7 Dec 2014 – ‘Kinship carers’ should get more support, says charity.
Grandparents Plus says kinship carers, who look after around 300,000 children in the UK, do not have the same legal rights as officially appointed foster parents and as a result, face unfair discrimination. Watch BBC Ben Ando’s report here.
18 Sept 2014 – Grandparents Plus Finalists in Third Sector Awards 2014
Grandparents Plus, Family Lives and the Family and Childcare Trust were finalists in the ‘Charity Partnership of the Year’ in the Third Sector Awards 2014.
Grandparents Plus has joined forces with leading family charities Family Lives and the Family and Childcare Trust to run a new peer support project in the North East. The Relative Experience Project is based in Newcastle and offers befriending support to kinship carers across the North East who are aged 50 and over. The project had a success pilot and has secured scale-up funding from the Big Lottery Fund Silver Dreams Fund for the next three years.
Further details about the Relative Experience Project can be found here.
15 July 2014 – Equal rights for extended family, Good Morning Britain. ITV
Nearly 2 million are said to be forced to give up work, reduce their hours or take time off to do so. Unlike people who adopt, they are not entitled to the same employment rights, and don’t get financial assistance from local authorities. Watch interview here.
12 February 2014 – Relative Experience Project
BBC Newcastle news report – Relative Experience Project, Newcastle upon Tyne.
10 February 2014 – Mind the gap? Grandparents Plus blogs for the Good Care Guide
Highlighting the risk of a growing care cap in years to come as we expect grandparents to both work longer and care more, Grandparents Plus Chief Executive, Sam Smethers blogs for the Good Care Guide.
You can read the blog in full here
11 December 2013 – Couple’s legal battle for their granddaughter featured on Channel 4 News
A couple’s fight to look after their granddaughter
Katrina and Lee Parker from Colchester, Essex, assumed they would have the automatic right to care for their granddaughter India after social services removed the child from her mother. “There is a lot of misunderstanding in society that grandparents somehow have rights,” Katrina Parker said. Read the full story of the Parker’s battle with Essex Social Services here.
15 June 2013 – Queen’s birthday honours list 2013: OBE
Warmest congratulations to Jean Stogdon, Co-Founder and Co-Chair of Grandparents who awarded the Order of the British Empire, Civil Officer award (OBE) for her services to Children and Families.
See full honours list here.
9 June 2013 – Give caring grandparents the support they deserve
Yvonne Roberts welcomes the first ever Kinship Care Awards as a step towards greater recognition for kinship carers. She looks at the achievements of our co-founder Jean Stogdon and raises concerns about clause one of the Children and Families Bill, which undermines a basic principle of the Childrens Act – that the wider family should be considered first before a child is put up for adoption. Read the full article here.
31 May 2013 – Childcare costs: Grandparents ‘save’ Welsh economy millions
Grandparents save the Welsh economy £365m a year, according to a report.
Age UK and Grandparents Plus have said the free workforce has become invaluable for families and must be better supported.
30 May 2013 – Childcare: Are grandparents entitled to flexible hours?
BBC Breakfast – with Sam Smethers
Many people are relying on grandparents and in-laws to provide childcare, according to the charity Grandparents Plus. It says research shows almost 20% of grandmothers provide at least ten hours of childcare a week, and around 90% of them provide this care for free. BBC Breakfast has been asking people whether they think grandparents deserve flexible hours.
30 May 2013 – The babysitting grandparents who save families £7billion a year
Study shows older generation cares for 1.6million UK children. Grandparents Plus and Age UK said, grandparents care for 14% of under-14s and that their total number of childcare hours have increased 35%. Both charities want changes to retirement and state pension to reflect ‘vital’ role. Read the full Daily Mail article here.
30 May 2013 – The £7bn grandquids: Massive rise in the value of childcare by grandparents
A total of 1.6 million under-15s — one in seven kids — were cared for by grandparents in 2010-11, up from 1.3 million the year before. The figure has almost doubled in a decade after nursery costs soared, forcing ever more mums and dads to ask their own parents for help. Read more of The Sun article here.
