Thursday, 31 October 2013

AGM marks successful year for Mediation Plus

Members of MediationPlus gathered last week at their Annual General Meeting in Hailsham to celebrate seven successful years as the community mediation service for Eastbourne and Wealden. After having come close to closure in early 2011 due to funding cuts, Chair of Trustees Barbara Molog presented the charity’s latest Annual Report which showed a year of continued progress in delivering mediation services across the area – including the Time 2 Talk service for young people and their families – and developing community based mediation training projects to spread mediation skills into new areas.

Presenting her report to the meeting, Barbara said “The past year has seen steadily growth in our activities while keeping a very tight reign on expenditure. Our success in renewing the funding of our Time2Talk service with BBC Children in Need has provided a key platform on which to develop that service over the next three years, while support from Wealden District Council, Eastbourne Borough Council, Wealden and Eastbourne Community Safety Partnerships, and other Parish and Town Councils has ensured we have been able to support the costs of an increased number of neighbour dispute referrals during the year.”

Barbara thanked retiring Trustees Pam Hart and David Hines for their work over the past 12 months and welcomes new Trustees Caroline Adcock and Wendy Shuttleworth who were elected at the meeting. The meeting also welcomed Sussex Police new Wealden District Commander Gary Pike to the new Mediation Plus Board as the service continues to develop close working relationships with their local Neighbourhood Policing Teams.

Delivering his report, Service and Development Manager Clive Gross highlighted the success of the two pilot community mediation training projects that have been delivered in 2013 and the recruitment of two cohorts of new accredited volunteer mediators to the service.

Special Guest Speaker Miriam Wilkinson from 3VA’s Speak-Up Forum then told the meeting about a new project looking to develop the use of Restorative Justice in Sussex and how mediators and mediation skills could be used to help deliver it. Clive Gross added “We are very excited to be part of this project as Restorative Justice is very close to our work in resolving disputes without the need for legal action. We hope it will become part of what we can offer the local community over the coming years in conjunction with our local partners.”

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

New Hailsham community mediators complete their training

A new group of community based mediators successfully completed their outreach mediation skills training course run by Mediation Plus at the Hailsham East Community Centre last week.

Supported by funding from the European Social Fund, Mediation Plus adapted their accreditedmediation course to meet the needs of learners from a wide range of backgrounds who would benefit from having these skills in their professional and working lives.

The group included a manager of a sheltered housing scheme, a under-graduate psychology student, a former residential social worker, a local family services worker, a local town counsellor and business advisor, and lone parents with young families all looking to use their new skills in both their personal and professional lives.

Joan Eades, Training Manager at Mediation Plus said “We have been developing how we offer mediation training in the wider community to people who would not be able to attend our regular volunteer training courses and have been delighted that we have been able to work with people from such diverse backgrounds on this course. Everyone supported and encouraged each other and brought their own unique perspectives to our training.”

The new mediators all completed the twelve week training and will now have the opportunity to work with members of our experienced mediation team taking on new cases across Wealden and Eastbourne to practice their skills and work to complete their full accreditation from the Open College Network.

Mediation Plus Service Manager Clive Gross commented “This is the second community based course we have run this year and there is clearly both the need and interest from many different areas to deliver more courses in the future. However, without the funding support from the European Social Fund, we would not have been able to create this opportunity, and we will need the continuing support of funders like these if we are to expand our programme.”

Mediation Plus would like to hear from other community and voluntary groups, front-line support organisations or individuals who think they could benefit from gaining mediation skills so they can look to develop further courses. Anyone interested should contact Joan Eades on 01323 442781 or contact us for an initial discussion.