About Us


Our story and who we are

harc began life in 1998 when a group of parents of children with autism got together and began to support each other.   They raised funds to enable them to run activities such as trampoline sessions for children with autism.  They gained charitable status in November 1999.

In early 2007 the harc committee began discussions with the National Autistic Society about becoming a branch of the NAS.  After many meetings the committee made a commitment to the NAS and we launched as a branch in December 2007.

Our relationship with the NAS is mutually supportive and it lends strength to our campaigning work.

The current harc committee members and volunteers are:

Maxine – Acting Branch Officer

  • I was a founder member of harc in the 1990s when my son was at primary school.  There was little support available then but things have improved considerably over the last 20 years, and I believe that harc has made a significant contribution to this improvement in Hertfordshire.  I joined the committee in 2008 and enjoy working with the team to continue to raise awareness and build on support services.  I want to inspire people with autism to succeed, as they have so much to offer, and should not accept second best in education or working life!
Donna – harc Branch Treasurer
  • Donna cares passionately about supporting people with autism, having the experience of supporting her brother Thomas throughout his school life, and now working with harc to improve outcomes for employment for people with autism through the harc Job Club. Donna is shortly to qualify as a Solicitor.

Sue – Committee

  • Sue is also a founder member of harc and has worked very hard on the Committee for many years – We are really grateful for the experience, ideas and support that Sue gives to us. Sue works for Carers in Hertfordshire and runs the C4A group and Learning Disability Forums which some of you may attend.
Neil – harc Web and IT Support & Committee Member
  • Neil joined us at Christmas as harc’s Web and IT Support.  Neil has done a great job putting the new harc alerts together. He is Company Secretary for Welwyn Hatfield Citizens’ Advice Bureau, and also provides volunteer IT Support for both Welwyn Hatfield and St. Albans CABs.
Robin – harc Secretary
  • Robin  joined us at Christmas – as harc Secretary. He is a primary school teacher and is very excited about his new position from September as Year 3 teacher at the Community Free School in Hatfield.

Stephen – Newsletter Editor & Committee member

  •  Diagnosed with Asperger’s as an adult, Steve recently volunteered to get the newsletter back into circulation and at the same time joined the committee hoping to help champion better provision for adults on the spectrum in Hertfordshire and further afield.  He has a doctorate in the ethics of medical research and holds numerous masters and other academic qualifications, but, like many on the spectrum, is unemployed and looking for work.
Helen – Helpline Volunteer
  • Helen joined us in February as Helpline Volunteer and has been doing a fantastic job answering calls to the Helpline – We are really pleased to have Helen on board.
Finola – Newsletter Volunteer
Sian  – Newsletter Volunteer 

Fiona – Committee

  • Having worked as a teacher in the UK and abroad, I returned to the UK where my son received his diagnosis of autism. I joined harc as I wanted to help raise awareness and understanding of autism in Hertfordshire. The work carried out by harc also helps to improve the local services for children and adults with autism, and their families.

Janaki – Committee & Watford Coffee Mornings

Claire  –  Volunteer

  • I am a recent recruit to harc and decided to volunteer after attending the very illuminating talk by Dean Beadle on his experiences. My experience is that parent / volunteer led organisations such as harc  provide a superb level of support and information to parents and I would like to contribute to that.  My particular area of interest is in how girls with autism are diagnosed and supported.

 Jackie – Volunteer

  • I was a committee member from 2003 to 2013 and have enjoyed belonging to a team of people passionate about improving the lives of families living with autism. It was  great to be a part of the development of harc over 10 years including becoming an NAS branch. Getting involved in the NAS campaign ‘you need to know’ was particularly rewarding. I have made lasting friendships and enjoyed the mutual support. I continue to volunteer to help the committee where I can.
Dan – Volunteer
  • Dan  has an MSc in Child Development, which he completed with a particular focus on the wellbeing of children with autism and their siblings.

We always need more volunteers to help us to deliver some of the activities we run or simply some of the admin work that needs to be completed.  So if you find you have a little bit of time please email us at support@nasherts.org.uk