Longford has now joined the 25 strong CIL’s (Centres for Independent Living) around the Country.

Centres for Independent Living provide Personal Assistant Services with people with Disabilities through Fas Community Employment Schemes. I n the Longford area Disabled People of Longford (D.P.O.L.)have become sponsors of the scheme and they currently employ 10 people – 8 personal assistants(P.A.’s)1 Leader Co-ordinator and 1 administrator

This is an invaluable service for people with disabilities as it offers the opportunities to choose freely and independently what they would like to do with there lives.While the hours can be restrictive it still gives them an insight  and an appreciation of the quality of life they could lead if they had a full time Assistant. They are able to do some of the basic things that other people take for granted for example, shopping , attending classes, or just generally socialising. This allow the person to live independent of their family or friends, giving everyone more freedom in their daily lives.

The people with disabilities who avail of Personal Assistants services are called Leaders as they will direct the work of the Assistant. Both Leaders and P.A.’s will receive training.

Valerie Moran Programme manager has devised a training programme for the P.A.’s to develop skills which will help them with their day to day work, for example Wheelchair Management, Manual Handling, Personal Care etc,.

Leaders will also receive training which will be organised by Anna Mc DonaghLeader Co-ordinator. Through this training we aim to insure that all leaders understand the Philosophy of Independent Living, and are aware of their responsibilities when employing a P.A..

Through the provision of training we hope to increase disability awareness in Longford thereby, generating a positive awareness of people's abilities rather than disabilities.

As pat of D.P.O.L's ongoing efforts to mainstream activities they have established a board of management to oversee the running of the scheme.

D.P.O.L. have seen the benifits of a Personal Assistant Scheme during the last three months. It has given a new lease of life to many of our members and allows them to partake in day to day activities without being dependent on family and friends. It is the key to independence for many people with disabilities and to this end, we will be joining other C.I.L.'s around the country when lobbying the government to provide adequate funding for personal assistants

If you like further informationon becomming a P.A. or employing a P.A. please contact

Ms Valerie Moran, Programme Manager,

Longford C.I.L.. C/O The Phoenix Centre, Mount Carmel Hospital, Dublin Road , Longford

email longcomm@iol.ie