Four Nans by Margie, Bernadette, Kathy and Julie.

nans

Margie, Kathy, Julie, Bernadette

Four Nans

By Margie Jone, Bernadette Whyte, Kathy Feeley and Julie Howard
Kinship carers

The four nans meet once a week when their grandchildren are in school. They met through a local C.A.H.M.S (Child Adolescent Mental Health Service) group for Looked After Children based in Liverpool. Unfortunately the group closed due to funding but the Nans went on to organise their own group.

With help from a professional wrtiter, Deborah Morgan, they have written a book which they hope will raise awareness of kinship care and bring about change to ensure all kinship children are supported. Deborah worked with the group to mentor them in writing their stories straight from the heart about living through harsh experiences. Here is one of their poems.

Four Nans

We meet once a week
When our grandchildren are at school
We talk about our lives
Rearing our grandchildren
Our love for them
Our fear’s for them
What’s happening to us?
Getting taken to court
With no financial help to defend ourselves
No help available when we need support for our children
With special needs
Guardianship order with promises of support not available
Tears, laughter, dreams
Lots of tea and coffee
And hope we can change a couple of things by sharing our lives.

 

If you would like to buy a copy of the book please email alana.genge@grandparentsplus.org.uk or call Alana on 020 8981 8001.

 

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We demand recognition! By Janellen Redington & Robert Gilburt

JanWe demand recognition!

By Janellen Redington
Kinship carer

Since becoming a kinship carer almost three years ago, I have learnt to become a mum to babies and toddlers again. I’ve remember what sleepless nights are like and how hard they make it to get up for work the next day! I have resurrected my ‘100 things to do with mince recipes’ and ‘100 things to do on a rainy day’ book.

Sadly, I have lost some friends and family along the way as a result of them finding it difficult to adjust to my ‘change of circumstances’. That’s not to say I haven’t gained a lot too. What I have gained (apart from three adorable children) is a wonderful extended family of kinship carers, their children and their kinship children. I have made some new best friends who I know will be friends for life. I have also had some of the most memorable days  of my life with my new kinship family –  Sunday 19 April 2015 was one of them.

My fellow kinship carer Vicki came up with an idea. She thought we should make our voices heard and arrange a protest march in London before the General Election. “Of course I’ll help organise it” I say, words I began to regret as our chosen date loomed ever closer and I was being quite ineffectual. Some weeks later and nothing done, “I can’t do it” I say to Vicki, feeling like I had completely let her and the group down. But hope was not lost as another kinship carer, Paul, gallantly took up the reins and co-ordinated with Westminster Council, the Metropolitan Police and Downing Street. Unfortunately our proposed march could not take place due to a number of other events taking place in London on the same day but not all was lost as we were allowed to protest across the road from Downing Street at Richmond terrace.

Managing to get on top of my workload just in time I threw myself back into it again, able to help with some other very important items on our agenda. I now know how to set up an online petition and have realised just how much work it involves. Let’s just say I have never spent so much time on social media! I found my biggest hurdles were firstly, motivating kinship carers to get involved and to actually do something positive about their situation rather than just sitting back and moaning about it and secondly, trying to engage people in conversation about a subject that they may never have heard about.

I am now a pro at using a megaphone and speaking in public (very loudly!) I have learnt that whatever your fears, you can overcome them with the support of good friends and having  passion about the cause you are backing. I have learnt of the generosity of people you have met for the first time and the lengths some will go to support their cause. I have also learnt that the Metropolitan Police are very polite and friendly (well at Downing Street anyway) and that the cuts must be taking effect everywhere – including Downing Street, as we saw a woman entering with two huge value brand high street chain store bags.

Sunday 19 April was a very special day spent with some very special people, in our beautiful Capital City. We shared an experience many will never have the opportunity or determination to do. Over 250 people wanted to protest with us but could not for a number of reason, notably for many it was lack of funds or lack of childcare. This alone makes me more determined to keep fighting for recognition, financial provision, training and support.

protest

Some of the kinship carers who took part in the protest.

