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Meet Us

A short introduction to our Office Staff, Trustees, Support Staff and Volunteers who help make the group the success that it is –

The Staff

Pat Allison – Manager – Pat is a founder member of Hartlepool Special Needs Support Group since it set up in 1989, she worked for many years in a voluntary capacity before being employed in her present position.  Pat’s eldest son, who has Cerebral Palsy become a member in 1989.  Pat’s husband and youngest son along with close friend who has Down Syndrome and become a member in 2006,  all attend many of the groups social activities and regular clubs.  Pat was previously a committee member of Friends of Thornhill School and then a Governor for Catcote School.  Her experience, specialist knowledge, organisation skills and dedication are an enormous asset to the group.  In addition to her employment, Pat continues to volunteer much of her own time to ensure the group continues being a huge success.

Julie Carter – Assistant Manager– Julie joined the team in May 2023. She has 3 children, her youngest son Sam, who has Down Syndrome became a member of the Group in 2004 and her Grandson attends some activities.  Julie prevously held the position of a Governor at Catcote Academy for 6 years. She contributed some voluntary hours within Hartlepool Special Needs Support Group.  Over the years she has attended many meetings and training sessions to gather knowledge and information relevant to disability and services that may contribute to families who have a disabled child or young adult.

Michelle Hall – Administration – Michelle is married with 2 sons.  Michelle took up the position in administration in 2016 and brought knowledge and experience in admin from a previous position she held for nine years in another local charity.  Michelle continues to gain greater understanding of our members and their families.

The Trustees

Jayne Shepherd – became Trustee in 2009 and has held the position of Chair since 2015.  Jayne was previously a primary school teacher and ran an after school drama group for them.  Jayne’s youngest child, who has been a member since 2007, has a rare genetic disorder and is a member of our “Constellation” drama group and youth clubs.  They both enjoy attending our social events and activities with their family including Jayne’s husband and son along with his young family.

Marlene Barnard – became a trustee in 2018.  Marlene held the position of a Teaching Assistant for 13 years at Catcote Academy working primarily with children who have Autism.  Marlene is married with 3 children.  Their oldest child has been diagnosed with autism and joined the group in 2015, he continues to attends some social oppportunties as a family.  Marlene has a special interest in the success and growth of group and hopes that she can do her part to help it go from strength to strength in our goal to enrich the lives of those we love.    

Ami Carroll –  became a trustee in 2018.  Ami has been employed by Stockton Borough Council for 17 years, previously in SEN and now holds the position as a Family Worker for Social Services.   Ami is married with 2 daughters and joined the group 2016.   Originally Ami’s husband attended the group for many years with his brother who has Cerebral Palsy and his family now continue being involved and enjoy participating in activities the group provides.  

Karen Taylor – became a trustee in 2018.  Karen holds the position of a dental nurse receptionist with extended duties.  Karen is married with 2 children.  Their oldest son has a medical condition, Meares Irlen and learning difficulties.  He  joined the group in 2016 attending Friend’s Drama Fun Club and Youth Club.  All the family have benefited from the group attending lots of the activities the group provides and Karen is excited at the opportunity of becoming a member of the trustees.  

Jamie Allison is a co-opted trustee and a member the Core Fundraising Group.  Jamie has been involved from a very young age, alongside his brother.  Jamie’s mum is the Manager and as a result, Jamie and his family have been heavily involved from the beginning.  Jamie has a vast knowledge of everything IT related and hopes to use this knowledge to move Hartlepool Special Needs Support Group through the next 25 years.  As a member of the Core Fundraising Group, Jamie is hoping to enhance future fundraising activities and is especially open to new ideas to improve the services of the group and he invites anyone with ideas to discuss them with him.

Shaun McCabe is a co-opted trustee. Shaun is married with 2 sons.  His youngest son has multiple additional needs and joined the group in 2018 enjoying Children’s Fun Club and the Summer Scheme. All the family have benefitted by attending out of school activities, theatre trips and charity nights.  Shaun has also organised and held some successful christmas themed fundraising events.  Shaun has always been enthusiatic in raising funds and the profile of the Group and looks forward to his involvement as a co-opted trustee.

Support Staff & Volunteers – Our group has a team of well trained support staff and volunteers, who specialise in working with children and young adults who have a disability, and are trained in a multitude of areas.  We rely heavily on our volunteers and support staff who all hold a DBS.