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Community Mediation

What is Community Mediation?

It is common for conflict to arise in the community between neighbours due to issues such as noise nuisance, anti-social behavior, parking or boundary disputes, misunderstandings and breakdowns in communication.

Community groups can also experience conflict and challenges that are difficult to overcome.

Community Mediation is a powerful tool that offers an opportunity for people to resolve disputes through managed communication.

Neutral, qualified and experienced mediators, listen and help people to hear one another dealing with the needs of each individual.

The mediators enable people to make a point or ask a question in a safe environment.

By mutual consent an agreement can be reached that can also pave a way to improved future communication.

How Does Community Mediation Work?

Mediation is an informal and voluntary process, in which all conversations remain confidential.  Any information shared is by mutual consent and those who agree to take part in mediation determine the content and outcome.

The process


  • An individual or an organisation can approach a mediation service.  A mediator will talk in confidence to you, discussing expectations and suitability of mediation.
  • Community mediation services then send a referral form to collect contact details, practical information and a brief overview of the dispute.


  • Once referral form is received, a mediator will hold a confidential telephone conversation with each party to answer any questions and explain the mediation process.  They will also agree a suitable date and time for the mediation to take place.
  • All those agreeing to take part in mediation will need sign an ‘Agreement to Mediate’ letter/ form, which confirms their understanding of the process.


  • On the agreed day, a confidential initial meeting with each individual will take place, lasting around 1 hour.  The mediators may come to your address, or this may be held in a suitable and accessible venue.
  • A joint meeting with all parties will then be conducted on the same day, in a neutral venue agreeable to all parties.  This is facilitated and managed by the mediator(s), allowing up to 4 hours, with breaks.  
  • A successful mediation results in an agreement or action plan that each party helps to construct.
  • If conducted online, the mediation may be conducted through shorter meetings over a number of days.

Follow up

  • The mediator(s) will follow up after the meeting to monitor progress and support individuals with their agreement.    

What can I expect from the mediator?

Community mediators often work in pairs as co-mediators. Mediators are impartial and there to listen to and support all those in dispute to hear one another and feel heard.

The mediator(s) will not take sides or tell you what to do, nor will they come up with a solution, rather they are there to facilitate constructive conversation in an environment which feels safe and comfortable.

What will the mediator expect from me?

The mediators ask that you communicate in a respectful way. This means how you would like to be spoken and listened to. It is helpful if parties are open to hearing each others’ perspective.

Community Mediation Success Story

Mr and Mrs Smith* had been living in their flat for over 20 years.   Both had health issues and Mr Smith was wheelchair-bound and experienced mental health issues. When Mr Jones* moved in above, the neighbourly relationship was pleasant. Mr Jones was a young man and this was his first independent home.  He’d previously been living with his mum, who was also his carer due to his social and communication difficulties.  The neighbours shared a garden gate, which would on occasion be slammed shut, or caught by the wind if not locked throughout the night.  Mr and Mrs Smith had tried to speak with Mr Jones about how this disturbed their sleep, who had responded with an apology, but latterly with anger and abuse.  A heated argument ensued.

The mediators met with both parties to listen to them and understand how the situation was affecting them as well as how they would like things to be.  Both were extremely frustrated and upset with one another, however, both indicated that they would like to find a resolution so that they no longer argued and so that they could feel relaxed and safe in their homes.

When the parties came together, both parties took the opportunity to explain to the other how they saw the situation and how it was affecting them.  The mediators facilitated this discussion, inviting both not to interrupt one another at the beginning in order that they have an equal opportunity to feel heard.  The mediators then enabled the parties to talk to one another and through this discussion, the parties understood the difference in one another’s lifestyles as well as the impact they were having on one another.  This open conversation lead to an apology on both parts and an agreement that included a practical solution around the gate and offers of support to one another going forward.

All parties were clearly relieved and heartened by the discussion and agreement which also gave them hope for a better way to communicate in future should other issues arise.

*names have been changed

Community Mediation FAQs

Will I have to pay for Community Mediation?

Some community mediation services charge a small fee and others have funding which means the service is free.  Housing Associations will often have access to a mediation service, which means that as a tenant you may be able to access the service for free.

How long does mediation take?

Once the referral is received most services can arrange the mediation as soon as all parties are available and a suitable venue can be found.  Mediation in person normally takes place all in one day.  You will have up to one hour in a private meeting with the mediator(s), before coming together for joint meeting which usually lasts between 2-4 hours.  Plenty of time is allowed, so that people do not feel rushed, to cover all important issues and come away with a realistic and mutual agreement, this time also allows for breaks as needed.

Do I have to meet with them face to face?

Mediation works best when people are able to come together in the same room to have a discussion.  It is possible for mediation to be conducted online and this can be arranged as long as you have access to a suitable device, such as a computer or tablet.  It may be that the mediation is arranged as a hybrid, with individual meetings with the mediator(s) online and the joint meeting in person at a suitable venue.  During the joint meetings, anyone including the mediator(s) can suggest a break and the mediators can check in with you privately in another room.

Some services offer Shuttle Mediation, in which the mediator goes between the parties, relaying the issues and suggested agreement points until an agreement can be reached.

Do I have to come on my own to mediation?

It is possible to arrange a ‘silent’ supporter to be with you during the mediation.  This would need to be agreed by all parties in advance.  This person cannot speak on your behalf and will need to sign a confidentiality agreement too.

How is mediation confidential?

Everything you speak about with the mediator(s) in private remains confidential, it is your choice what you share in the joint meeting.  The content of the discussion in the joint meetings remains confidential between the parties and the mediators unless anything is agreed to be shared with a third party.  Any agreement made is shared with the permission of the parties.  There are exceptions to confidentiality which include risk of harm, and services can give you more information about this.

What happens if my neighbour does not keep to our agreement?

In the first instance most agreements will include a section on what you both agree to do should there be any future issues and these should be addressed in accordance with what you have agreed.  The mediator(s) will also follow up with you after the mediation to see how things are going and help you to think about options if there are any difficulties going forward.  Mediation is sometimes not successful, in this instance, you have the option to make a formal complaint through appropriate authorities.

Find a Mediator

Welcome to the Civil Mediation Council’s search facility where you can find professional mediators. All mediators listed here have completed recognised training courses, abide by a recognised Code of Practice, are appropriately insured, undertake annual continuous professional development and offer access to a complaints service if necessary, and so will provide you with an assured dispute resolution service.