Meet the Team

Friends and Families employ 10 members of permanent staff who between them have a wealth of experience and knowledge of Disability and the carer service.


Tim Tod


Originally from London, I have lived in Devon for over 30 years. My wife and I live on Dartmoor with our foster children, we also have 3 grown up children and 5 grandchildren.

I have worked mostly in the Charitable Sector, developing and delivering projects that benefit vulnerable and marginalised children and young people and their families. More recently I have worked for University of Exeter, supporting the design and delivery of mental health services in the southwest with the Department of Health. I love collaborating with others to explore and test out new ways of working that could make a lasting difference for people.

Press Release – Introducing Our New CEO

Information and Advice Team

Holly Gomori

Family Information and Advice Support Worker

I was born in Plymouth and have lived here all my life. I love living so close to the sea and finding places to explore in Devon with my dog Cassie.

I graduated University of Plymouth in Health and Social Care in 2019. I’m really excited to part of Friends and Families and their amazing services.

Wellbeing Team

Hazel Bowyer

Wellbeing Project Lead

I was born in Plymouth and after moving a couple of times, came back to Plymouth and love living by the sea.  I have a background in youth charities; community engagement, events and programme coordination.

I joined Friends and Families in June 2019 and enjoy being involved with all of the amazing services and meeting families and also promoting the charity to different services.

Fran Sampson

Wellbeing Project Lead

I have lived in the West Country most of my life and the Plymouth area for 30 years, it’s stunning and constantly inspires me. I live with my husband Paul and our menagerie of animals just outside Plymouth. My two children have grown up and I have a beautiful “lock down” granddaughter.

I have been an artist, teacher and a Senior Professional Youth Worker for Plymouth City Council for many years, working with marginalised groups of young people; I am also an estate manager for a retired person community.

I take enormous pleasure in building capacity in people through projects and activities, aiming to realise the individual potential in everyone, whilst understanding the importance of group work and community. I hope to be able to share with Friends and Families, many enjoyable and useful skills, to achieve a sense of well-being for all those who want to feel a little bit better about life, which is everyone’s right.

Activity Team

Abby Williams

Project and Activities Team Leader

I have lived in Plymouth since 2014, when I came here to go to University. I started working for Friends and Families in 2015 as a Sessional Worker and have attended lots of exciting events and activities with lots of different families. I have enjoyed the work so much that I applied for, and was lucky enough to be appointed as, the Project and Activity Team Leader. I’m really looking forward to developing a programme of activities and events for all of the different projects, and meeting lots more young people and their families.

I am a qualified Special Needs Teacher. During my Spare time I run my own Guide group and I’m also an Emergency Ambulance Crew for St John Ambulance, which can take me to different places all over the South West.


Jess Butland

Making Sense Project Co-ordinator

I was brought up in Wembury near Plymouth and have recently moved back there with my partner Sean, daughter Grace and lurcher Talen. My daughter Grace has Polymicrogyria, a brain malformation resulting in Cerebral Palsy, developmental delay and Epilepsy.

I worked in the Civil Service for 12 years prior to working for Friends and Families.  I enjoy sourcing new equipment and toys for the Lending Library as well as planning new exciting activities for the Making Sense group.

Communication and Marketing

Job Vacancy

Communications and Marketing Lead

An exciting opportunity has arisen to join the team at Friends and Families of Special Children to take ownership of the communications and media functions.

We are looking for someone who is expert at developing cross-platform communications to help to amplify the story of the services we provide, promote existing partnerships, and help to attract new supporters.

You will be a key point of contact for colleagues across the organisation, providing leadership on all aspects of brand, marketing, and communications to colleagues across fundraising, service delivery and senior leadership.

Find out more


Job Vacancy

Fundraising Lead

We’re looking for an experienced fundraiser to join our growing team.

In this role you will lead the development and implementation of our fundraising strategy, which will encompass building corporate partnerships, community engagement and individual giving.

You will work closely with the charity’s founder and newly appointed chief executive to bring fresh and creative ideas to generating revenue. You will be building a new fundraising stream to capitalise on opportunities including: local corporate partnerships; community fundraising; and digital fundraising.

Find out more

Admin and Office Support

Administrative Coordinator

Sophie Pierre

I was born in Plymouth, but I’ve spent the last 12 years focusing on my profession in the yachting industry. Whilst living onboard several yachts, I visited many countries. I am fortunate to have a fantastic family with whom I am extremely close. My sisters are my closest companions.

As a Purser, I gained a lot of knowledge and experience in the administration and accounting field, and I’m thrilled to be a member of the Friends and Families team.

As I make the journey from the sea to land, I am grateful to be a part of an organization that is so supportive of families with children who have additional needs.

Sessional Activity Workers

Carol Evans

My full-time job is working with children with additional needs in an educational setting.  I enjoy supporting both children and young carers on all our different activities.

Jacob Goode

I began working for Friends & Families in April 2019 and since then have been working regularly with the Fun & Freedom Club.  I really enjoy all outdoor activities, particularly mountain biking and skiing.  I often babysit for two energetic boys aged 7 and 9 who keep me busy with their lego and story reading requests!  I attend 6th Form and am studying A-levels in maths, physics and product design. 

Brett Tindle

I’ve been involved with Friends and Families for many years, and really enjoy the activities, especially water-sports! I think the charity is fantastic because it covers all disabilities and supports every member of the family. I discovered the charity because my two younger brothers were supported through the Fun and Freedom Club and I got involved because I wanted to give back.

I’ve worked in youth work in the past and lived in Plymouth for nearly 20 years, currently with my cat, Shady and my tortoise, Hercules.

Dani Venters

I have cared for children and young adults for 10 years now and have been aware of Friends and Families and the amazing support network they are for families of special needs children. I’ve started my degree in Social Work this year and look forward to continuing my Sessional work for years to come.