Oct 302011

This is not a definitive list – there was a call for people at the conference who wanted to volunteer their services. Please put your name forward if you have the time and commitment to help DPAC specifying your skills or area in which you wish to/can help.


 I am a disabled resident of Islington for the past 20+ years and a member of Islington Disabled People Against Cuts.

I have been involved in disabled people’s rights for the last 15 years, through the local DPO, which I now work for. I have also worked for the local authority and charities. I have some experience of fundraising but my main skills are around organisation and logistics.

The reason I want to be on the Steering Group is that I have ideas for how DPAC can run, be effective in its campaigning and make the best use of the energy and enthusiasm we have at the moment in order to progress.


I am a mental health service user who has been active in disabled people’s rights for the past 12 years in both voluntary and paid capacities. I was a Trustee for WISH, a national user led women’s mental health organisation, for 5 years and earlier this year was co-opted onto the national DPAC steering group.

I have experience of working with and supporting people with learning difficulties and on the autism spectrum with many different types of communication and while working for People First (Self Advocacy) was responsible for putting many government documents and meeting papers into easy read format including the Improving Life Chances of Disabled People Report (2005).

One of the main skills I bring from my work within Disabled People’s Organisations is experience of trust fundraising. I also have experience of setting, managing and monitoring budgets, line managing staff, writing reports and papers, developing and delivering training and presentations and project management.

I am fully committed to the social model of disability and the philosophy of independent living and have recently been asked to represent the European Network of Independent Living on mental health, for whom I co-authored a chapter on the disability support system in France and the influence of personalisation earlier this year.

I believe that DPAC has an important role to play in protesting against the cuts from a social model perspective. I welcome the opportunity to re-ignite disabled people’s activism and to work to influence the left wing and trade unions to understand and support the rights of disabled people in a way they never have before.


As one of the co-founders of DPAC I’m a disabled person with a hidden and fluctuating impairment and also the mother of a young disabled man who needs 24 hour support. I also have a daughter who managed to survive the pressures from a consultant that I must have a termination as I didn’t want to risk having a second disabled child. Between us we have a great deal of lived experience of disability and disablism.

My activism began initially as a shop steward in a very militant trade union branch during the late 1970s and 1980s fighting against Margaret Thatcher and all the Tories stood for. I also supported many other campaigns that existed around that time such as CND, ANC in exile, plus campaigns against US involvement in South America.

There was then a bit of a lul in my activities due to being a mother although I set up or was involved in numerous pressure groups which campaigned on a wide range of issues from lack of adequate staffing of local services to education during these years. More recently I was successful in getting some legislative changes made to Local Housing Allowance as campaign co-ordinator of the Local Housing Allowance Reform Group.

The current Condem government have continued the attacks against disabled people and other benefit claimants that were started by New Labour and if these cuts go ahead the disabled people’s movement will lose any advances that have been made towards independent living and inclusive education over the last 30 years. Increasing numbers of disabled people have been driven to commit suicide as a result of the cuts they face to their benefits and services. I am not prepared to sit back and let the gains made by the disabled people’s movement be lost, nor allow people being driven to kill themselves through fear happen without trying to stop it.I’m fully committed to both independent living and inclusive education.

As well as being a co-founder of DPAC I’ve been involved with Disabled People’s Direct Action Network (DAN) and am part of the Defend Welfare Network. Until recently when I resigned due to personal commitments I was a trustee and Executive Health and Safety Officer for Warwickshire and Coventry CDP for about 6 years, and am also an individual member of NCIL.

Earlier this year I took part in a photographic project about unlikely activists  which was intended to show other people that activists come from all walks of life and also lead ‘normal’ lives otherwise.


Surprisingly people who know me have been rather rude about the picture of me ironing in this.

