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ILMI eBulletin 
13th May 2022

SFC Update (Strategies For Change)

Image: screenshot of class
On Monday night, the Participants on the Strategies for Change course were treated to a whistle-stop tour of the history of human representation in art and its subsequent effect on how the concept of the “perfect body” became the cultural norm and aspiration and its impact on those of us- who fall short of that ideal it can feel shameful to do so.
Guest Lecturer, Dr James Casey, started with the famous hand-prints on the caves in France including the famous Lascaux caves dated between 36,000 to 12,000 years old. Prior to the painting of the human hands, these prehistoric artists painted representations of the natural world they lived in, including images of wild horses and other animals. Fascinatingly, one of the hands on the cave is missing a digit so it could be said it was the first portrayal of a disabled person.
As we moved into the classical era, having looked at the early figurines of female fertility talismans. The Greek statues reflected the prevailing view of male virility and perfection.  Unlike Egyptian art that depicted men clothed, Greek art often created the nude, again, emphasising the cultural significance of the (perfect male body) and their pride in that perfection.
You may wonder why is a lecture on Art and   Cultural representations of people from earliest times to the modern era being taught on a Strategies for Change course. The answer is that the images and representations of people in whatever era both reflect and shape what we think of as perfect and what we should aspire to and what is not perfect. This then impacts on the self-image of those who fall short of the aspirational norm and the perception of the society of those who don’t meet that norm.   Whether it’s a depiction of disabled people as figures of fun, malevolent villains or childlike innocents, the representation says something about how disabled peoples are seen which is why we shouldn’t underestimate the Images we see around us. History shows us that the representation of people is changeable and can evolve.
Our second SFC working group meeting was extremely insightful last Tuesday evening. We had Pat Tobin - a wonderful guest speaker who spoke about what a working group is, why it is important and how to support each other when challenges arise. We learned about John Kotter's Model for leading Change  which was very useful knowledge to help us to plan strategically in our individual working groups,
She also spoke about the importance of the:
1.           Task - what we aim to do
2.           The Process - how we do it
3.           Relationship - how we support and work with each other.

All three are very important and all need to be in sync with each other check out this link for more info 
Pat's talk was really very informative and thought provoking.
Which lead to interesting discussions about the following:
•            The different skill sets of each person in the working group
•            If we needed tap access outside expertise for a set period of time.
•            The importance of having core values
•            What success looks like and the meaning of little wins
Thanks Pat for a great session and sharing your knowledge with us. Its sets a great foundation from which the working groups can grow.


IMAGE: ILMI Voice logo
ILMI Tipperary VOICE Project Update

IMAGE: screenshot from Zoom session

The second of many Tipperary VOICE sessions took place this week, it was well attended and the guest speaker Margaret Guckian gave a fascinating overview of her work with Dogs for the Disabled. The dogs are trained to carry out tasks i.e. pick up your phone and they are great companions as well. You must be over 18 to go on the waiting list. The topic was practical and it was extremely relevant to the VOICE project which always aims to provide information to disabled people that can empower them and foster peer support in their community. If you would like to get involved please contact OR text/ring 087 7189 237

ILMI Kilkenny Virtual Online Inclusive Communities for Empowerment (VOICE) Project
Where: Zoom
When: Thursday 19th May from 4-5pm
Cost: Free
No age limit applies
‘As a disabled person, I continue to experience the value of being a part of online spaces where I gain knowledge and meet like-minded people. Because of this, I am a confident, proud disabled woman. I want other people to reach their full potential.’ – Paula Soraghan VOICE project worker
Created by disabled people for disabled people, VOICE is an ongoing project where people can connect and get the most out of their communities. Online county platforms are starting for disabled people in Kilkenny on 19 May. Social inclusion is at the heart of the project. The first part of the online county platforms involves a one-hour workshop every Thursday for 6 weeks. Each VOICE workshop has an exciting guest speaker who works in local businesses etc. Groups will be 6-8 people. There will be new groups starting when a six-week period finishes. Each person who gets involved will then develop a personal action plan for any goals they have, such as wanting to go to college or pursue employment, or meet new people.
To register or find out more, please email or call/text Paula on 087 163 0433.

