Apr 072014

All nominees will be voted on at the DPAC conference on Saturday 12th April

The current steering group proposes that everyone who has put themselves forward be elected

·         Andy Greene

·         Bob Ellard

·         Ciara Doyle

·         Conan Doyle

·         Debbie Jolly

·         Eleanor Firman

·         Ellen Clifford

·         Linda Burnip

·         Paula Peters

·         Roger Lewis

·         Sabina Lahur

A vote will be taken for members to agree this decision.

Information about all the members who have put themselves forward is below.

Information about the different ways to get involved in the work of DPAC can be found HERE

Andy Greene

I am seeking re-election to the Steering Group.

I’ve been on the SG since the 2011 Conference.

I work freelance, currently for a local DPO in Islington as a Campaign Officer, which enables me to contribute to and promote the work of DPAC. I am not a member of any political party.

I fully support all DPAC principles including rights not charity, and of equal opportunity for all. I believe in DPACs approach to the social model as a real thing to be practised and not just a theory.

I’ve been involved in several DPAC campaigns including fighting welfare reform, the anti-ILF & anti-Remploy closure campaigns. I have been active on a local level in Islington, organising meetings, training & events. I have been involved with DPACs work with the trade union movement including PCS & TUC Disabled Workers Committee.

I have spoken at many regional and national meetings (e.g. TUC DWC Conference, NUS Disabled Students Conference, Boycott Workfare’s Welfare Gathering), and written articles for the website. 

I have worked closely with grassroots activist groups such as UK Uncut, Occupy, Fuel Poverty Action and Reclaim The Power.

I believe disabled people can change the way society is designed and functions by being organised and leading the fight for rights for all. Our history shows us that collective action and taking risks can be effective in this way.

I fully support non-violent Direct Action & peaceful civil disobedience. I would like to see more co-ordinated activities across the country involving local DPACs & others.

 Bob Ellard

I have been working for DPAC doing research and social media work since 2012. During this time I have been able to observe the work the steering group do and have a great deal of admiration for the work done by them.

I believe that as DPAC become more and more successful the steering group workload is only going to increase, and I would like to become a steering group member in order to take on some of this work.

My personal beliefs: 

The current place of disabled people in society is placed in a ‘social ghetto’ where we are seen as Disabled first and People second, if at all.  

I want to live in a society where we are People first, as individuals.

And within that society I want us to be, not disabled people but enabled people. Enabled among other things by full implementation of the UN CRPD, in spirit as well as in word, with all that means in terms of inclusion in all aspects of society.

 I am a Labour Party member and also a member of Unite Community

I support the aims of DPAC.

Ciara Doyle

My name is Ciara, and I would very much like to join the DPAC steering committee and help with the fightback in any way I can.

I have been heavily involved in DPAC in the last couple of years. I have taken part in many direct actions, getting out on the streets and ensuring that we can be seen. I have also spoken on our behalf at a wide range of meetings and campaigns, ensuring that the voice of disabled people is heard. At times, I have also tried to ensure that we get our message across in other ways, writing articles and working to see that publications mention us and our message about disabled people.

I am passionately committed to the social model of disability, and its promotion, and I am also a committed socialist. As chairperson of my local Left Unity branch I help raise our issues on a political stage on an ongoing basis, and as an active trade unionist and rep for my local trade union branch I also work on a daily basis for the rights of disabled people, both as workers and as students.

I am a qualified youth and community worker with more years experience of community organizing than I really want to count! I currently work as a university lecturer working n a department of education where I work in researching, teaching about, and promoting access for students with disabilities, as well as and closely linked to issues of class, race and gender.

For the last few years DPAC has become very central to my life. It is what I think about as I wake in the morning and go to sleep at night – how today can I do something to fight back against this brutal attack on us? I would be delighted if people would vote for me to formally join the steering committee so that I can become as involved as possible on behalf of all disabled people


Conan Doyle

Since I joined DPAC in May 2013 I have found it to be an open and supportive community of people who share my beliefs and passions. I feel it is only right that I give something back by offering to share my time and skills with the group in a more official capacity.

In the short time I have been a member, I have been proud to participate in direct actions, but also to contribute to the research and social media communications which help us to get our message across. I am fully committed to the social model of disability, both from an academic perspective, and as a matter of principle.

