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.

Friday 30 May 2014

Stephen Sutton's legacy.

When grandparents seek out help and support they are obviously at a very low time in their lives and it is a lonely, dark place at times.
I have been there, I do know how that dark spiral is magnetic and so easy to find yourself tumbling down to nowhere.
I am sure like me, you have all been so moved by the life and death of Stephen Sutton, his attitude to his cancer was remarkable, he was determined to make a difference to enhance peoples lives. The £4million raised in his name will go on helping young people who face their own very dark days.
Of course we are not all able to face our own low times with such positivity as Stephen did, but we can all try to make a difference to other people.
We don't have to go sky diving, or crowd surfing but we can say, "Good Morning" to everyone one we pass in the street today, but not just today everyday.
Certainly for me, it really does work, if you leave someone with a smile who you met with a tear, you smile too.
Being kind to another person costs nothing at all but it is priceless to the recipient.
On the day when family and friends say goodbye to Stephen, we can all learn something from this remarkable young man and take it forward in the way we live our lives.
Don't live your life full of resentment, enhance lives for others.


Wednesday 28 May 2014

Loneliness, Isolation is a modern problem.

I make no apology for this post, as it is slightly off subject and yet shows clearly how being denied contact is so debilitating, causing loneliness and isolation.
There is no doubt that we have many things to be proud of in modern society, but in my view we have an awful lot to be ashamed about.
As you know Esther Rantzen set up The Silver Line a 24 hour helpline for older people, in her article yesterday she said that the helpline has had 100,000 calls in the first six months.
Just think about that a moment.
Why are we living in a society that is leaving our elderly population feeling so lonely, so isolated that there is a need for a helpline just for them.
Personally I am ashamed at that statistic.
Where are the families of this older generation, I completely understand that sometimes you need to talk to people other than your family, but I know from people we do gardens for, they go months and months without even a phone call from family members.
How long does it take to pick up that phone?
Of course everyone is busy and running hectic lives, charging about hither and thither, we need to pause and just think what it is like to go home to an empty house, day after day.
If I remember Esther's quote correctly she says, "I have lots of people to do things with but I don't have anyone to do nothing with."
Most of our generation and as I am 61 I am one of the older generation, don't want to be a bother. We know how busy our families are so we suffer often in silence.
Loneliness is a modern disease, in my opinion an unacceptable disease, and one that is preventable.
What would this modern society be without the volunteers of organisations such as The Silver Line, people who sit and listen just when someone needs them, a friendly voice at the end of the phone and a befriending service.
I thank them all.
If you have an elderly relative, when did you last speak to them, drop in with a bunch of flowers, take them to the pub for a pint?
Or how about your neighbour, when did you last see them, ask them if you could get their shopping for them ask them in for a cuppa?
It's not rocket science, everyone wants to be needed, if you feel you are not what is the point?
A word for our younger generation, just remember you will get older too, quicker than you think.


Tuesday 27 May 2014

The unpleasant side of running a support group, yes there is one.

I set up BGSG in 2007 when I lost contact with my granddaughter, she is my focus.
I endeavour to support and help others who are living this heartbreak, it is inevitable that some people won't like the way I do it, the way I run my blog, the way I run my website ect.
All I can say is that I do honestly do the best I can and my best is not always good enough.
Over the last 7 years I have talked to over a thousand grandparents, the blog has had over 55,756 visits, and I have had the privilege to witness the joy of reconciliation's.
During those 7 years I have experienced the down side of running a support group.
Personal insults, threats and intimidation.
Sometimes it is inevitable that as admin of a blog or group you have to make some difficult decisions, and it rebounds on you. If  members raise worries and concerns about someone, I will remove perpetrators from the group.
BGSG is a support group, and with that support comes I hope trust. Trust to be able to share our feelings with one another, to become more confident in ourselves and to "look after" each other.
Over the last week my trust has been stripped.
I have been accused of making the group "all about me."
If that is what people think then I have failed.
To be told that I need to watch what I write, here, on my FB private group or website is intimidation.
This is my blog, they are my thoughts they are not affiliated to any other group or organisation.
Whenever these situations arise,  (this is the 3rd time in 7 years), it affects so many people, me, my family, friends, parents/grandparents people who are facing this living bereavement, who are vulnerable and desperate.
When a grandparent contacts me, and I suggest they might find our FB group helpful it takes a long time for some to gain the confidence to join us, so if someone suggests that anyone can join, you can imagine how that worries people.
It is worth reiterating that some grandparents are in a very bad place and in some cases are suicidal or have been, just imagine the enormous damage it does if they feel exposed as a result of that sort of remark.
All I can say is that it is a private group, it cannot be found via search engines and I vet people as much as is humanly possible.
If at any time any one is feeling uncomfortable with another member please let me know.
I actually can't believe I am writing this.


