Disability champion removed from post because “not..disabled”

Disabled trustees of Thurrock Centre for Independent Living (TCIL) united to pass a vote of no confidence in their Chair person, Eileen McCabe. She resigned and Joel Easthaugh, a disabled Thurrock resident, has been voted in as Chair to fill the vacancy.

The Trustees exercised their powers in a Board meeting at which the change of name and the role for the new organisation was discussed. They determined that the Centre for Independent Living (previously TIRC) based on the ground floor at the Beehive Resource Centre, Grays, should be run by and for disabled people living in Thurrock and those who care for them. It was felt that to have a Chair who now lives in Kent and does not identify as disabled was inappropriate for the new service.

Joel Easthaugh commented “ We felt the change was necessary to ensure that disabled people here in Thurrock are seen and heard to speak for themselves and not through a third party whose motives, however well intended, may be misunderstood. I intend to run the organisation democratically in future.”

Eileen McCabe, who has recently resigned from other Thurrock disability organisations in which she has been voluntarily involved since leaving the Council in 2008, said she was sad to go but it was only to be expected that once disabled people were empowered to find their voices they would use them. She wished the CIL all the best for the future and looked forward to the positive impact services provided by and for disabled people would have on local Thurrock communities.

Cllr Tony Fish, a previous Chair of TIRC and currently Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care said this was a bold step forward for disabled people’s rights in Thurrock which he roundly applauded.

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