Happy 2016 to all ENIL members and supporters!
I hope the holidays have been peaceful and a time to recharge batteries for a great year to come.
Looking back 2015 was a fruitful year with the move of the ENIL headquarters to Brussels where we already feel the impact of working in Europe’s capital, close to the European Parliament and Commission. Marco Carnesecchi and Frank Sioen joined the ENIL team and are in full swing with their work. First priority for 2016 is the reporting for the European operational grant 2015 and rounding off the ILNET project that ENIL had in Turkey to spread Independent Living in cooperation with CIL Sofia and RUSIHAK. Along with Marco and Frank on the ENIL team will be Peter Lambreghts, Dilyana Deneva, Lilie Angelova and Ines Bulic – soon back from maternity leave. Gatis Caunitis and Tove Brandvik along with Jamie Bolling drive the ENIL Northern team. With the full team and established routine in Brussels ENIL is ready for 2016!
Our new Board was elected at the General Assembly during the Freedom Drive in September with the first meeting scheduled for 25th January. The Freedom Drive once again proved to be a great event with the participation of over 400 ENIL members and supporters. ENIL was a news item highlighted on Euronews, friends in Spain called to say how they had seen ENIL’s manifestation on the streets of Brussels! Networking at the Freedom Drive was good and along with other contacts gathered during 2015 ENIL will be stronger in 2016.
In the work with the European Commission our focus in 2016 will be on several Independent Living issues. A study will be conducted on the legalities around peer support and a study visit to Sweden on de-institutionalisaion policy will take place. A hate crime survey will be carried out with a hearing in the Parliament with the aim to find and spread good examples in the fight against hate crime. The Council of Europe youth study session will take place in April with the subject of relationships and sexuality. May 5th planning is underway with ENIL hoping to increase the engagement that was great in 2015. The event is a tool to raise awareness on Independent Living and our right to ordinary lives.
A project aiming to raise awareness on Independent Living in Belarus will start in February. Another Council of Europe youth study session in cooperation with the International Falcon Movement – Socialist Educational International on youth participation – will take place in November. Members have many things planned including ULOBA celebrating their 25th anniversary with an international conference on personal assistance in Oslo between 13th and 15th October.
Products from 2015 were many and can be found on the ENIL webpage. To name a few:
- Fact Sheet on co-production
- Several translations of the Myth Buster on Independent Living
- The ILNET Independent Living Manual in cooperation with RUSIHAK and CIL Sofia
- The Freedom Drive 2015 Report
- Personal Assistance Tables Report
ENIL would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to all who made 2015 a great year. ENIL staff, board, members and supporters – you have been great! The European Commission, many members of the European Parliament and our allies, your support has also been essential for us and very much appreciated. Thank you all for supporting ENIL. A special thanks to ULOBA for funding and to STIL and GIL who have joined the forces for support in 2016!
ENIL is always opened to new ideas, so let’s make 2016 a year to remember!
Executive Director of the European Network on Independent Living – ENIL