Over the last 12 years I have had numerous calls and emails about surrogate grandparents.
Families are often looking for that unique relationship between a grandchild and a grandparent, and there are many families through no fault of their own, who do not have a grandparent role.
It can be as a result of parents dying, or grandparents who live abroad and some grandparents who don’t want to be involved in their grandchildren’s lives.
Yes, you did read that correctly!
For those who would walk to the end of the world to be able to have a relationship with your grandchildren that does seem unbelievable, but it is true.
A couple of years ago we looked into the possibility of setting up some sort of help for families in this area.
We have many grandparents who have forged a new relationship with families in this way, just befriending a neighbour who has children but no grandparents, and the relationships that are made are invaluable for everyone.
Unfortunately due to child protection concerns we were never able to make any progress, the sad truth is that there would be no way of ensuring the safety of the children, which has to be paramount.
It is so sad that we have to think that way.
One way that grandparents can be involved in a young persons life and to give a vital support to families is by joining https://www.home-start.org.uk/ they have over 15,000 home visiting volunteers across the country, we all know how hard it is bringing up a family and that extra practical or emotional help is so important.
Being part of a family who really needs you is so rewarding, our experience of being a parent and hopefully being a little older and a little wiser really can reassure those who need it.
If it is something you think you might be interested in take a look at their website and contact your local area.
We all know that to open the door to a friendly face, just when we feel we can’t cope, is a life saver.
You could be that friendly face.
UPDATE: I heard from the Home-Start in Bristol today:
Our volunteer preparation courses run for nine weeks and the next one will start on Tuesday 17th September and take place between 10.00 and 2.00 each Tuesday at the Phoenix Social Enterprise Centre, 5 Russell Town Avenue, Lawrence Hill, BS5 9LT. The only qualification we require of volunteers is that they should have raised children themselves, either as a parent or step-parent, and that they successfully clear a DBS check – the government Disclosure and Barring Service. Everyone who is part of Home-Start obviously has to be cleared as safe to work with vulnerable children and families, and our admin staff arrange this. I do hope some of your grandparents will be interested in joining us. Their wealth of experience is invaluable to our struggling families.