Meet the Team

Tracy Sheppard, Manager & Mediator

Tracy Sheppard, Manager & Mediator

Hi, I’m Tracy, Founder of TalkFIRST.

I have always been passionate about supporting family life through improved communication and the understanding of each other to help resolve and prevent conflict.

I facilitate family mediation and work to help build better relationships. I am accredited 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.

David Coghlin, BBR Project Co-ordinator

I  have  been a mediator with TalkFirst for the last 5 years and as such have gained some great experience in helping people resolve some difficult issues. 

The Building Better Relationships project is based on some of these mediation skills as well as drawing from the Solihull approach. I’m enjoying being given the challenge of developing this new service and working with volunteers to see if we can actually make a difference.

I really enjoy the variety of work that comes through our door a TalkFIRST and I find that there is always something else to learn to help people through what can be a difficult situation

David Coghlin, Mediator
Martine Delaney, Trustee

Martine Delaney, Trustee (Chair)

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.

Shirley Maddocks, BBR Worker

Hi, I’m Shirley,

I’m the newest member and I’m excited to have been given the opportunity to be a part of a growing team who’s mission is to build better relationships within the community and support families through the form of communication.

I have an extensive background in the public sector and helping and supporting people to be the best version of themselves is always at the forefront of my mind.


I’m currently a student in person centred counselling and a volunteer for my local community.

I have a son who I adore spending time with.


In my spare time I love getting outdoors hiking mountains, mindfulness, gym, yoga, cycling and audio books.

Laura Horton, Volunteer Mentor

Hi, I’m Laura,

I love working with others and sharing my experiences. I don’t like stereotypes and treat everyone with the same level of respect no matter what background they are from. 

Throughout volunteering with TalkFIRST I feel like I have gained valuable experience.

Recommended film – Mr Rogers, Tom Hanks.

I love K Pop and spending quality time with my 2 children. 

Joe Shaw, Trustee

Hi, I’m Joe 🙂 

I wanted to become involved with the charity as I am very passionate about improving outcomes for other people, especially young people who have faced challenges, and saw a great opportunity to grow my own skillset too!

Although I’m still at the beginning of my career, I do have a lot of experience in a few areas, for example day to day I work for a Local Authority as a finance officer, and I am studying towards becoming an accountant alongside working as a young people’s participation officer for another charity, and I volunteer where I can to support children’s services. 

In my spare time I like to go to the gym and keep myself relatively fit and healthy as well as a bit of PC gaming, or watching about anything tech or finance related. 

I love a good chat and a coffee too!

Joe Shaw Trustee

Emma Klieve, Trustee

I joined the board as a Trustee in February 2020 after working within the legal industry for several years.

I am currently working as a Private Client Paralegal with a view to commencing my training contract in September 2021. I graduated with a 2:1 degree in Law (LLB) from the University of Liverpool in 2013 and completed the LPC LLM in 2018 at the University of Law, Chester, with a distinction, studying an elective in Family Law and Practice.

Family is the cornerstone for many and the importance of healthy relationships is well established. Due to my background, I know that mediation can help repair those relationships and allow the parties to move forward. My experience allows me to bring a different perspective to the board. 

Brian Rees, Trustee

I am a retired Bank Manager with over 40 years experience primarily working with SME’s and Charities. I am currently a Trustee with Age UK and am delighted to be able to work as a Trustee supporting local charities. I see the real value that mediation can add in resolving family disputes particularly if it avoids the costly and challenging legal system. I believe that supporting and improving family life can only benefit us all

Shirley Martland, Trustee

I am a Chartered Management Accountant and over the last 25 years have been working for the NHS. During this time I have been responsible for the administration and management of a number of NHS charities and I am keen to utilise my skills supporting a local charity.

I believe that good communication is the key to all relationships. Unfortunately when communication breaks down so does the relationship. Having been in situations in the past where the support offered by TalkFIRST would have been invaluable, I am passionate about the services that are being offered and I am keen to support the charity with my skills and knowledge of charity finance. 

Chantelle Prescott, Social Work Student

Chantelle  is a Social Work student at Salford Uni in her 2nd year of studying for a BSc Social Work and is with TalkFIRST to gain experience in the field of working with families.

Wise words “in the middle of difficulty lies opportunity” – Albert Einstein 

Damon Musgrove, Trustee

I am a national bid writer for a Sports Trust and I’m currently in the process of writing my first book to be published next year.

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 administrator experience with local charities.

I am very practical and methodical and try my best to organise the team!

I have two children, two stepchildren (all grown up) and a grandson.  

Christine Boydell, Administrator

Tamara Durmaz, Social Work Student

I am Tamara and I am a student at Salford university studying my BSC in social work and I am in my 2nd year in university. 

 

“The purpose of our lives is to be happy”

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