In June 2020, the service went through a transformative change by combining its work with that of the Norfolk Family Mediation Service and the Cambridge Family Mediation Service and establishing The Family Mediation Trust.
The first COVID-19 lockdown began six weeks before the start of the financial year and set the trend for many of the management decisions for the year ahead. One of the biggest impacts from COVID-19 has been the reduction in mediation services and in the number of local legal aid contract holders for family mediation.
In September 2020 the Peterborough and District Family Mediation Service decided that it would close its doors for the last time. As a fellow charity-based mediation service, the Trust was approached to work with them to help support existing clients and to act as a referral point for new clients. TFMT has expanded delivery into the Peterborough area to ensure that a local legal aid provider is available there. In January 2021, Essex Mediation gave up the delivery of legal aid mediation across North Essex and South Suffolk. Following discussions with Essex Mediation the Trust expanded its delivery into Essex and Suffolk.
The year has concluded with the service seeing an increase in clients being worked with and in the number of clients accessing legal aid. This position was matched with the Trust being able to also secure a surplus in funds to ensure it is in a more resilient position for the future.