The Protest

By Robert Gilburt
kinship carer

They have all been down to Westminster
By train by boat and plane…
Supporting kinship families
lots of people came…
Isn’t it time we were recognised
For the jobs we do…
We look after others children
Something birth parents can’t do…
These children are mostly our grandkids
Who would otherwise be in care…
We do this though our retirement
Is this really fair…?
So to help us look after these children
And give them the support they all need
Could you please sign our petition
That would really be a good deed…

  • You can still show your support by signing the petition here.
  • Further details of the Kinfest group who arranged the protest can be found on their website.
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My letter to Warren by Paul Rutherford

Paul blogMy letter to Warren

By Paul Rutherford
Kinship carer

Warren has been living with his grandmother, Sue, since he was 20 months old and will be 16 in October. Paul met and married Sue in 2010 and has had a strong bond with Warren ever since.

Warren has Potocki-Shaffer Syndrome (PSS) which is extremely rare with less than 100 known cases in the world and Warren may be the only person in the UK with the condition. As a result of PSS, Warren has particularly complex mental and physical needs and requires lifelong 24-hour supervision. This is Paul’s letter to Warren.

Dear Warren,

When people ask us why Nanny Sue and I are looking after you and how we manage to at ‘our age’ its really very hard to know what to say to them. It is harder for us now we’re older than if we were your Mum and Dad. If we didn’t love you as if you are our own boy, we wouldn’t be able to look after you. We know we might not always be able to be happy and smile all the time. We know sometimes you must get fed up with us, but you are the most important person in our lives. You are our family now. You, Nanny Sue and me.

You know there are lots of other people, of all ages, in our ‘big’ family, but they don’t really help us do they? But your Aunts are looking after your cousins and some of them live too far away. Nanny Sue and I only have help from the carers who help us look after you; but it is just a job to them, and as you know, they all leave us after a while.

Did you know there are thousands and thousands of other Nannies and Grandads who look after some of their grandchildren like we do? Some of those grandkids have special needs or disabilities like you, and lots of the kids might be upset or angry because they can’t live with their Mums and Dads. They are all lucky kids though, because their Nannies and Granddads have chosen to look after them. If they hadn’t, most of those kids would have had to go and live with strangers: people who they don’t know. Some might have had to live in special homes with lots of other children.

It must be awful for you sometimes, not being able to talk to us. We know it upsets you because we see it in your eyes. We know you try to hide your frustration from us and we know you listen when we talk to you – mostly! I love your sneaky, crafty sense of humour and you often make Nanny Sue and me laugh and smile. When you do that we are extra-glad you live with us. We want you to stay with us always.

If we were as old as Mums and Dads usually are, we wouldn’t worry so much about what will happen to you as you grow up and become a man. Nanny Sue was 60 last week, and you know I’m not very well. I think you know, in your own way, how we worry ourselves sick about what will happen to you when we can’t be with you any more.

Because we can’t work, we have to rely on money from the government to be able to look after you; to get all the special equipment and some of the help we need. We are frightened that the people in the government will get grandparents like us ‘mixed up’ with people who are looking for jobs and say we can’t have as much money. We are frightened that when you are 18 they will say you are grown up and we don’t need as much money to look after you, even though you will still need just as much care.

We’re also frightened that somebody who doesn’t know us might say we are too old to look after you and take you away from us. I hope that such a situation never happens because we know how much you want to be with us, and I promise I will fight anyone like that as hard as I can.

Perhaps only other Nannies and Granddads know just how we feel, how we worry so much, how scared we are that you might be left alone one day: alone with strangers who don’t know you, and who are only looking after you because it’s their job.

How will anybody who doesn’t know you understand what you want or what you need? How will a stranger know when you want to lie down, want to go out, want something to eat or drink, or watch something different on tv? How will a stranger know which music you like to listen to in bed, in your van or when sitting in your wheelchair? How will a stranger know when you’re sick or just tired?

Nanny Sue and I worry so much about all these things. We worry if the council will really let you stay in this bungalow that was built specially, just for you, or if they’ll just put you in a home because they say it will be cheaper for them. We know you would hate that and it would make you very, very sad.

