About Special Friends
The idea for Special Friends Online was conceived during 2007 by Martin Harris, founder of a national charity and businessman, who has spent many years working with people with learning/intellectual disabilities and is a member of BILD the Institute for People with Learning/Intellectual Disabilities and the Institute of Fundraising Managers.
For the past seven years Martin and his team has worked tirelessly to raise funds and awareness via roadshows, exhibitions and many other events around the UK looking for Special Heroes, and also creating workshops that build both confidence and self esteem for the youngsters.
In 2007 Martin played a big part in raising much needed funds to send British athletes to the World Special Olympic Games held in Shanghai, China in October 2007. Martin was lucky enough to attend the event himself. Following an incredible two weeks watching the athletes train, prepare and then compete in their events, Martin was struck by the sincere friendships that were forming all around him, but it was during the closing ceremony and looking around at the 60,000 people from 160 countries connected with the games with everyone having to say farewell to people who had bonded and become firm friends that Martin saw the need for an online community and the idea for Special Friends Online was born. Martin was amazed that despite so many of the visitors and competitors having and using computers, there wasn't an online community where they could safely keep in touch with each other.
Upon his return to the UK, Martin immediately began to plan the launch of Special Friends Online in 2008. He put together a team to help him and took on the mammoth task of researching the technology to make the site happen with the main criteria being a site that was as safe and accessible as possible.
Within the first few weeks of research it became apparent that there was also a need for the parents and carers to keep in touch and share information, especially for those who have babies and infants with a learning disability to meet people having similar experiences and perhaps being united with support groups and people in their own area. The Special Heroes page is just a sample of the inspiration and encouragement that people with learning/intellectual disabilities have achieved.
This site and its success is dedicated to the memory of E.C.Harris a hero, an inspiration and truly a very important…Specialfriend.