Family Mediation Charity Makes Successful Recovery

A local family mediation charity that opened nearly 40 years ago has made a successful recovery after falling into financial difficulties. The South East London Family Mediation Bureau (SELFMB) is based on North Street in Bromley and works with couples who are going through divorce proceedings.

The bureau is now celebrating after nearly having to close down in the wake of significant financial issues. Staff at the charity came to an agreement wherein they would receive their wages in arrears, and the move is being credited with helping the charity stay afloat.

The not-for-profit service was established in 1977 to give couples going through a separation an alternative to lengthy, costly and stressful court proceedings. The bureau became extremely popular in the area, eventually expanding to cover 600 referrals each year.

The organisation’s recovery has also been helped by changes to legislation in 2014 that allow more couples to access these free mediation services. Now only one of the separating parents needs to be eligible for legal aid; in the past, the parent who did not qualify would have had to pay for the service.

Mediators at SELFMB come from a range of backgrounds, such as academics, psychologists, family lawyers, social workers and child counsellors. More than 80 per cent of families who use the service come to a financial agreement with the help of the mediators.

Have you used the services of SELFMB mediators? Did they help you to come to a successful agreement?

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