We worry that someone will say they don’t have enough money to pay for all the care you need now, and will always need. You don’t know what the government is. You don’t know what money is or where it comes from. But you will need to be looked after all the time for as long as you live. Who will make sure you’re looked after properly after we’ve gone? Where will we find someone to do that?

Warren, I’m sure there are lots of other Grandparents who understand exactly what I’m trying to tell you. We all have to hope and pray that you will be looked after just as if it was Nanny Sue and me still with you. You deserve nothing but the best, Warren. But you know that for now, you are safe, cared for and loved, and always will be for as long as Nanny Sue and I can be with you.

Love
Granddad

You can read Paul’s other blogs by visiting his website here.

 

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Grandparents by Suzie Hayman

Suzie Hayman blog1Grandparents

By Suzie Hayman

Suzie is agony aunt of Woman magazine, a trustee of two national charities, Family Lives and The Who Cares Trust and a Patron of Unique Kidz and Co. She is a relationship counsellor, a broadcaster and parenting practitioner and the author of 30 books.

Grandparents may have changed over the last twenty years. If the name summons up images of white-haired old ladies and gentlemen in slippers tottering about on zimmer frames you’re certainly not with the programme! But one thing hasn’t changed – grandparents are a boon, a blessing, an essential part of so many children’s lives.

As an agony aunt and counsellor I’ve so often seen the profound influence grandparents’ presence or absence can make. In most families grandparents are the backbone, the quiet foundation on which families run. They offer childcare, allowing parents to work and earn while they and the children can enjoy each other’s company. They offer backup to parents’ rules and boundaries and the occasional different view which can help children learn to manage difference. And they offer an insight into different times, different experiences, different ideas but with the abiding thread that the stories are about your family and thus yourself.

There are some families however in which grandparents are the line between getting by and totally imploding. When parents are in conflict, grandparents offer comfort by showing relationships can be peaceable. When parents split up, grandparents can provide stability and sometimes grandparents can provide shelter – a place to stay and even to be brought up in safety and contentment if your parents simply can’t do that for a period or anymore. Kinship care has always been a reality but what might to some be a surprise is the number of people who write to me or who I help face to face who have been brought up by grandparents for all or part of their childhoods, or who are doing the job themselves. I’m not sure whether the numbers have increased or whether we’re simply talking about it more these days – whatever, grandparents need to be recognised and supported in that role. At a time when they might have fewer resources – financial, physical and perhaps emotional, so many grandparents take up a baton they wouldn’t dream of dropping.

But do we recognise and support grandparents enough? While many parents realise they couldn’t manage without them and many children love them, I don’t think we quite recognise both the amount of support they give and the abiding influence they have. Loving, supportive grandparents help make a child feel they are ok, worthwhile, capable, lovable. Critical, unkind and demanding grandparents leave a child feeling unworthy, incompetent, unlovable. But even the absence of grandparents, perhaps those who have lost touch or been excluded when a relationship breaks down can have a lasting effect on a child. I’ve dealt with so many people who could trace their deep feelings of being ‘not good enough’ to the time they were told granny or grandpa had “gone away”. Sometimes parents feel it’s kinder to wrap death up in a euphemism, not realising a child will interpret that as meaning grandpa thought the child not worth seeing again. And where the exclusion might have been because of a family row of some sort, children don’t understand it’s all about adults arguing but rather they assume grandparents rejected and abandoned them because of something the child did wrong.

