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.

We cannot tell you what AWF means to us as a family – a lifeline, a light in the dark. Something that has offered our daughter equality, to have a social life and really support us as a family.

I always have a smile on my face after a day with the members of the team. They are all individuals and each, in their own way, bring joy to my life. They are all much appreciated and I enjoy the gardening of course!

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

Many thanks again for J’s lovely break in Derbyshire with About with Friends. He really enjoyed himself, had loads of fun and told us all about the cable cars, stepping stones, cinema, meals out, etc.! We would be very grateful if you could pass on our sincere thanks to all the staff who organised the holiday and supported our youngsters to enable them to have such a wonderful time. We are also very grateful as we, ourselves, were able to enjoy a short break in Paris, which was wonderful and recharged our batteries!

Having spent many years in school with little improvements in I’s behaviour and speech, in just a few weeks with you the improvements in both areas are plain to see. Please continue as you are, as life at the moment for us as a family is greatly improved because of your input.