17th March 2013- The Observer – We must meet the needs of an ageing country
“For now, policy makers prefer to distract with arguments that pitch young versus old in the terrain of who gets what from limited resources. Baby-boomers contribute significantly not least in taxes and childcare provision.”
How we should we repond to the Ready for Ageing? report? Read the full editorial here.
16th March- The Telegraph – Care for young and old under one roof – it’s what families do
“In an ideal world, child care would be flexible, conveneint and affordable. But in real life, it is up to us to manage our own affairs and we need to confront a future of compromise.”Judith Wods considers the findings of our new research and looks at how families can address the competing demands of work, child care and care for elderly family members. Full article here.
15th March – Gransnet- Grandparents mind the childcare gap
Sarah Wellard looks at the looming childcare crisis facing Europe due to increasing pressure on people to work later into life. Read the full Gransnet article here.
14th March 2013 – The Daily Mail – Mothers who rely on their own parents for childcare faces queeze after thousands go back to work
Steve Doughty examines how a shift towards women working longer could have a huge impact on younger working mothers, who rely on grandparents for childcare. Read the full article here.
14th March 2013 – The Independent – Grandparents can’t solve everything
“It’s no exaggeration to say that the British economy rests on the shoulders of grandparents. More than 60% of grandparents are helping out with childcare, and if they weren’t, parents wouldn’t be able to work.” Gransnet’s Geraldine Bedell looks at the implications of our Grandparenting in Europe study Read the full article here.
23 Nov 2012 – The Mercury- ‘Give grandparents same support as foster carers’
Heather Atkins, a grandmother from Eltham is leading a campaign to try to get more help for people who look after their grandchildren. Heather has been bringing up four of her daughter’s children for the past seven years and says that in addition to extra financial help, families like hers also need the practical and emotional support routinely offered to foster parents and foster children. Read the full article here.
16 Nov 2012 – The Guardian- Childcare: the grandparents’ army
They’re shattered, their house is a mess and they have no free time. Today’s grandparents are a cheap, easy childcare option. Read the Guardian piece by Jenny Uglow here.
19 September 2012 – The Independent – Mothers & Prison: Thousands of children being brought up by their grandparents
More than 9,000 children a year in England and Wales move in with grandparents or wider family and friends because their mother has been sent to prison. The Independent looks at the profound impact this has on the children and their carers and talks to grandparent Margaret Jones about her experience taking on twins Chloe and Rachel. Read the full article here.
21 October 2012 – The Guardian – Grandparents who become full-time carers plead: ‘We can’t do it all for love’
One night earlier this year Stephen Merchant, 55, was contacted by his local council’s children’s services department. Twelve hours later, he was the full-time carer for his grandson, Charlie, who will be three years old on Wednesday. “Life changes in a phone call,” says Merchant, who comes from Northampton. Read the full Guardian article here.
13 July 2012 – Grandparent of the Year 2012
Following the tremendous success of Yours Magazine’s first Grandparent of the Year Awards last year, they are delighted to be opening their search for this year’s most inspirational grandparents.
We want to celebrate the amazing contribution that grandparents make to the modern British family and way of life. Click here to find out more or to enter.
26 June 2012 – Kinship carers need respect, not threats and pressure
Raising children is the easy part of being a kinship carer – it’s the bureaucracy and prejudice that’s hard, writes Julie Wilkes, a kin carer for the last six years. Read Julie’s blog here.
22 June 2012 – Community Care – Benefit support for kinship carers and foster carers
The Department for Work and Pensions has announced benefit changes that will provide more support for foster carers and family and friends carers. Click here to read the full Community Care article.
12 June 2012 – The Times – Thousands stop work to care for grandchildren
22nd June 2012 – Aid for grandparents
The Grandparents Plus report Giving up the day job? finds that almost half of all grandparents and other kinship carers who were previously working gave up their jobs when children moved in. Like many others, kinship carer Diana Isitt left a well paid job to take on care of her granddaughter. She is now reliant on benefits and worried about getting back in to work. Read the full article by Rosemary Bennett for The Times as well as their coverage of benefit changes for grandparent carers.
