A note from our Chair

Each year AMS takes on new volunteers who are keen to become mediator and help families and individual to resolve a range of conflicts. We provide our volunteers with the training they will need to be able to deliver mediation services to our clients. Mediation is a tried and tested process which requires particular steps to be taken in order to achieve conflict resolution, in what are often difficult and emotional circumstances. Our volunteers are trained to manage this process and to develop the interpersonal skills which enable them to be great listeners, empathetic and non- judgemental and impartial.

Our course is run by Anthony Hamlin who has over 20 years of mediation experience and is a registered member of the Civil Mediation Council and a member of the Canterbury Christchurch College Mediation Clinic Panel.

We spread our 5- day course over 3 weeks to enable participants flexibility to manage their normal weekly commitments. Each day starts at 10.00am and finishes at 4pm. This approach also allows time for maximum learning as new information and skills can be absorbed in bite sized chunks. There are lots of interesting case discussions in groups, role play practice (you can’t try in out on a client for the first time!!) and encouragement to share potential working dilemmas. You will also learn more about AMS and how we support and train our volunteer mediators on an ongoing basis and meet and question some of our existing volunteers, mediators to find out what its really like. At the end of the course you will receive a certificate for the achievement of Basic Skills Mediation Training.

The aims of the course are to:-

  • Provide an overview of the Theory and Principles of Mediation
  • Explore the dynamics of conflict and the impact of conflict styles
  • Understand the role of the mediator and of working in co-mediation
  • Have an understanding of the impact of interpersonal skills in the process of mediation
  • Develop knowledge, skills and confidence to work with parties in conflict where emotions have escalated.

As a mediator with AMS you should be prepared to take on at least 5 cases a year although there is opportunity take on many more. We ask for a commitment of 5 to ensure that you maintain a level of continuity in your skill application and development. A typical case may take 6-8 hours spread over a number of meetings with each party. Each case will start with a meeting between the mediators and each party separately, to enable the person/s to tell their story in their own words and to clarify what resolution they want and why it is important. During these meetings the mediators look for agreement from both parties to go to ‘ a round table meeting’. This is where both parties meet, in the same room prepared to discuss and agree a mutually acceptable way forward, the process of which is carefully managed by the mediators.

What is really interesting about mediation is that each case, however similar in issues i.e. conflict over noise, parking, anti-social behaviour, etc is unique because every person’s response to a situation and the options for resolution are different. As well as neighbourhood disputes you may be dealing with inter relational conflict between members of a family, community disputes, child access cases where parents want to avoid court intervention, and work place disputes. Whilst we are independent we do have strong relationships with Ashford Borough Council, The Police, Social Services and housing associations who will refer cases to us for resolution.  We also have many individuals who self-refer. This diversity in our service offers volunteers a truly interesting, challenging and rewarding opportunity to provide a valuable service to the Borough of Ashford.

Find out the dates for our next 5-day training courses