100,000 pensioners seeking help.



Saturday 24 May 2014

Letter to my granddaughter (3)

Dear L……..,

As I look at a picture of you, I no longer see the little girl I remember, you are a young woman with  hopes and dreams. A young woman who has the rest of her life in front of her.
I am going to plant some sunflower seeds this week as I can think of the day you sat on the grass with your pot and seeds, carefully planting each one with a smile on your face as wide as the ocean.
Whilst I watch them grow and reach for the sky I will hold you close to my heart, somewhere you are under the same sky and the same sunshine.
As I look after your cousins, playing with them, painting and standing at the sink playing with water, just like I did with you, it has such bittersweet memories.
I close my eyes tight and can still see you standing there, looking up at me with big blue eyes, what I wouldn't give to recapture those moments.
I can still here your voice, calling as you ran in through the door, " Granny, granny," with such urgency.
Of course that was then, 7 long years ago.
I wonder what you are up to now, what you like doing what music you listen to?
It will be your birthday very soon, goodness me, where have those years gone.
All of us still carry on with our lives, and life continues, day turns into night and the seasons change as they always will,  but everyone here has a hole in their hearts where you used to be.
We have been doing some things with Esther Rantzen lately and she and myself have had letters and emails from children and young people who for lots of different reasons don't see their grandparents. Sitting and reading these words are so painful, there is so much hurt and pain leaping out from each page, some of them say, "Please help me."
There is one thing that they all say, "Do my grandparents know I still love them?"
If you have ever asked that question, and it breaks my heart to even think you might think that, L…….
We have never stopped loving you, we never will and we are always here for you.
So how can we help all these children and young adults, including you?
Whatever has happened in the past is just that the past, we all say things, do things that maybe we shouldn't have.
Somehow we have to be able to look at today and tomorrow and not look back.
The most important people in this is you and all the other millions of children and young people who are in the middle of all of this.
As I write this it is the beginning of another Bank Holiday and I expect the beginning of your half-term, I hope that whatever you are doing that the sun shines on you, the same sun that will be helping the sunflower seeds to grow strong and to produce those wonderful bright yellow happy flowers, just like yours did.
A bright light in this dark dawn, a star of hope and reconcilliation.
Darling, reach out for your dreams, dreams do come true.
With all my love, now and forever.

Wednesday 21 May 2014

ITV This Morning

I understand that tomorrow morning, 22nd May, that This Morning is doing a phone in on grandparents rights, I had the information 2nd hand so it may not be correct, just thought you might be interested.

A Double Bereavement.

Once again I have been talking to a grandparent today who has lost contact with their grandchildren as a result of bereavement.
When we discuss denied contact it is assumed, by many, that it only occurs when a couple get divorced, it is simply not the case.
There are many different causes, but for me one of the most upsetting is when there has been a bereavement and it is sadly very common.
It occurs when a grandparent loses an adult child prematurely through terminal illness or a tragic accident.
The devastation of one of your children dying before you is one thing none of us ever want to contemplate, but tragically it happens.
You would think that when these unimaginable deaths occur that all family members would pull together and support each other, but often the reverse happens.
The spouse or partner who is suddenly left in this terrible void makes the decision to cut themselves off totally from the in-laws.
In  some circumstances they feel the need to move right away even to another country severing all ties.
The result is that not only have parents lost their beloved child but they lose the grandchildren as well, a double bereavement.
To listen to grandparent who are suffering in this way is just so heartbreaking.

You Are Not Alone.

You Are Not Alone.

Help me!
Where can I find help, who will listen to me,
People say, just sort it out, just tell them its wrong,
If only it was that easy, just a call to put it right,
But it isn't.
Children told we don't love them, we don't care,
If only they knew the hours spent in the dark,
Sobbing, sobbing for hours on end.

