Hi everyone and welcome to Bristol Grandparents Support Group blog. Although we are Bristol based we have grandparents from all over the UK and beyond as members.

It is estimated that over one million children in the UK are denied contact with their grandparents due to family breakdown which may have been caused by divorce/separation, alcohol/drug dependency,domestic violence,bereavement or family feud.
Every child has the right to have contact with their grandparents
if they wish and unless proven unsafe for them to do so. To deny contact from a parent or grandparent has to become as socially unacceptable as drink driving.
I hope to keep you up to date with what is going on in BGSG and I shall continue to campaign for the rights of children to have a loving and meaningful relationship with both parents and their extended family. So please join in as good to hear your views, not just mine!
I also will support via Skype.
There is no membership fee to be part of Bristol Grandparents Support Group.
Esther Rantzen says, " To every grandparent, links of love can never be broken in our hearts."

Please contact during office hours.

Friday 30 December 2011

Wrong date published.

For those of you who are local, there is a mistake in one of our local magazines for our next meeting it should say Friday Feb 3rd at 2pm.

Here comes 2012

As we move towards a New year it is time for reflection and expectation. Reflection of the year thats gone,expectation of what is to come.
2011 was a busy year, A new website designed, funding obtained for posters and leaflets, TV, Radio, Newspaper interviews. The Family Justice Review and published. New grandparents joining the group, numbers now over 200 in and around Bristol. Discovering Grannynet.co.uk and being asked to write articles on Denied Contact etc. Drawing up a constitution, appointing trustees etc, included in Bristol Data base, and Well-aware.
Over 9,000 hits on this blog from all over the world.
I entered the world of Twitter!
And so to 2012, what will it bring, I wonder.
The Family Justice Report will be either accepted or rejected by the government, I sincerely hope that it is firmly rejected, and that shared parenting becomes law.
More interviews already done and pending.

Most importantly, on a very personal level, Marc and I will become grandparents to twins, so a very exciting time for the whole family.

I would like to wish you all a Happy New Year, and we will continue to raise awareness of a million children being denied contact with their grandparents.
And remember, grandparents to become reunited, it does happen and maybe it is your time in 2012.


Tuesday 27 December 2011

How to set up a support group.

I am often asked how to begin the process of setting up a support group.

It definitely helps if you have experienced denied contact, but is not absolutely necessary.

There are a few things to think about:

How to publicize the event?

How many people?

Where to hold it?

Timings, during the day or evening?

Aims of group?

It doesn’t necessarily happen quickly, I tried for ages to no avail and was getting somewhat despondent. As there are over one million children denied contact with their grandparents in the UK, I knew they were out there some here.

So I gave it one last go, wrote to my local paper,again, I had written several times before, but with the headline, “Tea and Cake for the Grandchildren,” and gave a date time and place and amazingly grandparents appeared out of the woodwork.

Cake did it!

We have been meeting every two months since.

I wrote to all my local mags, which we get posted through my letter box monthly, I wrote my own posters, put them in the library and post offices etc.

I contacted local radio and TV, both have done interviews with us.

I have a Christmas tree every year in my front garden that grandparents come and write messages to their grandchildren, by Christmas eve it is full, usually local media come and do a piece on it.

The group is well known now and grandparents contact me daily, having been given our contact number through C.A.B, family lawyers,help and support databases and via our website. It seems to have gained its own momentum.

There is no membership fee to be part of the group. So if you need funding you need to start writing to organisations who fund local groups, local neighbourhood partnerships, local funding foundations etc. You only need to do this if you are incurring costs of course. My husband and I covered costs for the first few years but then realised that if we wanted to have proper leaflets, posters etc then we couldn’t continue doing that so needed to find funding from somewhere.

I admit that it does take time and effort to do this, you need to have a charity constitution, trustees and treasurer, sounds daunting, but it isn’t, if I can do it anyone can. You only have to be a registered charity if your income is going to be over a certain amount.