I’d love to see the grandparent/grandchild bond recognised as vital to a child’s well-being. Separating parents need to love their children more than they hate each other and co-operate in maintaining the bonds between grandparents from both sides. I’d also like to see parents become far more aware of the needs of grandparents. However much they love to help, they also need time to go off and do their own thing – they aren’t there simply to be free childcare. And I’d also like to see parents and grandparents feeling able to discuss the rules and boundaries they want to put in place. It’s not unreasonable to be able to say to your parent “I love you, I have no argument about the way you brought me up but we do things differently and if you’re going to look after my child it needs to be with some of my rules”. Parents might like to say they insist on no smacking, no junk food, no smoking, limited screen time (tv, computers, phones)  and that routines and bedtimes are sacrosanct. Grandparents might like to argue for the occasional treat. Just as there are different rules at home and at school, children can cope perfectly well with varied rules in some issues at mum and dad’s and at granny and grandpa’s. What all of you need however is consistency on the important things and all of you need to decide what they are. The key is discussing the rules, and parents being able to say to their child “That’s ok when you go visit but you go back to my rules when you come home!” On a practical level I’d also like to see the postcode lottery that dictates how much, if any, support kinship carers receive from their local authority eliminated. Grandparents stepping in and taking care of their grandchildren should be universally recognised as the massively saving grace it is, in so many ways.

My view on grandparents is partly informed by my professional experience. I’ve seen so many cases where the existence or loss of a grandparent made the difference between happiness and misery – where a parent or family struggled to manage on their own or a child felt crushed and desolated by not having granny or grandpa there. And equally, I’ve seen families strengthened and elevated by …. well, by love. The other part of my view is of course because I was lucky enough to have had the grandmother I’d love everyone to have. She was loving, affirming and vital, always interested and interesting, always a safe haven and always entertaining. I try very hard to be a granny like her – and wish I could ensure every child has one too.

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When saying what you think is the right option by Adele Ramet

Whadelerametblogen Saying What You Think is the Right Option

By Adele Ramet, Grandparent

Adele is a grandparent who regularly cares for her grandchild – she has a message to share with you all.

I was so excited! I’d never seen a scan of a baby before and the image on the screen was crystal clear. We were going to have a granddaughter at last. Fast forward five years, we wait anxiously while our little girl has a very different type of scan. The latest in what has become her routine since being diagnosed with a brain tumour at the age of two.

Our role as grandparents changed significantly on that awful day. I had always taken the view that grandmothers, not children, should be seen and not heard. I’d tried to stick to this rule for our two grandsons, so when I discovered our little granddaughter was bumping into the furniture, I didn’t say, “Isn’t that one of the symptoms of a brain tumour?” Yes, she was much slower than her brother to talk and no, she didn’t run around much, preferring to sit and be cuddled most of the time but the GP didn’t seem too worried, so rather than frighten her parents, I kept silent.

Even when the vomiting started, I said nothing, clinging onto the hope that the doctors and specialists really weren’t missing the obvious. Sadly, they were and it took a relief hospital specialist to finally recognise the symptoms. Within 36 hours, our precious granddaughter was undergoing a six hour operation to remove a malignant tumour. She has Medulla Blastoma, an aggressive form of cancer for which the survival odds at her age are between 30 and 50 per-cent. We live around an hour’s drive away from our daughter and those first dark days and weeks were spent alternating between hospital visits and doing what we could to support our son-in-law and grandson. Their other Grandma lives close by them so between us we sorted out school runs and sleepovers for our, then four year old, grandson. We cleaned their house, cooked large batches of meals for microwaving at hospital and home and sat with our grandson whilst his parents were at the hospital.

It’s hard to describe how it feels to try and give one beloved grandchild fun and reassurance when you know that the other is fighting for her life. Somehow, you just do it. Eventually, she came home to a house as sterile as we could get it before the first round of chemotherapy began. For some reason, our granddaughter’s hair had never grown much at all, so when it fell out, the difference wasn’t too bad. Although she proved to be amazingly resilient, lack of immunity was always a problem and she was constantly in and out of the local children’s cancer unit, fighting off yet another infection. Radiotherapy and further chemotherapy have taken their toll. Along with a severe squint and partial sight in one eye there is also permanent hearing loss.

We are on constant standby in readiness for emergency calls but there is little we can do to take the daily strain from our daughter’s shoulders. Our overwhelming emotion has always been one of helplessness but throughout all the scares and worry, our grandchildren have been inspirational.

Our granddaughter, ably assisted by her wonderfully supportive big brother, recently celebrated her fifth birthday with a fabulous fairy party. She has grown into a lively, happy, bright little girl who takes great delight in running her grandparents ragged. At present, she looks set to reach the crucial five year point when the survival odds should increase in her favour. Meanwhile, as we wait for the results of this latest scan, my advice to other grandparents is to speak out if you feel something is wrong. Your intervention could just save a child’s life.

