The Human Touch.

As I get ready for another in person support group meeting, I have been thinking about the importance of support group meetings and those who support us.

It is 17 years now since I first opened up my home to estranged grandparents, I had no idea how that decision would change my life in so many ways.

Through heartbreak we have come together ever since, we have sadly lost some of the original members of the group, but their memory is kept alive every time we have another meeting, and they will never be forgotten and I hold them dear in everything I do in respect of BGSG.

If you have never been to a support group meeting you will not have witnessed,as I have, the power of like minded people coming together, full of compassion and care for one another.

So many groups have not gone back to having in person support group meeting after lockdown, which is such a shame in my view.

Meeting people in person has a totally different feel than over the internet, zoom of course has its place and enables anyone to join in wherever in the world you may be, but that physical human contact can not be replaced.

We all run our groups in different ways, and we all give of our time freely.

We often talk about raising awareness and who we can engage with to help in that raising of awareness, we have been so fortunate to have had Dame Esther Rantzen as a patron and Erin Pizzey for many years and I am eternally grateful for their ongoing support.

I believe it is very important to think carefully about those you align with as a small charity, those people you want to help raise your profile have to have the same ethos as the group, for me if possible not a political figure, once politics becomes involved it takes on a very different direction. Any political figure will jump on any cause they think will raise their own profile, particularly as we nudge closer to a general election.

Don’t be under any illusions.

As I have written on far too many occasions, the issue of unjustified estrangement is a political hot potato, every MP I have ever spoken to are always verbally supportive, they talk about their own grandparents, as we know in the debates that have happened over the years, always attracts cross party agreement, that the situation is wrong, but fall short of actually making any decisions.

The reasons are many and varied, in my opinion.

Equality is one hurdle for them, often, but not always, it is women who are the perpetrators of unjustified estrangement, and therefore there is a fear to tell it like it is. A fear of being told they are discriminating,and that the radical feminists will jump up and down with their ‘all men are bad’ rhetoric. Which no one will question.

Perhaps more importantly, this whole subject is about relationship breakdown.

How can you change the mindset of those who no longer want a relationship with you, those who feel that it is ok to seek revenge by denying contact with loving parents or grandparents?

Someone said to me yesterday, “You can’t make someone love you.”

BGSG has never been about Grandparents Rights, it is all about the grandchildren and the effect estrangement can have on them, it is well documented that the bond between a grandchild and grandparent is unique,  many grandparents are looking after their grandchildren 24/7  as Kinship, many are giving child care to enable parents to work, you only have to go past your local park to see these wonderful relationships, but we all know it is not always such a happy relationship.

Children should never be exposed to the adult world of conflict, they love everyone, they want a relationship with all their family members, but an adult in their life is preventing it.

So what’s the answer, we all know the question but……

There is no magic wand, there is no quick fix, society itself has to change.

A society that puts the needs of children first, a society where families are valued and a society that helps and supports families as soon as problems arise.










About Jane

Jane setup Bristol Grandparent Support Group in 2007 after a string of incidents led to the loss of contact with her Grand Daughter.

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