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.

Tuesday 31 May 2011

Family Justice Review Consultation.

Today Marc and I attended theFamily Justice Review in Cardiff.
There was a group from Fathers 4Justice protesting outside the venue and making their views known loud and clear, they also attracted media coverage.
Inside there were approx 100 people, made up of Dads denied contact,Lawyers,Barristers,Mediators,Counsellors and politicians, and a band of various experts.
It did feel as though within the discussion time that when I tried to say something I got shouted down by an 'expert' or solicitor.
There was considerable concern that the interim report does not back shared parenting.
It was also clear that everyone felt that if court orders are broken there must be penalties.
There was a lot of talk about 'in the interest of the child' my view is that how can it possibly be 'in the interest of the child' not to legislate for shared parenting.
Difficult to know really how effective these consultation meetings are, but it is good if you have a view to air it.
You can still respond online until June 23rd email your views to familyjusticereview@justice.gsi.gov.uk


Monday 30 May 2011

Next Meeting

The next meeting of Bristol Grandparents Support Group is on Friday at 2pm 3rd June, look forward to seeing you.

Saturday 28 May 2011

Website now live.

As promised Bristol Grandparents Support Group has a new website, take a look, let me know what you think.

I would like to thank Paul Jackson for his enormous patience with me whilst he designed the website.


Friday 27 May 2011

Consultation on Family Justice Review Interim Report.

I will be attending the consultation meeting in Cardiff on 31stMay.
There is a presentation on the report and an opportunity to ask questions, will report back.

2.00pm - Introduction

2.05pm - Overview of the proposals in the interim report -, Keith Towler
- Family Justice Review
2.30pm - Group discussions - Private law, Public law and Family Justice
3.00pm - Discussion groups feedback
3.30pm - Q&A
4.00pm - Closing comments


Thursday 19 May 2011

When a grandparent has their child and grandchildren taken from them..

Every case of grandchildren being denied a relationship with their grandparents is heartbreaking,and I spend many hours thinking about them and why it happens, Ok there may have been an argument, a grandparent may have talked out of turn but why is it necessary to stop the children seeing them?
One of the worst cases is when grandparents have lost a son or daughter prematurely through an accident or illness, and then the parent who is left decides that the children can no longer see the grandparents of their partner who dies.
Loosing one of our children is something we all dread and it seems so unnatural for our children to die before us, but then to also lose the only connection of your child, your grandchildren it dreadful.
And I have many grandparents I speak to that this has happened to, the devastation they feel is enormous.
As if the children don't have enough to cope with when their parent dies their grandparents are taken from them as well.
I really don't understand at all.

Wednesday 18 May 2011

New Website

Watch this space, a new Bristol Grandparents Support Group website is nearly ready to go live.

Tuesday 17 May 2011

A soldier who could no longer live without his children.

This is a hard hitting video,and although it is about a member of the armed forces, it is actually a true insight into any parent who is denied contact with their children, there are many non resident parents who have taken such drastic steps.

Sunday 15 May 2011

30 years and only 3 grandparents?

If a person residing over the Family Court with 30 years experience has only ever had 3 grandparents before them applying for a contact order to allow them to see their grandchildren,it must be indicative of how futile it is to even consider going down the legal route.
It is fact that their are over one million children in the UK denied contact with their grandparents, it just proves that our legal system is letting them down.

Saturday 14 May 2011

BBC Report Re Twitter and Facebook-banning information

An injunction which bans publication of information on Twitter and Facebook has been issued by a High Court judge.

It is thought to be the first specific ban on publishing information on any "social network or media including Twitter or Facebook", plus other media.

It was made by Mr Justice Baker in the Court of Protection, which is linked to the Family Division of the High Court.

Orders to prevent children being identified usually ban publication in print, websites and media broadcasts.

The order by Mr Justice Baker was issued in a case involving a woman, who can be referred to only as "M".

She has been in "a minimally conscious state" since suffering from swelling of the brain stem, which caused serious damage and wasting to the brain.

The woman suffered the illness in 2003, when she was 43, and has been minimally conscious since then.

Her mother applied to the Court of Protection - which deals with cases of those who are unable to make their own decisions on medical care or other issues - for an order that those who are looking after M could withdraw nourishment and medical treatment and allow her to die, while giving her the care and treatment she needed to suffer the least distress and maintain as much dignity as possible.

English courts jurisdiction

Mr Justice Baker had already issued an injunction in the case banning the media not merely from publishing information which could identify anyone involved in the case, but also from contacting a list of 65 people who were connected with it, including M's relatives and care home staff.

The new order, which was attached to a judgment handed down on Thursday, bans the identification of the parties and other people, and the care home or NHS Trust responsible for treating M.

It also bans anyone from making any attempt to contact a variety of people, including M's mother, sister and husband, or going within specified distances of certain people and locations.

The specific ban on publication of information on social media comes after a user of the Twitter website used it to publish details of individuals who had allegedly obtained injunctions banning the media from publishing stories about their private lives.

However, legal observers believe it could be difficult to enforce because both Twitter and Facebook are run by companies in the US, which are outside the jurisdiction of the English courts.

This could make it difficult to trace the identity of anyone who posted material.

The Court of Protection Rules specify that cases are usually heard in secret.

However, it does allow for exceptions in which cases can be heard in public, subject to reporting restrictions protecting the identities of the parties.

Meanwhile, a blogger who published the full text of a gagging order online has said he did so because he did not agree with the idea that people should be able to go to court to silence others.

It is thought to be the first time that a person who can be identified - the blogger's name, address, phone number and two e-mail address appear on his blog site - has published a full copy of an injunction online.

The move marks the latest stage in a growing internet backlash against secrecy orders issued by English courts.

Wednesday 11 May 2011

Family Justice Review Invitation to consultation.

