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.

Wednesday 30 July 2014

Next meeting.

Looking forward to seeing everyone this Friday Aug 1st at 2pm, those of you who have been coming for the last 7 years and to welcome new grandparents some from just around the corner others who are travelling a long distance.
Kettle will be on!

Family Courts at breaking point.

"People are just giving up and not seeing their children because they don't know how to go about it," she said.

Family Courts struggling with people representing themselves.


Monday 28 July 2014

Simon Hughes Speech, 'voice of the child'


This all sounds great but in reality what does it mean.
We know that an alienated child is taught what to say and who to say it to, and there is already in place 'wishes and feelings' and that certainly has not been a success, so is this any different?


Saturday 26 July 2014

A 'problem' does not make a whole person-

it is just part of your life you would rather be without.
Lots of grandparents quite understandably are angry. Angry with the adult who is denying contact, angry with themselves for not being able to put things right.
Anger is ok, as long as you are in control of it not the anger controlling you.
Never act when you are angry, you will be irrational and when we are angry physical things happen to us, our heartbeat increases, our pulse rate goes up and adrenaline shoots around our bodies, blood sugar levels increase.
Allow yourself several hours to calm down to get your physical changes back on an even keel.
Everyone has different strategies for dealing with anger, you can tear your copy of yellow pages up ( if you can) go for a long walk, sit and concentrate on your breathing, think of a place you love and imagine you are there, there are many other tactics to use.
Have a go at sketching what you think anger looks like, if it was an animal which one would it be, what would it be made of.
You can write things down, a vent page, and then screw it up and throw it away.
Making bread is a good one as well, you will have the best kneaded bread around!
It may be other people who are causing us to be so angry, but we have the choice not to be. As I have said before it is us that suffers not those we are angry with.
So we need to be part of the solution not part of the problem, we need to care for ourselves and care for our own well-being.
Part of that has to be where do we go from here?
Again we have a choice.
We can continue down this horrible, hurtful road or we can look down the road to the future, if you were driving the car it would be looking into your rear view mirror is the past, looking forward is just that, a clear road ahead.
Keep driving down that road, who knows where it will take you?

Donations via Paypal

I have been asked how people can make donations to BGSG, there will be a donate facility on the new website but you can also donate via our Paypal account by logging on at https://www.paypal.com/uk/webapps/mpp/send-money-online  and clicking on the send money box.
We rely on donations to carry on supporting grandparents from all over the UK and beyond, so thank you very much.

Thursday 24 July 2014

Within 50 miles of Canterbury.

There is a grandparent in the Canterbury area who is prepared to travel maybe 50 miles to link up with other grandparents for support, if you are interested in linking up please contact me.

Monday 21 July 2014

Shropshire Shout Out.

Are you in Shropshire (Telford or Shrewsbury) area and like to link up with another grandparents to chat over a coffee?
Let me know if you are interested.

Sunday 20 July 2014

Friends of Bristol Grandparents Support Group.

As we move into a new phase of becoming a national charity reaching all areas of the UK and beyond we have decided to incorporate 'Friends of BGSG.'
We rely on voluntary funding as we do not charge a membership fee.
There are grandparents already who kindly donate by standing order, for which we are eternally grateful.
We are suggesting a donation of £10 per year (obviously if you feel able to donate more it will be gratefully received) to become a 'Friend' which will enable us to continue to give support to grandparents who are feeling isolated and alone.
All 'Friends' will be listed at events we are involved in.
Please contact us for further details.

Saturday 19 July 2014

Should I write to my grandchild?

