Over six months of the coronavirus crisis, community relations have been strained to the point that one concerned retiree in the south-west of England told the Guardian: “It’s like the English civil war.”
Now, with control measures ramping up once more and fears that a second wave is here, mediators who work to resolve disputes through the ceiling or over the garden fence say they are seeing a surge in requests for help – and expect a lockdown in winter to push tensions to a new high.
“The problems will get worse as people are home more,” said Julie Farrell, of Manchester-based mediator Solution Talk. “If the neighbours are being difficult and you can’t go out because of the weather, that’s going to cause a problem, whether it’s breaking lockdown rules or someone trimming your hedge. Your home is your castle, isn’t it?”
“There’s a feeling of, ‘Here we go again, another six months of these people,’” said Mike Talbot, psychotherapist and founder of UK Mediation. “A lot of us were able to hang on before, but now it’s going to continue, these problems are coming out of the woodwork”: