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 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 Deaf and Disabled people.