~Celebrating the power of RJ and mediation at ‘Calm Connect’ 2017

Calm Mediation’s annual conference ‘Calm Connect’, took place on the 12th October 2017 in Regent’s University, Regent’s Park providing an inspiring afternoon of guest speakers, workshops and networking for the many delegates who attended.

Our array of expert speakers showed that mediation and restorative practice are powerful, accessible processes that are proving their worth in all kinds of settings.

Lawrence Kershen QC spoke on the benefits of using mediation as an alternative to legal procedings, and how it can save a lot of time, stress and money for parties willing to give it a try.

Daryl Edwards and Hannah Watson of Catalyst Housing’s anti-social behaviour team, gave a fascinating overview of the value of mediation to them and their residents, illustrating their points with a tale of how mediation had helped a neighbourhood to address a long-standing pigeon-feeding problem and thus reclaim their gardens for their own enjoyment.

Dave Walker MBE of Southwark Mediation introduced Ayuba Jeng and Ibrahim Bangura, sixth form students from Rotherhithe’s Bacon’s College, who talked with huge enthusiasm about their role as peer mediators helping to resolve conflict between fellow pupils and in so doing modelling a constructive way of sorting out differences.

Ben Lyon, RJ consultant and trainer, spoke on how restorative justice can help people address a broad range of issues, including the emotional impact of serious criminal offences, and Maggie Donnelly, an experienced RJ facilitator with Calm Mediation, followed up by describing her work on a case involving grievous bodily harm. She provided an insight on the challenges and rewards of bringing together the victim and perpetrator of a serious criminal offence, and how their eventual meeting helped the wider family.

During the afternoon, two interactive workshops provided the opportunity to consider the application of the mediation process in two very different settings. Helen Curtis, an experienced civil, commercial and community mediator facilitated an exploration of mediation in the workplace, while Heather Loebl, a mediation coordinator and trainer at Calm Mediation led the session on community mediation.

The day closed with some welcome networking over a glass of wine and canapes. This was also an opportunity for us to bid farewell to Steve Eckles, who has stood down after 18 years of service as Calm Mediation’s Chair, helping to steer the organisation from strength to strength. We thank him for his loyal service and wish him all the best for the future.

Our thanks go to everyone who came along and contributed to this successful annual event. See you again next year!