Independent Living Movement

The first Centre for Independent Living (CILs) was founded by disability activists, led by Ed Roberts, in Berkeley, California. CILs were created to offer peer support and role modelling and are controlled by persons with disabilities. A significant amount of impetus in the USA was provided by disabled veterans of the Vietnam War.

  • 1980

    Word of the ILM spread to Europe

    Word of the ILM gradually spread to Europe and, in 1980 and 1981, a number of influential individual disabled people in England raise funds to travel to and study the ILM in the United States, particularly the CIL in Berkeley, California. The Hampshire Centre for Independent Living was set up in 1984, the first of its kind in the UK closely followed by the Derbyshire Centre for Independent Living. Throughout the 1980s and 90s, CILs were gradually established in cities and counties throughout England, Wales and Scotland. Further impetus was provided by the establishment of the European Network on Independent Living in 1989 and the United Kingdom Independent Living Committee, as part of the British Council of Disabled People (BCODP)*.

  • 1996

    UK government bring in legislation

    One first achievements of the United Kingdom Independent Living Committee was to persuade the UK government to bring in legislation in 1996 to make direct payments to disabled people for social care lawful. This was a major step towards the aim of enabling independent living for all disabled people. In 1996, BCODP decided to set up the National Centre for Independent Living**, based in London, two consolidate and coordinate all policy and work which was being done by CILs and other organisations in connection independent living throughout the UK.

  • 2000

    Philomena McCrory and Angela Hendra visit a number of CILs in the United States.

    A number of disabled people in Northern Ireland became increasingly interested in the ILM and raised funding to enable Philomena McCrory and Angela Hendra to visit a number of CILs in the United States.

  • 2001

    The Centre for Independent Living was set up in Belfast.

    Upon their return they got together a group of local disabled people, who had been individually pursuing independent lives, to promote the philosophy and ethos of independent living in Northern Ireland. With the help/support of the former Eastern Health and Social Care Board, the Centre for Independent Living, Belfast was set up in 2001.

  • 2004

    The Centre for Independent Living expanded throughout Northern Ireland

    To spread the message throughout Northern Ireland, further offices were opened in Armagh in 2004, in Omagh in 2007 and Magherafelt in 2008 and the organisation changed its name to its present title.

The Centre for Independent Living provides a range of services to disabled people, including older people, people with learning disability and mental health service users.

Self Directed Support helped me get my confidence and independence back. It meant I didn’t have to completely rely on my family for support. Having a PA has enabled me to start living my life independently.

Katy Megahey
Service User

Find out more on the services we provide