In 2015, the Ministry of Justice setup the Voice of the Child Task Force which concluded the need for “an authoritative website and online tools developed in collaboration with young people… for all children and young people at all stages of their parental separation journey”. We are answering this call.
Lots of Content Age appropriate content for 13-19 year olds on what is going on, ways in which they can share their voice and support for their health and wellbeing.
Interactive Support: Friendly discussion boards with peer and expert support from our moderators and Service Partners. Directory of local youth organisations to find someone to talk to nearby.
Useful Resources: Guides for parents and family law & mediation organisations on supporting children and young people in the middle of divorce & separation.
Martin Desborough (Project Manager)
CEO of The Family Initiative and previous Head of Operations at the Family Matters Institute. Has developed and led national services for families and young people, including being funded by Government to run innovation projects that have supported over 2.5 million families during parental separation and relationship breakdown. Holds Safeguarding Children, PRINCE2 Project Management Practitoner and Executive MBA qualifications.
Helen Pittard (Family Law and Mediation)
A trustee of The Family Initiative and Head of Family Law at 174 Law. Pioneering force behind the development of alternative resolution of family disputes being one of the first to secure Public Funding for provision of Mediation services in Merseyside and the north west allowing clients to maintain dignity and respect throughout the separation process finding the most creative and tailored cost effective solutions at all times and ensuring Parents maintain focus upon a continuing long term relationship and improved communication.
Richard Harpham (Young People)
Richard Harpham is the co-founder of Inspired Life, which provides experiential learning to young people and communities through tailored programmes, inspirational role models and team challenges. He has an MBA from Cranfield and has developed and run school-based health and wellbeing programmes for young people over the past 6 years. He is also an outdoor and professional instructor, providing programmes for the Princes Trust, Scouts, Duke of Edinburgh, YMCA and lots of schools.
Ashley Kenlock (Young People)
Ashley Kenlock is a Director of Canoe Trail, running programmes for young people including Duke of Edinburgh, Princes Trust and lots of schools. She holds lots of youth qualifications including Youth Mental Health First Aid, SMILE Mentor Training and has volunteered with the Samaritans for several years. Ashley was a facilitator for Inspired Life and has worked in charity sector for the past 5-6 years.
Duncan Fisher OBE (Sector Engagement)
Founder of the Voices in the Middle campaign, Duncan has worked for over 11 years to see this project come to life. Previously co-founded organisations such as The Travel Foundation and the Fatherhood Institute, being awarded an OBE for services to children. Now focused on sector engagement including corporate and foundation fundraising with family law and mediation organisations.
James Marsh (Content Editor)
James Marsh is the founder of B3 Creative, a consultancy which specialises in communicating with children and youth, and their families/carers. Clients include government, local government, TV companies, film companies, FMCG manufacturers, airlines, train companies, and more. He has worked in children’s media for 20 years – including stints as editor of Young Telegraph, Meg@ and Disney’s Big Time, and as a writer on The Funday Times and The Telegraph’s teenage T2 section. James is also the author of four children’s books.
Lauren Jarvis (Content Editor)
Lauren is Editorial Director of DAD.info (Europe’s biggest website for fathers) and Contributing Editor for Breathe (the bimonthly women’s lifestyle magazine). With over 20 years of publishing experience, she is the former Editorial Director of the UK edition of National Geographic Kids (the world’s biggest magazine for children) and she was also Editorial Director at leading UK publisher, Attic Futura (later Attic Media), overseeing the company’s youth portfolio, which included Sugar, 16, Kraze Club, KiCK!, Girlfriends, Star Hits, K Club and the BBC’s Merlin magazine. She has also been a contributing editor on Bliss and More magazines.
Lauren is also a Director of two youth mentoring organisations, Inspired Life and YOUYOU, and Chief Editor of Children’s Eyes On Earth, an international organisation which aims to raise awareness of environmental and humanitarian issues among young people through the use of photography.
Our Steering Groups
Young People’s Steering Group
We have a Young People’s Steering Group of 15-19 year olds, that provide on-going co-creation, feedback and input into the project. This group is led by our trained youth workers, Richard and Ashley.
Chaired by Helen, our Family Law and Mediation Steering Group ensures the project remains connected to and recieves feedback and input from the sector.
Voices in the Middle is a project run by The Family Initiative, charity No.1170660.
We also have an FAQ in our blog post.