In terms of more general activism, I have joined anti-fracking protests in Balcombe and London, as well as anti-fascist demonstrations, anti-austerity  and trades union rallies in the City. I am an active member of the South London Peoples’ Assembly.

Having recently attended a 6 day residential training camp on campaigning (www.campaignbootcamp.org) I am keen to put my newly acquired skills to good use within DPAC.


Debbie Jolly

I have been involved in critical disability politics and campaigns for over 20 years. I have worked at the local, national and European level for disabled peoples’ rights to independent living. This includes CILs and universities.

Along with Linda, I am a co-founder of DPAC and have spoken and written about the right to independent living in a number of policy areas, also bringing European and University connections to DPAC.

Above all else I want an active critical voice of disabled people to grow from the grassroots to challenge, campaign and protest at the cuts to our dignity and rights; motivating more disabled people to demand change, engage in rights arguments and develop more of our own solutions to our imposed social and economic inequalities. As such, bigger pan disability grass roots organisations led by disabled people and free from any Government ties are crucial in the battle for change- now and in the future.

I am a firm advocate of the social model of disability and will always work from this philosophy. I also believe that we must remember our history as a movement, rather than dismiss it, but that different times require different strategies.

Tasks over the last three years since DPAC began have been varied and have included campaigns, D.As, web, social media, research, DPAC admin, writing, and encouraging and supporting local DPAC groups.

I have no connections with any political parties or groups other than DPAC.


Eleanor Firman

I am standing for the DPAC Steering Committee because I believe in the right of everyone to participate fully in society on an equal basis without discrimination and for the past three-four years have been working full time, in voluntary and paid activity as a political campaigner and activist in a number of areas.

My involvement in disability activism is fairly recent – not long after DPAC started and it is through DPAC that my understanding of my own impairments has undergone a steep learning curve. In particular I’ve been following the plans that all the main political parties are considering regarding the future integration of the national health service with social care and mental health systems.

I am committed to the Social Model of Disability and to challenging the way in which this has been cruelly distorted by social policy makers and governments to advance a profiteering agenda at the expense of our health and welfare, our homes – and sadly for some, life itself.

I fear what is happening but the only way I can cope and keep my spirits up is to keep fighting and also learning from others leadership and strength.

Whilst not attending ever demo I was very glad to be able to initiate a Joint Statement by DPAC and Black Triangle objecting to the Labour Party campaign against bedroom tax which promoted workfare sanctions and conditionalities which received over a thousand signatures and was presented in person to Liam Byrne.

I strongly believe I can contribute further to DPAC

1.         Through my experience as a disabled delegate to the UN CEDAW 2013 UK examination (Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women) in Geneva with Sisters of Frida disabled women’s cooperative, and also to the European Disability Intergroup forum at the European Parliament (Strasburg).

2.         As a team player willing to listen and learn, as well as take initiative.

3.         Through my organising strengths and skills gained from activism over many years from student politics e.g. as Treasurer of the Students Union for Cambs College of Arts and Technology to various jobs and volunteer roles, e.g. tutor and steering group member of  Haringey Women’s Centre, English as a Second Language Group.

4.         Through my independent research and data banks on policies relating to equalities, housing, taxation and social security.

My main interests are in the Social Model of Disability and also Campaign Actions. I am also interested in the arts and worked as a professional composer until the lack of support and adjustments made it impossible.

I am a committed feminist and socialist and strongly believe a better world is possible if we fight for it.


Ellen Clifford

I would like to stand for re-election to the DPAC steering committee. I am passionate about the need for a grassroots campaign led by disabled people to oppose austerity and fight for our communities against the savage attacks taking place.

I have been on the steering group since 2011, initially co-opted and then elected at national conference. Throughout this time I have consistently worked hard and determinedly to develop DPAC and build our campaigns.

Although I work full time on top of the ongoing management of my mental health support needs, I am able to meet the necessary time commitment required of a steering group member. My employment is within London disabled people’s organisations and this provides opportunities to promote DPAC’s work and make wider links.

I am fully committed to all core DPAC principles and values. I consider the defence and promotion of the social model of disability to be a key and important area for us to concentrate our efforts. I fully believe in the principles of equal opportunities and rights not charity. Diversity, access and inclusion are of central importance to everything DPAC does. I have given special attention to making links with and better including people with learning difficulties and the Deaf community in our campaigning.

