Our history

Chronic Illness Inclusion (CII) was constituted as an independent Disabled People’s Organisation in July 2021.

CII began life as a social action research project in 2017, initiated by Catherine Hale and Jenny Lyus. The Chronic Illness Inclusion Project (CIIP), as it was then called, was part of the ground-breaking 5-year DRILL programme of disabled-led research. The project was funded through The National Lottery Community Fund. We are hugely grateful to DRILL and the National Lottery for investing in our vision for change for the chronic illness community.

CIIP was hosted by the Centre for Welfare Reform, an independent think tank based in Sheffield, England. The Centre provided infrastructure support and mentoring during the DRILL programme.

The Centre’s generous support continued after our research funding ended, enabling us to maintain our website, develop our governance structures and achieve independence. 

Above all, we are grateful to Dr Simon Duffy for his original vision of the need for an advocacy movement for disabled people with chronic illness. Without his conviction we may never have come together as an organisation. 

“I must admit that I had no understanding of the reality, severity and widespread nature of chronic illness until very recently. It was only as we began our own efforts to combat the UK austerity programme, which began in 2010, that we discovered that many of those people we were fighting beside were people with a chronic illness. And, it was only by listening to their experiences that I understood that there were layers of injustice that I had never truly appreciated. The Centre for Welfare Reform is a small organisation which is designed to give voice to those who are excluded from mainstream policy-making and influence. I am honoured that so many people with chronic illness have become Fellows of the Centre and have used the Centre to share their research, experiences and proposals.” 

Dr Simon John Duffy, 2018.