Noise, harassment, anti-social or abusive behaviour, boundary and property problems can all lead to disputes between neighbours.
If communication between people breaks down bad feeling can often escalate, creating even greater problems. People who find themselves in such conflicts often spend time and money seeking legal advice and going through the court system but, according to a West Kent charity, there is a more effective approach.
West Kent Mediation CEO Amanda Bell says “We offer a free, confidential, impartial mediation service to all those trying to cope with neighbourhood problems, across the West Kent Area, and a specialised service to help better communication between parents and their teenage children.
Over the last 20 years we have helped thousands of troubled people resolve problems through the mediation process. For many a dispute can take over their lives. This can lead to depression and anxiety and a complete loss to know what to do next.
We have an excellent success rate and if all those involved in mediation want it to work then life can be made a lot easier”.
West Kent Mediation was founded in 1996, following the recommendation from the Department of the Environment to local authorities recommending the provision of mediation to help resolve community disputes.
Initial funding was provided by Sevenoaks District Council and West Kent Housing Association, with further contributions from West Kent Tenants Association, West Kent Police and some Parish Councils throughout the Sevenoaks District Council area.
In 1999, WKM expanded its area of operations to cover all of West Kent, thanks to funding from Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council.