Independent Living Fund (ILF) has called for disabled people and their care networks to share their views on the future of the fund in Northern Ireland.

438 people across Northern Ireland currently receive ILF support to live independently in their homes and communities. However, the fund was closed to new recipients in 2010, leaving many who would have previously qualified without this financial support.

Derry resident Dolores Hannigan from Clon Elagh has Cerebral Palsy, a condition which requires round-the-clock support from two personal assistants. Dolores was one of the first recipients of ILF funding in Northern Ireland. Speaking of the fund, Dolores said: “I have received funding from the Independent Living Fund for over 25 years and this fund has truly given me access to independent living. Without this fund, I would probably be in a nursing home, cut off from my family, friends and community. I have been able to set up my own home and employ my own staff who assist me in dressing, cooking, and going out to church. This fund has afforded me a highly dignified life and ensured my wellness, both physically and mentally. The Independent Living Fund is magnificent and should be offered to a new generation of disabled people.”

Four events will be held across Northern Ireland; on March 19th in Derry/Londonderry, on March 20th in Enniskillen, on March 27th in Belfast, and on March 30th in Newry. ILF will gather insight and views from disabled people and their carers about the possibility of re-opening the fund in Northern Ireland.

Speaking about the upcoming events, ILF Scotland Chair Susan Douglas Scott said: “This event will be a vital opportunity for the disability community in Northern Ireland to voice their opinions on the support available to them and what needs to change. We need to hear what people think about the possibility of re-opening the fund. Without hearing from disabled people themselves, we cannot move forward. It’s very important to us that as many people as possible attend the event to offer their insight. I look forward to personally meeting and talking to many of you as I will be attending and speaking at each event.”

The event is open to everyone, with ILF keen to hear from disabled people, parents, carers and Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs).

The Independent Living Fund Events will take place between 10:30 – 13:00 in March. The four events will take place in Derry/Londonderry on the 19th, Enniskillen on the 20th, Belfast on the 27th and Newry on the 30th of March. To register to attend these events, visit www.ilf.scot/northernireland.