• Our mission is to make families with disabled children feel valued and experience the best quality of life possible
    Friends and Families of Special Children - Mobile Slide One

    Friendly Freddie meets our competition winners Contact Us

  • Our mission is to make families with disabled children feel valued and experience the best quality of life possible
    Friends and Families of Special Children - Mobile Slide Two

    "Fantastic Charity, they offer lots of services and support" - March 2019 Activities

  • Our mission is to make families with disabled children feel valued and experience the best quality of life possible
    Friends and Families of Special Children - Mobile Slide Three

    Proud to support Harry from The Children In Need Rickshaw Challenge #HAPPYASHARRY Contact Us

  • Our mission is to make families with disabled children feel valued and experience the best quality of life possible
    Friends and Families of Special Children - Mobile Slide Four

    In 2018 we supported 252 children. To register with us click on the link Register

Meet the Trustees

The Friends and Families of Special Children Trustees are a team of professionals that come from a range of backgrounds including Social Work, Youth Work, Counselling, Law, Finance and Corporate Hospitality. Alongside the Trustees are partners from Health, Education, Social Care and the Voluntary sector who help to ensure that we offer a multidisciplinary approach and a broad range of services.

Kay O’Shaughnessy

Chair of Trustees

Much of my working life has been spent in Social Care, Training and Employment and running my own businesses. I gained a Post Graduate Business Degree at Plymouth University. I am married to Michael and have four children, one of who is profoundly disabled and requires full care. I am a founder member of Friends and Families of Special Children and have been involved in campaigning, developing and shaping national and locally strategy and provision for families with disabled children.

Jonathon Morcom


I was born and educated in Plymouth and am currently Treasurer of Friends and Families of Special Children, I am Director of The Duke of Cornwall Hotel in Plymouth, previously having had lots of experience in the hospitality industry in Plymouth and Somerset. I was instrumental in setting up a 24 bed-roomed hotel in Wells, was Food and Beverages Manager at Plymouth Pavilions and The Royal Western Yacht Club before the Management Buy Out at the DOC in 2001. I have one son and a step son who has Cerebral Palsy. I have been involved with the charity since its launch and engage with fundraising and organising social events as much as possible.

Robert Lang


Plymouth born and educated at Plymouth College prior to joining the practice of Constable & Son as articled pupil to the late Jimmie Constable in 1970. Subsequently, I established Lang & Co. estate agents in 1993. I have always been involved in the local community and am a past member of Round Table and the Port of Plymouth Junior Chamber of Commerce which staged the annual Lord Mayor’s Day, introduced the Plymouth Marathon, Military Tattoo and successfully lobbied for the construction of the Tamar Bridge.

Ashleigh Phillips


I am a Chartered Surveyor with over 23 years’ experience in commercial property. My career has encompassed roles in both private and public sectors in the south west and across southern England. I returned to my hometown of Plymouth in 2004 and after working for local practices, I am now the Manager of the Bruton Knowles Plymouth office.

I was educated at Plymouth College and subsequently the University of Glamorgan. I am a former Chairman of Plymouth Round Table and still involved. I enjoy playing cricket and racket sports. Sadly widowed, I have a grown up son.

Amanda Lyons


I was proud to become a Trustee of Friends and Families in April 2019. I am a Partner in local law firm Gard & Co and practice family law and have done since I qualified. I have two young boys so in my spare time we like to explore and swim as much as we can……hunting for dragons is always a winner!

Steve Parker


I have over 25 years’ experience working within law enforcement.  I have spent the majority of my service within investigative roles and have significant experience of leading safeguarding enquiries and working within safeguarding partnerships across the South West. 

I was born in Plymouth and following a period travelling with my father’s work, returned to the city and attended Plympton Grammar School.  After studying for A levels I attended Essex University and gained a degree in Economics and Government.  I then spent a short spell working within the licensed trade before returning once again to work in Plymouth.

My wife Gill and I have three sons, aged 12 to 18.  In my youth I was a keen racing cyclist, but now restrict myself to more leisurely bike rides both on and off road.  I also enjoy watching my beloved Plymouth Argyle and listening to live music.  I also have a particular affection for strong coffee. 

My eldest son has cerebral palsy and he, and indeed the whole family, has benefited greatly from participating in the range of activities available through Friends and Families.

Gwen James


Born and educated in the Plymouth area and although I have mostly lived here, I also spent some time living in Cumbria and Portsmouth. Married with 3 children, 3 grandchildren and two dogs. My background is in Banking where I worked in a wide variety of roles for more than 30 years.

Following redundancy, I had 18 months spending more time with my family before returning to work in a part time PA role. During this time, I was also able to become closer to the FAF charity helping in a small way with fund raising. Delighted to have been asked to become a Trustee and hope that I can bring my organisational skills and enthusiasm to good use.

What our friends and families say...

“Thank you, yet again, to Friends & Families of Special Children for providing opportunities for my son that I never thought he would be able to do.  During the summer he was able to have surfing lessons and enjoy other water sport activities organised by the charity.   When we arrive at the sessions they are always very well planned and as parents we have no explaining to do and even better no apologising for our child’s behaviour!  The staff have an amazing understanding and empathy on the needs of various disabilities of the children and this helps to keep everyone relaxed and happy including the parents/carers!”

October 2015

“It was the best day ever being able to go swimming as a family with her little sister who can only use a hydrotherapy pool. We’re so grateful we can have unforgettable days out thanks to the events you put on. We can thank you enough.”

May 2016

“Not only does the charity provide exciting experiences for the children but can also help with much needed support for the parents.  Being a parent of a disabled child can at times be very lonely and isolating.  To meet with other parents on these activity days is a breath of fresh air and helps you to realise that there are many other people like you facing the similar day to day challenges of having a disabled child.  From our personal experiences we can share stories, offer help and advice and even make new friends.”

January 2018

“The emotional support I received from my befriender was fantastic and the opportunity to off load and reveal my concerns and fears was like having a huge weight lifted off my shoulders.”

Gareth Allen (parent)

“What a fantastic friendly welcoming place. We visited for the first time this morning for help to fill in a DLA form for our eldest daughter. We were given great help and advice with something we found very overwhelming and difficult.”

February 2017

“Thank you to all staff for looking after our kids at Magdalen Farm. Oliver has really enjoyed himself and can’t wait till the next time.”

August 2017

Activity Calendar

Please note our activities can be browsed by date using the interactive calendar below. A light green square indicates there are events scheduled on that day. Simply hover over the square and the number of events on that day will appear. Click on view events and a list of the events will be shown above. You can then click-through to go to the specific event page for more details and to book.

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