The cost of conflict in the community
Conflict at home – with neighbours, within the family or the wider community – can seriously affect people’s health and wellbeing.
Instead of a place of refuge, home can become a place of tension and unhappiness. In these circumstances, people commonly suffer sleep loss and other symptoms of stress, which in turn may impact on their physical health and their ability to function well in their wider lives.
Housing organisations spend much time and resources supporting tenants who are in dispute over:
- clash of lifestyles
- use of shared spaces
- boundaries and parking
- damage to property
- problem behaviour
- allegations of sexism, racism, homophobia
- other forms of intolerance.
Disputes can drag on and may impact on other neighbours too. They can lead to costly legal proceedings which often entrench, rather than resolve, bad feeling.
Calm Mediation offers a solution
Calm Mediation provides trained mediators to quickly and constructively address disputes involving neighbours, family members, young people, or groups of people – in fact in almost any situation where each side is willing to participate and an informal solution is possible.
As impartial third parties, our mediators enable people in conflict to have a structured conversation, allowing them to air concerns, build understanding and find ways of improving the situation. We use the facilitative model of mediation, helping clients to create their own workable, lasting solutions to problems.
Our service is cost-effective, flexible and responsive to the needs of clients.
How does community mediation work?
Calm Mediation’s office team receives case referrals, assigns suitable mediators and makes all practical arrangements for a two-stage mediation process:
Stage 1: Introductory meeting
Our accredited mediators, working in pairs, meet each client involved in the dispute separately, usually at the client’s home. They listen to what has been happening, find out how they would like things to be in future and, if the client agrees to proceed, help them to prepare for the mediation meeting. The meeting is confidential: the mediators will not share any information with the other client or with the referrer.
Stage 2: Mediation meeting
The clients come together with the mediators at a neutral venue. The mediators manage the meeting so that both clients’ concerns can be aired and better understood. They support clients to find ways of improving the situation that meet everyone’s needs. Points of agreement are noted, typed-up after the meeting and then returned to the clients.
We aim to arrange a stage two meeting within a couple of weeks of stage one, subject to everyone’s availability. Sometimes, with everyone’s agreement beforehand, both stages can take place on the same day.
The role of the mediators
The mediators help clients talk and listen to each other constructively, in a safe environment. They don’t judge the rights and wrongs of disputes, or provide opinions or advice. They are skilled in helping clients to look to the future and work out their own lasting solutions.
The agreement clearly records what each client has said they will do to improve the situation. It also covers how the clients will handle any future problems. The agreement is not a legal document; its success relies on the goodwill of the clients. It is confidential and will only be shared with other people if both sides agree.
We make contact with each client 12 weeks later to offer further support as necessary.
What does it cost?
Calm Mediation is a registered charity and not-for-profit organisation. Our pricing policy reflects our commitment to encouraging the use of mediation and restorative approaches. Our competitive prices aim to ensure that everyone who needs it can access community mediation.
Please contact us to discuss how we can meet your mediation needs.
Why use community mediation?
- It’s quick. Mediators are readily available and most disputes can be resolved within a two-stage process which can be completed in as little as half a day.
- It works – 94% of our mediation meetings end in an agreement.
- It’s low cost compared to legal methods.
- It saves money – it can save landlords time and money ‘firefighting’ disputes between tenants.
- It’s informal so there are no off-putting procedures.
- It can be used at an early stage of conflict before problems escalate and become entrenched.
- It puts people in control of their problems rather than handing control to the authorities.
- It enables those involved in a dispute to come up with practical solutions that are agreeable to both sides.
- It often clears up misunderstandings and resentments because it allows all participants to speak and to be heard.
- It allows people to rebuild relationships.
- Participants are more often satisfied at the end because it tends to produce win/win outcomes rather than win/lose outcomes that usually follow from formal procedures.
- It promotes cohesion because it is voluntary and participants are committed to finding a positive outcome.
- Participants gain useful insights from the process that they can use to better manage future conflict.