North Devon Family Mediation Service marks 21st anniversary with move to new Barnstaple offices
By tinap | Thursday, January 24, 2013, 12:02
North Devon Family Mediation Service has celebrated 21 years serving the local community with a move to larger premises.
North Devon MP Nick Harvey opens the North Devon Family Mediation Service's new offices on Litchdon Street, Barnstaple
North Devon MP Nick Harvey officially opened the new offices on Litchdon Street in Barnstaple last week.
The NDFMS, previously on Castle Street, has moved to a larger building to help cope with rising demand.
Mediation helps separated couples reach joint decisions on areas of their lives they previously shared, including childcare arrangements and personal finances. Last year the
NDFMS successfully mediated 150 cases, a rise of 17% on the previous year. Demand is expected to rise further after April when legal aid changes mean less people will be eligible for free family law advice from a solicitor. Mediation can help keep legal fees and court costs down.
At the opening ceremony, Nick Harvey MP said, "In an area like North Devon and at a time when funds are limited a service such as the North Devon Family Mediation Service is vital.
"Separation and divorce is a very stressful time and any service that is able to lessen that stress and make a difficult process easier for all is very important. The new premises is much larger and will enable the North Devon Mediation Service to continue to deliver its services effectively.
"The North Devon Mediation Service's CEO, Amelia Tucker-Jones said, "We are very excited to be celebrating our 21st year. Our service has grown and expanded to become a service that is really ready for the future and the forthcoming changes to legal aid."
"The new premises will certainly allow us to provide a more effective service. There are six mediation rooms, including two separate waiting rooms. The location on Litchdon Street is more discreet than our previous location, offering our clients more privacy.
"It has full disabled access and there are very good transport links. We have updated our IT systems and can offer mediation via Skype which is important in a rural area such as North Devon. We cover a very large area and so appointments are also available in, Bude, Exeter, Okehampton and Tiverton."