18 June 2012 – Daily Mail and Silver Dreams
The Daily Mail and the Big Lottery Fund today award more than £6million to charities and organisations helping to improve the lives of older people. The joint initiative, known as the Silver Dreams Fund, is part of a wider campaign to distribute National Lottery grants totalling £110million to the most inspirational and worthy projects. Grandparents Plus was amongst the ten winning projects awarded grant to help the elderly fulfil their silver dreams. Read full article by here.
12 June 2012 – BBC Spotlight Coverage of National Summit of Family and Friends Carers
12 June 2012 – BBC News – Grandmother wants same support as foster carer
Laura Warner, from Gillingham, has custody of her grandchildren and is known as a kinship carer. Mrs Warner said: “I defy anyone that says the child benefit and any tax credits you’re entitled to is enough to bring up a child you’ve not accounted for.
“It’s very easy for someone to say ‘well it’s your choice to have that child’ but it’s not a choice.
“We want to hold our family unit together, we want these children to remain safe.” You can read the full BBC News article here.
13 June 2012 – Thousands of grandparents give up work to look after grandchildren
Around 25 grandparents a day leave their job to bring up their grandchildren and as a result often end up in poverty, warns a new report. Read full article here.
12 June 2012 – The Telegraph – 60,000 grandparents forced to give up work to bring up grandchildren
Unlike new parents or adoptive parents, working age grandparents and family carers are not entitled to paid leave from work or financial help from their local authority and are forced to rely on benefits or their own savings to make ends meet. Read the full Telegraph article here.
12 June 2012 – ITV News – Grandparents ‘losing out’ when they take on care of children
‘Giving Up the Day Job?’ shows how grandparents and other family carers who were previously working gave up their jobs to care for children. The young people would otherwise be in local authority care had their relative not stepped in, as their parents are unable to care for them, for a number of reasons from death to violence or imprisonment. Read full ITV News article here.
27 May 2012 – The Guardian – Europe’s real family values
Across the continent, where older people have a role in raising young relatives, they are also better cared for themselves. Click here to read the full Guardian article.
15 May 2012 – Kinship carers ‘overlooked’ because of adoption focus
Sam Smethers, chief executive of Grandparents Plus, said: “No one wants to see children left in care when they could have a permanent home with a loving family. But the first step should be to ensure that grandparents and other family members are properly considered when children cannot live with their parents.
“Simply speeding up adoption assessments could result in rushed decisions which aren’t in children’s best interests. It’s time the vital role kinship carers play in providing security and stability for vulnerable children was properly recognised and supported.” You can read the full article here.
9 May 2012 – BBC News – Queen’s Speech: Campaigners and Politicians respond
Chief executive Sam Smethers said the charity shared the government’s aim “of keeping children out of care unnecessarily”.
“The first step is to ensure that grandparents and other family members are properly considered and supported when children can’t live with their parents”. Click here to read full BBC article.
10 April 2012 – Woman’s Hour Grandparents Programme features Diana
Grandparents Plus helped BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour to produce this programme that discusses the role grandparents play in childcare. Listen to the story of Diana, a grandmother who gave up a high paying job to raise her granddaughter: from 12 minutes 37 seconds. The programme also features an archive interview with Rod Hull who was raised by his grandmother!
09 April 2012 – ITV Anglia News Item on Kinship Care
Grandparents Plus helped Anglia TV to produce this news item discussing grandparents role in childcare and including family and friends carers. Listen to the story of Siegi, a grandmother raising her grandson in Cambridge. It also features an interview with Sarah Wellard our Research Manager.
18 March 2012 – Grandparent carers talk to the media about the challenges the face at Mother’s Day
In the run up to Mother’s Day, Grandparents Plus highlighted the massive contribution family and friends carers make in raising children who cannot live with their parents. Grandparents from across England were featured in newspapers, radio and television programmes. They talked about the added emotional strain on Mothers Day for the 200,000 grandparents and other relatives are bringing up children of parental death, serious illness, drug or alcohol abuse or other serious family difficulties. They urged more support to help vulnerable youngsters tackle the traumas reawakened by Mother’s Day and other occasions when families traditionally get together.
