Deena Nimick: Independent Living, Advocacy and Advice Service Update

When we all went into lockdown, technology allowed the Independent Living, Advocacy and Advice Service staff to move quickly to working from home.  This meant there had been very little interruption to this CILNI service, apart from a cessation of face-to-face meetings, which is a decision we made to keep everyone as safe as possible.  Over the past number of weeks, a few Advice staff have moved back to working in our HQ in Belfast, but most of our Team have remained working from home.

As the lockdown has been slowly lifting, we are returning to offering face-to-face meetings where these are absolutely necessary.  What we have learned through the lockdown experience, is that we can successfully set up new PA employers and provide ongoing assistance by phone.  These new arrangements have removed the need for service users to travel to our offices.  As more people are getting used to meeting support providers online, we will shortly be moving to offer this option in addition to support by phone.

Between now and Christmas, the Independent Living and Advice staff will be developing new employer packs and videos to support those who are new to taking on the associated responsibilities.  Live and recorded online training sessions will also be available.  We are always keen to hear what your training needs are, so please get in touch by emailing our Independent Living Service Manager direct at to let us know what you might find helpful.

Last, but not least, CILNI believes Self Directed Support (SDS) remains the key to greater independence, choice and control for many disabled people and those with chronic illness who require support.  All our Independent Living Advisers have in-depth knowledge as to how this form of receiving support is applied to individual circumstances.  Developing a good Support Plan is at the heart of SDS and puts the person in receipt of the support in control.  Again, the Independent Living and Advice Team are trained to assist you to develop your own Support Plan, to maximise your access to any opportunities that may be open to you.

Don’t forget you can contact the Independent Living Advisers directly on or you can use the “Chat” box on our website   Alternative, you can call the Team on 02890 648546 (option 1) during office hours.