Before having my own individual budget my mum had always been my only carer and we had no connections with services. I was getting down on myself and things at home were getting more difficult and strained.
I had no job or friends and very little contact with the outside world and I felt very isolated. I like where I live (Bury) but my parents were leaving the area. l wanted to stay but it meant I would have nowhere to live.
My aunty asked Partners in Policymaking for help. The Partners in Policymaking course helped show my mum that it was possible for me to have my own place and live my own life. It really helped me to get on my feet - find a flat, get furniture, sort out physical adaptations and deal with some serious financial obstacles. It also meant my mum and dad could enjoy their own lives more as well.
The key ingredient to living independently was my individual budget. It was tricky at the beginning but the self-directed support team in Bury was brilliant. I used a support broker to manage my money and with Partners in Policymaking I did a PATH (planning alternative tomorrows with hope) course and arranged Carelink for overnight support.
I am now living as independently as I can, in my own place on an ordinary street with my own personal assistants helping me with my day-to-day life. I was able to be fully involved in all the planning and interviewed my own personal assistants. They are the same type of age as me and I get on with really well with them.
My whole life has changed. My self-esteem has grown and I am always out with my personal assistants doing what other 21-year-olds do - meals, gym, shopping, clubs and checking out the girls!
I work with a number of organisations raising awareness about personalisation and showing others how self-directed support has changed my life. I am also one of 12 ambassadors in the UK who represent young people for the Council For Disabled Children and I am currently working with ministers to write a manifesto on change for young people.
I now feel valued as a person. I can use my experiences to help others. I love my life now. It's different every day! I love travelling around the country working. It's more than I ever dreamed of.
Will is a CDC Young Ambassador. Watch the Young Ambassador's film 'Young, Disabled and In Control' here:
The text and photo used in this story have been reproduced from the In Control website with kind permission.