History of GCIL
Its journey commenced in Berkeley, California in 1972 and the new philosophy of Independent Living quickly spread to many European countries.
In March 1992 the philosophy of Independent Living was finally brought to Dublin by a core group of individuals with disabilities, these individuals set up the first Centre for Independent Living with the main aim of ensuring that all people with disabilities can achieve Independent Living and full participation in all areas of society.
The Independent Living Movement came to Galway, through the operation of a Community Employment Scheme that commenced on the 24th June 1994, giving Galway the distinction of being the first centre to be set up outside the Capital. Over the years in excess of 27 other Centres for Independent Living have been set up in Ireland. Initially the only means available to provide a Personal Assistant Service was through a FÁS Community Employment Scheme.
This service proved invaluable to those fortunate enough to avail of it, as they experienced for the first time the potential of Independent Living, despite the limitations. Since its establishment, the Galway Centre for Independent Living has worked in the Citizenship Model of disability as against the traditional Medical Model. People with disabilities are the real experts as to their requirement “nothing about us without us”.
This Scheme, which was funded by FÁS made it possible for a group of individuals with disabilities and other interested parties to establish the first ever Personal Assistant Service outside Dublin.
The funding covered the costs of employing a full-time Programme Manager and up to eighteen part-time participants. Of the eighteen participants, one was employed as the Office Administrator another was the Leader Co-ordinator and the remaining participants were employed as Personal Assistants to people with disabilities.