You are not alone, we are in this together,
For how ever long it takes, email, phone or have tea,
Our grandchildren deserve everything we can think off,
To show we do care, we have not forgotten them and never will.
They are our children's children, part of each and every one of us.

I am here to listen, to hold your hand and pass the tissues,
I will make cake and brew the tea,
We will share are memories and look forward to good times,
Times when we will share that love and laughter once again.

Jane.( Rights Reserved)

Sunday 18 May 2014

Senior Judge attacks Chief Justice.


Unfortunately you need to subscribe for the full article but I think you get his drift!

Why are we not affiliated to any other group?

I was asked recently why we were not working with any other groups, it's a very good question and one I have often asked myself.
I have written some of my thoughts previously, but I will clarify or try to.
It is true to say there are groups etc all over the UK who are all trying to get the needs of children in the public arena.
So it makes sense, you would think, to be acting together.
In my experience sadly that is not always the case.
Some organisations and groups have hidden agendas it could be they are trying to promote a book, a person or a political focus.
I am none of the above.
I absolutely agree that running an organisation or group is costly and that trying to raise funds is very difficult indeed, and so the need to look for funding through advertising is attractive and there is nothing wrong with that at all, it depends what or who are advertising.
It is important for me to be able to say what I want to say to whom I want to say it, without getting permission from some head of an organisation or for it to have to go to a faceless board of people, who actually have absolutely no personal experience of the situation we find ourselves in.
If government funding is involved, not that there is much of that around now, through a dept of such and such, those groups are towing a party line.
Then you have individuals who are in fact promoting themselves, maybe they are about to launch their new book or video or training programme.
Ok, so I am sounding harsh, but I have had my fingers burnt very badly indeed in the past and I am trying very hard not to let that happen again.
I don't have a hidden agenda, my agenda is to support people who are denied contact with children and to keep the focus on that and nothing else.
So I hope that answers the question.

Saturday 17 May 2014

Supreme Court Rules in Favour of Grandmother.



How to set up a blog.

All the young people today use the internet at school and at home, so it is a good place to start to try and make contact. Setting up a blog is easy and very effective you can write things on it ,put photos on it and other family members can also write on it. 
All you need to do is to go onto the internet and type in www.blogger.com which will open a page for you called Blogger and you follow the on screen instructions. 
My son has set up a blog for his daughter which all the family can post on .
The idea of course is that your grandchild will at some stage type their names into google, as they all do, and up pops their blog. 
When you are writing on it be careful, keep it newsy stuff about the family and what you have been doing, don’t fall into the trap of venting your feelings on it, because not only can your grandchild see it, it is possible so will the resident parent.
 Whatever we may feel you don’t want to say anything that could be detrimental to your grandchild in any way.


Fathers Pilgrimage from London to Canterbury.

How far would you walk for your children/grandchildren?

Wednesday 14 May 2014

Beware of egos!

As we all know there are many, many groups all over the UK and beyond  all singing from the same song sheet.
Parents, grandparents and experts all trying to do what is right for children who are embroiled in adult warfare.
You would think that everyone should work together, just think what a powerful body that would be, just in the case of grandparents there are an estimated 14 million of us in the UK, a force to be reckoned with.
In my naivety when I started on this journey of mine, I thought just that, "Oh this is great so many people all wanting the same thing, we need to all join up."
There is something I have discovered that makes that almost, impossible.
Peoples egos.
I don't think it is an intention it just seems to happen.
It no longer is a common aim but who can bad mouth another group, organisation or charity the loudest.
People begin to like the sound of their own voices, their own importance.
When that happens the common aim is lost.
I personally have had some really kind comments made to me, of which I thank you, but I am nothing special, I am certainly not an inspiration ( as was said today) I am me, me who is a wife, a mother and a grandparent. One of millions a small dot.
Please don't put me with the others with their egos, I don't want to be there.
Let them scrabble away, knocking each other off their pedestals I am happy with my feet firmly on the ground!


Grandparents will need to go to mediation.

Grandparents just as non resident parents from April 22nd this year must look to mediation before applying for leave to apply to the court for a contact order.
Yes, I know exactly what you are shouting at me!
How do you mediate with someone who won't talk to you?
I am just making the point that if you are considering going to court that is what will be expected of you.
If the other party declines then the mediator will just report that other party not willing to engage.
Also if you were expecting to obtain legal aid that all changed as well.
Just saying.