Adele is part of the Facebook support group: Grandparents of Cancer Kids: It’s our journey too.

You can read her blog here.

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My small words of wisdom by Julie.

julie blogMy small words of wisdom

By Julie
Kinship carer

My name is Julie and my husband and I live in a town outside Swansea, South Wales and we are kinship carers to our three grandchildren aged 10, 9 and 6. They have been living with us for five years. Only the youngest child is my natural granddaughter, the eldest two children are from their mother’s previous relationship but we consider them our grandchildren, especially when the choice was made for them to live with us. Though, I hardly call it a choice when the alternative for the children was foster care.

All three came to live with us in March 2010 following years of neglect. Both parents were taking drugs, had mental health issues and my son was also a victim of domestic abuse. All of which the children witnessed and as a result they all have severe emotional and behavioural issues. Of course, at that time, we were oblivious to the trials we were about to face. Sometimes I wonder whether the social workers should have informed us about the consequences of neglect, and the trials that were to come, however looking back, it was enough to cope with the upheaval in our lives.

Like most, we are in debt. Both my husband and I are in good but demanding jobs, but we now work part-time to meet the children’s needs. This in turn makes us worry for the future, especially our pensions. We’ve also lost thousands of pounds in furniture and other material items that we had to get rid of when the children moved in. Though there is absolutely no contest between furniture and my grandchildren!

stat webOver the past five years we’ve faced so many trials. They have included managing contact with all three families in the face of aggression from some, the children’s mental health issues (we feel we’ve had a crash course in child psychology and attachment) my sons mental health issues, our constant battle with local schools to try and get them to understand children’s mental health, and throughout this, trying to keep our marriage together.

Saying all of that, I know that compared to some kinship carers, we have been lucky. Call it a sixth sense, but we knew we were going to have issues with the children so we sought advice very early on from Grandparents Plus. We also found The Family Rights Group really useful and were blessed with two very good social workers and children’s court guardian. As a 95 statresult, when we were awarded Special Guardianship, we were able to ensure the court order contained on-going help and support that we were going to need in the long-term. This not only included financial support but the opportunity to attend training courses and ensured we had on-going support of a family therapist, on whom we can off-load our latest issues with the children, and our personal struggles to keep sane in the turmoil.

As great as that backing is, it can never prepare you for the turmoil, grief and stress that you face. However, throughout it all we try to find the positives. It has been wonderful and fulfilling to be able to instil in our eldest a love of reading, watch our middle child learn to accept a hug and feel loved, and see the youngest form a bond with us as parents. Plus as a result we are more in tune with the pop scene than any fifty something’s need to be.

PrintIt has been, and continues to be a huge learning curve for us and if we can only impart small words of wisdom, it would be to seek advice early. There are excellent resources on the internet. Join a support group or ring the Grandparents Plus Advice and Information line on 0300 123 7015. If we just relied on others to provide information we would, without doubt, be far worse off now.

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‘It’s no cruise around the Caribbean…’ By Linzi Foster-Nicholson

linzi blog pic‘It’s no cruise around the Caribbean…’

By Linzi Foster-Nicholson
Kinship carer

I am writing this in reply to my grandson Joshua Barlow, who recently wrote a blog, Putting the “Grand” in Grandparents’. I wanted to let him know that we are very proud of him and of everything he has achieved.

Josh was my first grandson and my partner and I were besotted with him from the very start. We had him as much as we could. We took him on holidays, spoiled him rotten and simply treasured the time we spent together.

My daughter had health issues and expected a lot from Josh. When he was nine she had twins and Josh had to grow up quickly and become their main carer. Having so much responsibility and pressure put on him at such a young age took its toll on his mental health as well as his physical health. So when he was 12 years-old he left home to stay with us permanently. It was a very different way of life to what we knew and it was a challenge shifting from a grandma role to a parent role.

