Newsletter – November 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 susannahf@mediationsurrey.org.

Meet the Team

This month we would like to start off by introducing some of the Mediation Surrey team 

Anne Jones, Director of Services – Mediation Surrey CIO

I am the Director of Services of Mediation Surrey and have been in post since 1 October this year.   I am answerable to the Mediation Surrey Board of Trustees for the overall management of the organisation.  At this stage that means managing the transition of the local mediation services and the Alliance projects (ASC and IG) into Mediation Surrey, and making sure our services continue to run smoothly.  For the future it will mean supporting the trustees to develop and promote our services across Surrey, and making sure the service is successful and sustainable. 
Before that I worked for the Alliance of Surrey Mediation Services as the Project Manager of the Alliance Support Coaching project for just over 2 years from June 2017.  
n my free time I enjoy walking my two dogs, making things on my sewing machine and singing in Carshalton Choral Society – despite being an atheist I sang three requiems last weekend! I also attend an art class on a Friday, and like painting really big pictures.

Tina Byrd

I am the Service Co-ordinator for East Surrey Community Mediation and Mid-Surrey Mediation Service. 
I have worked in these roles for over 3 years and started off as a mediator.
I go swimming every morning before I start work, it sets me up for the day! I like long walks whenever I can as it’s so nice to be out in the open.  And I enjoy meeting up with friends and family and my holidays.  But I especially love spending time with my two baby granddaughters.   

Shelley Howles

I am casework co ordinator covering Zoe Gardiner’s maternity leave. I conduct the assessment calls with the clients and write the coach referral reports. I liaise with Anne Jones and allocate the clients to coaches. I am a point of contact for coaches during their sessions with the clients.  I have been a community mediator since 2015. I started this role in January 2019.  
My free time is taken up with being a mum to 3 children and taxi duties. When I do get some free time I like to socialise with friends and, ever so infrequently when we have babysitters, with my husband!

Tracy Malone

I am the West Surrey Coordinator and I deal mainly with referrals and generally all the administration that that entails.  I first became involved with West Surrey Mediation Service as a mediator early last year before taking on the role of Co Ordinator.

In my free time, which is very limited, I swim regularly, walk our dog daily and catch up with friends and family whenever possible.  I’m also a keen French linguist and still teach adult conversation and GCSE students when needed, which I really enjoy.

Helen Collis

I am a co-ordinator looking after the North Surrey Mediation cases. I am also working on the Support Coaching team.  I joined Mediation Surrey 6 weeks ago.

Running around after 2 little people doesn’t give me much free time, but I enjoy practising Yoga, and spending time with family & friends.


Zoe Gardiner

I am currently on maternity leave from my role as a Casework Manager with the Support Coaching project. I will be returning to work at the beginning of January. My role involves contacting people who are experiencing anti-social behaviour from neighbours, speaking to them about the service and assessing whether the service would be of benefit to them. I was also responsible for allocating coaches to our clients so that coaching work could begin and I would provide admin’ support to the coaches as needed.  
I joined the Support Coaching project in November 2017. I also worked for East Surrey Mediation as their Caseworker in 2016 before I had my eldest son.  
I have two boys, Vaughan is 3 years old and Everett is 10 months old, so I don’t get much free time for hobbies at the moment! But when I do get a bit of time I enjoy Pilates, watching films and reading.  

Susannah Freeman


I joined the organisation in June 2017 as secretary to the ASMS Board and continue to provide secretarial support to the Mediation Surrey trustees.  Over the last year I have also become very involved in the marketing and communications for Mediation Surrey including working on the new website, newsletter and promotional collateral.
I love spending time with my two children Sophie and Harry who keep me very busy!  I also enjoy reading, baking, doing bootcamps and Pilates.  I am a regular volunteer at the Woking URC where I help with various community outreach initiatives. 



A Mediated Brexit

Many thanks to Mediation Surrey trustee Marianne Huggett for writing this insightful article below entitled A Mediated Brexit.

A Mediated Brexit – A Resolution that Works for Everyone

Well, that is never going to happen!  Three years on and the fight to win and the fight to prevent others winning is as intense as ever.   Compromise hasn’t had a look in; no attempt to find common ground; no listening to understand; and little trust in the honourable intentions of anyone.   

Someone mentioned ‘there was a general election to look forward to before Christmas’ this morning and was met with silence before the conversation was quickly turned to other matters.  This is a no-go topic in general conversation because the only things that most people can agree on is firstly that our politics have gone mad and secondly we really want it to be over.  That is the only safe ground which avoids being pulled into potentially uncomfortable argumentative ground.  You can’t quite be sure who is on which side of the argument.   Those you might expect would agree with you, surprisingly are on the ‘other’ side.   So silence becomes the best option.

