TWO mediators from the Musselburgh area have volunteered to help resolve conflicts that arise as a result of lockdown.

Robin Burley, an Inveresk resident, and Malcolm Currie, from Musselburgh, are supporting a new mediation service launched across Scotland with help from the Scottish Government’s Wellbeing Fund.

Conflicts can include a personal relationship that is under duress as a result of self-isolation or a dispute with an employer about returning to work during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Anyone is eligible for the service if: they live in Scotland; the conflict is connected to social distancing or self-isolation; it is not part of a pre-existing dispute, for example, divorce proceedings or formal contact arrangements; and all of the people in the conflict agree to participate in mediation.

Provided by a group of professional volunteer mediators, the service is free to individuals and organisations with up to five employees.

Organisations with more than five employees will be charged £300 for up to one day’s mediation. The service can be accessed through the Scottish Mediation website or by emailing

Mr Currie founded Strathesk Resolutions after more than a decade working as a trades union negotiator.

Engaging with employers in the private, public and third sectors, he developed his expertise in collective bargaining, dispute resolution and tackling complex individual cases.

These skills were built on a foundation of over 15 years advising and influencing countryside managers in relation to land management and pulling together funding packages from wide-ranging sources for joint projects.

He has helped organisations as diverse as aircraft engineering, academic research institutes, heritage bodies and charitable trusts to establish effective workforce consultation mechanisms, and to operate them to the greatest effect for company performance.

Mr Currie said: “As with any disagreement or dispute, if we aren’t able to have a conversation about it and if it remains unresolved, the frustration that can create can end up being greater than the original reason why there was a disagreement.

“That can often have impacts on mental health and wellbeing so it is good if people are able to speak about what’s happening.”

Mr Burley has been mediating for 15 years, having carried out more than 250 mediations which draw on his mediation training and 40 years of work and life experience in housing, community care and organisational governance.

His mediation practice has developed with its focus on civil justice mediation, employment, workplace, commercial, construction, property, urban, rural, agricultural and complaints.

He initially trained with Core Solutions in 2003 and, after taking a degree course in mediation and conflict resolution at Strathclyde University, he gained a master’s degree with distinction in 2013.

He stood down from six years as chairman of Scottish Mediation in 2018.

Prior to working as a mediator and coach, he spent 30 years in housing and care services and urban development.

He was chief executive of the Edinvar Group, a past chair of Blackwood, ELCAP and the Built Environment Forum Scotland (BEFS).

He has also held non-executive director positions with NHS Lothian, Queen Margaret University and the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations.

Mr Burley commented: “Mediators are able to help create the space for that conversation in a way which allows the parties to use creative ways of resolving disagreements and in some instances to repair relationships, too.

“In terms of what might be a suitable dispute for mediation, we will be able to speak to you about your dispute and advise on each instance.

“As a general guide, the sorts of disputes include those around family matters, including care of older relatives, flatmates/housemates, landlord/tenant, co-operative or social housing, workplace concerns related to working from home or shared workspaces and those involving neighbours.

“It is possible that some issues may have existed before and were being managed successfully but the additional pressures have pushed them into conflict.”

Graham Boyack, director of Scottish Mediation, added: “This is a challenging time for everyone and the isolation and stress of living in close quarters can cause, or increase, conflict for families, friends, and roommates, and can create challenges for work teams, charities and businesses.”