The story appeared in Western Daily Press, The Argus, Milton Keynes Citizen, Northumberland News Post Leader, as well as on Arrow FM radio, BBC Three Counties, ITV Anglia and BBC TV Look East. Here’s a selection of links to the press coverage: Milton Keynes Citizen and This is Somerset
31 January 2012 – Grandparents Plus signs Guardian letter urging changes to Welfare Reform Bill
Grandparents Plus co-signed a letter supporting a House of Lords cross-party amendment designed to protect vulnerable families from cuts to housing benefits. The amendment would have exempted from housing benefits cuts families who have one spare bedroom and for whom there were no alternative properties for them to downsize to. Current plans, will see an estimated 670,000 households, loosing an average of £670 per year because they are deemed to have additional bedrooms. This is an issue that would affect both separated parents and grandparents who take on a caring role of their children and grandchildren. Click here to view the letter.
08 January – Grandparents Plus signs Guardian letter calling for government rethink on changes to current crises loans and community care grants
Grandparents Plus co-signed a letter calling for the government to rethink the planned changes to crises loans and community care grants. These grants offer vital support to the most vulnerable in society. The government wishes to abolish these elements of the social fund and pass some funding to local authorities, however there are no plans to ensure that they have a statutory obligation to provide this support. Grandparents Plus and 19 other charities, are calling on the government to ensure that the money paid to local authorities is at least ring-fenced for this purpose. To view the letter click here.
During the week Saturday 4th February 2012 to Saturday 11th February 2012 Kidscape and Grandparents Plus are encouraging grandparents to talk to their grandchildren about internet safety and in particular for grandparents to consider if their grandchild is at risk when using the internet.
You may find that your grandchild is very safety aware when “talking” to people on the internet; on the other hand you may be quite concerned at their lack of safety awareness. This is your opportunity to bring to their attention the risks they may be taking in relation to their online safety, integrity and welfare.
After talking to your grandchild we would like you to complete a simple questionnaire to enable us to evaluate internet safety. The questionnaire comprises of 5 questions and will take no more than three minutes to complete. One lucky person can win a £40 book token! You can complete the survey here
05 December 2011 – Grandparents Plus Doing it All? report highlights a future ‘care gap’
Grandparents Plus Doing it All? report highlights a future ‘care gap’ as the increase in the state pension age means grandparents who provide childcare are increasingly expected to stay in work. ITV Daybreak interviews grandmother with her daughter Jane and grandsons about the vital role her mother plays in providing childcare to enable Jane to work.
04 November 2011 – Grandparents Plus responds to proposals in the David Norgrove report
Grandparents Plus responds on BBC Breakfast to proposals in the David Norgrove’s report for the Family Justice Review on grandparents seeking a contact order to see their grandchildren. (Note that Sarah Wellard, our policy and research manager, is sitting on the left wearing a mauve jacket, despite the incorrect labelling on screen. The other interviewee, Joanne Edwards, is a lawyer and has no connection with Grandparents Plus.)
01 August 2011 – Too old to care? Report on BBC’s The One show
Following the launch of the Too old to care? report, BBC’s The One Show tell the story of Brian and Georgia and their struggle to get the support they need, and highlighting the importance and vital role of support organisations like S.A.N.C.T.U.A.R.Y provide to family and friends carers. To find a local support group in your area click here.
11 Apr 2011 – Recognition but still no rights for grandparents
Family justice review proposes grandparents should be included in contact agreements when relationships break down. Click here to read full article.
04 Feb 11 – ‘We look after the grandkids as our children aren’t capable’
BEING woken by a screaming baby in the middle of the night is tough for any parent. But it’s even more exhausting when you are over 60.
Yet this is the reality for the growing number of grandparents who are raising their children’s kids. A total of 140,000 youngsters have been left in the care of grandparents or friends because their own parents are unable to look after them. Drug and alcohol abuse are the main reasons for the growing trend, according to a shocking report by charity Grandparents Plus. Click here to read full article.
03 Feb 11 – Drink and drugs push grandparents into caring roles
Nearly half of all grandparent carers say parents’ alcoholism or drug addiction are the main reasons why they are bringing up children. Click here to read full article by Nursery World.
