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Welcome to the Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum - UK (AVSGF)

The Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum UK (AVSGF-UK) is an umbrella organisation representing asbestos victims support groups. The Forum' s main purpose is to work collectively to provide one voice for asbestos victims.

For advice on benefits and compensation and support for sufferers of asbestos disease and their families contact Forum Members

Latest News...

12th October 2018

Clydebank Asbestos Group and Asbestos Action Tayside fly the Forum flag at national GPs conference – ‘Mind the Gap’ 

This was the message to GP’s from our 2 Scottish panel groups, Asbestos Action (Tayside) and Clydebank Asbestos Group, when they attended the Royal College of General Practitioners Annual Primary Care Conference & Exhibition in Glasgow on 4th and 5th October.

The aim was to raise awareness with GP’s, of the importance of informing patients diagnosed with an asbestos related condition of the invaluable help and assistance which Forum support groups can offer, and the rights of victims and their families to claim benefits, or civil damages. The warning to health professionals is that asbestos victims in Scotland may lose the right to pursue a civil damages claim if they do not raise proceedings within 3 years of diagnosis of any asbestos related condition. That means victims who may go on to develop separate, life threatening asbestos related conditions may be prevented from seeking damages if they did not take steps to protect themselves following an earlier diagnosis of a less serious asbestos related condition such as pleural plaques (for which damages can be sought in Scotland, unlike in England and Wales), which many health professionals still regard as benign or clinically insignificant.

John Fearn and Dianne Foster of Asbestos Action Tayside and Hope Robertson of Clydebank Asbestos Group attended the 2 day conference. Hope said  “This event was a great success. I was surprised how many GP’s we spoke to who were ignorant of the potential entitlement of asbestos victims or their families to receive benefits or seek civil damages. Hopefully our presence has gone some way to filling that gap in knowledge.”

21 September 2018

Royal recognition for support group

Halton based Cheshire Asbestos Victims Support Group has received The Queens Award for Voluntary Service in recognition of outstanding work in their community and beyond.

The award is the highest given to local volunteer groups in the United Kingdom – it is the MBE for voluntary groups – and with a small team of six they, CAVSG, are the smallest group in the country to receive it.

CAVSG was formed in 1992 by volunteers who had been actively involved in campaign issues relating to asbestos since the early 1980’s.  The group gained charity status in 1994.

The group provides support work for victims of an asbestos related disease and their families to ensure that all those that were affected by asbestos diseases in Cheshire, have access to help, information, advice and support.  They still actively campaign on many issues involving asbestos victims and their families, and were part of the campaign that led to the UK eventually banning the import and use of asbestos in 1999.

Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire, Mr David Briggs MBE. Presented the group with the Certificate signed by Her Majesty the Queen, and a crystal keepsake, at Runcorn Town Hall in the presence of the Mayor and Mayoress of Halton, John and Marjorie Bradshaw, and guests,



7 August 2018

Summer visit with Mesothelioma Information Project founder, Mavis Robinson MBE

John Flanagan from Merseyside Asbestos Victims Support Group with Mavis Robinson MBE (centre), and Paula Walker from South Yorkshire Asbestos Victims Support Group
John & I spent a lovely Sunday in sunny July catching up with Mavis Robinson. Mavis, who is now retired and living near Leeds, previously worked as a Macmillan Nursing Sister both in the community, and also in hospitals in the city. From her work particularly in the 1980’s and 1990’s, Mavis began to see more and more people diagnosed with mesothelioma, not least because of the asbestos exposure suffered by communities living or working at the J.W Roberts asbestos textile factory in Armley, Leeds for example, including the late June Hancock who developed mesothelioma after exposure to the mounds of asbestos exuded by the Roberts factory into the nearby school playground and surrounding streets.
In response to the growing numbers of people diagnosed, and because information about the asbestos cancer was so little known and difficult to find, Mavis compiled a booklet to give basic information and guidance on mesothelioma for people with the disease, their carers, their families and health professionals. More than that, in 1997, she founded the UK wide Mesothelioma Information Project which provided a telephone helpline, staffed by Mavis, to give information and support to sufferers, their families and carers, and information to health professionals.
As part of the Mesothelioma Information Project, Mavis also developed and delivered specialist training for the many lung cancer nurse specialists based throughout the UK on health care, diagnosis, clinical research, palliative care and medical treatment. 
In 2000, Mavis was invited as a keynote speaker to the first ever Global Asbestos Conference in Brazil, giving a presentation about her Mesothelioma Project, learning and experience caring for sufferers for international medical professionals and colleagues. In 2002 her outstanding work and dedication was deservedly recognised with an award of an MBE. After Mavis retired, the Mesothelioma Information Project moved to Glenfield Hospital in Leicester and eventually developed as Mesothelioma UK. If any old friends and colleagues would like to catch up with Mavis, please contact MAVSG 0151 236 1895 or SARAG 01709 360 672 for contact details.

