What is a Centre for Inclusive Living (CIL)?
The first Centre for Inclusive Living (CIL) was started in Berkeley, California in 1973. A young student called Ed Roberts had mounted a campaign to be allowed into the University. Even though he had all the right qualifications he had been refused entry because he used a powerchair and breathing respirator and the University felt his impairment made him unfit to attend the course.
Eventually the University relented on the condition that Ed stayed in the University Medical Centre, surrounded by medical staff. Initially he agreed, but it was not long before he had moved into a student flat and was employing other students to help him. Other disabled people heard about this and eventually three students who had been provided with personal assistance when they were at university, decided that a Personal Assistance Service was needed in the community. This developed into the first CIL, and was based around five core services: housing; personal assistance; accessible transport; access; and peer support.
The CIL in Berkeley was so successful that, within ten years, over 200 CILs were set up in the United States. In Britain, CILs were developed in Hampshire and Derbyshire in the early 1980's and, since then, have spread throughout the UK.
CILs are organisations which provide user-led innovative services enabling disabled people to gain choice and control over every aspect of their lives. The key feature of a CIL is that it is run and controlled by disabled people.
In Scotland the first CIL was set up in Edinburgh in 1991 and Glasgow CIL was then established in 1996.
Background to GCIL
Making the dream become a reality….
There had been an ongoing campaign to develop a CIL in the West of Scotland for many years, and the success of the Lothian Centre for Integrated Living in helping disabled people lead fully inclusive lives was an example of good practice which disabled people in the West of Scotland wanted to emulate.
Ironically it was local Government reorganisation which really provided a window of opportunity to develop the Glasgow CIL. Strathclyde Regional Council (in 1995 the largest local authority in Europe) was being broken up into smaller local authorities. It was this process which brought together the people, the funding and the political will to turn the CIL dream into a reality.
GCIL became a legal entity in its own right as a limited company in 1996 and, at this time, there was a comparatively small staff team.