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Neighbours use mediation to talk about their problems and work together to come to a solution.

It can be difficult living in a block of flats, in such close proximity to neighbours, sharing communal areas. It can sometimes lead to arguments. This was the case for four neighbours in Leeds. There were accusations of drug use in the flats, doors banging, fire doors being propped open which not only was a security risk but also let noise in, rude gestures, and other neighbours were stirring up emotions.

The situation between the neighbours was getting worse and worse, and they were no longer speaking to one another. It was reaching breaking point when the Antisocial Behaviour team decided to use mediation provided by Restorative Approaches in Housing (RAIH), a conflict resolution consultancy, to try and resolve the problems. This involved getting all the neighbours together to talk about their problems and try and resolve their differences between themselves.

Mediation is not an easy process. During the first 45 minutes of the meeting, the atmosphere was very tense, and at one point it looked like the meeting might have to end. However, after a break to cool off, the neighbours agreed to continue. It was a really good opportunity for them to vent and get things off their chests, and it wasn’t long before the atmosphere changed for the better with progress being made towards a happier living environment for everyone.

The meeting ended very civilly, much better than how it had started, with the neighbours all shaking hands. Each neighbour agreed that the situation had been bad for too long, and that they would amend their behaviour. They also agreed to talk to one another about any issues in the future, admitting that this is what they had wanted from the beginning. It was certainly another successful resolution to an antisocial behaviour case, all thanks to mediation.

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