About FFNE

I want to tell you a story.....

Originally called "Hartlepool Toy Library", the organisation was founded by an inspirational lady called Wendy McLoughlin back in March 1988. 

Wendy was passionate about those children with disabilities, having her own daughter with Cerebral Palsy and recognising there was a vacuum of services for those who needed it most.

Wendy set about trying to address the lack of provision by opening up a Toy Library and meeting space for families which became very popular, VERY quickly. Within the first year, the organisation boasted over 400 members. 

Wendy then turned her attention to taking the service mobile and established a Playbus, which toured Hartlepool for around 25 years thereafter. The original Playbus is pictured right. 

Over the ensuing years, the Wendy further developed a HealthBus, Special Needs Afterschool Club and Recycled Arts project. 

When Wendy retired in 2007, the trustees appointed our current Chief Executive, Paul Thompson.

Since Paul’s appointment the organisation has increased its range of services to specialise in supporting those with additional needs, disabilities and autism.  We now support over 450 individuals each year with a benefit to over 1500 people, all via our 17 services.

Futhermore, we continue to listen to families and now aim to meet the needs of those right across the North East of England. 

What's next ? Who knows ! But we will have fun along the way :) 


"From small acorns do mighty oaks grow!"


We beleive that everyone of all ages, regardless of ability or additional need, should be afforded the same life opportunities. 

All of the projects and services we offer, all aim towards making the world a much fairer place for those with additional needs, autism and disabilities.

Click on the video adjacent to see how we do this.

Head Office - One77,
175-177 York Road,
TS26 9EQ

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