Meet the mediators

Viv Keys Mediator, Professional Practice Consultant, Operations Manager

Specialises in: Family mediation, SEND mediation, SPIP workshops

Viv graduated from the University of Hertfordshire with a Psychology (Hons) 1st class degree in 1995, after which she worked for various charities supporting families living with disability. In 2005, she joined Cambridge Family Mediation Service (CFMS) as a trainee mediator, achieving full recognition for All Issues Mediation from the Family Mediation Council in 2009. Viv trained as a Professional Practice Consultant in 2012 and has extensive experience of providing family mediation and supervision. She is a trained presenter and regularly presents the Separated Parents Information Programme, having completed a Level 3 award in Education and Training (formerly known as PTTLS) in 2014. She has also played a central role in the development of CFMS’ Special Educational Needs and Disability mediation service for young people, parents, schools and local authorities. Viv says:

“What I enjoy about mediation is knowing that clients who are facing the emotional and financial turmoil of separation have access to a process in which we can help them to discuss their differences in a respectful, organized way and make their own decisions about their children and finances without going to court.”

 

Jane Bridge Mediator, Professional Practice Consultant

Specialises in: Family mediation, SEND mediation, Inheritance mediation, SPIP workshops

Jane worked as a barrister for 20 years from 1981 to 2001, specialising in family law. She co-authored many family law textbooks and reference books between 1987 and 2014, and lectured nationally on family law for Jordan Publishing – covering finance and property, divorce reform, family mediation and child law. She ran her own private family mediation practice for five years. She has worked for CFMS as an employed family mediator and Special Educational Needs and Disabilities mediator from 2002 to date. She has also worked for the service as a Professional Practice Consultant from 2006 to date. She is an accredited mediator and supervisor with the College of Mediators, is a recognised mediator for the Legal Aid Agency and complies with all professional requirements of the Family Mediation Council. Jane regularly presents parenting workshops for the Separated Parents Information Programme and she is qualified to teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector at IQ Level 3. She regularly works as an At Court Mediator in the Family Court, Cambridge. Jane says:

“I got into mediation because, having worked as a barrister for many years and seen the huge financial and emotional impact suffered by my clients as a result of acrimonious litigation, I believed that there must be a better way to resolve family conflict than fighting it out in court.”

 

Wendy Wheatley Mediator

Specialises in: Family mediation, SEND mediation, Inheritance mediation, SPIP workshops

Wendy qualified as a solicitor in 1987 and worked primarily in areas of dispute resolution.  She has been employed by CFMS since 2005 achieving full recognition for All Issues Mediation from the Family Mediation Council in 2008.  Wendy has experience in mediating divorcing and separating couples and more recently she has been involved in mediating between parents and the local authority in the area of SEND work.  Wendy is a trained presenter and completed the Level 3 Award in Education and Training in 2014.  Wendy is an experienced presenter on the Separated Parents Information Programme and is also involved in delivering training and presentations for both marketing and information purposes. Wendy says:

“I like the feeling that people have somewhere to go where they are going to be listened to, and no one is going to take sides or judge them at such a difficult time in their lives. Mediation provides a gentler way forward when people are at rock bottom emotionally.”

 

Helen Casey Mediator

Specialises in: Family mediation, SPIP workshops

Helen has worked as a solicitor specialising in family law from 1993 to date. From 1993 to 1996 she set up and ran a Family Law Service at the Citizens Advice Bureau in Cambridge. She also lectured in law on the Institute of Legal Executives Programme from 1992 to 1995.  She has worked for CFMS as a family mediator from 1995 to date. She also works as Legal Consultant for the service. She is an accredited mediator with the College of Mediators and Resolution (formerly Solicitors’ Family Law Association). She regularly works as an At Court Mediator at the Family Court, Cambridge. She is an experienced presenter on the Separated Parents Information Programme. Helen says:

“In my work as a practicing solicitor I see on a daily basis the stress that clients face when they are going through separation and divorce. When they are able to face sitting in the same room as their ex, Mediation provides such a useful alternative to court proceedings in suitable cases.”

 

Ruth Collings Mediator

Specialises in: Family mediation, SPIP workshops

Ruth worked in business for 15 years and then trained as a family mediator in 2001. She obtained an MSc in Conflict Resolution from Birkbeck College, London in 2009. She has practiced in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and London. She joined CFMS in 2011 and is a highly valued member of the mediation team. She achieved a post-graduate certificate as a systemic practitioner at Anglia Ruskin University in 2014, and continues to pursue her studies in this field. Her academic and theoretical work has given her an enhanced understanding of the nature and resolution of disputes. She completed the Advanced Mediation course with National Family Mediation in 2014. She has regularly worked as an At Court Mediator in the Cambridge Family Court.  Ruth is also an experienced presenter on the Separated Parents Information Programme. Ruth says:

“I am fascinated with the way in which clients who are in deep conflict can be helped by the presence of an impartial mediator to put their own feelings on one side so that they can concentrate on talking about their children and finances. All the research shows that the more that parents can do to avoid conflict, the better their children will manage the break-up.”

 

Suzy Ashworth Mediator

Specialises in: Family mediation

Suzy studied law at Cambridge and at Oxford before qualifying as a solicitor, specialising in family law, in 2000. She started her professional career at a prominent City firm before moving to a Cambridge firm in 2003. Having moved away from practice in 2010, she subsequently ran a business working with barristers and solicitors, is a qualified coach and counsellor, and continues to work as an adjudicator and professional disciplinary panel member. Suzy trained in family mediation in Peterborough and became accredited by the Family Mediation Council in all issues mediation in 2013 before working for private practices in Huntingdon, Bedford and Cambridge. She has worked for CFMS as an employed family mediator since 2018. She is an accredited mediator with the College of Mediators, is a recognised mediator for the Legal Aid Agency and complies with all professional requirements of the Family Mediation Council.  Suzy says:

“Family mediation has the potential to provide a sense of progress and workable solutions that it simply is not always possible to achieve by going to court. I see it as my privilege to be in a position to assist people to make their own decisions in a constructive and respectful environment, through the most difficult of times.”