Community / neighbour mediation covers disputes between neighbours and also larger conflicts between groups in the community. It can help with issues including noise, children’s behaviour, gardens and boundary disputes, animals, car parking, abusive or threatening behaviour, lifestyle clashes, damage to property, racism and harassment.
Mediation is a process in which two or more parties in conflict are brought together by an impartial mediator. The parties decide the terms of any agreement made. Mediation is :-
• a voluntary process
• a way to enable everyone to be heard
• a process for parties to feel supported in finding a way forward
• quicker and cheaper than legal processes
• more effective than hoping the problem will go away
• usually free to participants, depending on the funding of individual services
Usually mediators will talk with each party separately to discuss the issues. Then if appropriate and parties are willing, mediators arrange a joint meeting. This will take place at a neutral venue within easy reach for all parties.
Referrals to community mediation services can come from the parties themselves or from professionals on their behalf.
Some community mediation services can also help with larger-scale community conflicts, such as whole blocks of flats, or inter-group conflicts.
For such conflicts they may use teams of mediators.