During the current Coronavirus situation, we are still open for business. If you would like to talk about how you could mediate via video conferencing (Skype, Zoom, etc.), or would like support with difficult relationships, managing children/teens, contact us on for more information, an informal chat or a listening ear

Meet the Team

Tracy Sheppard, CEO

Tracy Sheppard, CEO

I am passionate about supporting people to have a better family life through improved communication and understanding of each other to help resolve and prevent conflict. 

I have worked with families for around 20 years, supporting improved relationships between adults, parents and their children and other family members.  I have worked in the charity since its beginning in 2013, facilitating family mediation and work to help build better relationships. I am currently working towards accreditation with The Family Mediation Council; member of The College of Mediators.

I have 2 grown up children, and spend what little spare time I have walking, running and reading.

I am a Mediator who completed his foundation training in family mediation in 2017. I  have  been gaining valuable experience since then through the work we do at TalkFIRST.  I registered with the Family Mediation Council and became a member of the College of Mediators in 2018 and I am currently working towards accreditation. 

I have worked with children and young people in education and social services in various roles for 15 years prior to mediating. I really enjoy the variety of work that comes through our door at TalkFIRST and am finding that there is always something else to learn as a mediator to help people through what can be a difficult situation.

David Coghlin, Mediator

David Coghlin, Mediator/Trustee

Sholem Saltzman, Volunteer Mediator

Sholem Saltzman, Mediator

I joined TalkFIRST as a mediator in January 2019 having worked in a variety of settings, with children, as a Head Teacher, with vulnerable adults as Director of a Mental Health Hostel and am presently a Mental Health Act Manager sitting regularly on Managers Hearings, covering several health areas. I am a member of the College of Mediators and registered with the Family Mediation Council. I also work in the Orthodox Jewish Community as a Community Rabbinical Co-Ordinator and, a specialist mediator helping Jewish couples with the arrangements of the Jewish GET (Religious Divorce).

As part of the TalkFIRST team I am passionate about doing my utmost in helping whole families (partners, children, grandparents, etc), resolve issues, whether relationships, child contact or financial matters, to the best of their ability and possibilities. 

I am a qualified health and social care senior practitioner with over 2 decades of experiences in statutory (NHS & Local authorities) work and the same in the charity sector.

I have a passion for helping others. In my day job I am a Manager working in homelessness services and very much enjoy the work I do. In my spare time me and my husband like to go on holiday mainly city breaks Barcelona and Germany being our favourite places. I was born in Manchester and lived in Manchester all my life. I really enjoy swimming and that helps me keep healthy and well.

Dean Owens-Cooper, Chair of the Board of Trustees

Martine Delaney, Trustee

Martine Delaney

I am a Chartered Legal Executive and an accredited civil and commercial mediator.  After 20 years of representing clients in dispute I considered that encouraging my clients to seek a solution and be part of that process might reach a better outcome than a court decision.

As part of the mediation process disputing parties can drive a resolution that best suits them.  At the end of the day no one knows better than the parties in dispute what will work best for them and people are more inclined to work with a plan they have been a part of.  That applies at work and at home.  A happy and healthy home life is a vital foundation for all of us.

 I am really inspired by the dedicated mediation service that Tracy and her team provide at Talk First helping families come together to have those ‘not so easy’ conversations.  The results really do make a positive difference and often extend further than we might expect.  As a volunteer mediator with Talk First I have seen evidence of this for myself.

Sarah Alldred, Trustee

I’m Sarah Alldred, a new Trustee at TalkFIRST, and I wanted to become involved with this wonderfully ambitious charity due to my strong belief that mediation and conflict resolution processes are essential in maturely addressing conflict and unbalanced power relations that occur in all aspects of everyday life. TalkFIRST is also located in my brilliant hometown of Wigan, where I lived for my first 18 years.

My background is in peace research, doing a Masters and PhD in post conflict reconciliation processes, working at the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Peace Foundation with victims of political conflict, and for the past 10 years I’ve been working at the Co-operative College in Manchester with co-operatives as tools for social change in international development.

Sarah Alldred

Steve Powell, Trustee


I am an accountant and business adviser with over 30 years experience. I am a relatively new Trustee to the charity, but I have known Dave and Tracy for many years. I wanted to do something to use the skills that I have developed in my day job to support a charity and where better than TalkFIRST? I am really enjoying my time as a trustee and I love the work that the team do – it really is a wonderful organisation!

Christine Boydell, Administrator

I have been a part-time administrator at TalkFIRST since January 2018, and also work as a secretary within the NHS.  I have lots of administrative experience within children’s services and I have some previous admin experience with local charities.

I am very practical and methodical and try my best to organise Tracy, Dave and Sholem!  

I have two children, two stepchildren (all grown up) and a grandson.  I live with my partner, younger daughter and our two cats (who would benefit from mediation!) 

Christine Boydell

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