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What does independence mean? by Dorothy Jarvis-Lee

Independence means different things to different people. For some, it’s simply having the freedom to decide their own schedule and priorities. Other people focus on living alone, not depending on others for care. Alternatively, someone may want the freedom to choose who they enter a relationship with.

I believe independence is having freedom of mind, and the opportunity to make informed choices. Imagine something as simple as being told you were only allowed to drink coffee, never tea. It’s important for anyone to have the informed choice to accept or refuse something, no matter how small or large.

Too often, we take such independence for granted. We don’t think twice about simple things like choosing which shampoo we use, how we style our hair or what shoes we put on. We think nothing of grabbing a snack from the fridge, popping out to the shops or where we want to go on holiday. We can choose who we socialise with, which TV programmes we watch, what books we read and how we spend our weekend. If we want to learn a new skill, apply for a new job or move, we can take steps to do this.

Yet, there are so many people who either feel restricted or are restricted and yearn for greater independence.

At ubu, we enable the people we serve to achieve greater independence step by step. We help them overcome restrictions as much as possible through tailored support.

This could be helping them to manage their own money by assisting them in setting up a bank account, planning a budget and paying bills. It may be enabling them to understand what stresses them and enable them to take control of their feelings, to travel, get an occupation and purpose in life, a job or live alone. Often thes