Our Story

In the beginning...

‘found’ by the professionals and all of a sudden I knew clearly what I wanted to create.

 

The truth is I have never had a long term vision for Special Friends. Unlike everything I’ve ever done before in my life I was content to let it evolve and grow organically, becoming exactly what it needed to be, nothing more and nothing less, an ethos that continues to this day.

 

However, at day one I was perfectly placed to understand what families really needed and that was friendship, pure and simple.

 

A safe, stimulating space where children play and can feel at ease and where parents can mix with others who understand and will never judge. That is what we aimed for in the early days of playgroup and still do in all the wonderful events we organise. Lifelong friendships are forged and one thing is for sure, no family need ever feel alone in this area again.

Since then we have grown to support over 80 local families. We continue to grow from strength to strength and since achieving official charity status in July 2018, the future of Special Friends is secured.

 

Lucy Sarna

Founder of Special Friends 

Special Friends was founded in 2014 as a charitable community group by Chair, Lucy Sarna, when it was suggested that if there was no support out there, she could make it happen herself.

I am a mum of two diverse and complex children and like most special needs families, life has been an exhausting journey of love, intense worry, overwhelming sense of responsibility to do the best for my boys, vulnerability, health worries, uphill struggles and at one time, terrible loneliness.

 

I tried everything I could think of to track down other parents who would relate to my experiences. I needed a place where I could take my youngest, then 3, and feel that we belonged, but there was simply nothing out there.

When two of the lovely professionals who worked with my son suggested that I started something myself, I actually laughed (and probably cried as well). This seemed like the most ridiculous suggestion at the time as I was already at my limit and felt I certainly had nothing to give to anyone else.

However, even at such a low time, the bit of me that likes a challenge must have woken up because

before I knew it I found myself leading a small

meeting of other parents who had been

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Registered charity No: 1179301