SNAP History

In June 1994 eight mums came together around a kitchen table because they were concerned about the lack of provision for children with special needs in the Brentwood area…


SNAP Celebrates 25 Years

Twenty five years after a group of parents who have children with special needs first got together around a kitchen table, SNAP, the charity they formed is celebrating its silver anniversary.


SNAP Founding Member given Civic Award

Paula Hills, a SNAP founder member, volunteer and trustee received a Borough of Brentwood Civic Award for lifetime achievement in March this year.  Paula was one of the original eight parents who started the charity and continues to volunteer for SNAP every week after 24 years.


The SNAP Centre 10 Years On

At a special Open Day on 17th May more than 200 supporters and special guests joined the SNAP team to mark this special moment in SNAP’s 23 year history.  All visitors were invited to watch a specially commissioned film made by volunteers that showcased the life of The SNAP Centre, and all were moved by the testimonial interviews and clearly visible dedication to SNAP families. Visitors also enjoyed a tour of everything that the Centre has to offer, and gained an insight into the huge project that was undertaken by a small and passionate team to reimagine the bare bones of a building 10 years ago into the vibrant environment that it is today. The day was also a poignant one for SNAP’s founder Hilary as she stepped down from her role as Development Manager and became SNAP’s Honorary Life President.


Celebrating 20 Years of SNAP

SNAP celebrated 20 years of supporting over 3,500 Essex families with children and young people with any special need or disability. Maggie Kiel, a SNAP volunteer for 20 years received a Civic Award for service to the community and SNAP received a High Sheriff’s Award in recognition of our valuable work with volunteers in Essex.


SNAP keeps growing

After steady growth of services and team, SNAP expanded into the Nightingale Centre next door. The SNAP logo became multi-coloured. Hilary Needham, founder member and manager since 1999 received an MBE.


After-school and holiday activities

Additional after-school clubs started, family counselling began and The SNAP Centre was open during the school holidays offering a variety of activities. The SNAP team and services continued to expand alongside the increasing numbers of families.


The SNAP Centre

Finally SNAP moved into the new building with an official opening by the Countess of Wessex on 17th May with an open day the following day. SNAP services soon began to expand in the new centre including the first SIBS4FUN activity week in the summer.


Building commences

The fundraising campaign continued to finance the new building project and the transformation of the Duchess of Kent building commenced. The local Rotary Clubs joined together as part of their celebrations for Rotary Centenary Worldwide to raise £30,000 for SNAP’s new sensory room. The SNAP Directory was launched online.


Big Lottery Grant

With 800 families to support, a Big Lottery Grant was awarded for a new home for SNAP and a lease was secured on the Duchess of Kent building. The SNAP Manager was invited to support families as part of the Multi-disciplinary Assessment Clinic in Brentwood. Music Therapy was introduced.


Queen’s Golden Jubilee Award

This was a year of awards:  SNAP won a Charities Online Accounts Award; SNAP Manager Hilary Needham received a Civic Award for Service to the Community; and Lord Petre presented the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Award to SNAP.


New IT Club

Now with over 500 families, SNAP expanded into an additional small office at Keys Hall.  Benefits advice sessions were introduced and an IT Club was launched at Hannakins Farm in Billericay.


SNAP Library

The specialist SNAP library grew and counselling sessions began in the shower room at Keys Hall. A refreshed SNAP Directory was circulated across Essex and the first SNAP website was launched.


SNAP Directory

The first SNAP directory was printed and email was introduced at the SNAP office. SNAP was awarded a grant from Children in Need and featured on the BBC who sent a film crew out to the SNAP on a Monday group.


Sibling support

A Scope grant funded SNAP’s first member of staff. SIBS activity weeks were created. A trampoline club was started at the Brentwood Leisure Centre. Parent support was extended with Face to Face appointments. SNAP became a registered charitable company and expanded its board of trustees.


SNAP office

Now with 200 families, a lottery grant funded an office at Keys Hall and the helpline was established. The first after school club started at the Brentwood Leisure Centre.


A registered charity

Lord Petre and Steve Davis were appointed as patrons. SNAP began working in partnership with local organisations to improve support for children with special needs and registered as a charity.


Support Group

Eight parents formed SNAP (Special Needs And Parents) and it became a weekly parent and toddler group at Keys Hall with a box of information, books and a few sensory toys.

Follow Us

Helpline: 01277 211300

Email: [email protected]

9.00am until 5.00pm Monday to Thursday
and 9.00am until 3.00pm on Friday.

Volunteer for SNAP

Helping out at our centre or supporting one of our many activities. Find out more »