About with Friends’ mission is to give people with learning disabilities the opportunities they are entitled to and to live the life that they deserve. We are made up of permanent and part-time staff, volunteers and valued supporters.  We offer support, activities, guidance and care.

These “Who We Are” pages offer you the opportunity to see our staff and trustees, learn a little bit about our ethos and see what our policies are.

Take a minute to find out about the history of About with Friends below. We started from a kitchen table and have grown to a large organisation at the heart of the community in Cromer. We’re proud of this achievement, but we couldn’t have done it without the unstinting support of volunteers, trustees, our staff and of course our wonderful members!

Key moments in our history

Find out how we got here, and where we're going!

Work begins with 9 members and a handful of people around CEO’s kitchen table.

July 2002

Increase to 18 members and receive lottery funding of £5000.


3 year funding from The Lottery.


Move in to buildings on Holt Road – the ‘Base’.


20 members worked on a vegetable garden at Holt Primary School alongside ‘Roots and Shoots’.

Jan 2008

Children’s Services grant awarded to begin working with young people with disabilities through the Short Breaks Pathfinder for 14-18year olds.

June 2008

Support first member to live independently in their own home.


Workskills programme launches.


Children’s Services full grant for Short Breaks with Children, develop work to start working with children from 9years.


Workskills move to own building and increase work opportunities – production workshop created.


Bespoke programme begins.

Sept 2012

Official opening of the catering kitchen funding by a capital grant from Children’s Services.

March 2013

CEO receives British Empire Medal in the New Years Honours list.

Jan 2014

Community Café opens.

March 2014

Community Shop opens.

April 2016

Achieved registration with the Care Quality Commission.


Transfer to a Charitable Incorporated Organisation.


Workskills move to larger building


Bespoke Service move into custom-made building


About with friends Celebrate 15th year Happy Birthday


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.

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.

I just cannot thank you enough for taking K my daughter so that she could have fun with her friends on holiday in Milton Keynes, […] it made her extremely happy.

Selfishly for me it gave my wife a much sought after period of respite exhausted after 16 years of constant care. Complete respite is dependent upon the knowledge that your child is in safe professional caring hands. The ‘about with friends’ staff impress me because they display such enthusiastic vocational attitudes towards their care.

Just a short note to thank you all for your help with our daughter. she has spent many years at school with little improvement in her behaviour and speech, yet in just a few weeks she has been with you guys the improvements in both areas are plain to see.

I am not sure what the different methods used are but please continue as you are, as life at the moment for us as a family is greatly improved because of your input.

We are very aware of her complex needs and how she can change like the wind but we will continue to enjoy the fruits of your labours.

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!

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.

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 !!!!

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!

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.

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