If you are reading these blogs, presumably it is because you have lost contact with a grandchild or grandchildren, we all know that it can happen for so many different reasons but the result is the same.
I have written previously about a variety of things you can do to keep those memories alive, such as a memory box, where you can put perhaps photos of special events that occur in the family, photocopies of cards you have sent, letters, ect.
You can start a blog, like this one, you can use it as an online journal, keep it child focussed, so don't say unkind things about their parent/parents, you may not get on together but they are your grandchild's parents and they love them.
It isn't difficult to set one up.
You can do the same thing only in the book journal way, a book to just jot things down as and when they happen and when you want to say something.
I have mentioned letters and it is something that I am often asked about.
A letter can be very therapeutic and the choice is yours as to whether you actually send it or not.
I would add a word of caution though.
Your letter should be about your grandchild and what is relevant to them, taking their age into account, but be very careful not to bring the child into any conflict that is going on, if it is one of your children who are denying contact don't say inappropriate things about perhaps their partner or other family members.
I know that we think we know our children better than anyone else, and we probably do, but we can't tell them who they should or should not be sharing their lives with, our adult children have to make mistakes just like we did, and hopefully learn by them.
There is nothing worse than your parent telling you are with the wrong man or women, when I was younger I clearly remember that if my parents told me to do something I would do completely the opposite! That is still the case how ever old we are.
It is of course so, so hard to stand by and watch the mistakes being made, particularly if we feel that a new partner is having a detrimental effect on our relationships, but we still can't interfere.
I know that it is extremely hard for some of you.
It may be that whoever is preventing you from seeing a grandchild is indeed saying things about you that are untrue but we still must not involve the children.
The children if old enough, know the truth anyway, but they have to live the life they have at the moment and must be allowed to be children and not to take the burden of adult conflict on their young shoulders.
As I have said so many times before, we can't be responsible for others behaviour but we are responsible for our own.


Thursday 17 July 2014

We owe it to the children.

Since setting up BGSG in 2007, when contact ceased with my granddaughter I went to all sorts of places for help and support.
If I am honest there was nowhere that I felt actually totally understood and what it meant to be prevented in being part of a grandchild's life, people were good at making patronising, obvious remarks , helplines who made me feel inadequate as apparently I should be able to sort it out. Helplines who never got back to me, operators who were just doing a job, had no experience in denied contact personally. Helplines who told me to contact organisations who deal with grandparents who are looking after their grandchildren 24/7, not helpful.
Our group found its own place very quickly in doing what it does brilliantly, groups of grandparents who know first hand the awfulness of it all, who always listen and who support one another.
It became clear that as I was being contacted by grandparents all over the UK, that this was a huge issue and a global issue, I was hearing from people in America, Australia, Canada, France and Israel, what began as a Bristol group, had now become a national and international group.
In 2010 I discovered the world of blogs and it was the perfect place to reach thousands of grandparents wherever they were and it continues to be.
I have written 1154 posts since I started and looking back at the early posts notice that in all this time nothing has really changed.
There are still many millions of children all over the world who are estranged from family members, all trying to understand why.
It is up to us to continue to raise awareness of this global breakdown of society, a society that is falling apart.
Without the basic family roots framework, where will it end?
It is back to basics, families need to be respected, families need to accept their differences and agree to disagree, to compromise, to care for one another and to be there for one another.
We can't all get on, of course, but that is no excuse for becoming entrenched in hatred and evil actions.
We are the adults, our children are only on loan to us, we do not own them. We need to nurture them, love, them and allow them the wings to fly and make their own way in this world.
They must be allowed to have the love and care of both their parents and extended family.

Increase in parents representing themselves in court.



Monday 14 July 2014

Long Distance grandparent in the West country?

I know this is a strange request as this is a group for grandparents who are prevented from seeing their grandchildren but I also know that you may well have some grandchildren who you do see.
Is there anyone in the Bristol/West country area who is a long distance grandparent, or do you go to extraordinary lengths to see your grandchildren?
Please get in contact if you do and are willing to share your story, with the media.
Many Thanks

Baroness Sloss stands aside.


Sunday 13 July 2014

Setting up for a collection day.


Can we let go of our negative thoughts?

