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.

Saturday 26 May 2012

Think before you post.

A word of caution to everyone who contributes to commenting etc , remember that once something is written on the internet be it a blog,  or any of the forums you might belong to, it is out there. By doing a search on your search engine, with a word or phrase, it is possible that your posts or comments will appear.
So, may I suggest that you either use a different name or keep it anonymous.
Please be careful, think before you click.
If you want to contact me privately email me jane@bristolgrandparentssupportgroup.co.uk
Don't stop commenting just be cautious.

Saturday 19 May 2012

Grandchildrens' Rights.

I received this email today, and was asked to post it so here it is:

"Hi Ms Jackson
I’ve been trying to add to your bristolparents blogs but it doesn’t want to accept me.
I’ve recently been successful in being able to see my 3 year old granddaughter again after 14 months silence from her parents. I went to court for a contact order which I won.
The point is I didn’t approach my request as a right of mine to see Hannah, but as a right of Hannah to see me.
Because of this approach Cafcass supported me from the outset. They said my daughter’s behaviour was “utterly unacceptable”; they stressed to the judge that I was pushing for Hannah’s rights, not mine; and now  she gets to see me and play and get to know me once every three months. Not a lot but owt’s better than nowt.
It might be an approach that abandoned grandparents in general should adopt. The child’s rights in these situations are paramount and courts are much more likely, I think, to accept this view and settle in favour of the grandparents.
I was going to blog this at some length. Perhaps you might do so for me?
Best regards
Allan Friswell"

As you will know Bristol Grandparents Support Group have always said this is not the rights of grandparents but the rights of the children, as stated on our website.

Wednesday 16 May 2012

BBC Songs of Praise-meeting

Just to let you know, if you are attending the meeting on June 1st the BBC will be filming for Songs of Praise.
We have already done the interview bit but they just want to film a bit of meeting.
If you don't want to be filmed that is ok, just say so when you come.

We support and are non-judgemental.

I have written about this before, but maybe it needs reiterating.
This is a support group, I aim to support grandparents who are unable to see their grandchildren, for a variety of reasons.
Of course there is always two sides to every story, but as a support group it is not for me to be judgemental, I take grandparents who contact me at face value, not only grandparents  but mums and dads as well.
I for one have said things in the past that I regret, I defy anyone to say they have never said or done something that they should't have.
The great sadness, is that situations or behaviour  that may have occurred years ago, can cloud our relationships, cause rifts that appear to be too difficult to heal.
Life is precious and all too often too short, it takes enormous strength of character and courage to say sorry or to forget what has happened in the past, and move forward.
The children get caught up in something beyond their control, and many adults in their lives let them down, they are our future, what has gone before is nothing to do with them.
As they become older, we know that they begin to ask questions and if they feel they have been lied to, and denied a relationship with their extended family they turn against those who have caused the problem.
There are absolutely no winners in this.
Also just to make it clear our group is an independent group, we have no employees, it is just a support group, to support, to listen and to talk.

Sunday 13 May 2012

Vouchers at Boots for Parents and Grandparents for Parenting Classes?


Is this a good idea?

Support for Mums.

Are you a Mum who is denied contact with your children, would you like to hear from other Mums, if so get in touch.

Surrogate Grandparents?

Would you be interested in being a 'surrogate' grandparent?
Now this subject has been raised before, but I have had a call today raising it again, and I would really like to hear your views.
If there are children who have no relationship with their grandparents, because of distance or just grandparents not wanting to be involved, how would you feel about befriending a family?
I have my own thought on this, but it is not my view, but yours.

Late Night Calls.

As you know I always say that I am at the end of the phone anytime you need a chat. When I say 'anytime' maybe I need to be more explicit!
Recently I have been getting calls very late at night,  the number you are calling is my own home private number, it is not an office.
So please can you call no later than 9:30pm.
Many thanks.

Thursday 10 May 2012

BBC Songs of Praise

Spent this afternoon filming for Songs of Praise, the programme will be aired on Sept 9th, it is about grandparents.


