Mediation: bringing out the brighter side of our borough

June saw Wandsworth Mediation Service profiled in Brightside, the council magazine delivered to every home in the borough. The article, included below, explains the real impact of our work at the grassroots level:

We are the brighter borough…so let’s get better at resolving our disputes!

Local resident and QC Stephen Ruttle explains how he set up Wandsworth Mediation Service- a charity that helps members of the Wandsworth community resolve their differences.

“I have lived in Wandsworth for 35 years and am a true believer that local people are those best placed to transform their local community. This is one of the reasons I set up Wandsworth Mediation Service, a local charity, run by local volunteers, which supports the community to come together and resolve their differences.

Conflict is one thing that few of us like to admit to being involved in, yet its effect is caustic. From neighbours at war to parents at loggerheads with one another, we see the negative consequences of unresolved conflict for our local community.

Mediation is a safe place where people can come together, with an impartial third party, to hold a difficult conversation. From separated parents discussing childcare to neighbours negotiating noise curfews, the principle remains the same. Mediation provides a framework to discuss the conflict, to help understand each others point of view and to find a better ways forwards.

The beauty of mediation is that it does not tell people what to do but rather helps them to find their own solution to the issues affecting them. I think this is why it works so well.

Wandsworth Mediation Service was recently awarded a Big Society Fund grant from the council to take on more mediators. Find out more about the fund at www.wandsworth.gov.uk/wbsf.

Anna was struggling in a conflict with her neighbour, Ben, who lived in the flat below with his wife and children. They were locked into conflict, both accusing the other of unnecessary noise nuisance. When they tried to resolve it on the doorstep they found themselves embroiled in an argument.

Through mediation Anna and Ben could explain their perspective, understand how the other person had acted and communicate clearly.  Both left the session having apologised to each other. They agreed to chat regularly and to avoid making formal complaints. In contrast to the stress of the past few months both left feeling positive about the future.