National and International support group for grandparents denied contact with their grandchildren. Patron Dame Esther Rantzen
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.
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