About Merton Centre for Independent Living


Merton CIL - Run and controlled by Deaf and Disabled people for Deaf and Disabled people Illustration

We are Merton Centre for Independent Living (also know as Merton CIL). We are the only user-led pan-disability Deaf and Disabled people’s organisation based in the London Borough of Merton. Our organisation works hard to address the marginalisation of Deaf and Disabled people and make a real difference in Merton and the wider community.


Our steering group was set up in 2008, we were incorporated as a company by limited guarantee in 2011 and became a registered charity in 2013. We are incredibly proud of what we have achieved alongside local Deaf and Disabled People over the past 12 years. With cuts to funding within the voluntary sector, we are the only organisation within an area of high need providing advice and advocacy specialising in disability.


We are run and controlled by and for Deaf and Disabled people. We provide a range of free, accessible and supportive services for Deaf and Disabled people in Merton. If you live outside of Merton we can usually put you in touch with an organisation that can help. You can find out more about our services here - https://www.mertoncil.org.uk/services/


We want a society where Deaf and Disabled people can take control over their lives and achieve full participation.


Merton CIL Easy Read Leaflet Page 1Merton CIL Easy Read Leaflet Page 2


You can download our easy read leaflet created by Planet Easy Read here - Merton CIL Easy Read Leaflet 2021 


We have three key aims that direct what we do:

1. To promote the independence and inclusion of Deaf and Disabled people in Merton.

2. To identify and challenge discrimination faced by Deaf and Disabled people

3. To encourage Deaf and Disabled people and supporters to achieve change locally.


We work within an independence charter that was co-produced with Deaf and Disabled people so that they can have a say in what happens in their life in a number of ways. You can see our charter below:


 Independence Charter - Supporting you to have a say in what happens in your life Speaking up: Supporting you to speak for yourself, to say the things you want to say, about the things that matter to you Informed Choices: Supporting you to organise your life the way you want to. We won’t make choices for you; we will support you to understand what different choices might mean for you Taking control: We will work with you and alongside you. We won’t do things for you. Our services are there to offer practical support for you to take control Money: Supporting you around money, so that you have choices and options Rights: Supporting you to have your choices and rights to an independent life respected and protected. Equality: Supporting you to achieve the same equality in living your life as any other person in our community. Connection: Through our groups and events you can get to meet other people. You can be involved with what we do, if you want to Confidential: We will keep your information private and safe. Confidentiality isn’t absolute. We have to tell someone if you are going to be hurt or hurt someone else Independent: We will work with you on the things that are important to you. We don’t work for the Council or anyone else. We are run by disabled people, for disabled people in Merton.


We also co-produced our values with our members and supporters. You can see our values below: 

Our values at merton cil we will be person centred, be welcoming, be fair and inclusive, value peoples lived experiences, learn, fight for justice and be compassionate 

Merton CIL Business Plan and Easy Read Constitution:  

Read our Business Plan to find out more about our strategic priorities and future plans here: Merton CIL Business Plan 2018-21

You can also read our easy read constitution/mem & arts here: Merton CIL Agreement & Rules



The History of Merton CIL  

Merton CIL has demonstrated considerable resilience and determination to get a CIL set up with limited resources. 

History of Merton CIL - sketch by steering group

In August 2007, Go4M, a campaigning group of Disabled people in Merton proposed the idea of a CIL for the borough. Following workshops with local Disabled people organised and facilitated by Merton Council, a Steering Group was established in September 2008 to progress the CIL's development.

This group engaged a Business Development Manager to work with focus groups involving hundreds of local Disabled people and numerous local organisations and identified particular issues influencing CIL development most importantly: the absence of a local user led organisation; services which did not match local people’s needs and aspirations or access needs; gaps in good quality advice, advocacy and peer support for local Disabled people. 

This development process led to formal launch of the organisation in March 2011. The CIL was registered as a Limited Company in May 2011 and as a Charity in 2013.


Merton CIL’s first AGM was held in July 2012 with a range of new directors joining the board. The Merton CIL Manager (previous CEO) was appointed in August 2012 and Merton CIL’s service delivery began in early 2013 with an outreach advice service. This was later refined with a home visiting focus and large range of casework and continues to be a highly valued core service. Advocacy and peer support ran from since September 2013.


Our development has been continually led by local Deaf & Disabled people. Annual formal consultations with local Deaf & Disabled people, members, supporters, and service users through our ‘My Voice Matters’ events, as well as reviews with staff and trustees, have allowed us to identify and discuss key issues for local Deaf and Disabled people and use them to refine our strategic goals. We take a cyclical ”consult, pilot, reflect and improve” approach. All our projects are developed and refined based on the needs and wants of local Disabled people.