My local MP also is a great supporter of the group, so write to your MP.

I write constantly to David Cameron,MP’s, media of all shapes and sizes, to keep the issue of denied contact out there.

I decided to alternate the meetings, so one month its Friday afternoon and then Saturday evening, to try and help grandparents who are working during the day.

I did hire a room at one stage but we found it felt a bit impersonal so we now meet at my house, you never know from one month to another how many will turn up, but we manage to squeeze people in, and no I don’t have a big house, a normal semi-detached. Surprising how many people you can get in, by moving furniture about, a bit!

My husband is here as well, so we get grandads coming too.

The meeting it self runs itself really, everyone has tea/coffee and CAKE, I just welcome anyone new, which there always is, tell everyone what has been going on the last 2 months, press releases,new reports, etc and then its over to everyone else. Once someone starts talking, they are off, and it just happens.

Help, advice and support.

Every meeting I have ever had always finishes with grandparents laughing and joking with on another.

We are all here for one reason and one reason only, our grandchildren.

If you want to talk it through get intouch.



Friday 23 December 2011

Support groups nationwide.

If anyone is interested in setting up a support group in their area I would be pleased to set you off in the right direction.
I can also always send you posters and leaflets to help raise public awareness.
This blog has had over 8,000 hits since I set it up, from people all over the UK and all over the world.
There are thousands of grandparents who are going through this and it is important that I do all I can to let them know that they are not alone.
This group is completely independent from any organisation, and we are focussed on denied contact, rather than other issues.
By being independent and not politically motivated in any way, we are able to focus on the children who are being denied their right to be loved by both parents and grandparents.
There is no membership fee.

Thursday 22 December 2011

Children's Wish this Christmas.

As the magical day of Christmas is just around the corner,
Thoughts of early mornings, giggles and sniggles,
I will be thinking of the children who won't be feeling the love and care of both parents,
Who wonder what they did wrong, what made Mum or Dad go away?
Their special wish this Christmas, if they were allowed to say would be,
"Please let me in, let me know Mum and Dad and Gran and Grandpa,
Let me feel all their arms around me, I love them all.
I am just a child, you are making decisions for me,the wrong decisions, I need all my family,
Here and Now, every minute of every day,
When I am in my room I lie and look out at the stars wondering, just wondering if they are looking up at the same stars as me.
Christmas is a time of love and understanding,but does no-one understand me."


Link to interview.

Here is the link to the interview I did yesterday, you will first here the news, adverts and then the programme starts, there is a guest talking about music and then me, so you could go off and do the ironing for half an hour!

Scroll down to 2pm show.

Wednesday 21 December 2011

30 minutes talking of denied contact.

I have just come back from doing 30 minutes interview on Bristol Community Radio.
Interviewer was very good and asked me lots of questions about the group and what we do, and how we support one another.
She was staggered at the stats of over one million children denied contact with their grandparents in the UK, she was sensitive and genuinely interested.


Monday 19 December 2011

Christmas is about Hope.

Christmas is all about hope, and the future.
For grandparents who will not be seeing their grandchildren this year either for the first time or in our case for the 4th year it can seem that we will never be able to share that special Christmas magic with them.
It is vital that we don't give up hope,we owe it to the children.
Grandparents DO get reunited with their grandchildren.

Saturday 17 December 2011

Bristol Community Radio Slot

I have been contacted today and asked to be on Bristol Community Radio on Wednesday at 2pm.
So if you can tune in to

Bristol Community fm – 93.2fm


What can I do, where can I go?

I am often asked that question.
Of course you can always contact me, join our support group but there other things as well.
It is important that you keep yourselves well , if you are feeling low go and see your doctor who may well be able to offer you some counselling sessions, in most areas the first few sessions are free, so please ask.
It is also time to think about you and the here and now, your life and your family and friends.
I made a decision to do just that and decided to sing!!
Not on my own, although I do that as well!
I joined a local Gospel choir and it has been a revelation, being part of a group and raising the roof is amazingly good therapy.
You don't have to be a great singer just to want to tra,la,la is enough.
The choir is full of people who have or are experiencing all sorts of problems, but for an hour and half every week, culminating in concerts is time for you, to be you and to escape for awhile.
I strongly recommend you look at your area, there are community choirs popping up all over the country.
I promise ,you won't regret it.

Parental Alienation Video-strong language warning

This is a powerful and distressing video from Holland about Parental Alienation.
(some strong language warning)


Tuesday 13 December 2011

Who is going to speak for the children?

This is a response of a letter written to an MP re The Family Justice Report.

I understand that grandparents wrote and this is what the MP Jeremy Corbyn for Islington North said , he was on the justice committee and he gave his reasons for voting against/rejecting the presumption of shared parenting and rights for grandparents. He quotes the Australian reference and that it would be detrimental to the child to have a relationship with the grandparents, and that the status quo will remain the same.

When you read/hear this sort of reaction, is it any wonder that millions of children in the UK are prevented the love and care of BOTH parents, and grandparents.
Maybe one day these MP's will experience the heartbreak of watching their child go through denied contact of their own children and extended family being ripped apart.


Monday 12 December 2011

Comments on the blog

I would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who has commented on my posts. It really does make a difference and good to have a two way conversation.
So a huge thank you, and keep on commenting!

Sunday 11 December 2011

Why doesn't Dad,Gran and Grandpa love me anymore?

How a child feels:

"When I was little I had a Mum and a Dad and a brother and we all lived together in the same house. We would go to the park and feed the ducks, have pizza and go to the cinema. We had a house and I had my own room.

We had fun.

We would go and spend time with granny and grandpa and do painting and stuff. They had a secret stash of goodies! Grandpa would sit me on his lap and make up amazing stories.

I noticed that things began to change, not fun anymore.

I would lie in my bed at night and listen to Mum and Dad shouting and saying horrible things. One day Dad told me he was going to live somewhere else as Mum and he were not getting on very well.

I would only see Dad at the weekends, or if Mum wanted to go out.

We had not much food in the cupboards but plenty of beer,I remember being hungry. If I talked about Dad, Mum would get cross with me, my brother didn't have the same Dad as me, he never saw him and I never met him.

Mum told me that Dad didn't love me anymore and didn't want anything to do with me. I cried. What had I done for Dad not to love me, maybe it was my fault that they shouted at each other and threw things across the room, had I been so naughty that he no longer lived with us?

I should try and say sorry and then it would be OK.

I didn't get the chance, I never saw Dad again, I was not allowed to talk about him at all.

It has been years now, and I still don't know what I did.

I wonder why granny and grandpa stopped seeing me, Mum said it was because they had other things to do and didn't want to be bothered with me, that I was a bit of a nuisance to them.

They don't remember my birthday or Christmas, although it was very odd one year on my birthday because I remember the postman bringing a parcel and I answered the door , Mum took it from me and said it was rubbish and threw it away, it was odd because I am sure the postman said it had my name on it.

I wish I could ask someone what I had done, and I could still say sorry.

I miss my Dad so much, I want to know how he is and where he is, and if he is happy.

I would like to see granny and grandpa as well, I would give them a big hug, the biggest hug they have ever had.

One day, maybe, one day."

Parental Alienation is fact, the permanent damage it does is horrendous, children growing up believing that they are not loved by both parents and their extended family.



Child denied contact on prime time BBC TV

I watched the Christmas edition of "My Family" last night and "Ben" the Dad stepped in to play a reluctant Santa at an art gallery.
A little girl clambered up on his lap and when Santa asked her what she wanted for Christmas, she said that she wanted her Grandpa. She said that her Mum and her Grandad had fallen out and that now she never saw him, and she missed him.
'Santa' made it his Christmas mission to reunite them.
Eventually, he got them all together and after a few hiccups, the little girls dream came true.
Not much to ask is it, that a child sees her grandpa?
Whatever the reason for adults to fall out with one another a child should not have to miss out on the love and care of all their family.
This Christmas if just one family forgives and forgets for the sake of the children, it would be truly Christmas.


