Tuesday, 2 February 2016

New project seeks volunteers to help resolve neighbourhood noise problems

A new project in Eastbourne is looking to recruit volunteers to help local residents who are having problems with neighbourhood noise. Developed by community mediation service Mediation Plus in conjunction with Eastbourne Borough Council and Eastbourne Homes, the new ‘Community Resolution Assessors’ will visit members of your local community who are experiencing low level anti-social behaviour - especially around environmental noise – in the Eastbourne Borough Council area, to help them understand the issues that they are experiencing and explore options for them to find a resolution.

Volunteers will go through a specially designed Open CollegeNetwork accredited training course delivered by Mediation Plus to provide the skills assessors will need to deliver this service to the local community. The training will equip all the participants with an understanding of how conflict situations can arise, the different avenues available to resolve these issues and when a case is appropriate to be referred to mediation.  These are transferable skills which will support the participants in other roles within their lives.

Once trained and accredited, assessors will meet with local residents who have been referred to the new service up to three times, and will receive on-going support from the Mediation Plus team in developing their new roles. 

Mediation Plus Service Manager Clive Gross said “This is the culmination of over a years’ work with the Borough Council and Eastbourne Homes to develop this new service and we are delighted to now be ready to train our first group of volunteers. Similar projects training volunteer community assessors to help local residents resolve anti-social behaviour issues have been run very successfully by other community mediation services – such as New Forest Mediation in Southampton – and we hope this new development for Eastbourne will prove equally successful.”

Funding for training and supporting the first group of Community Resolution Assessors has been provided by the Eastbourne Borough Council Community Grants scheme and the Eastbourne Community SafetyPartnership. The course will be run across three consecutive Saturdays starting on March 5th in a central Eastbourne location for up to 16 volunteers. 

Anyone interested in being among the first trained group of assessors should contact Joan Eades, Mediation Plus Training Manager on 01323 442781 or email Joan as soon as possible for further information and application form.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Mediation charity AGM celebrates successful year and Children in Need Support

Community mediation charity Mediation Plus celebrated the news that BBC Children in Need have agreed to fund their Time2Talk mediation service for young people for another three years at their Annual General Meeting held in Hailsham last week.

Presenting her report to the meeting, Chair of Trustees Barbara Molog said “This has been a successful year thanks to the dedication and continuing commitment of our office team, my fellow Trustees and our volunteer mediators who deliver our services all-year-round across Eastbourne, Wealden and Lewes. We all work closely to identify and develop new opportunities that support the principles and objectives that underpin the charity - such as the development of our new workplace mediation service – and helps make us more financially resilient.”

Service Manager Clive Gross added “When I joined Mediation Plus in 2011 at a point our service was suspended and with only a small reserve in our bank account to try to put in place a rescue plan, the prospect of presenting an annual report some four years later showing the service in such a positive position would have seemed unreal. We have achieved this by being able to adapt to changing circumstances, develop new services, build new relationships, and make sure our services stay relevant and appropriate to our local communities and funders.”

Growing from offering their initial neighbour mediation service in Eastbourne and Wealden, Mediation Plus now offer intergenerational, workplace, commercial, and health and social care mediation. Established in 2003, the Time2Talk intergenerational mediation service has helped hundreds of young people and their families living in Eastbourne, Wealden and Lewes over the last 12 years and, with the renewed funding support announced last week, secured the future of the service for another three years.

Time2Talk Service Manager Joan Eades commented “We are delighted that Children in Need have agreed to extend their support for our service once again. With so many other local services for young people being cut or under threat, having the knowledge that we will be able to keep operating until 2018 is fantastic news. Without their support there would be no service.”

Central to the success of the charity over recent years has been becoming an accredited training provider with Open College Network London, which has given the charity the opportunity to develop its successful in-house mediation training into a nationally recognised and accredited qualification. Apart from training its own volunteer mediators, Mediation Plus have delivered training courses for other mediation organisations, local agencies and community groups.

Their next training course for new volunteer mediators starts on Saturday January 16th and runs each Saturday until February 13th. There are still a limited number of places available on the course, so if you are interested in helping Mediation Plus continue to deliver and grow their services by becoming a mediator, call Joan Eades now on 01323 442781 or email her for an information pack.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Mediation Plus launch new service for workplace disputes

After over ten years helping residents of Eastbourne and Wealden resolve neighbour and family disputes, Hailsham based community mediation charity Mediation Plus is launching a new service to help resolve disputes in the workplace.

Supported by funding from the Big Lottery Awards4All programme, a group of the services mediators have just successfully completed their specialist training designed to enable them to help businesses and organisations of all kinds and sizes across the area. Mediation avoids the need for employers to go through lengthy and expensive grievance procedures and concentrates on building practical working relationships that can help people and the organisation going forward.

