About Us

We are passionate about family mediation and strive to provide independent family mediation to families to support them to resolve difficulties for their children.

We believe that by empowering and enabling families to improve their lives by offering an inclusive, affordable resolution service will enable people to take ownership and control over decisions in relation to difficulties or disputes that they are experiencing.

Children 1st Mediation specialises in helping you make plans for the future following separation or divorce – agreeing arrangements for your children, including the time they spend with each of you, where they will live, child maintenance and property and financial settlements. We have extensive knowledge and experience in more complex family disputes and have training in supporting families through Parental Alienation.

It is our view that if given the right support and opportunity, most people can reach their own solutions to the problems and difficulties that they are facing. Working you to build understanding and resolve conflict will strengthen and empower you, which will have a positive impact on the future of your children.


Our Team

Mabel Edge – Director/ Professional Family Mediator

Having spent 18 years working in dispute resolution and restorative practice, both as a practitioner, of which I spent 10 years as a Manager for children and young people’s services, responsible for the delivery of an alternate forms of dispute resolution in public law.

I am passionate about enabling and empowering people to resolve disputes themselves without the need for more adversarial interventions. I have extensive specialist knowledge and experience in Family Group Conferencing within Child Protection and early help, Family Mediation in child welfare /protection cases and Restorative Justice (RJ). I also have experience in the delivery of community conferences; workplace mediation; narrative mediation; parent child mediation; NLP, Solution focused communication and have delivered, trained and supervised a large team of facilitators in the delivery of these models.

I am a Professional Family Mediator and Professional Practice Consultant (PPC) supervisor, registered with the College of Mediators, Family Mediators Association and the Family Mediation Council to undertake Family Mediation. Registered with the Ministry of Justice to undertake MIAMS and Mediations as a pre–requisite for those wishing to making an application to court for child or financial arrangements. I was successfully awarded a Legal Aid Contract in 2018.

I developed the first specialist model of Child Welfare (protection) Mediation for Families involved with Social Services and have successfully delivered over 150 complex child welfare mediation to families in both private and public law cases.

I am also qualified to undertake Child Inclusive Mediation and I am fully DBS checked and qualified to work with children and young people to you can be sure of their safety, if they are taking part in the mediation process.

I also undertake specialist Parent Child Mediation when the right circumstances apply, however this work is not considered to be Family Mediation and as such it is not regulated in the same way.

I undertook advanced training in understanding, identifying and working with Parental Alienation in Mediation.

I am an accredited professional SEN Mediator and undertake consultancy for Global Mediation based ini London and travel across the south West.

Helen Shea –      Professional Family Mediator

After my early career in the arts and music, my own family life fostered an interest in social and family dynamics. Conflict appears to be apparent at all levels of society; structurally and personally, I have been drawn towards mediation which offers a way forward in resolving conflict. As a mature student I went on to study Sociology at the University of Exeter, followed initially by training in family mediation and community mediation.

I have over 10 years experience as a mediator with qualifications in family, community & neighbourhood, Civil, Commercial & Workplace Mediation. I am also fully qualified as an integrative humanistic counsellor, family group conference coordinator and restorative justice practitioner.

I am accredited with the Family Mediation Council to undertake Legal Aid work and qualified to undertake Mediation Information Assessment Meetings as a pre–requisite for those wishing to making an application to court for child or financial arrangements.

I am one of a few specialist mediators able to undertake child welfare mediation in cases where there are
safeguarding issues and local authority involvement. I am fully DBS checked and qualified to work with children and young people as part of the mediation process.

I am an accredited professional SEN Mediator and undertake consultancy for Global Mediation.

Peter Shaw- Professional Family Mediator

Peter is an experienced Professional Family Mediator and Professional Practice Consultant. Peter started his career as a Solicitor and was a partner in a Law firm in Cornwall for a number of years before transitioning over to Family Mediation.

Peter has skills and experience in complex financial matters.

 

Hannah Lane – Child Consultant

Hannah is a registered Play therapist and has many years experience in working with children and young people to enable them to have a voice, including FGC and Advocacy. Hannah is a welcome friendly face for children struggling with parental separation or the conflict arising out of parental conflict.

Hannah had an enhanced ~DBS and also undertake private Play Therapy , Supervised and Supported Child Contact, including in the community and delivers parenting support to parents struggling with parental conflict.

Amanda Perry -Child Consultant

Amanda is a registered Play therapist and has many years experience working for Children’s services in Plymouth as a family support worker, including working with children and young people. Amanda is skilled at enabling children to express themselves.  Amanda is a bubbly personality which children find positive in their meetings with her. Amanda struggling with parental separation or the conflict arising out of parental conflict.

Amanda had an enhanced DBS and also undertake private Play Therapy , Supervised and Supported Child Contact, including in the community and delivers parenting support to parents struggling with parental conflict

 

In our Bristol and North West Somerset offices

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 Richard joined the British Army and qualified as an HR Administrator within the Staff and Personnel Support branch of the services. During his time in the military he gained a wealth of knowledge about the effect of stress on relationships and the impact of separation on people. He dealt with many cases involving welfare, coaching and family separations including the emotional aspects.

​He gained qualifications in Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), Adult & Child Counselling (Advanced), Life Coaching and Trauma Risk Management. He also has Level 5 in Leadership and Management.

Leaving the Army in 2017 and opened my own practice helping people with individual and family therapy.

​He decided to pursue a new career in Family Mediation qualifying in 2017.

Sam Brown – Family Mediator

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Sam started her career Adult Social Care 20 years ago, since then she has worked in this sector helping people at quite often the most difficult times of their lives helping them to problem solve and look at how they can move forward with their future.

Sam qualified as a social worker in 2012, she has a passion for working with people and mediation has allowed her to transfer the skills she had already obtained whilst building in new ones.

Sam qualified as a mediator in 2016 and I continue to work towards my accreditation which demonstrates the highest standard of mediation. I am a member of the Family Mediation Council and the College of Mediators.

Jane Elias- Professional Family Mediator

Jane worked in Adult Social Care for 30 years as a Social worker, Manager and Commissioner, helping families, carers and partner agencies create positive outcomes for people and communities.

Jane trained as a mediator in 1992 and subsequently managed a Family Mediation Service with a Legal Aid franchise for some years before diversifying into other mediation sectors, including Civil and Commercial and SEN mediations.

Jane is an professional Family Mediator with the Family Mediation Council to undertake Legal Aid work and qualified to undertake Mediation Information Assessment Meetings as a pre–requisite for those wishing to making an application to court for child or financial arrangements.

Jane is fully DBS checked and able to work with children and young people as part of the mediation process.

“I take a collaborative and facilitative approach to mediation. I have developed an informal style whilst keeping parties focussed on the task, enabling people to hear and be heard, clarifying issues and aiding communication so that settlements can be reached.” Jane

Julia Smart-Professional Family Mediator

Julia is qualified solicitor and qualified as a Family Mediator in 1996 and has worked extensively with couples and families in mediation to resolve financial and other issues arising from all types of relationship breakdowns. I also carry out mediations dealing with issues encountered by children and young people with special educational needs (SEN)

Julia is an accredited Family Mediator and registered with the Family Mediation Council to undertake mediation assessment and information meetings (MIAMS) to help people to decide whether to progress through mediation or to make a court application to resolve issues relating to their financial and children arrangements

Jane is fully DBS checked and is am able to work with children and young people as part of the mediation process

“At a time when people often feel ill equipped to face difficult issues, I help them focus on what is important and to deal with practicalities so that they can rebuild their lives” Julia