Did you like your pressie?

So the Christmas pressie for L............. had been wrapped and posted, and hopefully it has arrived at her door.
This is the 4th year that I have gone through the motions, and then every year I never know if she receives it, or if she is told it is from someone else. Does she know how much her Dad and gran and grandpa, uncles and aunts and cousins love and miss her?
What I would give to see her, to hear her voice and give her a hug.
I must be such a bad person for this to have happened, seeing her for the very first time was so amazing and held such promise, now my heart is empty, without her in my life.
Not one day goes by that I don't think of her.
"L......... I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas, with lots of fun and laughter."

Thursday 8 December 2011

Grannynet Q&A on Denied Contact.

You may be interested to know that I have answered a Q&A on www.grannynet.co.uk , take a look.


Lonely this Christmas.

Christmas is a time for family and so it is a particularly difficult time for grandparents who will not be part of their grandchildren's fun and frolics.
Children all over the UK are taking part in Nativity plays, little stars, angels and donkeys. It is sad that over one million children in the UK, who are denied contact will not have the delight in Granny and Grandpa clapping loudly and proudly.
I myself have just wrapped up a present for my granddaughter, ready to post, but will she ever receive it?
I suppose for me the important thing is that I know I sent it with all the love in the world.
I receive more calls and emails at this time of the year than any other, Christmas can be so lonely, and empty.


Thanks to Waitrose.

I have just been up to Waitrose to collect a cheque for £260 for Bristol Grandparents Support Group, a huge thank you to them and their Community Matters Scheme.
If is was not for funding like this it would be very difficult to run the group, as there is no membership fee for members, and there never will be.
Many many thanks to Waitrose customers again.

Monday 5 December 2011

MPs to throw out Norgrove report?

I am trying to find out if this is correct. It has been posted on F4J Facebook page.

"FAMILY JUSTICE REVIEW REPORT UPDATE: We understand from a Senior Whitehall aid that the Government has decided it will not accept Norgrove’s recommendation on access rights. I have been told that Nick Clegg and Iain Duncan-Smith have both submitted reports recommending that the report is rejected in its entirety. I have also had confirmed from an MP that a meeting is being held this week. The minimum requirement from Nick Clegg and Iain Duncan-Smith for resurrecting the entire document is the guarantee that fathers’ rights of access will be enshrined in law. As yet we have had no official confirmation, and given Cameron's penchant for U-Turns this could probably go full circle, and round again, before Christmas is out. But we have confirmation of this proposal from more than 1 MP. "


Radio 4- Change of Date!

Change of date for One to One programme on Radio 4, it is now scheduled for Tuesday Feb 21st at 9.30am.
I will remind you nearer the time, who knows it may change again!!!!!!!


False Allegations.

Many thanks to all who have commented on and given advice on the 'Harassment' post.
I would urge anyone who is going through this despicable situation to use the template letter on the post.

Sunday 4 December 2011

How can this happen?

It will never cease to amaze me how evil some people can be to one another, how can someone be so wicked/resentful that they prevent a Mum/Dad from being part of their children's lives?
How can a person be wrongly accused of something, have to face the indignity and humiliation of having to go to the police,to be questioned for hours imprisoned in a cell to then have to wait for weeks before ALL accusations are dropped.
This is nor fantasy, not something I have just made up, it is fact it happens not rarely but often.
Where has the local policeman gone, who knew families on his/her patch , knew families who may be neglecting children those families who were vulnerable. Common sense policing.
Of course children must be protected from harm, but we must also have superbly trained people to know when things are contorted and to recognise Parental Alienation as fact.
The damage that is being caused to Mums/Dads wrongly accused is immeasurable.
How did we get to this?


Saturday 3 December 2011

Light up the Tree.

