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People are at the heart of NDORMS and as such the department is dedicated to fostering an inclusive and supportive culture for all its staff and students. Two new initiatives have been recently launched; the mediation service, and a mental health first aiders programme.

Maria Granell-Moreno, Isuara Thomas, Felicity Polden
From l to r: Maria Granell-Moreno, Isuara Thomas, and Felicity Polden are leading new wellbeing initiatives


The most recent initiative offered at NDORMS is the mediation service. It has been launched with two fully trained mediators – Maria Granell-Moreno, Equality and Diversity Advisor and Isuara Thomas, Botnar Receptionist and Administrative Assistant. 

Professionally trained and accredited by Consensio, Maria and Isuara offer a confidential service that helps parties talk through their issues with an impartial mediator to find a way forward.

Maria explained: “Our mediation service is a voluntary, confidential, and impartial process for our staff and students who may find themselves in a dispute in the workplace. Our job as mediators is to facilitate a conversation and to help them find solutions. We don't suggest or propose solutions, they will be the ones doing that. We are like the conductors of the process and help them find practical solutions that feel fair for everyone.”

Mediation has been shown to offer many benefits in the workplace. Not only is it effective in finding solutions but it’s an efficient process that can be completed quickly, generally within a day. Its flexibility means it can be used at any stage of a dispute, and it’s forward focused, helping the parties to find a sustainable solution. Importantly, it helps create a healthy working environment which can improve productivity and morale. 

The NDORMS mediation service was successfully funded by the Research Culture Enhancement Fund which not only ensures it is available to everyone across the department but that the service is sustainable and they can now recruit two more mediators to join the team.


A different, but equally important initiative is the Mental Health First Aiders Programme. NDORMS offered staff an opportunity to train as a mental health first aider (MHFA) to look after the mental health and wellbeing of staff and students.

Felicity Polden, Human Resources Manager said: “Our MHFAs have been taught to identify the signs and symptoms of a range of mental health conditions and provide support and reassurance to anyone experiencing a mental health issue or crisis. Whilst the role of MHFA is not to act as a counsellor or therapist, they will do their best to signpost affected individuals towards appropriate professional help.”

The first cohort of MHFAs was trained in November 2020, with a second group completing their training in the summer of 2021, taking the total to 28 people. Trained staff advertise their MHFA role in their email signatures and through various NDORMS communications channels, so those needing the service can easily and quickly find some support.