Shifting from grandma to parent meant that I had to become the person who had to discipline Josh. Before, I had always been the person who Josh had fun with but all of a sudden I had to flex a little authority. Luckily he was well behaved and we all quickly adjusted and managed to find the right balance of discipline and fun.

I also found it really tough that I could no longer do things on a whim; instead I had to wait for the school holidays. My partner and I had always had a very busy social life, we loved a cruise and a night out but this had to all stop.  We struggled with social services and found the financial side of unexpectedly taking on a child difficult and so it brought around another big change. I had to go out and get a job. Actually, I had to get two as they needed to be part-time to ensure that they worked around my partners’ job and school pick-up times.

Six years on life for us is very different. We now have a special guardianship order for our twin grandchildren, who have been with us for four years. Our friends now have grandchildren too but on their own terms which means it can be tricky for them to understand the day-to-day problems we face.

GP+ 200,000 webJosh is in his last year of university and we are very proud of what he has achieved. His brother and sister look up to him and always look forward to him coming home. We had never thought that this would be our lives, but here we are, part of the 200,000 kinship carers raising children. It may not be a cruise around the Caribbean but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

If you can please support the great work that Grandparents Plus does. The photo above, shows us at their annual Celebration Day which we try and attend every year. It is one of the highlights of our summer and gives us the opportunity to meet other kinship carers.

 

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Putting the ‘Grand’ in Grandparents By Joshua Barlow

Josh blogPutting the ‘Grand’ in Grandparents

By Joshua Barlow
Young person brought up in kinship care

I remember when I was in my teens and I would tell people I lived with my grandparents. Some would ask why and some would make their own conclusions but the truth is that some people find it difficult to be parents.

In my case it was illness that affected my mum’s ability to bring me up, she had Chronic Kidney Disease and although she tried her best her health got in the way and I found myself setting up home at my grandparents.

It started with summer holidays. Once the bell rang to signal that the school year was over my home for the next six weeks became that of my grandmother’s. I had spent most of my youth here anyway; hiding under and behind the sofa, hiding under the stairs to scare people and curling up on the rug and falling asleep in front of the fire – with the cat of course.

So when I moved into the house in 2005 aged 12 I was already part of the fittings and fixtures and like a jigsaw piece I slotted into the bigger picture without much effort. I can only imagine how difficult and life changing it is for the grandparents themselves. In a heart beat they go from stuffing their grandchild’s hands with sweets behind their parent’s back, to being their primary carer. It was this shift in relationship that was the most noticeable change in my life. My grandparents and I found ourselves trying to change with the dynamic and adjusting to new rules. Things were no longer as easy as they once were.

My grandparents had to teach themselves how to bring up a child again. They had thought they had completed their parenting years, yet here they were with a teenage boy who was just hitting puberty. Although there was a shift in the rules all teething problems were quickly resolved and everything went smoothly.

GP+ 200,000 webI feel lucky and know that I had it a lot easier than some young people in kinship care. Currently there are over 200,000 grandparents or other family members (kinship carers) bringing up a child for reasons outside their control. These are the people who appear to have been forgotten.

 

 

GP STAT web picLike mental illness, kinship care is something we need to speak about. With seven in 10 kinship carers feeling isolated, stressed and depressed it’s about time that we stood up and gave the support to those who take on the role of a parent once again and do such wonderful jobs.

There are a variety of ways you can show your support. You can sign up to the #timetocare campaign, support the vital work of Grandparents Plus by giving a small donation or simply by giving a kinship carer you know a shoulder to lean on.

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“Go Grandparents Plus, Go!” By Janellen Redington

janellen web1blog1“Go Grandparents Plus, Go!”

By Janellen Redington
Kinship carer and future celebrity

The weekend was lost in a whirlwind of cleaning, washing, ironing and baking. We were preparing for the onslaught of numerous visitors on Monday for our monthly support group coffee morning, which we had delayed as Alex and Josh from Making cakes for coffee morning 2the BBC were coming to film us as part of the Grandparents Plus Lifeline appeal.