Expectation on us as parents.

We all know that being a parent does not come with a rule book, you learn on the job.
You actually never stop learning.
When your children are little it is you who sets the rules, who places bounderies hopefully in an environment of safety and love.
So what happens in the intervening years, to take some families to a place of resentment and estrangement?
I have thought about my own childhood and my relationship with my own parents.
I was born in the 50's and it was of  a generation who were born not that  long after a world war.
We haven't experienced what it was like living during those dark days of war, and I hope and pray we never do.
The long lasting damage both physically and mentally are only now being recognised.
I spent many hours talking to my Mum about her life during war time, she would say that you lived for the moment, you had no idea if you would be alive in the morning, or if your whole family would be wiped out in a second.
We can only imagine what it felt like when war was finally over after 7 long years, the relief must have been immense.
So it is hardly surprising that our parents were slowly going through an enormous change, one of freedom one of peace and of material things becoming more and more available, after rationing  it must have been extraordinary.
It was the beginning of our world changing in so many ways.
When I think about my parents and our life together, before my father walked out on us, we were a typical middle class family. Dad had a successful business that had been founded by my great , great grandfather it was a business that was well known in the city.
I loved Mum and Dad and  my brother and I to have a good life.
I respected my parents and in a way I feared them.
I don't mean I was afraid of them, I mean that I knew what the boundaries and rules were and I feared overstepping those rules. I knew that there would be a consequence if I did. Not a violent consequence at all, just the look was enough!
Actually not only did I not often break the rules, it didn't even occur to me.
I wasn't a goody two shoes, it was just the way it was then.
As we reached the 60's it felt as though all boundaries and all rules were gone, the age of true freedom in all senses of the word.
A time of kaftans people wearing flowers in their hair and a time of experimentation.
The world suddenly became a very small place, people travelled far and wide and families went where the jobs were more and more fragmentation.
We became materialistic, it mattered what trainers you had, what stereo you had and money was at the forefront of most things.
It appeared the more money people had the happier they were.
Moving on to the next decades and as a society our relationship with our children was also changing.
The experts in their field told us to 'listen to the children' and that children had to be allowed to push boundaries to develop, the rules began to change.
Whereas  I thought of my parents as the boss, that was no longer the case.
It was OK for children to question their parents authority, to answer back and to express themselves.
We still constantly hear that children must have this ,must have that, we must do everything to provide our children with everything they want.
Easy come, easy go.
So what has this done to family relationships?
An example might be that we would visit our grandparents very regularly, did we want to?
Possibly not always, but we knew it was the right thing to do, now if a child is asked about visiting or phoning their grandparents the reply might well be, " If I want to see them, I will, if I don't I won't."
So it is no longer about the responsibility we have to our families it is more about only if "I want to."
Of course as parents we make mistakes, all the time, not just as parents of young children but also when our children are adults themselves.
Why is it that we get rebuked by them if we do make a mistake?
We have spent 40-50 years trying to do our best, trying to enable our children to develop into caring, selfless adults.
What we didn't expect was to find ourselves, in the middle of our own war within our own families.
A war that becomes so entrenched that we are no longer able to even communicate with one another, and the next generation witness adults hurting each other, tearing each other apart for what?
Is it point scoring, is it because those boundaries no longer exist, is it actually that we have lost respect for one another?


Sunday 11 May 2014

700 hits,numerous emails and calls, I am getting there.

As you might imagine I have been a trifle busy this week, as with the first item we did with Esther Rantzen there has been an overwhelming response to the second item!
I am trying my best to respond to everyone as quickly as possible if you haven't heard from me please contact me again.
I have also introduced people to my private FB group which is working like a forum where grandparents can get the support they need from others in the same position.
It is private and can not be seen by anyone who has not been added by myself, there have been a few problems with people being able to access my FB page.
If you want to be added please email me, by the very nature of the group there is a process I go through before adding anyone.
There is an open group for people as well https://www.facebook.com/groups/597069527037215/
If you request to be added it may be that my reply is in your 'other' file in your messages.


Saturday 10 May 2014

Link ups in your area?

