COVID 19 - Ashford Mediation Service is here to help

COVID 19 – Ashford Mediation Service is here to help

The Ashford Mediation Service is a registered charity that provides free confidential and impartial mediation services to the residents of the Borough of Ashford who are experiencing conflict with others.

We help people who are in dispute with their neighbours over noise, parking disputes, boundary disputes, general harassment, and anti social and abusive behaviour.

We also provide mediation services between parents and their children (over 7 years of age), between relatives, and for child access disputes.

During these uncertain times, we know that your life does not ‘stop’ just because we face an unpredictable virus and our government has firmly requested that we stay at home where possible and  practice social distancing when we are out and about.

The Ashford Mediation Service remains open and available to help you with any conflicts that you may be experiencing.

Normally in mediation, we would work with both parties in conflict in a face-to-face manner, using two of our mediators to help both parties come to a mutually satisfying outcome and agreement.

However, with COVID 19, we are following government guidelines for the health and safety of our mediators and our clients, so at this time, although we are not offering face-to-face meetings, we can offer you some helpful alternatives.

Contact us  Monday-Thursday from 09.30-14.30 via mobile: 07845 914838 ) or by email : info@ashfordmediation.co.uk and one of our team will get back to you within 24 hours to find out what problems you’re experiencing.

Given the information you share with us, we can offer the following:

  1. We can have our trained mediators’ contact you by your preferred method to discuss your issues and to offer some guidance and helpful hints on how you, as an individual, might be able to resolve the situation yourself.
  2. We can have our trained mediators contact you by your preferred method and we can also get another mediator to contact the other party with whom you are in dispute, to offer initially, individual consultations over the phone, Skype or by FaceTime. Depending on the outcome of these initial consultations and if both parties agree, we might suggest a group Skype meeting to further discussions. Of course, face-to-face meetings are preferable, but much can be accomplished through facilitated conversations. If a group Skype meeting is not suitable for any reason we can schedule this when CV19 restrictions are lifted and we can resume normal face-to-face facilitated mediation sessions.
  3. We can also offer a ‘Keep In Touch’ Service whereby if you prefer a face-to-face meeting when the travel restrictions and social distancing restrictions are lifted, we can tentatively schedule this in, for say three-month’s time, but in the meantime, we can have a trained mediator offer a ‘listening’ ear and some coping mechanisms on a weekly basis through a call or a Skype if that’s more suitable.

We know that life goes on despite this unprecedented set of circumstances that we find ourselves in.

We want you to know that we are here to help you through these difficult times.

Ashford Civic Centre Drop-In

Drop in and see us at the Ashford Civic Centre in Room 2 next to Reception. Click here to see when our next drop-in is.

Community Disputes

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Family Disputes

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Workplace Disputes

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Keep Ashford Talking

Ashford Mediation Service has recently launched a new initiative to ‘Keep Ashford  Talking’ because we believe that a community that opens up the channels of communication between one another, will be able to better address the difficult issues that face us all.

‘Keep Ashford Talking’ is spearheaded by  the Ashford Mediation Service (AMS), but we partner with the Kent Police, Ashford Borough Council (Housing and Social Services), Restorative Justice, the National Centre for Voluntary Organisations, Citizens Advice and many, many more local organisations, all designed to work with individuals and community groups to create a more harmonious living environment for all who work and live in the borough and beyond.

AMS already provides a free mediation service to residents who require assistance with neighbourhood disputes, child access issues, issues between family members and workplace disagreements. Often, in our mediation work, we find that people require other assistance and with our new initiative, we can signpost people to the right place at the right time.

In this digital age where much communication is done online and through social media platforms, we can still see the real value of actually having an old-fashioned conversation with one another to ‘work things out’. Online and social media platforms can be very useful, but there is something very special about listening to another point of view and together, working to solve problems that in the long-term, will ensure our safety and our happiness.

We want the community to take this opportunity to join us in talking things through.

If you represent a local organisation that can help facilitate the conversation or additional services please get in touch.

If you’re an individual who is facing personal challenges with others, we can help you do this in a neutral place and our partners are available to assist you with any further requirements.

What is Mediation?

Mediation is a way of helping people to talk to one another about the problem they are experiencing. Each party is seen separately for the first meeting. We listen to each side’s story and we work with both parties to understand what the important issues are for them and what they want to happen with regards to the dispute.

Then we work with you and the other party to reach a solution in a way that is agreeable to both parties. Our mediators are professionally trained, recruited from the local community and most importantly, are impartial.

The agreements reached by our mediation service are voluntary and not enforceable by law.

The Mediation Process

 Step 1

Sometimes the local authority or the police will refer you to us if the dispute comes to their attention. Otherwise, you can contact us on 01233 896 237. While every case is different, it generally takes three to six sessions to resolve a dispute. These sessions can last for about an hour each.

 Step 2

One of the two mediators assigned to your case will contact you to arrange to meet you at your home or at another location agreeable to you. If possible, we will also meet with the other people involved in the dispute.

 Step 3

If everyone agrees, we will arrange a safe, neutral place for as all to meet at a time convenient to all.

 Step 4

At the round table meeting, both parties will have the chance to speak without interruption. We make sure that anger is safely contained. We help you to find a solution that everyone can accept. The agreement made is yours-we just help you to reach it. The agreement is signed by all those present (although it is not legally binding). In rare cases where a round table meeting is not an option it may be possible to use ‘shuttle mediation’. That is where each party is physically separate and the mediator “shuttles” back and forth between them to discuss the issues at hand.

 Step 5

We contact you after an agreed period to see if things are working out as planned or whether we can help you with anything else.

How we can help

Services include Neighbourhood Mediation, Community Mediation, Family Mediation, Parent / Child Disputes, Conflict in Schools, and Peer Mediation…

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Get in touch

 

You can enquire about appointments for any of our services using the email form below.