21 Jan 11 – Grandparent carers
Grandparents who are caring for disabled grandchildren will be hit badly by the spending cuts, according to one expert. Click here to read full article.
18 Jan 11 – Grandparent carers face tough challenges, reveals report by Family Fund
Most grandparents caring for disabled children are battling financial hardship and health problems of their own, according to the latest report from the Family Fund. The report, I Wish I Could Just Be Grandma, brings together findings from a survey of 324 grandparents looking after disabled children and studies of grandparent carers. Click here to read CYPN article.
Click link below to download report.
31 Oct 10 – Forgotten army of carers who need support as cuts hit home
It’s estimated there are about 200,000 family and friends carers raising 300,000 children in the UK. Many of them are grandparents who, at a time in life when they might be looking forward to retiring, are needed to step in and look after their grandchildren. Click here to read full article.
15 Oct 10 – Grandparents who care for youngsters to keep pension rights
Hundreds of thousands of middle-aged people who give up work to look after their grandchildren will have their right to a state pension protected in future. Click here to read full article.
06 Oct 10 – New Comment
Read Sam Smethers’ Guardian Comment is Free piece here - ‘the UK economy would grind to a halt if grandparents went on strike’.
15 Sep 10 – Help improve the benefits system
Directgov have recently published a YouTube video explaining how people can give their views on how to improve the benefits system. Watch the video Help improve the benefits system.
13 Jun 10 – Meet today’s truely great grandparents
One in three working mothers depends on grandparents for child care, according to the action group Grandparents Plus. ‘These mothers couldn’t be in a job without that contribution,’ says its chief executive Sam Smethers. They provide moral and financial support as well as vital child care. Yet modern grandparents have busy lives of their own, as Sally Williams reports for the Telegraph. Click here to read full article.
11 Jun 10 – BBC Radio 4 – Womens Hour with Sheila McClennon
Grandparenting in Europe – a new report from the pressure group Grandparents Plus. Does Britain have anything to learn from policies in other European countries that support grandparents as carers for their grandchildren and how would this fit with the new government’s ideology and spending cuts? Sheila McClennon talks to Sarah Wellard of Grandparents Plus and Professor Sarah Harper of the Oxford Centre for Ageing.
16 May 10 – Grandma has right to be paid
A local authority is about to take a child into care because their parents can no longer care for them. It could place this child with a foster carer, paying them a fostering allowance of at least £146 a week. Or – mindful of the statutory requirements of the Children Act 1989 – it could find a grandparent or other relative who could do this instead. It is probably better for the child to stay within their extended family. After all, that’s what most children want. So at the 11th hour (literally) it calls the grandparent and says: “Will you take this child because otherwise they will have to go into care?” With a proverbial gun to the head, the grandparent agrees. Then what? Click here to read full article.
03 Mar 10 – Grandparent carers
Grandparents in low-income families are risking financial hardship by giving up work to help look after grandchildren, according to charity Grandparents Plus. Click here to read and watch full story.
02 Mar 10 – Elderly ‘lose out to help children‘
Grandparents in low-income families are risking financial hardship by abandoning paid work to provide free childcare for their grandchildren, a report warned.Charity Grandparents Plus and the Equality and Human Rights Commission found that one in three families relies on grandparents to provide childcare on a weekly basis, rising to one in two among single parent households.
The groups said grandparents in the poorest families were coming under increasing pressure to look after grandchildren, with working class grandmothers who were still of working age the most likely to be providing free care. Click here to read full Channel 4 news report.
13 Feb 10 – Put social care above party squabbles
The costs of failing to act are simply too great to ignore…We welcome the political attention that social care is receiving. However, we are in danger of seeing this most important of debates become reduced to election soundbites and poster slogans.
Click here to read the joint comment in The Times Online.
20 Jan 10 – Grandparents to get greater rights over childcare
A comprehensive review of the family justice system will be announced today to give fathers and grandparents greater access to children after separation. Click here to read full article.