If you are a grandparent who is denied contact with your grandchildren there are grandparents in the following areas who are would like to meet up with others in their area:

NSW Australia
Northumberland/Tyne and Wear/North Tyneside
Worthing near Brighton


Areas where grandparents are looking for support:
SE London
Northern Ireland
Cardiff Bay
Shropshire (Telford- Shrewsbury)

Please contact me and I will link you up.


Wednesday 7 May 2014

Grandchildren are being damaged in adult war of words.

As you know this week I have filmed again with Esther Rantzen for The One Show, where we were discussing  the response to the last One Show item on grandparents who are denied contact.
I knew when we embarked on this journey that many people would get in contact with her, and they most certainly did.
Esther arrived with 4 large box files crammed full of emails from people, everyone one has been read, Esther said that she could only read a few at a time as they were so distressing and painful to read.
There were emails from grandparents who find themselves in this situation because of a divorce of one of their children, there were those who had lost contact because of family feud and those who had lost an adult child prematurely through terminal illness and then contact is removed from the grandchildren.
I hear from grandparents in all of these categories, and I have since 2007.
What was so shocking for me was to read the emails from the grandchildren themselves.
Children in their early teens who are suffering enormous distress as they are not allowed to see their grandparents.
Children who write saying it is their punishment for something, children who have pleaded with their parent to let them see their grandparents and being told , no.
Children asking us to tell grandparents that they are sorry they can't see them and that they still love their grandparents.
Children who think it is their fault that this has happened.
A heartfelt cry from one, who had been prevented from having contact and the grandfather died and he was  not allowed to go to his funeral. His words break my heart and will live with me for ever.
"Do you think my grandfather, knew I loved him, I will never be able to tell him now."
I could go on these words from children, must be heard.
Children were asking us to help them, how do we do that?
How can we reach these children.
If there are any children reading this and need someone to talk to please contact me and I will do all I can in finding you the help you deserve.
The other thing that struck me was, as adults we often sit at our lap tops writing to various people about things, but for all of these children, they must have sat and watched the programme and then made that decision to go to their computers and write to Esther.
That in itself takes enormous courage, I know Esther feels the same and we are so moved and so want you all to know that we will not let this go.
As children of course they should never have to be in this position, having to deal with adults who apparently are not recognising the pain their conflict is causing them.
To all children who are being kept apart from their grandparents,
"You do have a voice, we are listening, you are not alone.
Please remember this is NOT your fault."
If you are a parent who is causing this distress to your children, you must also listen, you are the ones who can put this right.

When Esther did the first part of this and she asked for people to come forward she specifically asked for parents who are responsible for denying contact to get in touch with her,  out of all her responses she had just  one from a parent.

After the last programme I also received one email from a parent and one 'tweet' on Twitter it said how unbalanced the item was and biased towards grandparents, well parents were given the opportunity to put the balance right and they didn't.

I will stop now as I could just go on rambling, but I will leave you with these words from a grandchild.
"Granny I know that you and Mum don't like each other, but I love you both, is that OK."
I have a FB page for older children who are denied contact here is the link : https://www.facebook.com/groups/256091774458605/


Monday 5 May 2014

Esther Rantzen, The One Show part 2.

I spent this afternoon with Esther Rantzen, following up on the first item about denied contact with grandchildren that was aired 3 months ago.
Thank you to the many hundreds of people who wrote to her, she brought 4 large box files full of them.
Reading through just a few of them was very difficult, so much pain and despair.
Esther said that she could only read a few at a time, as it was so distressing.
She has read every one of them.
Some of the most powerful ones were from grandchildren themselves.
Children who are feeling it is their fault, children who have lost a grandparent and worried because they could never tell them how much they loved them, not even being allowed to go to their funeral.
We have to find a way through this, to stop children being burdened with this, it should not be part of their world.
The programme is due to be aired on Thursday at 7pm, as always with these items I am not responsible for what happens in the editing process.

Saturday 3 May 2014

I don't recognise my granddaughter.

Forgive me a personal post.
Yesterday my youngest son sent me a text which continued some photos, he had found an account on social media for my granddaughter, and on one of her friends account there was a photo with two young ladies smiling at the camera, one of them was my granddaughter, I sat staring at it for hours, I didn't recognise her.
How has this happened, how can a gran look at a photo and not recognise her own granddaughter?
The granddaughter that I love so deeply is a stranger to me.