This Is My Beautiful House: Culture, Dignity & Future Models of Home Care this was part of the Bealtaine Festival run by Age Opportunity Ireland

IMAGE: screenshot of Zoom meeting
On Thursday of this week, Fiona Weldon was invited by Age Opportunity Ireland to join in a conversation about future models of homecare for older people in Ireland.
The seminar was chaired by Professor Eamon O Shea, and other speakers included Niamh O’Rourke - Head of Standards at the Health Information and Quality Authority and Liam Burke - actor/director /facilitator/teacher.
Eamon opened the session by asking us about the importance of place and home and its importance to us. We all agreed that this concept is intrinsically linked to our identity. It is also about freedom, having choice, feeling safe, and having a belongingness - these are all critical to our independence – age does not factor in to the equation.
There was a unanimous agreement that older people need more choice and control over the supports that they need to live good lives.
Fiona told the audience that she directly employ's a Personal Assistant (PA) to do the things she cannot do – they don’t “care” for her, they support and assist her. She is in control, she recruits, trains and directs her PA.
This model of support could be used in older person’s services. This would enable them to live both inside and outside of their home and enjoy life to the fullest. This would also support older people to stay living in their own homes.
Dancing, singing, nurturing creativity, and having access to the Arts were all highlighted as important to older people. As Liam rightly said, “we don't just want to play bingo”!
The importance of regulation must be grounded in a rights-based approach to supporting older persons. Older people want their rights respected. Having autonomy and having a real say must input into any new models of support provision.
Unless older people (who require support) have access to person-centred support services that meet their needs, they will continue to live in controlled environments - having access to services that only cater for their basic needs - getting up, going to bed and eating.
To see the whole of Fiona’s statement please email her directly on and you can watch the full video on this link This Is My Beautiful House: Culture, Dignity & Future Models of Home Care – YouTube 

ILMI Representation from the week
AHR Coalition

IMAGE: photo of Selina and the group
ILMI's Vice Chair Selina Bonnie representing us in the AHR Coalition.  Powerful authentic disabled persons points of view, from the lived experience.
Original tweet from Fianna Fail is here 

Rehab Group Conference

IMAGE: photo of group on Zoom with Shelly and James

Our Policy Officer James Cawley and our Peer mentor Shelly Gaynor spoke at the National advocacy week conference for the Rehab Group on the importance on “being a good advocate”  #AdvocacyinAction #NAW22

From James Cawley’s speech: “In order for good advocacy to happen we need to have the effective involvement of people with lived experience: "Nothing about us without us“– this applies to all groups across society …

This is where we can see Advocacy change to Collective Activism

Remember advocacy can be time consuming, can take lots and lots of energy and take a personal toll on our lives when we feel we are constantly “fighting” the system so that’s why it is important to share your advocacy in a collective space – by joining DPOs nationally and locally but also by linking in with your peers! The power of peer support is invaluable, I know for me and many of my peers!

This is also where we can see a move from "users" of services to "makers and shapers" of policy. It is important to network and build allies”

IMAGE: photo of Shelly in full force at the conference 

ILMI Enable Ireland

IMAGE: Screenshot of the Zoom Meeting with Peter Kearns in action

ILMI continued its support for advocacy groups of disabled adults collectively getting together to explore accessing local mainstream supports with ILMI to enable independent living choices and opportunities. ONSIDE Coordinator Peter Kearns delivered a Talk with the 'Service-Owner' Advocacy Groups connected country-wide with Enable Ireland. Peter encouraged the advocacy activists to get involved with their nearest local ILMI Disabled Peoples Organisation (DPOs) and get directly connected to county council Public Participation Networks (PPNs) and HSE Disability Committees (CHO-Area). ILMI will be following-up with the Enable Irl. Advocacy group with more workshops from Peter and the ONSIDE Team.

ILMI Member Alan Carrigan who is also part of the ILMI Youth Collective is In Europe

IMAGE: photo of delegation including Alan and MEP Deirdre Clune

ILMI Member Alan Carrigan who is also part of the ILMI Youth Collective is In Europe. GO ALAN – Flying the flag about independent Living and PAS in Brussels! Part of the National Youth Council of Ireland delegation and presented their work on the Conference on the #futureofeurope who met with Deirdre Clune Irish MEP. The future is bright with young activists like Alan coming up through the ranks! Tweet is here 

IMAGE: poster for event

The Health (Assisted Human Reproduction) Bill 2022 is now at second Stage. Disabled People and the Assisted Human Reproduction Act: ILMI Discussion space May 18th 1pm with Dr Áine Sperrin, from the @CDLPJustice  project Email to register

IMAGE: poster for event

Strategies for Change Master Class: “It Is Perfectly Normal To Be Different - Key Lessons from the Book “Why are you pretending to be normal?”  By its author Phil Friend 19th May Time: 6 - 7 pm email to register

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