Listening to politicians on Question Time or vox pop clips on the News, people talk in sound bites –’crashing out, ‘Brexit means Brexit’ and use slogans which are equally vague ‘Take Back Control’, Bollocks to Brexit.  All this shorthand creates heat and very little light.  Such phrases allow everyone to hide behind platitudes rather than exploring the facts, assumptions and values that underpin these strong views.  

But it is not always that easy to express deep seated values that underpin strong views, and we may not fully understand them ourselves. 

In the excellent ‘Across the Red Line’ (BBC Radio 4), Anne McElvoy brings together two people with very strong opposing views.  They are encouraged to state their view and then to ‘cross the red line’ into a space where they can discuss and explore the origins of their positions with more curiosity and empathy.  Questions such as ‘What experiences have influenced and motivated you to take your stance on this issue?’ and ‘What might you lose if you let go of some of your position?’ help both sides to understand the other’s perspective, respect it and often to discover that there are some areas of common ground.  

No-one knows what twists and turns will come over the coming months, but at some point there will be a moment when it is clear that one side in the Brexit process has finally ‘won’ and the other side has ‘lost’.   No-one knows what this prolonged disagreement will do to the fabric of our society – and what reconciliation may be needed within local communities to help those around us come together to build the future.  As Mediators, are we ready to play our part in that process?

I confess that since the referendum I haven’t had a single extended conversation to explore my own views with a committed Brexiteer or to understand their position.   Initially I felt too angry, now perhaps too sad and weary as well.   If I haven’t found the opportunity to cross the red line to listen to those who hold an opposite view to my own and to explore the values that influence their positions, would I be able to step forward and mediate conversations between others when the situation finally offers that possibility?   

The Government has been urging us to ‘Get ready for Brexit’.  My question is ‘What does that mean at a personal level for anyone involved in mediation and for Mediation Surrey?’  

MH 28th October 2019


Suicide Prevention Training for Coaches and Mediators

We have some funding from Community Foundation Surrey to provide Suicide Prevention Training to volunteers, specifically to coaches as they work one-to-one and often with more vulnerable clients.  It is not uncommon for coaching clients to express depressed or suicidal thoughts and we want everyone to feel prepared to have a helpful conversation if they do.

Helen is currently working to arrange this with Grassroots, who provide a range of training in this area.

More information about the training can be found at :

Once the training is set up if there are unfilled places, we will offer them out to mediators who are not currently coaches.  

SFA: Suicide First Aid

If this might be of interest to you, please let Helen know by emailing her at helenc@mediationsurrey.org

In the longer term, if the training is a success, we will look at offering something similar to all mediators, so again, if this would be of interest to you, please let Helen know.


Help needed to Promote Mediation Surrey to Referrers

We need to let referrers know about Mediation Surrey and remind them how we can help them support residents experiencing difficulties with neighbours and ASB, and there’s a lot of them!  We already have a small team of volunteers who are willing to help with this task and are looking to add to it.

Would you be interested in helping promote Mediation Surrey by talking to police and local authority teams and housing associations in your area? 

Perhaps you have experience and existing relationships with referrers that will be helpful?

If so, Anne Jones would like to hear from you.  

You will be given access to pre-prepared materials (Powerpoint slides, case studies and other useful information) to help you.  And we are looking at bringing together the people who are interested to share ideas about how to get our message across most effectively.  

Jo Grimshaw, the police ASB Manager, has managed to arrange a slot for Anne to speak to the Police Borough Commanders’ meeting on 28th January 2020, which should assist in giving us opportunities to talk to local police teams.

Please email Anne on annej@mediationsurrey.org if you would like to know more.

Shadowing police contact centre call takers

Jo Grimshaw has also suggested that we could raise the police understanding of mediation and coaching by having mediators shadow contact centre call takers on shift.  These are the frontline staff who take calls from members of the public – some of which deal with issues of anti-social behaviour and neighbour disputes.

It would be an opportunity for us to gain a better understanding of how the contact centre works, explain mediation and coaching to the call takers informally in between calls and advise on mediation and coaching if relevant calls came in.

If this is something you would be interested in doing, please contact Anne to discuss setting it up.  


Mediation Surrey Website – Mediator Log in Area

Now that the new Mediation Surrey website is up and running we would like to develop the Mediator/Coaches Log in Area so that it is a really useful resource.  We are looking for any volunteer mediators and/or coaches who would be interested in contributing their thoughts on how this area of the site can be best developed.  You could form a small group and meet up to discuss ideas.   If this is something you would be interested in getting involved with we’d love to hear from you : please email susannahf@mediationsurrey.org

Mediation Surrey

Tel:  0330 134176    Email: info@mediationsurrey.org