Big Lottery funding secured to help communities use mediation in North Kirklees

Yorkshire Mediation have successfully secured funding for a community led mediation project to be offered in Mirfield and Ravensthorpe. The charity will train local Mediation Champions to enable them to help local people find alternative ways to resolve conflict.

West Yorkshire based charity, Yorkshire Mediation, have been assisting people in dispute for over 25 years. Mediation helps people discuss their concerns and find agreeable ways to move forward whilst being supported by a trained, impartial mediator, who ensure that people feel heard and can talk to each other in a calm, positive and structured manner to reach a way forward together.

Stella Steele of Yorkshire Mediation said ‘We would like to hear from local community groups and anyone interested in being trained in mediation techniques to become our Mediation Champions. Mediation is a proven, successful way to resolve problems before having to involve police or local authorities. We are very proud to be supported by the Big Lottery for our project in Mirfield and Ravensthorpe and look forward to working closely with local people to create better community relations’

Kirklees is ranked as the 67th most deprived district of 354 districts in England and in a recent PCC survey it was found that Mirfield and the surrounding areas have the lowest level of confidence and satisfaction in the area that they live, compared to other areas in Kirklees. The 2017 Kirklees Community Safety Partnerships reported a score of only 39% in relation to people’s perceptions of ‘pulling together to improve local areas’.  It is hoped that by providing the tools to empower local communities to work together to resolve their issues, both within their own and neighbouring areas, that improvements will be felt by local residents.

In Kirklees there were 11,375 reported incidents of anti-social behaviour in 2014/2015 and 76% of these categorised as ‘nuisance’ which were ‘incidents that cause annoyance and suffering to local communities’. Many of these incidents were classified as youth related, neighbour related and a high number of these related to domestic noise and barking dogs. Problems and unhappiness tend to build and escalate and people find themselves with no option but to contact police, local council, housing officers and even take out civil court proceedings in attempts to resolve problems.

Yorkshire Mediation hopes that the pilot project will help people resolve issues without the need for official intervention, create more opportunities for improving community cohesion and reduce the number of problems which, if left unresolved, can escalate into crime.

Stella added ‘The benefit of impartial mediation is that the outcome is completely dictated by the parties, there is no direction or agreements forced onto one or other party.  Compare this to involvement by local authorities or police who may have to make a decision and enforce it in favour of one or other party which does not resolve any underlying issues or tackle the root cause of the problem. Mediation builds bridges, mends relationships, breaks down barriers and allows people to see things from both sides whilst empowering them to find their own acceptable way forward. Enforcement simply delivers a decision to which parties must adhere, whether they agree with it or not.’

For more information about the project and how to get involved please contact Stella at Yorkshire Mediation on 0113 2424110 or email info@yorkshiremediation.org