Our Team

Our compassionate team provides a friendly, thoughtful and tailored service to each and every one of our clients, filling a vital gap that exists from the point that individuals leave the care of the NHS and return into the community, often without support.


Our non-uniformed staff provide discreet assistance, setting our clients at ease, particularly when out and about in public places, such as shops. Providing an unobtrusive level of support in public helps our clients blossom in confidence, safe in the knowledge that assistance is there when needed, but in a way that is subtle and often unnoticed by others. We find that this approach is appreciated by clients who rely on our staff to help them cope with their personal mental health on their journey back towards indendence.


Our team is led by Marie and Sharon Tolly:

Marie Tolly, Director

Marie founded Independent Living West Country following the closure of Mind in Exeter and East Devon in 2018. Having been community team manager at MIND Exeter and East Devon, Marie was determined not to leave vulnerable people without support, and so opened the doors of the business on the Monday after MIND closed its operations, providing continuity and support for those in need. Marie has a passion to help everyone and anyone who needs help and doesn’t believe in saying no to anyone.

Sharon Tolly, Finance Director

Marie’s sister-in-law, Sharon, an accountant by profession, worked in Financial Services for nearly 20 years before joining Independent Living West Country in the summer 2019 to help manage the businesses’ finances. Sharon oversees the whole business, including its finances, to ensure that the business is in a strong position to grow its range of services to meet the needs of clients in Exeter, South and East Devon. It’s a challenge that she relishes.

Jacob Lewis, Personal Independence Payment (PIP) Team Leader

Jacob has worked in the care sector since 2018. Having experience agrophobia in his younger years, Jacob has a real understanding of the issues at hand when coping with mental health. This allows him to relate to clients and their circumstances. Jacob’s greatest skill lies in helping Independent Living West Country’s clients obtain the welfare benefits that they are not only eligible for, but badly in need of.


His in-depth understanding of the benefits system, both from personal experience and for clients, has made Jacob and invaluable member of the team. Today, Jacob helps Independent Living West Country’s many clients with their Personal Independence Payments (PIP) and benefits. He not only guides clients through the process of applying for benefits but contests unfair decisions made by the DWP, guiding clients through the appeals process. Using his knowledge and skills, Jacob has helped Independent Living’s clients recover many thousands of pounds in back payments due to them. You can find out more about Jacob’s story here and learn about how he helps clients receive the right level of benefits for their condition here.

Dan Hunt, Support Worker

Dan Hunt comes from a long line of carers in his family. Before he joined the team he was trained as an agricultural mechanic. Having also worked as an assistant in a care home, he knew that life 

in the garage was not for him. Instead, he joined Independent Living West Country where he provides in-home support to our many clients who contend with the daily struggles of living with mental health conditions. 


Dan loves seeing the positive difference that he makes to the lives of those that he works with. In his own words, it’s the most fulfilling and rewarding job he’s ever done. It has also led to many surprising and uplifting experiences, including an apartment makeover during lockdown. You can find out more about how Dan brought light to the life of one of his clients during lockdown here. It’s. a fine example of how we take caring for the wellbeing our clients to a whole new level.

Our one-to-one assistants


Being supported by our one-to-one assistants will put you in the safe and caring hands of our experienced and compassionate team. Known for going that extra mile, each one of our Support Workers is dedicated to delivering a professional and purposeful service.

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