Service and Development Manager Clive Gross said "We spend a huge percentage of our lives in one kind of working environment or another. Most people would like work related conflicts resolved but sometimes they do not know how to, or they are unable to work through how to make the changes happen. Workplace mediation can resolve conflict quickly and in a safe environment. It is a completely confidential process which encourages people to talk openly and empowers those involved to own issues affecting them and avoids decisions being imposed."

Workplace mediation is now being widely used by businesses and organisations worldwide and can be equally effective in helping charitable and public sector organisations resolve disputes as well as commercial businesses. For the employer, workplace mediation can help to quickly restore healthy and positive working relationships, focus people on the future not the past and can take place at any time to try and resolve a workplace relationship issue.

Clive Gross added "This new service is a key part of our long-term aim of making mediation accessible to resolve all kinds of conflicts - not just the neighbour and intergenerational dispute services we are well known for. As a locally based charity, we are able to offer an affordable service to smaller local organisations as well as those larger employers who may already be aware of the benefits of mediation. By using Mediation Plus, they would also be helping us to sustain our community mediation service for those local residents who need it."

As part of the launch of their new service, Mediation Plus has secured a limited amount of funding to offer local charities or community groups in Eastbourne or Wealden a free dispute and conflict resolution service to help them deal with issues between staff, volunteers or trustees that may be affecting their ability to operate or deliver their services to beneficiaries. To qualify for the funded service, you must be a registered charity or constituted community group with an annual turnover of under £100,000 and referrals are subject to continued availability of funds.

If you are interested in finding out more about the new service, please visit the Mediation Plus website, phone us on 01323 442781 or send an email.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Mediation Plus helps launch Ugandan school mediation project

Mediation Plus – the community mediation service for Eastbourne and Wealden – are celebrating the successful launch of a school mediation project in Uganda following the training of the projects’ Executive Director last autumn.

Early last year Mediation Plus were approached by Geoff and Geraldine Booker, founders of the Quicken Trust - a small Hailsham based educational charity which began its work on the Kabbudu Development Project, Uganda in 2000 after a chance visit. They had secured funding from the 'Commonwealth Professional Fellowship' to support Enoch Kagoda, Executive Director of the project to come to the UK and attend training and also to promote their work.

Geraldine said “‘When we first visited, the villagers of Kabubbu had no clean water supply, no electricity and no access to education or health care. They lived in poverty and destitution, surviving on subsistence farming and casual work breaking stones in a quarry. This job was done by women. They were paid £2.50 a week. Many children had been left orphaned by AIDS or malaria. The villagers saw themselves as ‘The Forgotten People’."

Enoch was keen to learn about mediation as he could see the value of peer mediation groups within the school and also wanted to use the skills within his role as director of the project and also within his community. After a week shadowing the Mediation Plus management team, where he was able to gain more knowledge on setting up mediation programmes, he completed their accredited mediation training where he was one of 12 participants from a wide variety of professional backgrounds.

Enoch said of his experience “It was a privilege for me to be able to get that kind of training from the UK. The support and encouragement I received contributed greatly to me being able to complete the course. The course was informative, interactive and the class size was just optimum. I liked the way the facilitators handled the learning materials. They were also friendly as well. The skills passed on were appropriate and make a trainee be able to handle a mediation process.”

Since returning to Uganda in November, Enoch has already started to implement his new skills and started the Trust High School Peer Mediation programme, as well as using the skills in his daily work for the project. Following the successful launch, Mediation Plus will be welcoming school Headmaster Ben to Hailsham in May to undertake their next mediation training course and advance the use of mediation in Kabubbu even further.

Mediation Plus Training Manager Joan Eades said “We are delighted that we have been able to help develop and promote mediation in this exciting new way and that the skills we teach our volunteer mediators here are now being used to such good effect as far away as Uganda. The success of our training has been evident in the professional and confident way that our mediators provide our services locally, and we have always believed there were many more individuals and organisations that could benefit from this knowledge. We are really looking forward to welcoming Ben in May and developing our work with the Quicken Trust even further.”

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Mediation Plus triple service quality mark celebration