If anyone would like to go you need to register your interest.

Dear Jane Jackson

As you are aware, the Family Justice Review panel launched its interim report and invited responses to its proposals for reform. The panels’ interim report sets out proposals to tackle problems faced by the family justice system.

Its recommendations aim to bring greater coherence through organisational change and better management, making the system more able to cope with current and future pressures, reducing duplication of scrutiny and diverting more issues away from court.

As part of the consultation process, we are holding four open discussion events in England and Wales to provide an opportunity for individuals to hear more about the review and debate and discuss the proposals set out in the interim report. Details of these events are below:

Wednesday 18 May (approximately 2pm – 4pm) London

Tuesday 31 May (approximately 2pm – 4pm) – Cardiff

Wednesday 1 June (approximately 2pm – 4pm) – Manchester

Tuesday 7 June (approximately 2pm – 4pm) – Birmingham

The events are expected to last approximately two hours. Due to limited spaces the places will be allocated on a first come first serve basis. If you would like to attend please register your interest at partners@justice.gsi.gov.uk stating what date you are interested in.

The interim report and online survey can be found at: www.justice.gov.uk/publications/policy/moj/family-justice-review.htm

Kind regards


Tuesday 10 May 2011

Setting Up A Support Group.

Perseverance, perseverance, perseverance!

We haven’t seen our beautiful granddaughter since 2007 now, and I had two options, either I could cry myself to sleep every night or I could become pro-active and turn a terrible negative situation into something positive.

I chose the second option.

As there are over one million children denied access to their grandparents there must be a large number of grandparents feeling just like I was, how to reach them?

I wrote to my local newspaper and told them my story, they sent a photographer and I waited, nothing appeared, I contacted them and they said they had decided not to print it.

All I wanted them to do was to publise the fact I wanted to set up a support group, but that didn’t seem to be enough.

Several Christmas’ ago, I decided to have a Christmas tree in my garden, and it would be for all grandchildren who wouldn’t be seeing their grandparents during the festive season.

I tied yellow ribbons on all the trees in my road and attached an information sheet to them, to raise awareness.

Grandparents that I had been in touch with, on various internet forums, from all over the UK started emailing me messages to put on the Christmas tree, I took photos of the tree and sent them copies.

Once again I wrote to my local paper, which sent yet another reporter and photographer, again on Christmas Eve I was told that their legal department had said that they couldn’t print it.

I had written to ITV West and they asked if they could do a feature on their news programme, which they did.

Finally, I decided to write to the letters page of the local paper with the headline, ‘Tea and Cake for our Grandchildren.’

It worked, grandparents started ringing up and we are now up and running, giving support at meetings, on the phone and by emailing.

It is clear that grandparents find it difficult to put their head above the parapet .I think there are various reasons for this. It can be that they are so afraid of making their situation worse, so they don’t say anything, they may well be going through a court case and they don’t want to jeopardize their case, some grandparents keep it to themselves and in fact don’t talk to anyone about the pain they are feeling.

It is important the the group is member lead, so listen to other grandparents ideas and get everyone involved, it soon becomes 'their' group.

You can start off by meeting in your home, and maybe changing venue by a rota or if it becomes to big consider hiring a hall or small room.

Try not to incur costs, and ask for voluntary donations for tea,coffee etc.

Get in touch if I can help you start your group.

The moral is keep going.


Is David Cameron going to let families down?

This is no surprise.


Saturday 7 May 2011

Missing People.

There are various things you can do to try and find a missing person- maybe you don't know where your grandchildren are now living.
I have written on a previous post, things to do.
One way is to contact the Salvation Army and their tracking service, you need to be aware that there is a small charge and that if they do track the person you are looking for they will contact them on your behalf but if the missing person does not want you to have their contact details then they can not be passed on.
If that does happen, don't despair because the missing person will know that you care enough to have tried to contact them through a third party and although at this present time they may not want contact they might in the future.
It is important that we can all say to our grandchildren in the future that we tried everything we could think of to try and contact them.


200 Grandparents Contact Bristol Group.

I have been contacted now by 200 grandparents,in Bristol and surrounding area, should that be a celebration?
Probably yes and no.
No, because it means that those 200 grandparents' grandchildren are being denied their right to see their grandparents, to be able to have the love and care they deserve,from their extended family.
Yes, because that is 200 grandparents who no longer feel isolated and alone, they can get comfort and support from the group.
One grandparent who I spoke to this week said that she has no family and her friends don't understand and that to know that their are others near her going through the same thing has helped her already.
We are all here to support each other.


Monday 2 May 2011

Second reading Date.

The second reading of this 10 minute rule bill is on May 13th.

"Charlie Elphicke, MP for Dover and Deal, presented a 10 Minute Rule Bill in Parliament proposing that courts and local authorities be required to take account of the rights of children to have a relationship with both parents following divorce and separation."

Sunday 1 May 2011

Accountability-mass letter writing?

As we run up to Fathers Day on June 19th, I think it would be a good idea for us all to write to our Mp's on the issue of who is accountable to making sure schools,doctors and social workers are following laws and guidelines that already in place, for BOTH parents to receive equal information in regard to their children.
It is a slightly different tack to take, the important word being accountability.
Here is an idea of letter or email you could use, as a template .

Dear …………,

As you will know it is Fathers’ Day on June 19th and I am writing on behalf of fathers who are denied contact with their children, my son being just one of them.
As my representative in Parliament I would like to know how you and the public know that laws and guidelines given to Schools, Doctors and Social workers in respect of giving information to BOTH parents about their children is made and who are they accountable to?
In my experience in running Bristol Grandparents Support Group, I know that very often these laws and guidelines are often not adhered to.
I would be grateful to hear your views.
Many Thanks,