Disabled young black people’s views of independence and independent living

Funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation,1997-1998

Contact Tracey Bignall

What were the aims of the project?

This research project set out to:

  • investigate young black disabled peoples’ experiences of independent living
  • explore young black disabled peoples’ views on the concept of independent living
  • gather information on what support or services are currently provided by the black communities for this group of people
  • develop effective strategies to support young black people to live independently

How were these aims fulfilled?

The Foundation conducted interviews with 45 black and minority ethnic disabled people between the ages of 16 and 25, in three contrasting areas in England.  Each area was selected because of the diversity of its black and minority ethnic communities.  The children and young people were contacted through a variety of methods, including through voluntary and community organisations, social services as well as education departments.  All the children and young people were asked directly if they wanted participate.

What we found

Themes derived from the interviews include :

  • the young black disabled people defined independence as having choice and control in their lives
  • family and cultural expectations sometimes determined how choices were expressed
  • the majority had negative experiences of primary and secondary education and how it prepared them for adult life
  • whilst there was an association between independent living and living on your own, the young people felt ‘how’ you lived your life and making decisions was as important, as where you lived
  • the majority of these young black disabled people had specific goals they wanted to achieve and were actively working towards these ambitions.

What we produced