of interest in becoming a Commissioner to Fawad by Wednesday 31 August. The time commitment for Commissioners is expected to be two hourly meetings once a month in Hammersmith Town Hall or other venues around the borough for a period of some 9-10 months.
The Commission is expected to complete its work and publish its findings and recommendations for action around May 2017.
Source: (2016) H&F Council to launch Disabled People’s Commission [online] Available at <https://www.lbhf.gov.uk/articles/news/2016/08/hf-council-launch-disabled-people-s-commission> [Accessed September, 2016].
In 2011, HAFCAC asked our local MPs to resist closure of the Independent Living Fund. Download our letter to MPs on the ILF in rtf format. Here is Greg Hands MP response, and the response from Andy Slaughter MP (below).
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.
International Disability Day 2017
Thank you for coming to the celebration on Sunday! 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.
This celebration happens because Disabled People’s Organisations come together and work hard to put the event on. HAFCAC, Action on Disability, Safety Net People First, together with HeadsUp, work together through the year.
We can do more - celebrations like this, social events, campaigning on issues that matter to you - but we need more people to help in all sorts of small ways. We want to do lots but we need your help! If you want more events and more people sticking up for you then the best way to help is to join one of our organisations. Please get in touch:
Safety Net People First email@example.com
Action on Disability firstname.lastname@example.org
HAFCAC on Daily Politics Show
21 November 2016
Council Leader, Cllr Stephen Cowan said, “This administration was elected on a promise to deliver good quality services and keep council tax low – and we are doing just that. Residents are telling me they’re delighted to live in Hammersmith & Fulham for this very reason.”
Kevin Caulfield, chair of HAFCAC, explained that judging councils only by their council tax rates could be misleading especially if there was a ‘desert of public services’.
Cllr Cowan added that it was about more than low bills and good services: “We’re here to make fundamental improvements to the quality of people’s lives, thinking big and doing things that most councils have simply never dared to.
“Firm control of the council’s finances means we have the best council tax record in the country, but we’ve done that while also abolishing home care charges and cutting 85 per cent of all our other charges. We’ve stepped in to save the Independent Living Fund and we’ve ended the 15-minute-only home care visits. All these things make a huge difference to your daily life if you’re elderly or disabled.”
Disability Justice Project launch
On the 3rd of November Inclusion London launched its new Disability Justice Project to enable Deaf and Disabled people and their organisations to better fight for our right to independent living and access to goods and services.
Kevin Caulfield, Chair of HAFCAC, spoke at the launch about HAFCAC’s experience challenging Hammersmith and Fulham council in the courts on homecare charging. Kevin explained that though HACAC lost the legal case narrowly on appeal, it was still a victory as it showed that Disabled people would speak up. It led directly to the next council administration removing charging altogether.
The Disability Justice project will build the capacity of Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisations (DDPOs) in London to use the law to challenge systematic discrimination we face as Disabled people. It will build strong and effective partnerships between DDPOs and the legal community and increase the potential for strategic litigation to advance Disabled people’s rights.
Although Disabled people are protected from discrimination by the Equality Act 2010 and the Human Rights Act 1998, we still face systematic discrimination and experience breaches of our rights on a daily basis. Moreover due to significant cuts to public services and local authority budgets many of us struggle to get the support we need to live a normal life and be included in the community and recent changes to Legal Aid made it much harder for Disabled people to start a legal challenge.
Tracey Lazard, CEO of inclusion London said:
“Rights mean nothing when you can’t enforce them. That’s why we are launching this project. It will ensure DDPOs and Disabled people understand the law and know how to challenge injustice and discrimination. Too often local authorities and providers of goods and services get away with breaching our rights. This project will enable and empower a greater number of Disabled people to challenge this.”
For more information, please contact
or 020 7237 3181
One Year On: evaluating the impact of the closure of the Independent Living Fund
Source: Inclusion London
|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'.
You can download our press release and the full judgment here.
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: email@example.com