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ROBBIE WILLIAMS
EMOTIONAL TRIBUTE TO MANCHESTER

For the first 6 months of this year I’ve had to concentrate on my day to day job, hence my lack of posts.
I wasn’t sure I would find the time to write about the things that concern me as a grandparent, both as an alienated grandparent or as a grandparent carer, which many grandparents find themselves in the juxtaposition of.
To be frank my energy levels were so zapped during the legal battle, (which thankfully ended with a working court order in 2013) and the subsequent financial hardships as a consequence, I had no choice but to return to full time employment.
I am lucky in that I get to work with a fantastic team in a very diverse community in the heart of Manchester and make a difference to older people’s lives. #ILoveMyJob
Things were just beginning to run smoothly when the Manchester Arena Attack happened on May 22nd 2017 and for the second time in my life time my home city was attacked by some random violent terrorist, the first time was in December 1992.

I could go on to tell you how the first attack changed my life forever, by succumbing to the inevitable anxiety and depression and fear of public spaces, but that won’t help and I now realise 25 years on how those terrorists won their battle of fear and terror by forever changing my life and the way I went about it, even though mercifully nobody died in that first attack.

It took me a long time to seek the right help for my fears and anxieties and no amount of attacks will ever break my resolve to live my life to the fullest to enjoy each and every moment I can with friends, family and community.

I am fiercely proud of my city of Manchester for the way it has come together in the days that have followed since 22nd May and my prayers and thoughts will always be with the families and friends who lost loved ones or were injured in this senseless attack.

    WHAT YOU CAN DO

If you have been affected in any way find someone to talk to, but do not let terror defeat you, we owe it to the victims, to live life to the fullest on their behalf, volunteer in your local community and help those who are the most vulnerable such as the elderly, many of whom no longer venture out.
Many of the elderly are NOT on social media but will be tuning into their TV’s and Radio’s and will be absorbing the wall to wall coverage of terror, so please pop into your local community centre/hub and church, temple or mosque and ask for their latest newsletter or what’s on guide and post in your local streets.

You can also work with your local community to raise funds for projects in your area that help make a difference.

Here is a useful link for those affected
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/manchester-attack-may-2017-support-for-people-affected

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Have a Heart, it’s Christmas

I have crocheted a heart and placed it on my tree to remind all those parents who are responsible to maintain and nourish familial relationships this season you can join in the PAS Campaign by following @fatherscontact & @Pas_amanda on twitter

crocheted-heart2

Here’s how you crochet a heart………. thanks to @BellaCoco

When will they listen to Grandparents?

https://ssl.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03z3p76/player?chromeless

Please watch the heartbreaking interview of Neal Gray, Ellie Butler’s Grandfather and then express your views on how the courts should change in order for grandparents and extended family members to give a wider picture of family life for the poor innocent children who are left wanting and failed by an outdated system, which is shrouded in secrecy to protect families private lives but ultimately fails children and families.

 

Grandparents Event in North Manchester

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Are you an older person ( not just for grandparents) with time on your hands or time to spare? Do you wish to share a skill or even some stories with the younger generation? Do you wish to feel more connected in your community? Then come along and have a natter, a cuppa and some yummy cake! Click on the link below and find out more!

Grandparents Day Event 26th June 2015

A woman talking sense? Heavens to Betsy!

Well she’s been around a bit, she knows her eggs from her onions, indeed her mushrooms too, and serves up a delightful omelette of common sense. (pardon the foodie pun, but I think you’ll find it’s Germaine.)

Please click on the link and watch this great interview at the Hay Festival and then comeback and feel free to comment as a boomer grandparent!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p02rnzrm/hay-festival-2015-germaine-greer

Catch it while you can as it will disappear soon enough!

I would make more comment myself at this time but as a working grandmother I have to dash!

40 + Reasons – An Easter Message – or how the government makes a mockery of the institutional alienation of families.

When I went through the courts in the battle to maintain contact with my granddaughter there was one thing that stuck in my mind, if I lost the established contact with my granddaughter then so would the rest of my immediate family, all 40 + members, my brothers, sisters, her great Aunts & Uncles, my daughters – Aunts, and all the children, cousins and second cousins.

