The Westmeath Centre For Independent Living

The Westmeath Centre For Independent Living, is a community based non-profit organization dedicated to integrating people with disabilities into community life.

Westmeath Centre For Independent Living
Community Centre, Kinnegad, Co. Westmeath, Ireland
Tel:- +353 (0)44 75610  Email:-

What is Independent Living

Independent Living is a philosophy and a movement of people with disabilities who work for equal rights and equal opportunities, self-respect and self-determination.  Independent Living does not mean that persons with disabilities do not need anybody, that they want to do everything by themselves or live in isolation.

"Independent Living" means that people with disabilities want the same life opportunities and the same choices in every-day life that their able-bodied brothers and sisters, neighbours and friends take for granted.  That includes growing up in their families, going to the neighbourhood school, using the same bus, employment that is in line with their education and abilities, equal access to the same service and establishments of social life, culture and leisure.  Most importantly, just like everyone else, people with disabilities need to be in charge of their own lives, need to think and speak for themselves.

Traditionally, persons with disabilities have been seen as medical cases and objects of charity and care, pity and protection.  these wide-spread attitudes have been obstacles for people with disabilities on their way to self-determination, self representation and full citizenship.

In order to reach the same control and the same choices in every-day life that able-bodied persons take for granted, a number of prerequisites are necessary.  Two key requirements are accessibility in the environment, including accessible housing and personal assistance.  Without these two necessities persons with extensive disabilities can choose only between being a burden on their families or living in an institution.  These extremely limited and limiting options are incompatible with the concept of Independent Living.

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History in Ireland

The First Centre for Independent Living seed was planted in Dublin in 1992.  This seed blossomed into an efficient and successful national movement.  Throughout the years, many individuals and groups throughout Ireland and the world have praised the work of CIL and have acknowledged our organization's achievements.  These achievements are well documented and were chalked up along a very difficult, bumpy and inaccessible path.  Many of us here at CIL clearly remember the good, the bad and the ugly times.  We started our journey as a nervous, ambitious and determined group of people n 1992, soon metamorphosing into a confident and even more determined body of people that provide a stronger and more effective voice of people with disabilities.

CIL is a grassroots organization which was established by people with disabilities.  Our main aim is to empower and enable people with disabilities to achieve Independent Living, choice and control over their lives and to achieve full and active participation as equal citizens in society.

We are an organization of people with disabilities.  Therefore we have the closest possible experience in this area.  We have demonstrated that we can work in partnership and effectively with a wide range of voluntary and statutory agencies.

We have been actively involved on the international stage.  We have established invaluable links with key organizations and individuals across Europe.  We are an active member of the European Network on Independent Living.

Our activities include influencing policy making at local, national and European level.  Developing membership and leadership in the Independent Living Movement.  Improving opportunities for participation in society for all people with disabilities.  Promoting transnational partnerships for the exchange of information on issues affecting people with disabilities.

N.B.  Thanks are due to Selina Bonny of Ireland's first CIL for this excellent potted history of CIL's.  Whilst the first CIL in Ireland was established in Dublin in 1992 it is a very good example of how awareness of the movement as a whole has been created in that Westmeath CIL was established in November 1999, specifically to meet a need for Independent Living in the local community for people with disabilities.

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Pure Personal Assistance

A Pure Personal Assistant (PPA) assists their leader in all aspects daily living.  Pure Personal Assistance means that leaders exercise the maximum control over how this service is organized and custom designed to their individual needs, capabilities, life circumstances and aspirations.  In particular, the individual leader decides:-

Assistance in Independent Living includes assisting with personal and domestic care needs, as well as the social educational and work activities of the leader.  Assistance by necessity will vary from person to person.

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A Leader is a person with a physical and/or sensory disability who directs the work of a pure personal assistant (PPA).  It is the role of the Leader to provide direction to the PPA as to the assistance the Leader requires in order to achieve Independent Living.  It is also the role of the Leader to instruct trainee PPAs during their time in on-the-job training.

As manager and trainer, it is the responsibility of the Leader to ensure that they have a proper understanding of what it entails to fulfil these roles.

As a participant in the Independent Living Movement it is the responsibility of the Leader to help ensure that the movement is maintained.  This may be achieved through active and true involvement in the projects of their local Centre for Independent Living.

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Related Links

This section is for broad, general information on disability related issues, e.g. all the information you may require from time to time on social welfare payments etc.  To access the information please click on the highlighted links.

Dept of Social, Community and Family Affairs

Central Remedial Clinic

Dept of Health

Cystic Fibrosis Online Learning

Irish Medical Directory

National Rehabilition Board links to housing options and respite care for people with disabilities.

All of the above and more can now be accessed via the new NSSB (National Social Services Board) - Relevent information is just a mouse click away with the...
Citizens Information Database

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Please click on below links to save a life!

Save lives with the hunger site                                                            save lives with Concern