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 January 2012

Tea and Cake for the Grandchildren.

Don't forget meeting on Friday at 2pm.
Shortcake and cake of some description and tea, well as soon as I get baking that is.
As always, Tea and Cake for our Grandchildren.

Thursday 26 January 2012

Wednesday 25 January 2012

Next meeting.

Just a reminder to those who are able to come, that the next Bristol meeting is on Friday 3rd Feb at 2pm.
Look forward to seeing you there.

Monday 23 January 2012

BBC wanting to talk?

Have had this email from BBC which clarifies the sort of person they might like to talk to, if this is you and you are interested pleas let me know.

Many thanks for getting in touch and for telling me about your group. As I explained on the ‘Grannynet’ post, I am hoping to find grandparents with some sort of story to tell about what it means to be a grandparent. Being ‘estranged’ from a grandchild is sadly a much-talked-about subject these days, so if you happen to know of any of your group members who might be willing to talk about the experience, perhaps you could let me know? We’d be looking for someone with a faith dimension (Christian) to their life because we are ‘Songs of Praise’. Perhaps you know of somebody with a Christian faith who is trying to rebuild a relationship with a grandchild after a period of estrangement, or somebody who has to cope with being separated from their grandchild and whose faith is a source of strength and hope? Please do let me know if anybody springs to mind!

Many thanks for your help!

Sunday 22 January 2012

On-line Support.

As the group is continually growing and reaching out to some many grandparents nationally and globally,it is important to reiterate that if you are not able to come to our local meetings then support and advice is always available on-line.
There are various ways that you can access us.
There is a contact page on the website www.bristolgrandparentssupportgroup.co.uk where I will get back to you as soon as I can.
You can of course leave a comment at the end of the posts here.
Another good way of finding support via a forum, I recommend www.grannynet.co.uk it is a great website, part of its resources is a forum, where you will find a special thread called Denied Contact where you can contribute and give support to other grans who understand exactly how you are feeling.
The forum is full of a huge variety of different threads on all sorts of different subjects.
You will receive a warm welcome.
You will have to join the site and register for the forum to enable you to post.
Please don't feel that you are not able to find support on-line, you can.

Saturday 21 January 2012

January Blues.

I have been contacted by a large number of grandparents this month, I think January is such a down month, still dark in the morning and grey skies.
We expect Spring but we haven't quite got there yet, but I promise it is coming.

Friday 20 January 2012

I am not a mediator.

I was approached yesterday by a grandparent who wanted me to talk to her estranged child.
Our group is for support and advice and we are not in the job of mediation.
If I contacted all the sons/daughter/daughter-in-laws/son-in-laws who were denying contact ,it would be an impossible task.
I have often thought that it would be great to get people together to ask the question, WHY? but it is only a thought.
Family conflict in all its disguises is very complicating and needs a trained expert.
I will always support grandparents but I can't get involved that way.
I hope you understand.


Does your faith help you?

If you are interested in talking to BBC Songs of Praise let me know.

Wednesday 18 January 2012

Have I become an Internet expert???????

This morning had a call from Radio Bristol asking if I would talk about my reliance of the internet!
My sons will no doubt think this hugely funny.
I am the one who did a computer course and would come back crying, throwing cushions about saying I would never go back and what ridiculous things computer were!!!!
My computer is now on all day used all the time, I wouldn't be without it.
It is the internet that enables me to do, what I am doing now, reaching out to grandparents all over the world.
It enables me to keep grandparents up to date with what we are doing and what is coming up.
So to both my boys................ I did it!!!!!!

Tuesday 17 January 2012

10,000 hits!!!!!!!!

Good gracious, have had more than 10,000 hits on the blog now!!!!!!!!!!
Thanks to everyone who takes the time have a look.

Forums can be hurtful places.