Eastbourne and Wealden community mediation service Mediation Plus is having a triple celebration after being awarded the Bronze, Silver and Gold "SQP" quality mark for their intergenerational mediation service Time2Talk by East Sussex young people's services network SPARK.
The "SQP" - or "Simple Quality Protects" - awards were made for demonstrating that Mediation Plus achieved a wide range of quality standards including safeguarding training, protecting confidentiality, a volunteer code of conduct and risk assessment. Mediation Plus were one of only two East Sussex organisations awarded all three levels of accreditation at the recent SPARK Awards at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill.
Service Manager Clive Gross said "Having a locally devised and run quality assurance mark specifically aimed at smaller charitable organisations that allows them to independently demonstrate the quality of their services without the prohibitive cost and administrational burdens of others such as ISO or Investors in People is a real boost for services like ours. Service users, local agencies and funders all quite rightly want to be sure that the voluntary sector organisations they work with have high professional standards, and SQP helps us to offer them that reassurance."
While the SQP mark was specifically aimed at the Time2Talk service for young people and their families, which is currently funded by BBC Children in Need, the accreditation process also helped to ensure that the other mediation services being offered by Mediation Plus were also up to the mark. 
Chair of Trustees Barbara Molog added "While we were confident we have always provided high quality services to our communities, going through this process with SPARK made us think through everything we do again and refresh our systems and procedures. We now have everything in one place so that we can better maintain our standards of service in the future, and will fully involve our Trustees, staff team and volunteers in ensuring we do."
The SQP Awards round off a successful year for Mediation Plus, with Barbara herself having already won the Wealden District Council "Trustee of the Year" award a few months ago and the organizations' recent AGM welcoming two new Trustees onto their Board. Barbara added "As with all small Charitable Organisations, there is a constant need to keep a tight reign on expenditure as well as trying to maintain and grow the services and activities we offer, and it is thanks to all the team in our Hailsham office and the dedication of over 50 volunteer mediators in the community that we have managed to achieve this for another year."
Photo: (L-R) Service Manager Clive Gross, Casework Administrator Catherine Lulham and Time2Talk Coordinator Joan Eades with Mediation Plus's Gold, Silver and Bronze SQP Award certificates.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Mediation Plus launches ‘Get to Go’ Communication Skills Workshops

Mediation Plus – the community mediation service for Eastbourne and Wealden - are launching a new series of one-day workshops to help people take a fresh look at their skills and how they communicate.

‘Get to Go’ is aimed at people over 19 who are currently unemployed or out of the workforce who are looking to get back into training, education, employment or volunteering in the Wealden and Eastbourne areas. 

The one-day workshops – funded through the European Social Fund and Skills Funding Agency Community Grants scheme - will be running in Crowborough, Eastbourne, Hailsham, Heathfield and Uckfield from late October. They have been specially designed to help improve the participants confidence and communication skills. 

The day will combine practical opportunities to take a fresh look at how to use current skills and interests to move to the next stage, and will conclude in January with a networking event with the chance to meet with local businesses, organisations and individuals who will talk about their experiences and how they might help.

Mediation Plus Service Manager Clive Gross said “This is a new departure for our organisation, but one that builds on our skills and experience as a specialist training provider as well as many years working in our local community, helping people to communicate clearly and build their confidence to speak up about issues they may have.”

Places are free and can be booked by emailing gettogo@mediation-plus.org.uk or calling 01323 442781. Workshop dates and venues are:
October 29th – Heathfield Community Centre 
November 5th – Hailsham East Community Centre
November 11th – Uckfield Civic Centre
November 17th - Leaf Hall Arts Centre, Eastbourne
November 24th – The Saffron Centre (3VA), Eastbourne
December 5th – Crowborough Community Centre

Any local businesses or organisations that would like to participate in the January networking event should contact Clive Gross at Mediation Plus on 01323 442781 or email info@mediation-plus.org.uk.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Trustee of the Year seeks new colleagues ahead of Mediation Plus AGM

Mediation Plus Chair of Trustees and Wealden District Council 'Trustee of the Year 2014' award winner Barbara Molog (pictured receiving her award from Cllr Brian Redman) is looking for new colleagues to join the Board of the community mediation charity at their forthcoming AGM in October.
The Hailsham based organisation has been providing mediation and conflict resolution services through their team of over 50 accredited volunteer mediators since 2006 - including their highly regarded Time2Talk intergenerational mediation service for young people which is supported by BBC Children in Need. The Board of Trustees plays a pivotal role in helping the three part-time management team and volunteers develop and deliver the service across Eastbourne, Wealden and Lewes and is made up of a mix of mediators and people from outside of the organisation with a wide variety of skills and backgrounds.
Barbara, who joined the Board of Mediation Plus in 2012 said "I have found the last two years very rewarding and have been delighted that we have been able to help keep Mediation Plus running through challenging times for the voluntary sector, while expanding new services such as delivering accredited mediation training to local communities. We now want to bring in some new Trustees with different backgrounds and experience to help us keep developing new ways to spread mediation and conflict resolution skills to more people."
Mediation Plus deals with referrals from local authorities, neighbourhood police teams, housing associations and social or children's services and would be especially interested to hear from prospective Trustees who work or have experience in these areas, as well as in business development, finance, marketing or legal services. Trustees meet six times a year and take specific interest in different parts of the service.
Barbara added "Having had a long career in education and training, it has been particularly pleasing that I have been able to get involved with Mediation Plus development as a training centre with the Open College Network and that we have been the first training organisation in the country to create an accredited Intergenerational Mediation qualification, which we have now delivered to other community mediation services such as Brighton and West Sussex."
Anyone interested in becoming a Trustee with Mediation Plus can find out more about them on their website or speak to their Service & Development Manager Clive Gross on 01323 442781.