I am interested in and have been involved in a broad range of areas of DPAC work including:

           Planning and being involved in the co-ordination of:

o          National, regional and local meetings and events

o          Two weeks of action

o          Two national Benefit justice summits

           Speaking and giving presentations and interviews on a regular basis

           Writing articles, web site posts and press releases

           Liaising with the media

           Maintaining links with, setting up and supporting local DPAC groups

           Networking and building solidarity and links with a range of group, campaigns  and unions including the Alliance for Inclusive Education, Unite the Resistance, People’s Assembly, Labour Representation Committee, TUC, PCS union, BFAWU, Unite Against Fascism, Realfare, and many others

           Some involvement in funding applications

I have been centrally involved in both the Independent Living Fund campaign and the benefit justice/anti-bedroom tax campaign. I am also now supporting the Stop the Changes to Access to Work campaign.

DPAC is a vibrant example of campaigning as a collective and as a united front. In order to continue and build on our successes it is essential we have a steering group who are able to work constructively and respectfully as a team. I hope that I have shown over the past few years that I have the skills and qualities to play a positive role within the ongoing responsibilities of the steering group.

I have been a member of the Socialist Workers’ Party since July 2012.


Linda Burnip

I am one of the co-founders of DPAC and have been involved from the first march disabled people fought to lead at the Tory Party Conference in Birmingham in 2010.

I am both a disabled person with a hidden and fluctuating impairment and the mother of a young disabled man with high support needs and this has made me aware of how devastating the cumulative impact of these cuts are for disabled people.

I have always been involved in campaigning for social justice and equality in various ways throughout my life and was involved with Disabled People’s Direct Action Network before the emergence of DPAC.

Growing up in the North East means what you see is what you get and I don’t want to be seen as anyone’s saviour as I’m not. Neither do I in any way want to be seen as a figurehead for DPAC which is a much broader and more important movement than any one particular person.

What I am interested in is giving other disabled people the confidence and skills to fight for themselves and to continue with all of the others who give so much time and energy to DPAC to make us a formidable campaign group with many allies. None of this or our respected reputation would have been possible without the input of many people and I am very grateful to everyone who contributes to our fight back in so many different ways. Without you all none of this would have been possible.

As is often the case with any group that grows in size and impact much of my day-to-day activities now involve a massive range of admin. tasks – I usually have 100-200 emails a day to start off with, requests from journalists for help, heart rending emails from disabled people who have been sanctioned and left with no money, no food and no fuel, plus about 50 requests from people to join our facebook group which all need to be checked out to prevent EDL and UKIP supporters joining. (at least as far as possible).

Added to that Debbie and I tend to co-ordinate passing on requests to provide people to be involved in other events, work with our research team to co-ordinate research, prepare briefing papers and other articles, do social media campaigning, go to various meetings, speak at events outside London, deal with finances and fundraising and any other activities that need to be dealt with on a day-to-day basis.

Between us all we’ve made DPAC very financially viable for at least the next 12- 15months.

I am not aligned to any political party and resigned from the Labour Party after they allowed the invasion of Iraq.


Paula Peters

My name is Paula Peters, am a disability rights activist living in south London.  Am a member of DPAC, co chair of Bromley/Croydon local DPAC Group, Unite Community Member, Member of Mental Health Resistance Network, Member of Bromley Mental Health Forum (Deaf and disabled people’s organisation), have a seat on the adult services stakeholder committee in Bromley, am a member of Save our Local Hospitals Campaign (NHS Campaigns), and I am also a member of Bromley Trades Council.


I am very hardworking and active both locally and nationally, I am one of the members of the admin team for DPAC on the face book group and page, do a lot of research and networking and represent DPAC at various meetings, demonstrations, and conferences.  I work well within the DPAC team and various campaigns and Trades Union movement, and treat everyone with respect, and courtesy and work alongside many activists within dpac and other campaign groups with a wide range of impairments.

I correspond regularly with the dpac team by writing written reports and feed back by e mail from all events, conferences and protests that I represent DPAC at.

I work very closely with the mental health resistance network on the work capability assessment for mental health claimants judicial review, this case has been going for over two years, and assisted and continue to support the MHRN as they launch SolidariTEA a Southwark community activist project that will link all local campaigns together and empower members of the community to get involved in the fight back of resistance against the coalition government.

