Anyone who runs a support group of any kind has to get used to the highs and lows.
You never know who is at the end of the helpline phone or who is about to invade your email, you have to be ready to think on your feet and to not ever have a knee jerk reaction. Not always easy!
One of the things I never expected when I founded BGSG in 2007 was that family members and friends might get in contact with us.
Of course now with social media that can become even easier. In a way if you put yourself out there on social media platforms you are fair game, particularly to those who vehemently oppose what we stand for.
Over the 12 years I have received calls and emails from those who are the very people who are causing the estrangement and alienation.
Often they have seen one of my blogs or Facebook posts and see that their family is also engaging and getting support from us, and it opens up a whole can of worms.
Some are very abusive, some are warning me off.
The first time it happened I have to admit I was very shocked, but now and I suppose with years of experience nothing ever surprises me.
I suppose I am unshakeable.
Although in honesty it can cause me sleepless nights.
If you think of the saying of ‘there are two sides to every story’ well these people are telling me the other side.
The important fact to remember, be that if you are a grandparent receiving help and support from us or if you are a family member or friend who feels it necessary to ‘put the record straight’ BGSG is a small charity, who offers non judgemental help and support to grandparents who contact us.
We will never admit or indeed deny who is a member of BGSG , we will never give any information at all.
BGSG abides by confidentiality and follows the very strict guidelines in respect of Data Protection.
At meetings we remind attendees of the importance of confidentiality and that what is discussed during those meetings must not be repeated elsewhere.
Grandparents must feel able to find a safe environment where they can talk or write honestly and openly, in the knowledge that nobody will break that confidentiality agreement. Anyone who does break that agreement will be removed from BGSG.
If you are a family member or friend reading this, firstly thank you for taking time to read BGSG’s blogs, but please don’t think that we will ever give out information about our members, to you or anyone else without their permission.
Bristol Grandparents Support Group is a non-judgemental organisation.
We are not responsible for what might take place in other groups around the country.