Messages are already coming in for 'Tree of Hope', don't forget to let me have your message and I will put it on the tree for you.
Thank you for those who have sent one, very emotional as always reading them.


Friday 2 December 2011

To all members of the support group.

Marc and I will be thinking of you all over Christmas.

Radio 4.

I have just done an interview with Radio 4 ,Yasmin Alibhai-Brown.
The programme is called 1-1 and will be broadcast on Jan 17th at 9:30am.
I would like to thank Yasmin for her sensitivity.

Tuesday 29 November 2011

Response on non-residents access to info in schools.

If any non-resident parent is experiencing problems with schools this might be helpful.

Dear Mrs Jackson

Thank you for your email of 22 November requesting clarification about non-resident parents' rights to access information about their child’s progress from their school.

Schools are required by law to ensure that records are kept about each child's progress and achievements. This information is reported to parents, at least annually, through the head teacher's report. The report should include: achievements in all curricular subjects and activities, comments on general progress, examination results, vocational qualifications gained and curricular tests undertaken, assessment information for those children with SEN, attendance, and arrangements for discussing the report with the child’s teacher.

I can confirm that schools must, wherever possible, ensure that they record the contact details of all parents. Education law requires all schools to take reasonable steps to ensure that they report annually to all parents, not just the parent with whom the child lives, on their child’s progress. It also requires them to provide, where requested, access to information recorded on their child’s school records within fifteen days of that request.

Outside of legal obligations, schools usually ensure that all parents known to them have more frequent information about the school and opportunities to contribute to key decisions relating to their child’s education. This includes attending parents’ evenings and discussing any concerns with their teacher. Where separated parents do not agree, however, for example in discussions about how their child’s education takes place, schools must be able to exercise discretion and make judgements based on the circumstances known to them.

Parents should contact the school their child attends and ensure that they record their details as a parent. The school may want proof of identity and relationship with the child. They should then have the opportunity to record how the parent would like to be kept updated on their child's progress.

I hope this information is helpful.

Yours sincerely

Ruth Neale
Public Communications Unit

As part of our commitment to improving the service we provide to our customers, we are interested in hearing your views and would welcome your comments via our website at www.education.gov.uk/pcusurvey

Your correspondence has been allocated the reference number 2011/0078521. To contact the Department for Education, please visit www.education.gov.uk/contactus

The original of this email was scanned for viruses by the Government Secure Intranet virus scanning service supplied by Cable&Wireless Worldwide in partnership with MessageLabs. (CCTM Certificate Number 2009/09/0052.) On leaving the GSi this email was certified virus free.
Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or recorded for legal purposes.

Last Meeting of this year.

The last meeting of Bristol Grandparents Support Group is on Saturday December 3rd at 7pm.
I will have available Christmas Tree labels if you wish to write a message to your grandchildren.
I look forward to seeing you.

Sunday 27 November 2011

Why is writing a letter harassment?

Time and time again grandparents find themselves issued with an harassment order because they have written a letter.
I have tried to get the term 'harassment order' clarified and it seems it is a grey area. One source says..................

If you mean a harassment warning from the police, someone makes an allegation, the police come round and give you a bit of paper which warns you that the behaviour is considered harassment and not to do it again. They do it because harassment requires a course of conduct, so if you do it again after you've been warned it's a course of conduct.
Of course, them warning you about it doesn't necessarily make whatever it is you've apparently done illegal, or even mean it actually happened. It's not a criminal record and it doesn't mean the police have investigated it and believe you've done anything, it just means they've given you a warning not to do something you might never have done anyway.
Although it has no status as a criminal record, it's still an 'official' warning from the police (official in that it's on headed police paper and given out and recorded by the police) not to do something, and obviously it's not right for them to go around officially warning you not to do something you've not done."

So what is a course of conduct?
"Harassment Act 1997 Section 2 - "You commit an offence if you pursue a course of conduct which causes another person harassment, alarm or distress and knew, or ought to have known, that harassment would be caused" (or words to this effect). There is a defence available of "reasonable conduct" (or else banks wouldn't be able to keep sending you upsetting letters when you owe them money!)

