Independent Living West Country wins Best Start Up Business at Regional Business Awards

Exeter-based Independent Living West Country has been recognised for the huge difference that it’s making to the lives of individuals suffering from acute mental health conditions at the annual 373 Group Business Awards. Set up to recognise unsung business heroes, small and large across Devon and Somerset, the awards had close to 200 nominations.
Taking home the title of Best Start Up Business, Independent Living West Country has seen dramatic growth since it was set up two years ago. In the last three months alone, at the height of the Coronavirus pandemic, it has increased staff numbers by 39%, responding to a near 20% increase in demand for its services.
Established following the withdrawal of MIND in the region in 2018, Independent Living West Country supports clients struggling with mental health conditions, such as anxiety, depression, schizophrenia and ADHD, helping them to cope with daily life and the transition from formal support within the NHS, to living life in the community. Providing everything from weekly visits to up to six hours of dedicated support per day, the business assists clients across Devon and has plans to grow across the wider South West region.
Working closely with Devon County Council for those on benefits, and directly with private clients in need of tailored support, Independent Living West Country provides essential assistance, placing the wellbeing of the individual first, bringing normality to disrupted lives, providing help, understanding, guidance and friendship to those struggling with their mental health.
Alongside shop and drop services, regular wellbeing checks and socially distanced accompanied exercise, Independent Living West Country provides home visits and in-home support to assist those needing and requesting this level of help. It also helps individuals to get the right level of benefits for their condition, alleviating financial hardship for those least able to complete complex paperwork linked to the benefits system.
Commenting on the award win, Marie Tolly, Founder of Independent Living West Country, said:

“A little over two years ago, we set out to provide a service to rescue those potentially left high and dry by MIND’s exit from the region. Having worked with so many individuals affected by acute mental health conditions over the years, I felt it incumbent on me to create a service that stood out for putting those in desperate need first.

“Overnight, we set up, working closely with those suffering from mental health conditions and their support workers to create packages designed for their individual needs. Our goal then, as it is now, is to help individuals on their journey to greater independence, safe in the knowledge that they always have the level of support that they need on that journey, enriching their lives and building their confidence.
“Winning the title of Best Start Up at the 373 Group Awards is a wonderful achievement, but this wouldn’t have been possible without the work our amazing team who have been on the front-line throughout Coronavirus, putting our clients first, keeping them safe and helping them on their continued journey to greater independence.”
Chris Lorimer, Founder, 373 Group, added: “We were delighted with the quality of nominations for the “Best Start-Up in Difficult times” category – so many demonstrating tremendous drive and determination. Independent Living West Country, though, caught the eye of the judges as they had grown significantly and quickly through single minded determination to achieve their purpose, supporting vulnerable people with mental health challenges. On the advent of lockdown, they could easily have retreated but they adapted their service quickly, helping people who, more than ever, needed their support.”
If you, a friend, patient or family member is struggling with acute mental health conditions in lockdown, requiring in-home support to cope with the challenges of daily life, please call Independent Living West Country on 01392 467007 for details of how we can help.