Newsletter – February 2019

Everyone is invited to send in any relevant news, articles etc that you think would be good to share in the newsletter, please email

Social Evening in Godalming & Update on Planned Future Events

We are currently finalising dates for mediator talks and social evenings to take place over the next few months.  Our plan for this is to organise these events to take place by rotation in different areas.  These will open to anyone who is happy to travel, and by rotating the locations we hope that everyone will have a chance to attend at least some. 

There is a mediator talk and social evening taking place on 12 February 2020 from 7:00pm-9:00pm at The Star, 17 Church Street, Godalming GU7 1EL in the Garden Room.  Tea and coffee will be provided and Dave Walker of Southwark Mediation Centre will be giving us a talk entitled ‘Let’s Talk About Conflict.’

If you would like to attend pls rsvp to Tracy Malone

As Dave is a popular speaker and Godalming is a long way for mediators living further North, we are inviting Dave to speak again in Leatherhead or Reigate.  We are also discussing dates with Madeleine Shearer for a workshop, and Jo Grimshaw, the police anti-social behaviour manager to talk about ASB enforcement tools.  Dates for these events will be announced shortly.

We will vary the locations for these meetings between Leatherhead, Reigate, Cobham, Woking and Guildford, and are also open to other suggestions.

As well as speaker meetings we will be organising regular mediator meetings focusing on discussing cases which will be set up locally – although details will be circulated in the newsletter and all are welcome to attend.  Co-ordinators will set these up.

Our aim is that something for mediators will be happening somewhere in the County every month.

If you have ideas about speakers you would like to invite or would like to help to organise mediator meetings to discuss cases in your area, please let Anne or Susannah know.


Thank you to Shelley Howles for sending in this very interesting article on the Suicide First Aid course that ran recently.  This training was initially arranged for support coaches who found it very useful, therefore another half day of training is being planned for any mediators who would be interested in attending – further details to follow.  Please let your co-ordinator know if you would be interested in attending.

Suicide First Aid – Understanding Suicide Intervention

On the 16th January, 17 volunteers and staff travelled to Woking for a day’s course entitled Suicide First Aid, Understanding Suicide Intervention.

Rose Allett from was our trainer.  Her background is counselling.  She was a very upbeat person, exactly the personality, I felt, was necessary for such a heavy topic.

As mediators and coaches you will be going into someone’s home and discussing intimate matters with your clients. You may well have a client stating that they are considering suicide.  This course looked at how to identify the warning signs, language and how to discuss the situation and then, most importantly, how to know where to go to seek help.

From the start we introduced ourselves and if wanted to, explained how suicide had impacted our lives.  For some suicide is a poignant part in their life, affecting a close family member.  We had to look at our attitudes to suicide. The language is changing now in society.  No longer should we be using the terminology committing suicide – the connotations with the long-gone criminal act should not be maintained.  We are all encouraged to describe the act as dying by suicide or a person who suicides (verb).  The language of a failed suicide act is to be replaced with ‘a person who survives’.

As we found at the beginning of the day, we have all been affected by suicide.  Anyone in society can require assistance.  We looked at the biological and psychological factors and past history linked with current life events that can lead to a person considering that ending their life is the only solution.  “Suicide is rarely the result of a single event or factor, but can be understood as a complex interplay of biological, psychological and environmental factors that leave a person feeling desperate and hopeless about life”

We were taught a 3 step guide if we are ever in the situation where we believe a person is considering suicide.

1 Recognise the signs and ask the question (always ensuring the safety of yourself and the person),

2 Listen and let them know you’ve heard them,

3 Safeguarding, ensuring the person is safe and that you have made the necessary plans to ensure their safety.

The strong thread throughout the day was also self-care.  In the caring profession we spend our working day thinking about others, we need to always remember to take a step back and look after ourselves.  Whether that be a quiet stroll, a meal with friends or a glass of wine whatever works for the individual, we must ensure that we take that time.

I believe 17 people travelled home that day lost in thought about how impactful the day had been.

Visit from Police and Crime Commissioner

On Tuesday 4th February the Police and Crime Commissioner, David Munro, visited us at the Woodhatch Centre to find out more about what we do, as the OPCC is a major funder of both community mediation and the support coaching project.  Chris Iley (Chair), Marianne Huggett (Trustee), Anne Jones (Director) and Aileen Oliver (volunteer mediator and coach) all came along to meet him.

We brought the Commissioner up-to-date with the merger and our plans to offer Intergenerational Mediation more widely.  He told us that the police are doubling the number of their Youth Intervention Officers so it looks like this is a service the police will be interested in using in the future.

Aileen talked the Commissioner through one of her coaching cases and showed him the wheel of life – a tool which is often useful in helping coaching clients to identify steps they can take to address the impact anti-social behaviour is having on their lives.

We are currently in the process of re-applying for funding to the OPCC for the next three years, so it was helpful to be able to give Mr Munro some examples of how the OPCC’s money is being spent to support victims of ASB.

Mr Munro is standing for re-election later this year.

Mediation Surrey

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