This law was drawn up specifically for stalkers but can apply to so much more (nuisance phonecalls, text messages, ongoing threats between neighbours etc)

The important part, is "course of conduct". This means that there must be at least two seperate instances where harassment was caused and the offender knew (or ought to have known) that their behaviour was causing harassment."
As you can see, clear as mud!
Which still doesn't really answer the question, why if you write a letter is it harassment?

Wednesday 23 November 2011

Write your message to your grandchildren for the Christmas Tree.

Once again we will be having a Christmas Tree in our front garden for grandparents to come and write messages to their grandchildren, let me know if you would like a message written for you.

Monday 21 November 2011

Even lawyers are appalled by Family Justice Report.

Thanks to M for alerting me to this blog, very interesting and coming from a lawyer as well!


Family Lives Report-Child Aggression


Family Lives’ updated aggression report* finds calls to its Parentline regarding aggressive behaviour have increased by 2% and only 56% of respondents to an online survey had sought help for their child’s problem.

As part of its ‘Instructions Not Included’ campaign**, Family Lives reveals that a growing number of parents are seriously concerned about their child's aggression and that many are unsure as to why their children display aggressive behaviour. The updated report, ‘When Family Life Hurts: Family Experience of Aggression in Children’ calls for Government to recognise – in addition to early years support - the particular needs of many parents of older children and teenagers.

The updated report shows that:

Between July 2010 and June 2011, of 39,258 calls made to Parentline, 27% of callers were seeking advice from the charity’s helpline regarding their children’s behaviour with parents frequently reporting feelings of desperation, helplessness and shame.

Key Family Lives Aggression Facts and Figures

Statistics from Parentline, Family Lives’ free helpline for families showed that:

· Calls about a child’s physical aggression have risen by 2% and calls about a child’s verbal aggression have risen by 4%

· 42.9% of calls about behaviour related to children aged 13-15 years

· Parents calling about their child’s aggression were 30.3% more likely to suffer from stress than other callers, and 8.3% more likely to be suffering with anger

· Children are more likely to suffer from identified or unidentified depression if they have behavioural concerns compared to other issues raised in long calls***. They are more likely to self-harm, feel suicidal and suffer from hyperactivity and feelings of isolation

· Compared to June 09 - June 10 statistics, child stress, confusion, isolation and anger have increased by an average of 5.3% where a child is being verbally aggressive and by 5.4% in calls where a child is physically aggressive

· Children who are physically aggressive were significantly more likely to be using drugs -(10.1% compared to 3.2% of all calls) and to be in with a bad crowd - 10.9% compared to 3.4% of all calls.

Jeremy Todd, Chief Executive, Family Lives says: “Family Lives’ updated report highlights that children’s violent and aggressive behaviour in the home is a hidden and stigmatised issue and we must all continue to support families to help change their child’s behaviour and ultimately improve life chances. There are many reasons that can explain why children behave in an aggressive way at home. Answers commonly include an inadequate approach to parenting, a lack of respect, sudden and unpredictable changes to the family routine, parental domestic violence or bullying at school, which causes the anger and hurt to spill out at home. Children or young people often feel that home is a safe place to vent ones feelings. Divorce and separation is considered to play its part in displays of aggressive child behaviour if co-parenting strategies are not discussed, agreed and implemented. Children can end up playing one parent off against another, or the non-resident parent may end up taking a back-seat with regards to discipline as they spend less time with the child. Whatever the reasons, children, parents, families and ultimately society will pay a huge cost if this growing area of concern is not addressed and parents must feel able to come forward to seek support without worrying about being judged.”

Family Lives asked respondents via a recent online web survey why they felt that their child behaved aggressively, what they felt influenced that behaviour and why they felt it was worse in the home. Large numbers identified their children’s friends, or other members of the family as influences on their child’s aggressive behaviour, but a significant number (38.8%) were unsure, expressing their frustration with comments such as “That’s the $10,000 question”.

