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Living independently

Living independently

Part of becoming an adult is learning how to ‘live independently’. These skills are learnt over time and include;

  • being able to cook
  • making food that is healthy
  • staying well
  • hygiene (both personal and within your home, e.g. changing your bed sheets)
  • staying safe
  • paying bills
  • managing your time and being organised
  • managing the many responsibilities that come with independence.

The skills to live independently can be learnt a long time before you move away from your family. Sometimes they can be learnt and in some cases, retrospectively with the right help. Everyone is different. Some people take longer than others to feel confident in living independently. Learning to live independently is a different journey for everyone.

There is no single moment when a person can say they are now able to live independently. It often takes time and experience. The process can be a learning curve in itself for some adults, no matter how old they are!

Having the ability to be independent and take care of yourself can lead to a boost in how you might feel about yourself as a person. Also, those with higher self-esteem to begin with may find it easier to learn how to live independently, due to being more open to learning new things, accepting mistakes, learning from errors and moving forward.

One of the most important things for a young person starting out and learning to live independently is staying safe. It’s no big deal if you burn some toast, but a fire at home is a different story.

Top tips for living independently

Food illustration Talk with parents/adults about being independent and what life skills you need, from paying the rent, bills, budgeting, food shopping and cooking, doing the laundry to getting yourself around and keeping safe.
Make a list of skills you want to learn and practice these skills with others, such as testing out your cooking ability, doing the shopping and helping out with a bit of DIY.
Person illustration Being independent requires making decisions and choices about everyday things in life. Talk with others about your ideas, the options you have, pros and cons and what to do if things don’t work out.
Find out about money matters – try to make a note of how much things cost in daily life – the rent, gas, electric, food, bills…develop a weekly budget plan. Many banks will help with this.
Money illustration Money management – lots of banks offer accounts for young people, with different enticing deals. Take time to find out the different options, talk it through with a parent/friend to help you find the right deal for you.

More helpful info

Ask your teachers, youth workers about advice for developing life skills and whether any local courses are running.
This page by the BBC has some really great advice on 'managing your money and budgeting'.

Local support & information

In a crisis

In a crisis Brdford Information Shop for Young People and Connexions Bradford have advice about who you can speak to to get the help and support you need.

Information Shop for young people

Offering free and confidential advice to young people aged up to 25. We are here to help with any queries you might have about anything that affects your life.

Based within Culture Fusion building in Bradford – 01274 432 431 or email the team on
Based in the Town Hall in Keighley – 01535 618 100 or email the team on

We offer advice drop in sessions on Housing / Homelessness, Welfare Benefits and Debt.

  • Monday 10.30 – 14.00
  • Tues & Thursday 10.00 – 12.00
  • Wednesday 10.30 – 16.00

Connexions Bradford

Connexions Bradford is a confidential advice and support service. Personal advisors are trained to support you through a range of issues including employment, money, housing and relationships. You can email the Connexions team at

You can contact the Connexions Bradford team on 01274 377 800

or the Keighley team on 01535 618 100

Centrepoint – Aldo House

Aldo House is an 8 bedroom Supported Accommodation Services owned and run by Centrepoint. The Service is one of two assessment centres that Centrepoint run in Bradford which provide accommodation and support to vulnerable and at risk young people (male or female) aged 16 to 25 who have found themselves homeless.

You can find more information on the DIVA Bradford website or you can give the team a call on 01274 549 409.

Key House

Keyhouse provide a wide range of housing service. At Keyhouse we have the expertise, resources and contacts to address the immediate and long-term needs of homeless families. Better still, by understanding the bigger picture and taking into account the different requirements of each family member, more often than not we’re able to provide a solution that suits everyone.

You can find more information on their website or you can give the team a call on 01274 738 954.

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