COUPLES divorcing or separating are a major factor in the record number of people seeking help from the West Sussex Mediation Service.
For the second consecutive year the service, has set a new record for mediation referrals made over a 12-month period.
The charity handled 287 referrals from West Sussex residents in need of conflict resolution for a variety of family and community-based disputes.
The charity says the 10 per cent increase, on top of another record-breaking year in 2011-12, further demonstrates the steadily growing community demand for its expertise and services.
Nick Handley, service co-ordinator for the charity, said: “The rise in referrals shows that more people than ever before are hearing about our service and approaching us for support.
“As well as our perennial community dispute issues such as noise nuisance and antisocial behaviour, we are seeing a sharp upturn in enquiries from divorcing or separating couples with issues over finances or children.
“Our mediators are a fantastic group of selfless individuals who work effortlessly to help improve the lives of residents living in West Sussex and work towards resolutions to the issues presented.”
All the mediators working for the service are trained volunteers who give their time and experience freely to help people through what are often difficult and stressful situations.
Added Nick: “With great energy put into our fund-raising efforts, we are still able to provide our community mediation to residents free of charge, whilst inviting donations where possible.
“Our family mediation is fee-based but highly competitive against the rest of the market.”
The service would like to recruit further volunteer mediators for training, in the west of the county. Anyone who is interested should call 01403 258990 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.