My political views as far as I’m concerned are rational, although I know other people might describe them as left wing, however it isn’t rational to me that eg.America spends massive amounts on Defence (a debatable term) while having one of the worst levels of maternal death in the Western world, or that bankers get multi-million pound bonuses while others in the UK can’t afford food and heating and face having 100% of their benefits taken away and being left in destitution if they fail to meet the requirements of workfare slave labour.

Patrick Lynch

I was a social worker for 14 years working with young people at Centrepoint supporting them to access education, employment and training. Two years ago I became ill and had to give up my job. I am now studying law and am involved in Islington Hands off Our Public Services and Islington Disabled People Against Cuts.

I am standing for election to the DPAC Steering group because I want to make a change for disabled people. Disabled people are getting a really bad deal at the moment, which I am publicising and raising awareness of as much as I can through for example my blog: The recent example of disabled people in Croydon being expected either to climb 14 flights of stairs or to travel 14 miles out of their way for their Work Capability Assessments is just one example of how badly disabled people are routinely treated.

I have a wide range of experience in all benefits, which includes Housing Benefit and up to date with the changes that are going to take place in April 2012.

As a member of the Labour party I have strong contacts with local Councillers, along with the MPs Jeremy Colburn and Emily Thornbury, I am very committed to the rights of disabled people living in Islington, if changes can come about in Islington then with all honesty it will change through the country. As disability officer with IHOOPS hands off our public services With the help and knowledge of other members we can all go right out for a change for the good of all.




Richard Rieser

I am a disabled person and wheelchair user and am a member of DPAC. I am a trainer and consultant on Inclusive Education and Disability Equality. Through my involvement with my Union the NUT(33 years) and as Chair of Alliance for Inclusive Education for 12 years I have a lot of experience of organising events and campaigns to include disabled people with the full range of impairments.

I have skills and experience and experience in the following areas:

  • campaigning and organising actions;
  • Public Relations and media including press releases;
  • public speaking;
  • fundraising;
  • communications including preparing information sheets and editing newsletters; research and monitoring;
  • accounts and book-keeping.


My name is Sarah Mingay and I am 30 years old. I have Spina Bifida and so have experienced disability from birth and all that goes with this (including growing up under the Thatcher Government). I want to be part of the DPAC steering group because I am fed up of the constant attack on disabled people by the government and want to be part of a group of people who also feel that the treatment of disabled people is unfair and who want to make a difference through a collective voice.

Locally I am involved in anti-cuts campaigns where I have attended meetings as well as been part of the publicity team which has involved designing posters as well as press releases. I have also been part of the steering group for UK Disability month, taking control of advertising through social networking sites Twitter and Facebook. I also use Twitter in a personal capacity as well as for Bedford Against the Cuts and have found it an extremely useful tool not just for promoting events but also as a way of learning and sharing ideas with other people.  I appreciate the importance of the use of social media in providing a voice for people with a disability as it also allows them to feel that they are not alone with how they are feeling.

I have also gained experience of blogging and through this I have improved my writing style and the content that I write about which can be seen by the increase in numbers of people who visit my blog. Blogging has also helped me to find my voice and I get great satisfaction out of feeling as though I have helped and empowered other people.

I have liaised with local trades councils to promote awareness of disabled people and the cuts that they are facing. Much of the information that I have gained is through my own research mostly through internet searches as well as news articles and directly from organisations and representatives that are being affected by the cuts. Through the different campaigning and activities that I am involved in I have built up a network of contacts locally that I can call on to help organise events locally as the opportunity arises.

I am keen to get involved and look forward to being able to encourage new activists in our plight against the con-dem government.


A creative leader with a track record in delivering successful community programmes. A champion for inclusion, human rights and the empowerment of marginalised groups; with a personal experience of, and interest in, poverty, disability, health and inclusion.  An experienced lecturer and researcher in social and critical psychology. A innovative and critical thinker, who can drive ideas through to implementation, negotiating and overcoming obstacles to change and leading teams and communities to deliver tangible results.

