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.

Monday 27 August 2012

Children have the right to be part of both their parents lives.

Why I consider shared parenting is so important.
When a child is conceived it is by two people, one child two parents.
Whatever happens between those two adults has nothing to do with the child, the child still has a right to the love,care and protection of both its parents.
It is not up to an individual to decide if one parent is going to be shut out of their child's life, as a child grows and becomes an adult it is then their decision as to who they have a relationship with, be it one or both parents and grandparents.
As I have written before, if Parental Alienation occurs, when the child is older and starts to question, it will be at the expense of the relationship of the parent who is causing the Alienation.
Children who have found themselves in this horrible situation, tell us that they feel betrayed by the adults in their lives, for telling lies about a non resident parent, and for being told that their grandparents don't love them anymore and don't care. Can you possibly imagine how that young person feels? No of course not, unless it has happened to you.
Not only is it at the time they discover that they have been let down, by the adults in their lives, but it effects them for years to come if not for the rest of their lives.
They have lost trust, they have difficulty in their future relationships, they feel they don't belong and have no roots.
As grandparents, if we have found ourselves in this situation due to one of our children's separation/divorce then Shared Parenting would enable us to be part of our grandchildren's lives again. As generally, not always, if both parents have contact with their child/children then their own parents would also.
As I said at the beginning, children come into this world by two people joining together,  they have the right to be part of both parents lives.
It is the right of the children, not the right of the adults.

Tuesday 21 August 2012

Make sure your MP is in Parliament on October 26th

Because the Family Justice Bill will be coming up for its 2nd reading.

Family Justice Bill

The Family Justice Bill is important to every family in the country today.

It’s about improving transparency in the Family Justice system to help children and parents and to weed out bad practice which is under reported and in many cases ignored and shrouded in secrecy.

How can you help?

There are a number of ways you can help, firstly by simply contacting your MP to make sure they are in Parliament on 26th October 2012.

Another way you can help is by adding this bill onto any websites, groups or organisations that you may be connected with.  

A website is under construction and we are also asking for any organisation that will support this bill to allow us to use their logo on our website,www.familyjusticebill.com and www.familyjusticebill.info as a way to thank them for their support. Please contact us if you are interested in this offer.

The draft bill will also be available on the website.

Please spread this important message to every one you know. 

(Thanks to Russ for this info)


Saturday 18 August 2012

Write to your GP, on access to medical records.

I have posted about this issue before, but would suggest that we revisit it.
There are cases of some resident parents asking for access to their children's medical records and it being refused.
If the parent has Parental Responsibility then they have a right to see medical records.
 May I suggest that everyone drops a line to their own Doctors Surgery, address to practise manager to flag up this issue.
This is a template of letter if you wish to use it.

Dear ...........,
 It has become clear around the UK that some resident parents, with Parental Responsibility, after a separation/divorce,are having difficulties with some Doctors surgeries in accessing their child's medical records.
It is my understanding that very often it is through lack of training that some staff within the practice are unaware of the rights of a parent with PR.
I am just flagging this issue up, for you, and have added the link to GMC guidance.


Friday 17 August 2012

If you have a story.

It is always good to hear a story of grandchildren regaining contact with their grandparents, we had a grandparent come to our last meeting who had done just that, it would be great if this has happened to you for you to share it with us?
I have posted several cases over the years and it is such a boost to people who think it will never happen, it does.

Aims and Objectives.

Sometimes it is good to flag these up again.

: To give support to others who are denied contact with their grandchildren.

: To share experiences and ideas.

: To continue to raise public awareness.

: To continue to put pressure on government to make changes and to stop grandparents being called 'irrelevant people' in the eyes of the law.

: To eradicate the phrase Grandparents Rights, to be replaced to Grandchildren's Rights.

: To lobby our MP's

Wednesday 15 August 2012

Are there others out there like me?

Isolation, alone, ashamed, bewildered, heartbroken, unbelieving, desperate and suicidal.
These are just a few words that grandparents have used when they find themselves denied contact with their grandchildren.
You are most certainly not alone, there are over one million children in the UK who are denied contact with their grandparents.
This can be for a variety of reasons, your child’s relationship with their partner may have broken up, a parent of your grandchild could well be drug or alcohol dependant, which makes any relationship with you difficult, sometimes impossible. There are many cases of  grandparents who are prevented from seeing their grandchildren when one of the parents dies prematurely. So  not only do the children lose Mum or Dad but subsequently their grandparents. I have thought long and hard about this and I can only think that it is just to painful for the Mum or Dad who is bereaved to have that association.
The grandparents I support who are bereaved have not only lost their child but also their grandchildren, who of course is their only link to their son or daughter.
Finally, there are grandparents who are denied contact due to a family fallout.
However we find ourselves in this situation the outcome is the same, an inability to be art of our grandchildren’s lives, to watch them grow to be able to impart the experiences and knowledge we have gained.
I recently saw a quote that I really thought so appropriate, that grandparents were like a shady tree.
A place to go for shelter , a welcoming place to share their knowledge with the next generation. Their unconditional love and warmth makes for a very special bond.
So when that bond is broken the children's lives are incomplete, where can they then go for shelter, that fount of knowledge, where can they go to get  that advice from the roots of their family tree to ensure that the fruit is sweet, worthy and loveable?
If you find yourself  with this terrible feeling of desperation , it is important to know that there are places you can go for help.
Understandably, grandparents can find themselves suffering with depression, if that is you, please go and talk to your GP who in most cases will be able to offer you free counseling , it does vary from surgery to surgery, but  usually it is 3-5 sessions are free.
Always, talk to someone if you have feelings of utter desperation contact The Samaritans  Tel : 08457909090
Contact a support group, to talk to someone who knows exactly how you are feeling, they are the experts.

Saturday 4 August 2012

The true meaning of support.

We had a good meeting yesterday, many thanks to all.
August is usually a quiet meeting due to holidays, but we had several new people to welcome and as usual the support given by everyone was marvellous.
It is a really big deal when someone arrives for the first time, so to walk into happy smiling faces is a testimony to you all.
It is a privilege for us to witness the friendships that have developed over the last 5 years, we just offer a place, a cuppa, a cake you do the rest.
It is after all a support group, and that is down to all the grandparents involved, without you it would be an empty place.
Thank you so much again.

Friday 3 August 2012

Welcoming new members.

Looking forward to meeting this afternoon, August is usually quite a quite one as so many away, but there are several new people coming today, I look forward to welcoming them, and I know that a warm welcome will be forthcoming from others ready to give their support as usual.
It is what this group does best! Oh, and its rock cakes today!

Wednesday 1 August 2012

Communications Act

If you are make the decision to go down the legal route, in attempting to get contact with your grandchildren, remember that now in the technological era we all live in,  all forms of communication can be used in a case.
There are examples of texts, Tweets, FB comments, status's, forums etc all being used as evidence.
As we have all experienced, once something is written on the internet it is the public domain, and will and can be used by anyone.
If you are being subjected to  emails or any form of communication and it does not cease then you need to take all of it to the police and ask them to investigate a possible offence under the Communications Act section 127(1). The penalties are a fine or community order.


Judicial proposals for the modernisation of family justice