After putting a post on our Facebook Group inviting our members, we opened it up to the other groups. Our good friends from West Sussex decided to send a posse to join us and so we hosted our first ever cross county support group exchange!

tedI roped my husband and my daughter in, I was going to need all the help I could get as the number of attendees started to grow – who else was going to do the washing up? We had invited Kristopher the Travelling Ted as honorary guest because I know how much he loves my lemon drizzle cake.

The morning started as all mornings in this household do, in chaos. Children running about, tripping over each other and us, the dash for the bathroom and general haste to get us all up and breakfasted before 9am (OK it was 9.15 today). Then another rush to vacuum again – I don’t actually have OCD, but I do have two cats and a dog who moult as if I had a hundred lazing about on the carpets and rugs.

A quick run upstairs to reapply my lipstick and throw my head upside down in the vain hope my hair would gain a bit of ooommph, only left me breathless and dizzy. Despite being tantalising for some, is not a look I would recommend when opening the door to people you haven’t met before. I hadn’t frightened too many people off and soon the house was buzzing. Alex and Josh had arrived and were setting up in the front room. “It’s OK, today will be less intense than last Friday” Alex assured me “today is more like wildlife filming.” Yes Alex was planning on filming us grazing around the watering hole, more usually known as my dining room table.

Sam and Alana had brought more cakes, biscuits and lots of Grandparents Plus materials and Kristopher was dressed in his best Grandparents Plus T-shirt. Our situations are serious and so our conversation turned serious, we discussed a lot about what we would like to see happen, and how we could help to promote Grandparents Plus.

012Alex and Josh had been filming us all this time, ‘can you please pass that cake over again?’, ‘and again?’, ‘and maybe again?’ – yes even cake passing is an art that needs to be performed exactly. Poor Linda had to wait for her carrot cake, mouth drooling, as it was waved in front of her and retrieved three times. At one point I looked up and saw the camera being pointed at me through the back window, Alex and Josh had escaped the house and gained entry to the back garden.

The morning quickly moved into the afternoon. Vicki reminisced how our dear departed friend Laura would have loved today, the people, the cause, and most especially the cameras! Our guests began to depart, Josh and Alex first having managed to get all the shots that they needed – I am sure my derriere got in there again somewhere. Then everyone else felt it was okay to beat a hasty retreat from the chaos. I love them all, they made the morning a huge success. Vicki, her daughter and granddaughters stayed for a while afterwards to deconstruct the morning.

Would you do it again? I asked myself. Well yes, despite the shiny face, posterior shots, breathlessness and dizziness, I can say that without a doubt, I would do it again. I have met some truly wonderful people, I had an experience I will never forget, with stories to tell the grandchildren for years to come, and, I fervently hope, I have helped a cause close to my heart. Go Grandparents Plus, Go!

cake

Janellen has shared her favourite Lemon Drizzle Cake recipe which you can find here.

You can watch the Grandparents Plus BBC Lifeline Appeal here

You can keep up to date with the Appeal here.

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“Watch it as a family with tea and cake” by Pat Sansom

Pat blog“Watch it as a family with tea and cake”

By Pat Samson
Kinship carer

Being part of the Grandparents Plus BBC Lifeline Appeal has been a great experience. I was hesitant at first but was sure that I wanted to take part and support the vital work that the charity does.

Grandparents Plus has been extremely helpful to me and my husband Ivor. We first found out about them on holiday by another kinship carer and they have been our lifeline ever since. They have answered so many of our questions and are always there ready and waiting for more.

As filming day arrived I was shocked by how relaxed I was – no nerves at all! (It makes me think I should have had a career in TV.) The BBC team are lovely to work with and just put us all at ease, it was such a pleasant day. My grandchildren Holly and David had fun and are looking forward to their five minutes of fame.

Pat and familyAs a family we are just happy that we could help support Grandparents Plus in this way and raise the profile of kinship care. As the 14 December approaches the excitement is building and we are planning to watch it as a family with tea and cake.

It would mean a lot to us if you watched it too.

Many thanks

Pat & Ivor.

You can watch the Grandparents Plus BBC Lifeline Appeal here

You can keep up to date with the Appeal here.

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