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.”