We were sad to learn earlier this year that Martha McWilliams had decided that, after many years, it was time for her to move on to face new challenges.
Martha joined us in 2008 when we set up the Magherafelt office to support members and service users in the Northern Health and Social Care Trust Area. Since then, she has worked tirelessly to promote the principles of independent living and to encourage disabled people to become direct payments users as a way to achieve greater choice and control in their lives. Her dedication, enthusiasm and expertise have been greatly appreciated by the CILNI board of management, her colleagues in CILNI, our members in the Northern area and, we are well aware, managers and social workers within the Northern HSCT with whom she worked closely and productively.
Martha (right) pictured with Rachel
Amongst those missing her will be her colleague, Rachel Harkness, with whom she worked in Magherafelt from the very beginning. Rachel will however be continuing to work with CILNI and will provide continuity for service users.
We are delighted however that in July, we were able to announce the appointment of Carla Bevin as the new Independent Living Adviser in the Magherafelt office. Carla has worked at a management level within the social care sector for the last 6 years and already has established working links with the Northern HSCT and many voluntary organisations in the Northern area.
Indeed, in her previous role, she advised care service users and their families of the various services available to them, including direct payments. She is therefore well placed to continue to deliver the high quality of support and advice which members, service users and professionals in associated fields have come to expect from CILNI.
Also in July, CILNI appointed Eileen Donnelly to work as an Assistant Independent Living Adviser* in our Armagh office. Eileen recently graduated with a degree in social policy and brings significant personal know-how and relevant experience to her new role. We hope that she will enjoy working alongside her new colleagues, Emma O’Neill and Claire Mohan, serving the needs of our members and service users in the Southern Health and Social Care Trust.
We are sure that all our members will join the CILNI board in welcoming Carla and Eileen to our organisation.
Note: The new appointment in Magherafelt has been created to enable Emma O’Neill to spend most of her time seconded to a new position as CILNI Research Officer. Emma originally joined us from Ulster University, where she gained considerable experience in the field of research, and she is personally nearing completion of a PhD in psychology.