Our CEO

Helen Dalton-Hare BEM

Helen founded About with Friends around her kitchen table in 2002 with nine initial members and a handful of volunteers. She served on the Board of Trustees until About with Friends became a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) in April this year. She continues to lead the organisation as CEO and attends Board meetings in this role. Helen is from London and worked in Social Services for over 30 years. As a youth worker, she ran the London Brent PHAB Club before joining Barnet Mencap to lead a project with people with Autism and behaviours that challenged, and then moved to Harrow Mencap to lead a project integrating children and adults with learning disabilities into the community. Helen relocated to Norfolk in 1996 and was the Paston College Community Outreach Lead for students with Disabilities before starting About with Friends. She received the British Empire Medal in 2014.

Held a brown belt in judo, and has an ambition to see the world.


Our Trustees

Alexis Brackpool

Alexis set up FurtherMore Marketing seven years ago and balances this with the demands of family life. Having built her business up in Norfolk, Alexis has great links to the local business community across a range of sectors including experience working with a number of charities. Her skills in business growth and strategy combined with creative flair and experience in design are a valuable asset to the About with Friends Board of Trustees. Alexis has two children aged 7 and 9 and is an active member of the North Norfolk community, with her ear to the ground there is little she doesn’t know about what’s going on locally. Alexis is also a keen sportswoman, often enjoying an early evening run which allows her to indulge her real passion of eating great food.


Alison Mackway

Ali is the Managing Director of Wrightway Health Ltd, a local business based in Norwich. Before this Ali worked in a number jobs including as the Office Manager for About with Friends. Ali was also a volunteer and trustee from 2003 to 2010 and again since 2014. Ali has several hobbies including reading and painting. She likes to travel and counts trips to Italy and Turkey with groups from About with Friends among her most memorable. Ali is a keen ambassador for About with Friends, taking every opportunity to talk about its fantastic work to local businesses and potential volunteers. She is very pleased to be chairing the Board of Trustees and hopes to be able to use her business skills to support the Board and the organisation.


Andy Davies

Born in Lancaster and living in the area of the South Lake District for his early life, Andy considers himself to be something of a country bumpkin. Having worked in agriculture and construction up north, he followed the trend of the city migrators and now works as the Business Development Manager for an East Anglian IT service and support provider, called Green Duck (based in Bury St. Edmunds). Now living in Norwich, Andy can be found playing Rugby for Wymondham RUFC, spending time with his dog, Jumble, pursuing outdoor activities, or, watching David Attenborough. He is delighted to be considered part of the About With Friends Family.


Matthew Smith

Matthew is Business Manager for Sheringham Woodfields School, a complex needs school on the North Norfolk coast which has links with About with Friends.

He supports the Sheringham Cluster with all aspects of the SEND administration of countywide funds. The Cluster is made up of Sheringham High, Sheringham Primary, Holt Primary and Kelling Primary Schools. He is Director of The Patch community smallholding based on the campus of the three Sheringham schools and company secretary of Trust Norfolk SEN. He also heads up the administration and management of School 2 School Support, an outreach service provided to all mainstream schools within Norfolk.

Matthew works closely with North Walsham Town Council and is currently trying to improve the play provision within the town. In his spare time he loves gardening, cooking and enjoying much needed time with his wife and 18-month-old son.


Paul Eteson

Paul is Headteacher of Harford Manor School. The school works with children from 3 to 19 years of age from across Norfolk, all of whom have complex needs. Paul has spent most of his career working in Special Education, having originally qualified as a PE teacher with a specific interest in special educational needs. He is the vice chair of the Norfolk Association of Special School Headteachers and is pleased to be involved with the recently formed Trust Norfolk SEN which comprises all of the complex needs schools in Norfolk. Paul is particularly keen on ensuring purposeful and personal transitions into adulthood for young people and enabling them to become active citizens. He lives with his family in South Norfolk and enjoys reading, running and relaxing. Paul resigned in January 2016 due to other commitments.


Rosemary Chamberlen

Rosemary is married with three children, one of whom is an adult member here at About with Friends. Rosemary works as a Bar Host at the Holiday Inn in Norwich, and is now in her 22nd year of service. Rosemary enjoys holidays abroad and socialising with friends as well as family life.


Steve Finney

Steve currently runs two successful businesses for Edmundson Electrical Ltd, in Norwich who supply electrical products to other businesses. Steve enjoys walking his dog and cycling and completed his first Norwich 100-mile ride last year. He also loves going to restaurants and playing computer games. Steve organised the ‘25am Campfire Party’ at Whitlingham in 2013, which raised several thousand pounds for charity and it is where he first met some of our Transition members and staff. He brings considerable business experience to the team as our Treasurer and oversees our finances and ensures that our financial management is conducted in accordance with the ethics, principles and objectives of the organisation and its members.


Thank you for taking K to Milton Keynes on holiday, it made her extremely happy. Selfishly, it gave my wife a much sought after period of respite after 16 years of constant care.

Over the last five years I have had a fortnightly, 2 hour designated gardening slot. I highly value your service and ethos.

Just wanted to say a big thank you to you and everyone else that supported H on the recent trip – she had an amazing time. I enjoyed look at the Twitter feed to see what you had been up to.

AWF offers and amazing, caring, supportive group to both special needs adults/children & their families. Since N joined you he has been to some fantastic places, met some amazing friends and done activities we would never have thought he’d do. You have helped our family life improve by making N a happier, more content, confident boy.

I haven’t seen D for ages and he looks like a new man . The stress has gone from his face – he looks great Well done !!!!

To all the staff at About with Friday, I had a wonderful time with you guys, and I want to say a big thank you for looking after me. Love from K.

About with Friends and you particularly, have done some great work with excellent outcomes for D. I was particularly pleased to hear that you are working on integration with the Youth Group as I felt he would miss out on peer interaction if he didn’t come to college.

This is the best transition I have had for a student in the whole five years I have taught 6th formers!

It was a massive decision for his family to make and by choosing AWF it means they trust totally in the service. I am of the opinion that AWF is the only provision in the county for D and he is very happy to attend.

A big thank you to yourself and the About with Friends staff for another great trip! J had a fantastic time, going on the Harry Potter Studio Tour, which he had wanted to do for ages and ages.