More information about Shared Parenting: http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/inthenews/a00208753/childrens-bill-family-support

"Shared Parenting

Ministers intend to strengthen the law to ensure children have a relationship with both their parents after family separation, where that is safe and in the child's best interests.
The Government believes that this will encourage more separated parents to resolve their disputes out of court and agree care arrangements that fully involve both parents.
The Government will consult shortly on how the legislation can be framed to ensure that a meaningful relationship is not about an equal division of time but the quality of time that a child spends with each parent.
This was announced as part of the Government’s response to the independent Family Justice Review in February 2012. The review published its final report in November 2011."
The Children and Families Bill is expected to be introduced early in 2013 and carry over into the third session of this Parliament for Royal Assent.

Wednesday 9 May 2012

Birmingham,Bromsgrove Support.

Is there anyone in the Birmingham, Bromsgrove area who might like to give some support, please contact me if so.

Who Knows?

Apparently if its in the Telegraph its true?
Sorry to keep on about this but it is such an important issue.

Just received this link;  www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/sites/default/files/resources/Queens-Speech-2012-briefing-notes.pdf
Family Law

Creating a time limit of six months by which care cases must be completed.
Making it explicit that case management decisions should be made only after impacts on the child, their needs and timetable have been considered.
Focussing the court on those issues which are essential to deciding whether to make a care order.
Getting rid of unnecessary processes in family proceedings by removing the requirement for interim care and supervision orders to be renewed every month by the judge and instead allowing the judge to set the length and renewal requirements of interim orders for a period which he or she considers appropriate, up to the expected time limit.
Requiring courts to have regard to the impact of delay on the child when commissioning expert evidence and whether the court can obtain information from parties already involved.
Strengthening the law to ensure that, where it is safe, and in the child's best interests, children have a relationship with both their parents after family separation. The Government will consult on legal options shortly. 

Ministerial Working Group.

I understand these are the people who are making up the Ministerial Working Group on Shared Parenting.

Fiona Weir - Gingerbread
Mavis McClain - Oxford University
Christine Skinner - York University
Penny Marefield - 1+1
Annette Mountford - Family Links
Anne Longfield - 4 Children
Charlie Pickles - Dept. Work & Pensions
Rosemary Carter - Lawyer / Mediator
Ken Sanderson - FNF
Karen Woodhall - Centre for Separated Families
Justine Roberts - Mumsnet
Fatherhood Institute
Is it me being cynical, or is it a bit female top heavy? 

Shared Parenting in the Queens Speech?

Queens Speech today, is this what we have been waiting for?


Sunday 6 May 2012

Special Guardianship.

I am often asked about a variety of different orders, Special Guardianship, Residence Orders etc, hope this helps. Please note that this is under English Law.

Special Guardianship

Special Guardianship is a legal option which came into force on 30 December 2005.
It is intended to provide permanence for children for whom adoption is not appropriate.
It is most likely to be used for older children who do not wish to make an absolute legal break with their birth family. Special Guardianship is a way of building a lifelong permanent relationship between the carer and the child or young person.

A Special Guardianship Order.

A Special Guardianship Order gives the Special Guardian parental responsibility for the child.

What is the difference between Special Guardianship and long term fostering?

Foster carers do not have parental responsibility. A special guardian will be able to make most of the important decisions about a child. The child will no longer be “looked after” by the Local Authority.
What is the difference between Special Guardianship and Adoption?
Unlike adoption, under a Special Guardianship Order, the parents remain the child's parents and retain parental responsibility, though their ability to exercise their parental responsibility is extremely limited.
Special Guardianship support and allowance
An assessment of support needs will be made before a Special Guardianship Order is granted. Support can include a financial allowance where appropriate.

If you want to offer a child a permanent home but can understand that there are some circumstances when adoption is not appropriate, then talk to your local service about special guardianship. The initial processes would be as for fostering.


Not supposed to smile?

Every time I do an article re denied contact that have to have photos included, which I hate may I say, the photographer will always say that their brief is to take sad photos!
The reasoning behind this is as it is a tragic situation, I have to look miserable.
Trying to look miserable for 2 hours, is miserable it itself!
I was thinking about this, and yes of course the issue of denied contact is a very sad, heartbreaking thing but would I really want my granddaughter to see photos of me looking sad?
No, of course not.
The memories I carry of her are joyful and happy, certainly not sad.
So there needs to be a sensible balance, there are positives in all of this , raising public awareness of the rights of grandchildren needs recognition, not photos of a miserable gran.

Friday 4 May 2012