Principles of Independent Living

Disabled people should be able to live independently just like everyone else, with real choice over our lives.

Independence does not mean doing everything for ourselves. Society is based on systems of interdependence, in which people support one another in all sorts of ways.

For example, most of us go to a professional to get our hair cut, rather than cut it ourselves. We choose who we go to, when, and what type of hair style we have. We all rely on other people for support in our lives in many different ways, and we expect to be able to have choice and control over what kind of support this is. Having the right support, and choice and control over this, can allow disabled people to live more independently.

Disabled people have identified 12 Pillars of Independent Living, which we believe everyone needs to live independently.

These are:


  • Appropriate and Accessible Information
  • An adequate income
  • Appropriate and accessible health and social care provisions
  • A fully-accessible transport system
  • Full access to the environment
  • Adequate provision of technical aids and equipment
  • Availability of accessible and adapted housing
  • Adequate provision of personal assistance
  • Availability of inclusive education and training
  • Equal opportunities for employment
  • Availability of independent advocacy and self- advocacy
  • Availability of peer counselling


More recently, people have also begun to see access to digital technology as a key requirement for independence in the modern world.

To be fully independent, an individual needs to have all of these in place in a way which works for them. If you are a disabled person experiencing barriers under one or more of the 12 Pillars above, please contact us. We also work with organisations to support you to remove barriers in all of these areas too.

Latest News

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For more information

Impact Review

Read more about the things we do at Breakthrough UK – the differences we make and the positive things we do for disabled people in Greater Manchester. Read More >

Administration Address

Breakthrough’s administration address has changed to:

Registered Office – Breakthrough UK
132-134 Great Ancoats Street,
M4 6DE

Personal Budgets

If you receive either type of Personal Budget, or employ your own Personal Assistant, we have a range of services to take the stress out of organising your finances. Our services are designed by disabled people, for disabled people.

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Disability Design Reference Group

We manage the highly successful Disability Design Reference Group (DDRG) on behalf of Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM).

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