THE NEWLY re-elected chair of the trustees of Mediation Plus John Gallop used his fifth annual report to the charity’s annual general meeting this month to call for new trustees to come forward to help the organisation develop and change over the next few years.
John has been chair of trustees for Mediation Plus - the community mediation service covering Eastbourne, Wealden and Lewes - since it achieved charitable status in 2006 and was instrumental in helping to set up the original pilot local mediation project in 1999.
Explaining how he became involved, John said, “My interest in mediation grew from my work at the time in pollution control at Wealden District Council. We were dealing with many complaints and neighbour disputes which we recognised could be better resolved by getting people talking to each other. Some people find it more difficult to talk openly if the council is involved. So with the help of a government grant and the assistance of several other bodies, including the local police, Social Services and the CAB, we set up an independent mediation service based in Hailsham.”
Although John left the council in 2010, his interest and involvement with Mediation Plus has continued as the service has grown over the past five years. “Having helped to set up the service I soon realised that, on a personal level, acting as a trustee is an excellent way to give something back to the community,” said John. “I don’t believe that I necessarily have the skills to act as a mediator – they do a wonderful job for the service – but I can help to guide the charity and oversee its business activities.”
Currently, Mediation Plus has just four trustees to guide and maintain the service but is very keen to recruit new people to the board, particularly those who might bring in ideas for developing the service or have a professional background in business, finance or legal services.
From his experience, John believes that some of the basic skills for new trustees would be a knowledge of and commitment to mediation; good communication skills; links to the local community, or local agencies; an interest or understanding of how charities operate and their financing and funding processes.
The Charity Commission estimates there are more than 100,000 trustee positions in charities across England and Wales, but just 0.5 per cent are aged between 18 and 24.
John said, “We want to create a trustee board with a diverse range of interests, age and background, which will give us the best possible chance for maintaining and developing the charity.”
Anyone interested in becoming a trustee should contact Mediation Plus on 442781 or email email@example.com