Sophie Thompson

About Me - Cheryl Packman

Hi My name is Cheryl Packman I’m the newest member of the
Management team. I started as a Support Worker, then House Leader,
and now am loving my role as Deputy Manager.

Before working at Aiding Independence my roles included Fostering, and then supporting and leading in 3 Children’s Homes. These were rewarding roles, but after 7 years felt it was time for change. I’d achieved all that I’d wanted, including my NVQ level 3. I didn’t want to continue in the care industry, but didn’t really know what I wanted to do next. I came across Aiding Independence by accident and in that mindset, I don’t know what made me apply. I probably gave my worse interview ever. Luckily for me, the Manager must have seen past that and said, that he would like me to attend their Drop In, so that I could meet some of the clients, and see how I felt then. He was perceptive. I was reluctant, but went along - and was instantly hooked! These people, these very kind, open people, had me there and then. I had arrived reluctant, to work in any care industry – to wanting to be employed, and part of the team instantly!

I have 2 grown up daughters, and a very patient husband. I love having a project or two on the go, planning and creating. There are always projects and activities going on at Aiding Independence, which allows me to bring out my creative side too. I am very proud to be part of this amazing organisation. My only wish is that I had found it sooner !!

About Me – Hannah Edge

Hello - my name is Hannah Edge and I am Co–Founder and Director of Aiding Independence Ltd. Having always had a personal connection with the Link Family Scheme, which supported families of children with disabilities, together with family fostering, I attended university where I completed a BA Hons degree in Social Sciences and Early Childhood studies.  I commenced work as a CSO within the field of Children & Families, which involved providing emotional and practical support to families experiencing long or short term difficulties. This support would extensively include helping children to remain within their family, if this was indeed the best option. Needs of a family would arise as a result of many different circumstances such as drug / alcohol misuse, a parent being in prison, domestic violence, to name just a few. During this time, I worked alongside many other professionals, including Social Workers, the Probation Service, Family Liaison Teams, Courts and Prison Services and a great deal of experience was gained through other aspects of the job such as court work and care proceedings.  As rewarding and challenging as this work was, after a time I returned to work within the field of disabilities and joined the South East Portage Team. The support delivered was vast however the main ethos of the service was a home – visiting educational service for pre-school children with additional support needs and their families. This work was where my heart lay and I am still in contact to this day with many of the families I supported. 
Although I briefly returned to work within Fostering as a Placement Officer, I always knew that my passion was to make a positive impact on the lives of those individuals requiring support. Through family experience it was witnessed that there wasn’t a current service that provided Independent Living opportunities for individuals with Learning Disabilities – the rest as they say is history!


01227 741006

18 High Street,
Herne Bay, Kent CT6 5LH

Office Hours:

Monday-Friday 9am-5pm

JACOB THOMPSON -Digital manager

SAM PAICE- House Manager

About Me - Sophie Thompson

My name is Sophie Thompson and I am extremely proud to introduce myself as the Co-Founder of Aiding Independence and after 15+ years as registered manager now reside in a more consultant/advisory role within Aiding Independence.

Since Aiding Independence inception I have been part of the creation and development of the service. During this time I have gained so many new skills, mainly from the people we support and the people we work alongside. Even after over 10 years of supporting adults with learning disabilities I have found there is still so much more to learn. I have now completed my Level 5 QCF Diploma in Leadership and Management to help develop my management skills.

After leaving school I gained my Social Care Level 3 Diploma, and started out supporting young people in local authority care in a residential setting. I worked my way up to manage a service for young offenders working closely with Social workers, probation services and criminal justice workers. Whilst working within the children and family sector of social care I went onto achieve a Higher Education Diploma in Social Care at University.

Despite extensive knowledge gained from working in this sector I have always felt personally there was somewhere else that I could make a direct difference to people’s lives. Since moving into the Adult social care sector and having people with learning disabilities part of my life I have never looked back. I genuinely feel privileged to be part of these people’s lives.

Since the beginning of Aiding Independence I have been responsible for the development and training of our support workers to work within our ‘Hands Off’ model of support. I am very passionate about our approach and have witnessed the success that positive independence training can have on individuals.

Level 5 Diploma for Health and Social Care and Children and Young Person’s   Services- Adult’s Management.
Certificate of Higher Education in Social Care (England)          
K100 Understanding Health and Social Care
K113 Foundation for Social Work Practice
Safeguarding Adults Awareness
Making Supervision and Appraisal Work
BTEC National Diploma in Social Care

Yve Doust

LISA ARCHER- House Manager


House Manager

BEN DOUST - House Manager


TERESA SMITH - Office Manager



Aiding Independence Staff Team
As of december 2023 Aiding Independence currently employ OVER 60 members of staff, including 

Teresa Smith
Hannah Edge


House Manager

HOLLY TAYLOR- House Manager 

About Me - Holly Leadbetter

Hello my name is Holly Leadbetter I have been the Registered Manager of Aiding Independence since January 2024.I started as a support worker with Aiding Independence in 2010 and fell in love with the work that we do in supporting our clients to be independent and living their best lives. From 2011-2015 I had a change of career and worked in customer services which helped me develop my organisational and administration skills as well as giving me the confidence to lead people. I came back home to Aiding Independence in 2016 and shortly afterwards took on the role of House Leader and completed my Level 3 QCF diploma in Social Care. I worked as House Leader in three of our supported living houses, and completed my level 5 QCF diploma in Leadership and Management. In 2021 I became Deputy Manager and have continued to develop my leadership skills, working closely with the team and the people we support to ensure we are providing a ‘hands-off’ approach and positive outcomes for all. I am a true believer in reflective practice and continuous development and improvement. The people we support inspire me every day and watching their independence skills and self-confidence develop is so rewarding, and a feeling you just don’t get anywhere else.


House Manager


House Manager 

About Me – Yve Doust

My name is Yve Doust.  I am the old wise owl of the organisation.  Co - founder and Director of Aiding Independence.
Since I was a teenager I have been involved in the care profession in some way or another.  My experience over the years has included welfare officer, residential social worker, foster carer, registered manager and then on to being a qualified social worker and principal social worker as well as a practice teacher to social work students.   My experience in so many areas has proved invaluable for the work that we do now.  More importantly than all of the experience and qualifications I believe that the ability to truly care and support and nurture people is the pinnacle of our existence at Aiding Independence. However, for those that need to know I have the collected the following qualifications over the years.  
• Diploma in Social Work
• BA (Hons) Social Science
• Diploma in Health & Social Care
• Certificate in Practice Teaching (Social Work)
• Cert + Dip Welfare Studies