Elane Heffernan, New Development Worker at HAFCAC introduces herself and her work

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I am writing to introduce myself as the development worker at Hammersmith & Fulham Coalition against Cuts.  HAFCAC is a social model group—we are made up of Deaf and disabled people. Non-disabled people can get involved as supporters.   We believe that what disables us is not our impairments or health condition, but the way that society does not make adjustments to include us.

My role here is to build on the success HAFCAC has had in fighting to defend services and extend participation of disabled people in local decision making I have lived experience of disability. HAFCAC was at the forefront of the fight to end charging for home care services has been most recently been working to chair the Disabled People’s Commission. This resulted in new ways of the local authority working with disabled people to plan, organise and deliver services—this is called CoProduction.

Because of the lack of services and support for our impairments and the way that everything from electoral registration, to local meetings and consultation by the council and public bodies have traditionally worked disabled people have been excluded from politics and from local decision making.  CoProduction is a big step forward. It is based on the social model of disability—that nothing about us can be decided without us

My work will be to get more disabled people involved in fighting for our rights and speaking up about what we need.

This will involve

  • Running a campaign about voting and lobbying the council to make sure that we get the adjustments to current voting information and practice that we need.
  • Getting disabled people to join HAFCAC and get involved in running the organisation or in campaigning. It can seem hard to get involved but we will be training disabled people who live or work in Hammersmith and Fulham in how to do this. It will be empowering to work with other Deaf and disabled people and there is fun to be had.
  • Training disabled people in how democracy works and how local services work so that they can be confident in checking on if the local council is delivering CoProduction and services in the way they promised
  • Organising with other Disabled Peoples Organisations to meet up and make our voices stronger.

Please get involved. It is free for Disabled People to join as a full member.
Ring me on 020 8960 8888 ext. 21
Email me: Development@hafcac.org.uk