Charity helpline celebrates national status with event

A pilot helpline based across Northumberland and Tyne and Wear, Support 4 Separated Parents (S4SP), has been identified as part of a national pilot commissioned by the government in a new package of support.

And to celebrate and showcase the work the helpline has been doing in the nine months since launched, an event sponsored by Gordon Brown Law Firm is planned for the start of 2015.

Separating couples will now be helped by a new £2m package of support aimed at avoiding expensive and confrontational courtroom battles.

S4SP has been working towards this goal since earlier this year, when it was set up to sign post parents to other services available that would help them avoid court – and the model is now being rolled out across the UK.

After the major changes to the Family Court in April this year and the recent announcement in November of a free mediation session for separating couples, the Government is announcing further initiatives to help people in the family and civil justice system.

A new package of support has been developed aimed at keeping disputes away from court and providing better support for those who do end up in court.

Justice Minister Simon Hughes said: “I am committed to making sure that when people separate that they do it in the best possible way.

“Too many people end up fighting expensive and confrontational court battles and I am determined that more people resolve their problems outside of the courts.”

This is music to the ears of all those at S4SP and now the event, which will happen on January 22 at The Baltic, will feature key exhibitors and speakers from the courts and supporting organisations such as mediators and citizens advice.

Jackie Norton, a mediator at Impact Family Services, is confirmed as a speaker at the morning conference and she aims to bring to life to the delegates the positive impact this route, as opposed to court, has upon a family in dispute.

Hazel Hedley, who heads up S4SP, said: “The event will celebrate us becoming part of a national initiative and pave the way for a healthy future for the helpline, which after months of hard work is exactly what we wanted. Huge thanks to Gordon Brown Law Firm for supporting the event, which will showcase lots of providers who are working together to take the strain off both families and courts in alleviating dispute when couples split.”

As well as a market place with exhibitors and a conference, which will have some exciting speakers, there will also be the chance to network.

For further information please contact S4SP at or by calling the helpline on 0333 2000722.