They didn’t all come along on those first prescribed, supervised contact visits, but I did take along a couple of my daughters, (her immediate Aunts,) because their relationship was already established, and to my mind it was important for the continuity and stability of my granddaughter, she needed to know that whilst she understood there was a problem and a breakdown in family relations, that her family would still be there to look out for, and love her.

You don’t need to have gone through a family separation to understand how vital those bonds are, but if you have already experienced it in your lifetime it can have a detrimental effect on your health and well-being – physically, emotionally and mentally.

 I had gone through it twice in my life as a child, firstly when I was adopted as a baby, (unusually my biological mother remained in the adoptive family home until I reached the age of 5) and then again when I was placed in a care home aged 12, until I reached 16 and was set ‘free’ to make my own way in the world!

You could argue that it informed the way I deal with alienation, and how abhorrent it has become to me, I don’t think I ever got over the feeling of rejection, that’s not to say I became a victim either!

This leads me to today, and just as I was contemplating giving up Grandparent Support Ltd, (there are far bigger organisations out there with vast resources, lottery and Government funding, doing amazing work, I prefer to work independently – I have the right to voice my opinion and shall not be censored!) I received a phone call from a lady wanting to know why the extended family couldn’t be included in their visit, (2 members only) I hadn’t had this problem as nobody had objected when I had done it, but I all too readily identified the problem, differing local authorities seem to adopt different practices- this unfortunately I had encountered, and as we know things are dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

It is a basic human right- the right to family life, both for the child and the members of that child’s family,

http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/about-us/our-work/human-rights/human-rights-review-2012/articles/article-8

Although as stated within the act it is “a qualified right”.

This lady has already qualified as a special guardian for her grandson and together they have periodic visits with his two siblings in foster care, and she has been assured by the local authority that they are all working towards reuniting the family in the future.

Surely then, one must apply common sense and include extended family, not én-masse obviously, but for those occasions when it would be normal to do so, i.e. holidays such as Easter! After all it is the natural family support network.

On the 19th March 2015 Edward Timpson the Under Secretary of State for Children and Families, gave a speech in Manchester, you can read it here: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/making-it-easier-for-more-people-to-come-forward-and-foster

He failed to mention the “300,000 children in the UK, being brought up by grandparents and other family members (kinship carers). Many of these children have been neglected or abused or suffered the death or serious illness of a parent. Almost half have special needs or a disability.

 Most of the children would be in care if their relative hadn’t stepped in to look after them. It would cost the taxpayer £12 billion each year in care costs alone if they were in independent foster care. Yet the enormous contribution that kinship carers make is often hidden or taken for granted. Too many kinship carers bringing up vulnerable children suffer isolation, poverty and stress.”

Source: Grandparents Plus.

Edward Timpson also failed to mention how little is done to prevent parent/grandparent/family alienation and how as a society, alienation has now become the cruellest “weapon of choice” between separating couples and families.

Yet the Department for Education is set to spend £1.597m from their Innovation Programme Funds, on adopting and no doubt adapting the U.S. Mocking Bird Programme:

https://www.fostering.net/news/2015/innovation-fund-award-bring-mockingbird-uk#.VR1nefnF-So

Whilst I applaud the Under Secretary for addressing this issue, and creating help and much needed support for Foster Carers, we have a long way to go in order to “slay the beast that is – Family Alienation” and its subsequent victims, not least of all the children.

The £1.597m is a mere drop in the £12 BILLION Ocean that the government is saving by utilising kinship carers who are undervalued and largely ignored for the knowledge and contribution they make.

I wish you all a Happy and Peaceful Easter and wish folk would not try and teach Grandparents how to suck eggs!

Geraldine

Please click on the link and sign the petition:

https://www.change.org/p/edward-timpson-parliamentary-under-secretary-of-state-for-children-and-families-uk-newly-elected-parliamentary-under-secretary-of-state-for-children-and-families-u-k-stop-family-alienation?just_created=true

 

Grateful thanks to Grandparent Plus and all the hard work they do, you can visit their site for more information here:

mypage

 

Blanket Awareness for Grandparent Alienation #Gas2015

After a recent post on twitter, which caused confusion over Parental and Grandparent Alienation, I  have created a new page with links at the foot of it – to other sites that can explain Grandparent Alienation, please do visit the page and support the campaign.

Blanket Awareness Campaign 2015

Happy Saturday,

Geraldine