Parents talked about bullying, domestic violence, disabilities and mental health problems as triggers for the aggressive behaviour and identified inconsistent parenting and divorce and separation as other contributing factors.

Seeking help

Family Lives’ most recent online survey found that only 56% of parents had sought help for their child’s aggressive behaviour. This figure remained consistent with the findings from our 2010 survey, showing that families are still trying to cope alone with difficult behaviour. An alarming 35% had not sought help because they did not know where to go to find that help, and a further 11% did not seek help because of they felt there was stigma attached to it. Despite the impact on their family life, 20% of families did not seek help for fear of damaging their child’s life chances and instead suffered in silence trying to manage the behaviour themselves.

Family Lives Recommendations

The Charity is calling for the Coalition Government:

· To ensure in its response to the Family Justice Review that Parents receive the support they need to meet their child’s needs during separation as early as possible in the process. Divorce and separation has been identified by a number of families responding to our online survey as a trigger for their child's aggressive behaviour.

· To ensure that in focussing support on the early years, they do not lose sight of the problems of older and teenager children, further stigmatising the seeking of support for families experiencing difficulties with children in this age bracket.

· To commit to looking for sustainable ways to better integrate family support services with universal services.

To review the report visit http://fmly.me/wordshurtreport

Parents concerned about verbal or physical abuse from their children can call Family Lives’ free and confidential helpline, Parentline, on 0808 800 2222, or email parentsupport@familylives.org.uk for a personalised reply within 3 days.


'Gran was the backbone of the family'

When we lose special people in our lives it has a profound effect, a very good friend of mine today lost his Gran, and in his utter sadness he said that she was 'the backbone of the family.'
What better tribute can you have as a grandparent?
Thoughts with him and his family.x

Friday 18 November 2011

Fathers just need to go to court to see his children!!

That is what was said to me last night, and not for the first time, it makes me so angry that the reality of non-resident parents is still not getting out there.
It is such important issue and apart from the occasional headline of tabloid press, the public still have no idea at all of the situation and what goes on, in Family Courts and with ex partners. People of course don't know what goes on in The Family Courts because it's secret.
So here it is, again as plain as I can say.
There are thousands of non resident parents in the UK who are not having any contact at all with their children, because their ex's say so.
Yes fathers have a right to see their children, but it is not as simple as that.
If a couple part, and their is conflict and contact is denied, the non-resident parent has to go to court to apply for contact. Firstly why on earth, should you have to go to court to see your own children?
It can cost thousands and thousands, £20-£30..... and then if a contact agreement is made, it is still down to the ex if they turn up at agreed time and place, if not back to court.
Yes, the resident parent may well be breaking the law, but there are few if any consequences as it is detrimental to the children.
Is it not detrimental to the children in the fact that they are being kept from seeing both parents?
In the mean time in the months that this is all going on, what is the effect on the children? What is being said to the children about the non-resident parent?
So, some fathers after much heart-searching decide for the sake of the children to back off.
It is the hardest sacrifice of all.

Wednesday 16 November 2011

Grandparents providing child care.



To court or no to court?

I am often asked why we decided not to go to court when we were denied contact with our granddaughter.
It was not a decision we took lightly in fact one of the hardest decisions we have ever made.
It was all about what was the best thing for her at that time in her life. She had to live the life she was living and if we started going to court and all that, that entailed it would have made life more difficult for her, we wanted her to be able to get on with her life without us causing her anymore difficulties.
I often ask myself the question, "Does she think we don't love her anymore?"
If she ever reads this or her blog, I hope that she will understand we all love her so much and not a day goes by that we don't all think of her.
We are all still here if or when she wants us.
She will always be our first and eldest granddaughter.


Sunday 13 November 2011

Dates for next years meetings.