I believe in the social model of disability, and believe that disabled people should be involved in designing and shaping the services they use both in the community where they live and nationally by lobbying parliamentarians and local councillors in the community, I am one of the co founders of the Community Options Involvement Network, a project that involves mental health survivors with lived experience to be involved in speaking at local meetings with the mental health trust, commissioning services, and other agencies and shaping the services we use so that we can live in the community as independently as possible with equal rights. Community Options now has two involvement projects in Tower Hamlets and in Bromley. I have been involved with the mental health survivor involvement network locally in Bromley for over 20 years. 

I have worked alongside the TSSA and RMT unions and Transport for ALL, on the Hands Off London Transport and Action for Rail Campaigns in the fight for worker’s jobs on the London Underground and Station Staff jobs as well as equal access to the public transport network which is something I feel very strongly about as this is vital for our impendence as disabled people to travel independently and as safely as possible, and its vital that we support and campaign with the transport unions for their fight for jobs as the loss of jobs affect all of us who use the public transport network and puts all of society at risk with the cuts to staff jobs.

I am one of the founder members of the save our local hospital campaign for Bexley Bromley and Greenwich, and lead the Lewisham Hospital March in November 2012.  I believe passionately in the NHS and equal access to services and am a member of my local health watch in Bromley, and work very closely with Keep our NHS Public Campaign and have linked in with various Hospital Campaigns throughout the UK and health watch organisations.

I work across a wide range of campaigns and many have linked into the vital work that DPAC do.  In the past year, I represented DPAC at the Disability Working Group at the TSSA National Conference, Bromley Trades Council, Social Worker’s Action Network, Fuel Poverty Action Group, Lewisham Hospital Campaign and the Campaign for Benefit Justice.

I bought the following affiliations to DPAC:

·         TSSA Union.

·         TSSA SE Metro and London Branch.

·         Bromley Trades Council.

·         Euston Branch of the RMT.

·         Older Feminist Network.


I spoke at a Medway anti cuts meeting last March, and empowered local disabled residents to set up the Medway DPAC local group.  I was very humbled to help local disability activists set up their local group and was invited to launch their group in September 2013.  I as co chair of Bromley/Croydon dpac work very closely with the Croydon Dpac group and Bromley and Croydon have often worked together on joint campaigns across the two boroughs, including bedroom tax campaigns and council budget setting meetings and local transport for all campaigns.


Roger Lewis

I am standing for re-election to the DPAC Steering Committee.

I have been on the National Steering Committee for almost four years.

During this time I have been an active member of the Committee.

In particular, I have several decades experience working as an activist in the Trade Union movement and I have been able to bring this experience into DPAC’s work with both local trade unions and their national bodies. I have recently lead for DPAC on putting together the Hands Off London Transport, HOLT, campaign to build a public campaign linked to the strike action taken by the RMT and TSSA unions. This work is continuing and I am working to highlight the serious effects the cuts proposals will mean for Disabled People.

I have worked to maintain our links with the National and Local Peoples Assemblies despite the significant difficulties and differences we have had with them. I have spoken on behalf of DPAC at many of the meetings including both National Assemblies.


I was central in setting up the National Anti Bedroom Tax and Benefit Justice Federation and have been an activist member for DPAC on the National Steering Committee.

I am a member for DPAC on the Unite the Resistance Steering Committee.

I speak to the national and independent press and media on behalf of DPAC, at meetings and demonstrations across the country.

I have been a consistent organiser and participant in many of our Direct Actions.

I have been involved in policy discussions and initiatives such as over broadening support for the Disabled Peoples Manifesto.

Over the last year I have been working with a group of young people, school and college students, who were impressed by DPAC and what we do and invited us to assist them build an organisation of their own. I brought them to our Direct Action at the BBC and last year’s week of action and they joined our protest at the Department of Education. I am continuing to work with them and we are currently exploring how issues around mental health and wellbeing concern them.

I am a dedicated activist and defender of the Social Model of Disability and a Socialist and long standing member of the Socialist Workers Party.

I believe I have a lot to bring to the work we still have to do and would like your support for this nomination to remain on the National Committee.


Sabina Lahur

I have been a Disability Activist for many years. I was a member of the National Peoples First Organisation as an active member. I was also involved in my local PF organisation and have spoken on national TV and at meetings including big meetings of over 500 people.