31 July 2018

Landmark Court of Appeal success for asbestos victims


The Court of Appeal today ruled that the Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum (‘the Forum’) has a legitimate interest in obtaining documents that will shed light on the true knowledge of the dangers of asbestos products held by Cape Intermediate Holdings, formerly one of the largest manufacturers of asbestos products in the UK. The Forum must be given access to numerous documents which were disclosed in an earlier case in which Cape were a defendant.

This ruling reinforces key parts of an earlier decision made by Master McCloud in 2017. The Forum argued that it was in the public interest that these documents be disclosed as they would help mesothelioma victims currently pursuing claims for compensation. They would also help inform the public about how one of the worst industrial scandals, resulting in the deaths of many thousands of people from asbestos-related diseases, was allowed to occur in this country. The effects of this scandal are with us today, and will be with us for many years to come, because of the long latency of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.

The Forum has confirmed all along that its aim is to provide the documents to interested parties, including academics, lawyers, and members of the public, due to the highly significant and historical value of the documents.  Harminder Bains of Leigh Day Solicitors, and Rob Weir and Jonathan Butters of Devereux Chambers, acted pro bon for the Forum.

Graham Dring, Chair of the Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum, said:

“The Court of Appeal judgment should provide access to a significant amount of documents, which Cape intermediate Holdings (Cape) have refused to disclose: documents which may assist mesothelioma sufferers and their families to claim compensation, and which may throw light on the way early knowledge of the dangers of asbestos was hidden from the public. The Forum’s application for disclosure was only made possible because our legal team represented us pro bono, confronting a company with deep pockets and access to the most expensive legal representation. The Forum and our legal team have been vindicated by this judgment and Cape should now cease their self-serving resistance to disclosure and accept this judgment in full.”

Harminder Bains said:

“Paragraph 112(ii) of the judgment confirms that the Forum is entitled to copies of the documents which fall within the inherent jurisdiction, which include witness statements of witnesses of fact, expert reports, documents which have been read in open Court, documents which the judge has been invited to read in open Court, documents which the judge has been specifically invited to read outside of Court or documents which it is clear or stated that the judge has read, skeleton arguments, and written submissions. 

“Cape should now accept the Forum’s entitlement to copies of the documents and put a halt to its determined effort to prevent the Forum and other judges from seeing them.  Cape is fully aware of the significance of these documents.  However, Cape seems determined to use its corporate muscle to prevent the true dangers of asbestos from coming to light.  This should be a concern not only to those involved in asbestos issues but should be a concern to all those dealing with corporate accountability.”

Counsel representing the Claimants are Robert Weir QC and Jonathan Butters of Devereux Chambers.

Action Mesothelioma Day 2018
Friday 6th July 2018

Each year, people gather in cities across the UK to commemorate those who have lost their lives to mesothelioma. Asbestos victims, family members, trade unionists and campaigners will rally to raise awareness of mesothelioma; call for better treatment and care for mesothelioma patients and more funding for mesothelioma research; for prevention of exposure to asbestos and the removal of asbestos from our schools, workplaces and homes; and to demand the ban of mining and exporting asbestos to developing countries. Family members affected by mesothelioma will release doves as a public act of remembrance for all those who have died.

All are welcome to attend. For details of the nearest Forum Action Mesothelioma Day event to you please click below:


Cheshire Asbestos Victims Support Group receive Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

In July 2017 The Cheshire Asbestos Victims Support Group were nominated for the Queens Award for Voluntary Service.

This award was created by the Queen in 2002 to celebrate the anniversary of the Queens Coronation,  recognising excellence in voluntary activities carried out by groups in the community.  It is the MBE for volunteer groups.

Volunteers went through a thorough selection process with a Panel of Deputy Lieutenants, who then prepared a report which was forwarded to the Queens Award Office in London.

CAVS was notified on the 7th April that they had been successful and won the award.

Two volunteers from the group attended the Queens Garden Party at Buckingham Palace on the 31st May and had a wonderful day.

Congratulations to everyone at the Cheshire Asbestos Victims Support Group for this well-deserved award.

Press Release: Asbestos in Children’s Products Sold in UK

May 21, 2018: A report released by a US analyst has confirmed the presence of tremolite asbestos in children’s products sold at an outlet of Claire’s Accessories in a London suburb. These products were purchased in April 2018 and shipped to the US for analysis.

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