Key skills and experiences include:

●          Research and analysis: designed and ran consultations and profiling exercises, community and academic research studies. Delivered papers at international conferences and presented at public meetings and information events. PhD thesis on disability identity published in abridged form in an international textbook.

●          Community leadership: developed and led community empowerment initiatives focused on disabled peoples’ equality and participation. Formulated strategy, policy, developed responses and implemented social change actions. Directed and managed independent living services that empower disabled people, and  enhanced the business skills and effectiveness of Deaf and Disabled Peoples Organisations.

●          Training and teaching: designed and delivered courses in community, employment and university settings. Ran adaptive technology assessment and training programme. Tutored psychology students in critical psychology and disability studies.

●          Programme management: delivered large scale and complex projects to budget and timescales. Liaised with providers and partners, managed risk and quality systems. Monitored performance and compliance with legislation and contractual agreements, ensuring outcomes are delivered.

●          People management and development: led diverse and mixed teams of employees and volunteers to deliver successful services and project outcomes. Motivated teams to deliver under pressure and in conflict situations. Supported individuals using formal and informal HR processes.

●          Inclusion and advocacy: commitment to the equality, participation and recognition of all marginalised groups in society. Succesfully challenged discriminatory practices in services. Advocated for social change and led disability equality campaigning activities.  Expereinced in inclusive enviromental design to facilitate community involvement and citizen participation.


I’m Thomas, 22 ….soon to be 23. I was born with conditions called Aspergers Syndrome, Attenion Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) & Dyspraxia. I’ve also since becoming an adult been through many bouts of Depression.

Disability is something that governs my life – my relationships with other people, my routines, habits, disposition, mood, ability to perform different tasks, my self esteem, Mental Health and the struggle to achieve the things I want to attain in life. But disability is also what makes me ….me. It’s who I am – and I’m very proud of that. Cognitive disorders such as Aspergers Syndrome run heavily through a person’s personality, it sometimes doesn’t make getting on easy and can confuse and irritate other people but I wouldn’t change who I am or what I have for the world. It is a sad fact that throughout this present Government’s poor attitude they are cutting and smearing disabled people to vicious effect.

I have a fuelled determination and confidence to work within the Disabled Community, a process I’ve recently undertaken during last summer when I took on a Volunteer role at Mencap Liverpool on the Campaigns Team and I’m also attempting to get elected as Regional Disabled Officer for Labour’s Under 26’s at Conference in November


as well as contributing potentially to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Disabled issues.

I feel I have much desire, knowledge, passion, expertise, energy, empathy and personal experience and most of all dedication to give to the Steering group.

We didn’t cause this mess, and we certainly won’t accept having to take the brunt of the financial burden for it either. In cutting us savagely down to size the Government have shown how much they fear and little they value us as a group of people – that we’ll be easy targets. But the members of DPAC and its steering group will show just what a terrible underestimation of us that is as we fight for what’s right.

Rob Murthwaite

I have been registered as ‘Blind’ since around 1983.  I first became involved in disability politics when working as a welfare rights advisor for a disabled person’s organisation, Islington Disability Association, in the early 80s.  I am a lecturer in the law faculty of London Metropolitan University, my specialism is anti-discrimination law. I am an active member of the lecturer’s union, UCU and a long standing member of the UCU Disabled Members Standing Committee. I am also an active member of both London and Islington DPAC as well as being involved in Islington Hands Off Our Public Services (IHOOPS) a group dedicated to opposition to all cuts in the public sector.


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  One Response to “DPAC's new steering/core group”

  1. BOYCOTT OLYMPIC SPONSORS-There has been some talk of boycotting the paraolympics because of atos. I would like to see a boycott of all olympic sponsors-macdonalds, coca-cola, cadburys and sainsburys..This would put pressure on atos and the government. As for boycotting the paraolympics I am against this because I respect fellow disabled people who have done well in sport despite disability and paraolympic events are a good place to raise a protest banner.

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