I am currently leading for DPAC in South London, where I live, in building support for the Save Lambeth College Campaign. The college supports many disabled students and I was a student there myself. I speak for the campaign at their meetings and rallies, petition with them and take part in the campaign organising meetings.

I am active in my local Anti Bedroom Tax campaign.

I support DPAC and speak at meetings in London and have also taken part in big national demonstrations like in Manchester where I was there for DPAC.

I would like the opportunity to be a part of DPAC’s National Committee as I believe I have a lot to bring to the work we do and I am a good representative and spokesperson for people with Learning Difficulties.




Mar 102014

There are many different ways to be involved in the work of DPAC. All are equally valuable. We all have a role to play in campaigning for disabled people’s rights and a fair society, in whatever way we can from taking part in protests to tweeting, from administrative tasks to writing poems, from making banners to conducting research. Every contribution is important, formal or informal. Some ways to get involved are:


       Joining as a member. You will receive occasional urgent action and information updates from us and have the right to vote at our general meetings.


       Signing up to the website for regular information


       updates every time something new is added to our website.


       Following DPAC on twitter: @Dis_Ppl_Protest and Facebook or the quieter Facebook page

       Joining or setting up a local group. Local groups need to follow the DPAC constitution. Local activity is really important for raising awareness about the impact of austerity on disabled people and leading the way in the fightback. For a list of local groups see HERE

       Or contact mail@dpac.uk.net


       Linking between DPAC and other campaigns and unions, for example Occupy, UK Uncut, the Anti Bedroom Tax and Benefit Justice Federation, Reclaim the Power, Fuel Poverty Action, Boycott Workfare, the People’s Assembly, local anti cuts groups, local trades councils and trade unions branches.


       Joining or being involved in the running of campaign sub-committees. We currently have sub-committees at different stages of development in the following areas:

o   Atos and the Work Capability Assessment

o   Independent Living Fund

o   Access to Work

o   Reclaiming the Social Model of Disability

o   Disability, Art and Protest

o   Direct action

o   Inclusive Education

o   Communications and social media

o   Research

o   Local groups

o   Working with Disabled People’s Organisations – building a national voice

At the DPAC conference workshops will be held in each of the different campaigns and there will be a chance to sign up if you are not already involved.

       Being on the Steering group. At the conference we need to elect our steering group for the next year. There is more information about this below.

Steering group

One of the roles we have to make sure we run in a way that follows our aims and principles and is accountable to DPAC members is being on the Steering Group.

Being on the Steering Group is a big time commitment and is often a difficult job because there is so much to do.

For this reason in order to stand for nomination to the Steering Group we need people who can sign up to:

·         Minimum of 5 – 10 hours commitment per week


·         Corresponding regularly by and checking emails to stay in touch with developments and inputting to the development of DPAC initiatives


·         Co-ordinating particular areas of work, involving members widely and working with allies


·         Being involved in at least two sub-committees


·         Taking responsibility for either co-ordinating or providing an active and supportive link to at least two local groups


·         Representing DPAC at meetings, events and conferences sometimes at short notice


·         Working collectively and positively within a team of people with contrasting access needs


·         Following DPAC principles and values at all times:

o   Social model of disability

o   Rights not Charity

o   Inclusive Education (no ifs no buts)

o   Working within the broad left

o   Equal opportunities and social justice for all regardless of ethnicity, sexuality, gender, disability, age, faith, employment status, resident status. No to scapegoating of any kind.


It is important we have a diverse steering group covering a range of impairments, equalities strands and areas of the country. We also recognise that due to fluctuating impairments people may need to step back from activity for temporary periods.

The current DPAC constitution sets the number of steering group members at 8 but the current steering group will be putting forward a motion at the conference for members to vote on enlarging the steering group to 12.

All those wanting to put themselves forward for the steering group must be full DPAC members. If you would like to put yourself forward for the DPAC Steering Group please send a 500-700 word statement to mail@dpac.uk.net

 explaining why you would like to be on the Steering Group, how you are able to meet the commitment and any existing political/group affiliations before the 31st March 2014.

This text will be put on the DPAC web site-you do not need to be able to come to the DPAC conference on the 12th of April to be considered for election to the steering group, but we’d appreciate it if you could.


We’d like to say a big thank you to the past DPAC steering group for all their work, and invite them to apply again if they wish to