Meet The Trustees

Our board of trustees are a diverse group of individuals who have a wide range of qualifications, skills and experience along with a passion for supporting individuals with autism.

The trustees always ensure that they comply with their legal responsibilities as laid down in Charity Commission Guidance

They provide leadership and work closely with the staff of the charity offering guidance and support in moving the charity forward.

John Friel – Acting Chair

John is a highly experienced Barrister with particular expertise in public law issues. He has been instrumental in shaping the law, and expanding the rights of parents and children throughout his career due to his highly technical knowledge in the field of education. John has extensive experience acting for local authorities, private applicants, charities, independent schools, maintained schools and governing bodies and has won leading cases in the House of Lords, Court of Appeal, and High Court.

He undertakes pro-bono work for various charities.

He is the co-author, with Melinda Nettleton, of “Special Needs & Legal Entitlement: A Practical Guide to Getting Out of the Maze” published by Jessica Kingsley which deals with both Statements and EHC Plans.

John has undertaken the role of Acting Chair until the AGM taking place in July 2018.

Nicholas Smith – Treasurer

Nicholas Smith ACIB CeMAP CeFA has been involved with HACS from its very early days of existence and was Chair of the Board of Trustees for over seven years. He has extensive retail banking experience of over 37 years and specialises in working with charities.

He has a broad knowledge and skills in Charity Fundraising, Accounts Management, Business Administration, Catering, Event Management, providing careers advice to young people and Staff Development.

Nicholas chairs two other local charities and is treasurer to another. He is also Charity Advisor to a number of Local Borough Councils. These relationships provide us with opportunities for the exchange of best practice and collaboration for HACS.

Nancy Harvey

Nancy has a background in business studies and international banking.  She has been involved with various special needs organisations and charities both in Hillingdon and further afield.  Nancy has a son on the autistic spectrum and has benefited enormously from the support provided by HACS.

Grahame Reynolds

Grahame Reynolds has been involved with HACS since the day of its inception.
He is a solicitor who specialises in Private Client matters along with residential and commercial property transactions and when requested provides legal advice to the charity. Grahame is also the father of a young man on the autistic spectrum and works tirelessly to promote the aims and objects of the charity.

Melinda Nettleton

Melinda is the founding member and Principal Solicitor of SEN Legal and a recognised Legal expert.  In addition to her professional practice in Education Law, specifically Special Educational needs and Disability Discrimination/Equality Act cases together with Deputyships in the Court of Protection, Melinda undertakes a range of pro-bono work for voluntary organisations, including CICS, PEACH, UKYAP and HACS.  She acts as a Trustee for HACS and offers seminars and workshops for parents.  She is the co-author, with John Friel, of “Special Needs & Legal Entitlement: A Practical Guide to Getting Out of the Maze” published by Jessica Kingsley which deals with both Statements and EHC Plans.  Melinda is also a mother of a child with Special Educational Needs.

Gill Chalk

Gill has a wealth of knowledge of delivering events across all sectors of industry from commercial aviation to clinical research and the pharmaceutical.  Large and small events – with a focus on cost management speciality.

Gill’s joined HACS to share her experiences and contribute to the charity by supporting the trustees – building new relationships and exploring and delivering new fundraising initiatives.