Greater Manchester Asbestos Victims Support Group (GMAVSG) is a registered charity (1113201).

We offer free and independent advice on benefits and compensation to people with asbestos-related diseases and their families.

We also campaign for better funding for medical research and treatment, fairer benefits and compensation, the removal of asbestos from the places where we work and live, and an international ban on asbestos.

As a small charity, we rely on donations to carry on the work we do. To donate to us, please click here.

One Lung, One Life, One Hundred Miles!

Dave Staley, a resident of Greater Manchester, was diagnosed with the asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma in October 2015.

Following an operation to remove his left long, and a course of chemotherapy, Dave is now taking on a tough 100 mile bike ride to raise funds for medical treatment and research.

As Dave said: “I wanted a challenge, I want to inspire others that no matter what your health is, with the correct training, support & belief, anything is possible”.

Dave will be attempting the ride on 30th July 2017. Any money raised will go to Mesothelioma UK and the British Lung Foundation. Good luck Dave!!

To donate, please click here.

Appeal for witnesses- please help if you can!

Action Mesothelioma Day 2017

Action Mesothelioma Day in Manchester had a distinctly international flavour this year with a delegation from Japanese asbestos victims groups paying a solidarity visit to events in 5 cities on Friday. We were delighted to welcome Mrs Chizuko Hirachi, who lost her husband to mesothelioma aged 60 in 2007, Mr Tadao Hirata who lost his brother to mesothelioma aged only 41 in 1989, as well as Mr Hiroshi Iida and Mr Sugio Furuya, both prominent campaigners on behalf of asbestos victims in Japan.

More than 200 people attended our commemoration and dove release in Sackville Gardens. This rally began with a moving speech from Vivienne Swain, who was diagnosed with mesothelioma in August 2015. Vivienne’s contribution was followed by speeches from local MPs Kate Green, Mike Kane, Debbie Abrahams, Tony Lloyd and Lucy Powell. Also addressing the rally was Councillor Joyce Bowerman, Civic Mayor of Tameside, whose brother was diagnosed with last year. Councillor Bowerman has chosen Mesothelioma UK as one of her nominated charities for the coming year.

Following the speeches, the dove release was led by Dave Staley, who was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2015, and Tadao Hirata. Mesothelioma recognises no borders and our dove release commemorated all those who had lost their lives to this disease in Japan as well as at home. We share a common bond.

Our public meeting in the Mechanics Institute heard speeches from Chizuko Hirachi, who described how her husband was exposed to asbestos through living close to the Kubota asbestos factory in Japan and Jeff Eaman who outlined the impact of asbestos giant Turner & Newall in exposing workers in Greater Manchester to asbestos over many years. The main speaker was Professor Sir Anthony Newman Taylor, Chair of the National Mesothelioma Research Centre who spoke about what he hoped this new research centre could achieve in the mission to find a cure for this man-made disease.

We would like to thank all those attended on Friday as well as all of you who contributed so generously to our fundraising effort on behalf of the June Hancock Mesothelioma Research Fund. We will post the final figure for money raised on this site later.

 

 

Keep Phoenix House benefits office open!

Phoenix House in Barrow, Cumbria has been earmarked for closure in March 2018 by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). Phoenix House is a specialist benefits office that deals with all Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) claims for people diagnosed with mesothelioma and other asbestos diseases throughout the country.

If the closure goes ahead it will be a blow for mesothelioma sufferers who benefit greatly from the expertise that has been built up over many years by the DWP staff based in this office. In addition to IIDB claims, staff at Phoenix process linked benefits such as Constant Attendance Allowance, Exceptionally Severe Disablement Allowance and lump sums paid under the Pneumoconiosis (Workers’ Compensation) Act 1979 and 2008 Mesothelioma Scheme.

This is a niche area of the benefits system with complex benefit rules and a vulnerable client group, many of whom are elderly and have been newly diagnosed with a terminal illness. They need to be sure their claims will be dealt with sensitively and efficiently. Staff at Phoenix House tick all these boxes. Advice workers can reassure mesothelioma patients that the benefits to which they are entitled will be processed and paid within two to three weeks in nearly all cases.

The 70 workers in Phoenix House have built up a huge amount of expertise in these specialist benefits over many years. If the office closes the most likely result would be a deterioration in service, longer delays in processing benefit claims and increased uncertainty for mesothelioma patients. Forum groups have developed an excellent working relationship with staff at Phoenix House and the people we help have benefitted greatly from their expertise and empathy.

The Asbestos Victims Support Groups’ Forum UK fully supports the Phoenix House workers in their campaign to keep this office open. We have sent an open letter to the Secretary of State for Work & Pensions which has been supported by all the main charities and support groups working with victims of asbestos diseases, along with people living with mesothelioma, bereaved family members, doctors and lawyers.

We are now in the middle of a General Election campaign. There will be a new Government and new Ministers after June. We intend to keep the pressure on to keep Phoenix House open after the election and will resend the open letter so that the new Government Ministers are left in no doubt about our total opposition to the closure of this office. If you would like to add your support for this open letter, please contact the Forum at asbestos.mcr@gmail.com

You can also support this campaign by signing the online petition here.

Remembering Kevin Lynch

We received the sad news last week that Kevin Lynch, who was instrumental in establishing the Greater Manchester Asbestos Victims Support Group, passed away on 17th January 2017. We would like to extend our condolences to Kevin’s family.

Living Well with Mesothelioma Support Group – new venue from February

The Support Group meetings will be moving from Cross Street Chapel to the Methodist Central Hall (Oldham Street, Manchester, M1 1JQ) from February. For a map and directions to the venue click here.

Meetings will still take place on the first Monday of each month (except our May meeting) from 1.30 – 3.30 p.m.

Support Group meetings are open to all mesothelioma patients and their carers. Details of our future meetings can be found here: Living Well A5 Flyer 2017.

Identity of asbestos spy revealed

The name of the individual caught spying on asbestos campaign groups has been revealed after the High Court lifted his anonymity protection.

Robert (Rob) Moore had posed as a sympathetic filmmaker in an attempt to infiltrate and gather private information on campaigners in the UK and overseas. Moore worked for K2 Intelligence Ltd, a firm founded by Jules Kroll, “a leading figure in the corporate intelligence industry” according to the Guardian, and run by his son and co-founder Jeremy.

It’s official – Canada to ban use of asbestos by 2018

The Canadian Federal government announced today that asbestos and asbestos-containing materials will be banned by 2018.

Asbestos victims welcome Companies House change of heart on destroying records

Groups representing sufferers of asbestos related diseases have welcomed reassurances given on behalf of the Government that proposals to destroy records of dissolved companies have been abandoned.

The Guardian reported in August that Companies House was planning to destroy the records of companies that had been dissolved for longer than 6 years, overturning their current policy of retaining records for at least 20 years.

This would have been disastrous for asbesos victims seeking compensation for their negligent workplace exposure to asbestos. Asbestos diseases take decades to develop, sometimes for as long as 60 years. Because of this, the negligent employer has usually gone out of business by the time a disease develops. Access to Companies House records on dissolved companies is therefore crucial for victims trying to secure justice.