Please not that ALL meetings will be on a Friday afternoon, having tried this year with alternating between a Friday afternoon and Saturday evening, (as asked to by a few members,) in all honesty those who asked did not actually attend on the Saturday evenings, so we are going to revert to original day. It is very difficult to suit everyone. Also for your information April meeting will be incorporate the AGM.

Dates for Meetings 2012.

Friday Feb 3rd 2pm

Friday April 6th 2pm ( AGM)

Friday June 1st 2pm

Friday August 3rd 2pm

Friday October 5th 2pm

Friday December 7th 2pm.


Friday 11 November 2011

When will Family Justice Report be implemented?

I have been asked by grandparents now that the final report has been published how long will it be before it is law?
Well, as I have said previously, this report is 'recommendations,' so it goes to government and they will write responses, and it is possible that it will be published in the New Year. That is when they will decide as to whether they agree with the recommendations or to drop parts or add parts.
Any legislation would have to be in draft form, debated and then move through the appropriate stages in Parliament.
It is anyones guess how long this will all take, but we are talking about a couple of years, I would think, before it will take effect.
With everything being in such turmoil, economically etc, it will depend on time allowed in Parliament and how far up the agenda of importance the report is deemed to be.


Would you be prepared to be interviewed?

I have had a request from Radio 4 for grandparents who are prepared to be interviewed for a possible forthcoming programme.
It is at the research stage.
Please contact me if you are interested, my understanding is that they are looking to speak to grandparents who have been denied contact after a family breakup.
More details when I have them.

Thursday 10 November 2011

Soldier gets contact.

With all the doom and gloom everywhere, some great news.
TC, soldier who went to Afghanistan unable to see his daughter, went to court today and he has got contact.

Saturday 5 November 2011

Template letter to MP

If you are unhappy with the family Justice Report, I would urge you to write/email your MP, these are recommendations, as yet not law.

Here is a template letter/email for you to use. Personalise it by adding your own story and name,your constituency etc.


I am writing to you to register my profound disappointment and disgust at the recommendations made in the final report of the Family Justice Review.

The final report rejected not only a presumption of shared parenting following family breakdown in law, but also a statement to recognise the importance of the role of both parents in a child’s life. The report also failed to provide recommendations for strengthening the child’s right to contact with grandparents and the wider family.

It is stated in the report that the answer to improving outcomes for children in private family law is to ‘make parental responsibility work’. Parental responsibility was formally defined in the Children Act 1989; if parental responsibility alone were the answer, we would have seen improved outcomes for children over the past 20 years. Sadly, we see only ever increasing numbers of children becoming estranged from their parents through no fault of their own, to the detriment of their psychological, emotional and social wellbeing.

The family justice system is not in a state of crisis because people are unaware of the meaning of parental responsibility; instead, the problem is that it is all too easy for one parent to simply ignore this and omit the other from their child’s life, with a system which is unable and unwilling to take firm action to prevent it. Only a rebuttal presumption of shared parenting in law, where no risks to the child's welfare have been identified, will be enough to ensure that justice is served for children caught up in these most intractable cases.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Britain is a signatory, guarantees a child’s right to maintain a meaningful relationship with both parents following separation or divorce, where to do so would not put the child at undue risk. It should be a source of shame for all of us that our current family law system produces outcomes so diametrically opposed to this simple, yet laudable, aim. That the Family Justice Review has decided to sidestep this issue is an opportunity lost, and one which risks betraying a new generation of children.

The Family Justice Review does of course only provide recommendations; not law. I therefore urge you in your capacity as Member for CONSTITUENCY to make representations to the Secretary of State for Justice The Rt. Hon. Kenneth Clarke MP and Parliamentary Under Secretary for Children and Families Tim Loughton MP, and request that any legislation proposed on family law will ensure that a child’s right to a meaningful relationship with both parents and their wider family following divorce and separation are respected and supported.

I keenly anticipate your reply.

Yours faithfully,
Your Name

(Thanks to SteveGr)