Lots of us use forums on various sites.
Why is it that there is always someone who is hurtful?
The written word is a powerful tool and needs to be used carefully, once you click that submit button its gone and the damage can be done.
Very often forums are a way of people being able to share their experiences, good and bad.
Sometimes people find it easier to share heartbreak and sadness in this format, I know people who have been very upset by comments that are made.
The reality is of course that we don't actually know these people, are they people that would be our friends in the real world?
In a world where we need the care and protection of each other I find it impossible to understand why some people find it necessary to make underlying sarcastic, belittling and patronising comments to people.
Just be prepared when using forums that this might happen, hit the ignore button.
Everyone has their own opinion on things, thats the beauty of the human race we are all different, but we need to respect our differing views.
By the way, everyone on here is valued.

Support from America!

The issue of denied contact is global as I have said before.
Today I have heard from a pastor in America who is setting up a support group for grandparents and is keen to link up with us.
(Thanks to J.L for the introduction)
He says;
" Thank you so much I was asked to help organize a Support Group for grandparents at my church where I am the Assistant to the Pastor – I am a Certified Lay Minister in the United Methodist Church in the USA.
I am excited about all that I see on your website. I will be giving the link to our Group. Thank you so much and I will be spanning the Atlantic electronically and in touch with you often – and one day hope to make it to Bristol to see you in person. We are on the Atlantic Coast in Virginia – we live just across the Elizabeth River from our Norfolk.
It is wonderful to have you and your Group as a Resource as we start on the journey to organize here!"

So blossoming all over the world, the sadness of course is that there are many millions of children at the heart of all this, involved in something that is adult led and nothing to do with them.
I look forward to working with J and his wife in coming months.

Sunday 15 January 2012

The ache goes on and on..........

Lately it seems to have been especially hard not seeing or hearing from my granddaughter.
Of course its hard all the time, but I can usually carry on, getting on with life etc.
Maybe it is just a low time of the year, you become very sensitive to peoples comments and remarks, take them personnally, when in fact they may not be.
People just appear to be moving on, rushing here and there, planning for the future.
And yet in the pit of my stomach is this ache, not an ache I can describe, it just goes on and on, a huge empty void.
Gosh I miss you L.......,

Friday 13 January 2012

TV 'Doctors'

Thanks to Mantra.
Today I watched episode of Doctors at lunch time, there is a storyline at present with the practice manager who has lost contact with her granddaughter.
Her colleagues decide that the best thing for them is to 'distract' her by inviting her to go to a Zumba class. So that if she has something else to think about it will be ok.
It goes to illustrate so well that people have absolutely no understanding at all of the heartbreak of being denied contact and the emotional issues.
It becomes so unbearable in some cases that grandparents seek to end it all.
I hope that the programme makers are aware of what a serious situation this is.

Tuesday 10 January 2012

The Blame Game.

I know only to well the hurt and anger that denied contact evokes, but who does it help when groups start slagging off one side against the other?
Sometimes it strikes me that some of the language and threats that are used makes those responsible no better than the parent who is causing Alienation.
What do you think the children think when they read stuff like that?
It goes without question that denying contact with one or other parent and grandparents, is not in the children's best interest, but neither is this sometimes evil rhetoric.
Once again it puts children in the middle of adult problems, not theirs ours.
Of course we need to be strong and vocal and keep pressure on the government to legislate for shared parenting, but don't stoop to the perpetrators level.
You are better than that and your children deserve better than that.

Monday 9 January 2012

The times they are a changing.

Yet another report today that the government are looking to legislate for shared parenting, and maybe more importantly, that those parents not adhering could face prison.
Obviously no-one wants anyone to go to prison, but resident parents who have denied contact have been breaking the law for years, if you break the law you are normally punished, this rarely happens at the moment.
The children who have suffered this abuse for years, hang in there, it IS going to change.

Tuesday 3 January 2012

Your messages to your grandchildren.

These are some of the messages from our "Tree of Hope".
If you were wondering what I do with them all, I keep every single one, nearly 200 now!!
Thank you for those who sent me or came in to write them this year.