Community Mediation Services

Smile provides a wide range of mediation services. Our Community mediation helps neighbours and others within communities who are in dispute to resolve their issues in a structured and positive way. The process of mediation begins with the initial phone call to you. We will arrange an appointment for our mediators to speak to you either virtually (by Zoom or Teams) or over the telephone and they will explore all options that are available. Our mediators are experts in helping you find solutions to your issues and, through the structured process of mediation, will work with you and your neighbour (or other community member) so you can reach a solution that is fair to all parties and one that you have chosen. This keeps the solution in your hands, rather than having one imposed upon you by other agencies which may not result in an outcome you are happy with.

Case Study – Noise

Caroline contacted her housing provider to explain that she was at the end of her tether with the noise from her neighbour (Peter) next door who had moved in a few months ago. Caroline told her Housing Officer that the noise started early in the morning and went on until after 8pm which kept her children awake.

Caroline was sure that Peter was making all this noise purposely to annoy her and she said that it was working. She explained that she had tried communicating by banging on the wall and that she had recently been to Peter’s house but he refused to come to the door to talk her her. Caroline was very upset and crying and she said that this had been going on for months and she didn’t feel that anything would change.

Caroline and Peter both agreed to try mediation and following the each speaking to the mediators separately, they agreed to move forward to a joint meeting. Peter requested that this take place virtually by Zoom and Caroline accepted the request.

During the joint meeting the key issues identified were:

  • Noise from Peter, which he explained was from contractors completing major works on his house. Caroline said that her husband works late into the evening and the early noise meant that he was unable to sleep past 8:30am. She also explained that her children go to bed at 7pm but that they couldn’t settle due to the noise.
  • Peter feeling unsafe, he explained that Caroline had been aorund to his house shouting and banging loudly on the door and that he had been afraid to answer it. He explained that this was the reason he requested a virtual meeting.

Solutions agreed were:

  • Peter will speak to the contractors to obtain a date that the work will be finished and let Caroline know this date within 4 days.
  • Caroline will let Peter know when her husband will be working late a week in advance. She will do this by text message (the parties agreed to exchange numbers).
  • Peter will ask the contractors to start work at 11am on the days following Caroline’s husbands late shifts.
  • Peter will tell the contractors that they must finish work on school nights at 7pm to ensure that Carolines children can settle for the night.
  • Caroline will send Peter a text message if there are any issues rather than bang on the wall or go around to his house.
  • They both agreed to speak to each other if there are any issues rather than approach the landlord in the future.

Two weeks after the meeting, Smile’s Mediation Coordinator contacted both parties for an update on the situation. Both parties confirmed that things were much better. Caroline explained that it was still noisy during the day but she had a date now that the noise was likely to end, her husband could sleep following his late shifts and the children were able to settle for the night on school nights.

After 6 months, Smile contacted the Housing Officer that had referred the case to check whether there had been further issues. The case had remained closed to them and they had no further contact from Caroline or Peter in relation to the dispute.