2016 is nearly coming to an end and a time for reflection as always.

It has been a year of reconciliation for some and as I have said before to be able to share in the joy when grandchildren reconnect with their grandparents is just such a huge privilege.

For those who are once again nearing the end of a year of separation from those they love, I know it doesn’t get any easier, but I do know that being able to talk to other estranged grandparents helps enormously. Once again a grandparent told me that finding BGSG has been her lifeline.

We are there to throw out that lifeline for others to grab hold of and between us we will haul them slowly back from the depths of despair.

Here is a very brief look back on 2016, as far as BGSG is concerned!

At the beginning of the year we became partners with Bristol Ageing Better, we had a stall at Westbury-on-Tryms’ Fair where we were joined by Charlotte Leslie MP. We had an article in The Guardian Voluntary Sector and met up with Devon Grandparents Support Group on many occasions.

We had several interviews on Radio Bristol, Bristol Uni students joined us for one of our meetings doing research, had a reply from The Duchess of Cambridge.

The Lincolnshire group was set up. Several jollies as a group, going out to lunch and our annual Christmas lunch was its usual festive affair. Paper hats and crackers compulsory.

Dame Esther Rantzen introduced us to Granpart, another group giving much needed support.

Several grandparents came to visit from all over the country and beyond. Our door is always open for visits.

Another interview with East Midlands, oh and letter from HRH Prince Harry.

On a very sad note we lost some grandparents this year, always in our thoughts. RIP.

We set up a public Facebook group page.

We attended the Celebrating Age Festival launch here in Bristol.

We wrote to many local papers around the country to highlight denied contact, and had many positive responses and follow up articles.

In November a group of us went off on a very damp morning to plant three sycamore trees as a legacy to our grandchildren, at the National Trust Estate at Dyrham Park. We also held our 3rd annual concert of Words and Music, just a wonderful afternoon.

Lastly, an interview with ITV including our ‘Tree of Hope,’ which is as I write standing bright and proud, with hundreds of messages gently fluttering in the breeze.

I need to thank everyone who makes all of this possible, thanks to all of our trustees for their support over 2016, to Dame Esther Rantzen our Patron,for her support, ¬†thanks to all grandparents who offer their time in helping with events and on a personal note, an enormous thank you to Marc, who without his support 24/7 BGSG wouldn’t be what it is.

It is when I do the round up at the end of the year that I can see what a lot of things have happened.

The most important thing that we do is offer our support when grandparents are in despair, there are many groups across the UK doing just the same thing.

It is still our aim to encourage others to set up groups, the more there are the more people we can support. Anyone who thinks it is something they would like to do please get in touch, Marc and I will come and see you and help you in any way we can.

In the meantime here are links to those who are already doing an amazing job in giving support in their areas.

Devon Grandparents Support Group – devongsg@gmail.com

Lincolnshire Grandparents Support Group – lgsg@outlook.com

Northants and Milton Keynes- marion.turner@granpart.co.uk

Hendon- hendongrandparents@gmail.com

Hull- grandparentsrus@gmail.com

Minnesota USA – 8801 Portland Ave, Bloomington, MN, Oxboro Library Minnesota.Meet (1st Friday of every month 1:30-3:00pm.)

If you call BGSG helpline if no-one is available to answer your call immediately, leave us a message and we will endeavour to return your call within 48 hours.