Peaceful Xmas

We have just issued a Press Release covering things that may upset your neighbours, over the Christmas period, if not beyond. We picked up on this article from the Metro newspaper. It’s good to see that they made reference to mediation, but they incorrectly stated that you would have to pay for that service. We  in fact provide our community mediation for free at the point of delivery.

Here is our narrative:

“Mediators at local charity, West Sussex Mediation Service, usually expect December to be their quietest month of the year, in terms of referrals for neighbour disputes. However, according to Lifestyle brand Housetastic there are a number of things that can be annoying to neighbours during the festive season. Mediators won’t be surprised that noise is the first topic mentioned in their top five causes of disputes. It seems one in five Brits complain about their neighbours, especially around Christmas time.

Next comes parking. With families and friends joining up to celebrate Christmas together it often mean more vehicles on residential streets that weren’t designed for such numbers. Driveways get blocked and inevitably tempers can fray. Three quarters of drivers admit that they have conflict with neighbours over where they park.

Third up comes parties, which probably joins up the previously mentioned topics and can often involve loud music, well into the night. It may be best to invite the neighbours round as well, or at least forewarn them of such events.

Fourth on the list is Christmas illuminations. It is increasingly popular for houses to be adorned with extravagant lighting displays. These can be very bright and often flashing/strobing lights. If you add on the fact that such displays can become local attractions, you can see how some neighbours might become annoyed with the situation. Again, it may be best to talk to your neighbours and set timers to switch off the lights at a reasonable time of night so that sleep isn’t interrupted. According to Google Trend data, the search term, ‘my neighbours Christmas lights’ has seen a 9,900% uplift in searches within the last month alone.

We end with a load of rubbish, literally. All sorts of boxes, packaging and replaced items can accumulate over the festive reason. Sometimes it is disposed of in inappropriate ways. Christmas produces substantial waste and an estimated 1.13 million fly-tipping incidents have been reported so far in 2021. This is an increase of 16% on last year.

West Sussex Mediation Service specialises in helping to resolve neighbour disputes using fully trained volunteer mediators. Eleven new community mediators complete their training this week. This service is free to the public, across West Sussex. They are happy to give advice over the phone.

Nick Handley from the charity said, “It’s good to talk and it’s wise to tackle any issues before things start to escalate. Mediators like to be an early intervention tool and not the means of last resort.”

He went on to say, “Covid-19 is adding to pressures at home and work and Christmas can be a pressure cooker for families, with alcohol possibly adding to the equation. We are here to help, if we can.”