11 Jan 10 – Grandparents Rights
Currently one in three families depend on grandparents for childcare. And it’s likely that this figure will rise, with grandparents playing an increasingly important role in supporting young families. So is it time that grandparents were given better rights, and more official recognition of their role in society? And if so, what should this recognition consist of? Should their rights be supported by legislation and the courts, or are families best left to themselves to negotiate domestic arrangements?
Woman’s Hour debates issues affecting grandparents, to listen to the discussion click here.
09 Dec 09 – Carers caught in a club sandwich
A new report highlights the pressure on the growing number of families that have to care for both the very young and the very old. Official estimates claim that Britain has about six million unpaid carers – 10 per cent of the population. The IPPR study further reveals that almost one million people – 550,000 women and 400,000 men – have a dual role, caring for both children and elderly relations, with 62 per cent of female carers also going out to work.
Click here to read full article.
03 Dec 09 – Grandparents save parents over £5 billion in childcare
Sam Smethers, Chief Executive of national charity Grandparents Plus said: ‘We welcome this study because it reveals the huge contribution that grandparents make to family life day in, day out. We know that so many families depend on them. It is time for us to take this seriously and recognise the contribution they are making. Click here to read article.
10 Nov 09 – Who cares for the kinship carers?
Grandparents aren’t the only carers: a forgotten army of aunts and uncles are raising their relatives’ children. This month the Grandparents Plus charity lobbied Parliament with the message that while a family member is often best able to provide a loving home for a child who needs support, these surrogate parents deserve to have the financial and practical support that is available to foster parents, and in many cases they need it. One in three does not even receive child benefit.
No one knows how many more informal arrangements are made by families to care for children who would otherwise need local authority support. The cost of keeping a child in the care system is £40,000 a year. Aunts, uncles, older siblings and godparents do it for nothing, and provide a more stable life for the children they take in than the care system, says Sam Smethers, chief executive of Grandparents Plus.
Click here to read full article.
01 Nov 09 – Give grandma her due
According to a survey by Grandparents Plus, one in three grandparent carers is living on less than £200 a week. To read the Sunday Times article click here.
28 Oct 09 – Why more than a third of grandparent carers are living below the poverty line
There are thought to be 200,000 grandparents taking on the role as full-time carer for their grandchildren. A new survey by Grandparents Plus reveals that more than a third of them are living below the poverty line and struggling to cope, overlooked by children’s services, without respite care, emotional or financial support. Today Grandparents Plus will join forces with other members of the Kinship Care Alliance to lobby Parliament to call for greater recognition, respect and reward for family and friends carers. One grandmother tells Jenni about her struggles to care for her young grandsons. To discuss the wider issues Jenni is joined by Sam Smethers, Chief Executive of Grandparents Plus and Dawn Primarolo MP, Minister of State for Children, Young People and Families. Click here to hear full interview.
26 Oct 09 – Call to help ‘grandparent carers’ living below the poverty line
More than a third of grandparents who look after their grandchildren full-time to prevent them being taken into care live below the poverty line. Click here to read full article.
08 Sep 09 – My second mum and dad
A new generation of grandparents are closer than ever to their teenage grandchildren playing a critical role throughout their everyday lives, a unique survey published by national charity Grandparents Plus, reveals today.
‘We need to do more to recognise and value this relationship because it’s good for families and good for society’ Sam Smethers, Chief Exec, Grandparents Plus.
Click on links below to read the BBC articles.
22 Jun 09 – Grandparents Plus on BBC
22 Jun 09 – Are grandchildren making the working class poorer?
A report says working-class women tend to become grandparents earlier than middle-class ones, forcing them out of work earlier and reducing pension contributions. Click here to read full article.
22 Jun 09 – ‘The Poor Relation’ Report
ITN News report of ‘The Poor Relation’ Report. Click image to start video.
23 Mar 09 – Jackie Ashley on Grandparents
Guardian columnist addresses lack of recognition for grandparents. Read the article here.
09 Feb 09 – Grandparental Childcare
A new Institute of Education report claims that children cared for by grandparents are not as ‘school ready’ as those in day care. You can read Grandparents Plus’ response in full on the Guardian’s Comment is Free website here.
31 Jan 09 – Pensions Penalty