I often ramble on about the negativity of revengeful thoughts, anger ect, and know that for some people it is seemingly impossible for them to let go of the thoughts they hold towards whoever is preventing them from seeing their grandchildren.
As with all of our own experiences we must be allowed to feel the emotions we feel and no-one should judge us for the way we feel.
What I do know is that having talked at length to so many of you now, it is clear to me that the damage done to so many of you is so detremental to your physical and mental health.
You will know that I will say, you must self protect, and you must.
To wake up everyday feeling so low, that in some cases people feel unable to get out of bed, as "there is no point."
I have always thought that we have to try and turn a negative into a positive, and thats why I set up BGSG.
Maybe we need to think about how and why we feel the way we do, it may seem simple but bear with me.
When we suddenly realise that we are being denied contact to special little people in our lives, you go through all sorts of phases.
Firstly, we think it is something we can sort out, when we realise we can't we feel bereft. This is not how it was meant to be.
The sadness we feel hurts in exactly the same way as when we lose someone close to us, hence the phrase "A living bereavement."
That tight knot deep in your stomach that churns and churns and won't go away, a deep void.
We then feel angry, furious to think that an adult in our lives is using their children as weapons, knowing that to stop us seeing the children is the most hurtful thing they can do.
And so the circle of sadness, despair and anger continues.
We have to somehow break through this damage, damage that is preventing so many leading a fulfilling life.
All the emotions that I speak of affect us, do they affect the  perpetrators?
Of course we can't forget what has happened, but do we want to wake up day after day thinking our lives are over, we have no reason to carry on.
If we do feel that, how is it affecting everyone else in our lives?
Our families or friends are still here, they still love us and want us to be who they remember, someone who makes a difference to other people.
This is obviously my personal opinion, when I reach the end of my life whenever that may be, I want to be able to think I made a difference, I am and will be heartbroken that I have not been part of my beautiful granddaughters life since 2007, but I owe it to her to be the person she remembers,  a person who loves her family and friends and want to enjoy the life I have been given and to be thankful for the 7 years I did have her in my life, memories in my heart forever, no-one can take that away. A person of hope, waiting for the day she can return to her Dad and to us and her aunts,uncles and cousins.
I heard this quote today: " Anger is like an own goal. You hold a hot coal of anger in your hand ready to throw, its burns a hole in your hand."


Saturday 12 July 2014

Fund Raising Events.

We have some exciting events happening over the next few months to raise funds for the charity.
In August we are hosting a Garden Party serving cream teas. Cakes/plants/our personal greetings cards suitable for every occasion, will be on sale and a raffle.
Later in the Autumn a music concert, more info to follow.

Australian Judge says" incest, pedophilia may be accepted in society."

It is difficult to put into words my feelings on this as they are unpublishable.


Wednesday 9 July 2014

Collecting Day.

Off tomorrow to Asda Filton Bristol  to try and raise funds.
We appear to have everything but the kitchen sink, that may well find itself in the car in the morning!
Posters, leaflets, badges, cards, a Christmas tree with messages on, yes I know a Christmas Tree in July,  just to show people about our Tree of Hope.
Tables, chairs, table cloths, roll up banner, that should do.
Will take a photo when we have set it all up, and let you know how much we raise.

Monday 7 July 2014

North Wales Support

Is there anyone in Conway North Wales willing to link up with other grandparent?

Legal Aid: Children and the residence test.



How to make a donation.

As you know we are still trying to raise funds and I have been asked by people how they can make a donation to the charity.
You can do so by cheque payable to Bristol Grandparents Support Group, if you contact me I will give you the address to send it or you can give via electronic transfer again I will give you details if you email me.
We will be having a donate button on the new website that is being done at the moment.
We rely on voluntary donations.
Many thanks.

Over 60,000 hits to blog.

Thank you for all your visits to the blog.

Tuesday 1 July 2014

Just trying to make a difference.

When we give to charity we all give in good faith, in a hope that our money will find its way to the appropriate place.
There is a myriad of charities to choose from the national well known ones, to local good causes and small charities all doing their bit.
I for one know how difficult it is to raise funds, and it costs money to run a charity just posters, information basic marketing is hugely expensive, phone calls on the helpline, postage ect.
I spend hours filling up funding grant application forms, I have had three rejected this week alone.
As you know we are desperately trying to raise the amount necessary to obtain charitable status, you have to have a guaranteed annual income of £5k to even be considered.
Then I read  negative articles about charities, talking about the politics involved, the money wasted and apparently individuals who have  dubious motives for being involved in such charities.
I have written about this before, but I still don't get it.
All I know is that we run our support group to support grandparents who are denied contact with their grandchildren for a variety of reasons, we are independent, we are not associated with any other organisation, just ordinary people trying to make a small difference.
Oh, and if you feel the desire to donate I would be delighted to hear from you!