Press releases

Legal & General support Grandparents Association Campaign for Children's Rights.

23 March 2011

Every year the GPA receives an average of 7,500 calls to its helpline and some 2 million hits on its website. The majority of these are from grandparents who have been denied contact with their grandchildren. Less than 50% of these name divorce and separation as being the main reason behind this – bereavement and family feud feature highly. The Grandparents’ Association is delighted to announce that it will be holding a lobby day on Thursday 24th March 2011 at the House of Commons. Penny Mordaunt, MP for Portsmouth North, will host the event to campaign for children’s rights to have contact with their grandparents as this relationship can give so much to the child in an emotional and practical sense. Penny Mordaunt’s support has enabled us to hold this event and Legal and General Insurance have donated funds to help us bring the grandparents together.

National estimates are that 1 million grandparents are denied contact with their grandchildren – Denise* is one example:
“I haven’t seen my grandson for 4 years now and it breaks my heart when my friends talk about their grandchildren. I looked after him every day after school and when my son and daughter-in-law went on holiday, or out for the evening but something I said must have upset them as suddenly they didn’t want me to come round any more. I still don’t know what the problem was but they won’t return my calls or letters. I keep the presents I buy for him every birthday and just hope some day I can see him again - and that he doesn’t think I just abandoned him”

And, James* told us that “it’s almost too much to bear not being able to see Tim, but when our daughter (his mum) died Tim’s dad wanted a fresh start somewhere new. All our cards and letters were returned and we don’t know where they live now.”

Too often children are used as ‘pawns’ in a family dispute and grandparents see cards and presents broken and returned.

The Grandparents’ Association believes that children have a right (as long as it is safe to do so) for a minimum of ‘letter box’ contact, and freedom to receive appropriate cards, presents and letters from their grandparents on special occasions (birthdays, religious holidays etc) be statuted. Although this may be small comfort for those involved it enshrines the principle of contact in law. We also contend that Family Group Conferences should be held in private law cases rather than going through the family courts or through mediation.

The Grandparents’ Association calls on the Government to recognise that:Grandchildren should have the right to know and have contact with their grandparents.

Legal & General are supporting the Grandparents Association as they are helping us to understand, as a major savings provider, some of the emerging issues and pressure that Grandparents, pre and post retirement have to cope with in tighter economic times. It is estimated that Grandparents provide 40%+ of childcare for working/studying parents. In our own research the “Value of a Grandparent” even a stable working family needs at least 7 hours of grandparent help in a typical working week to cope with emergencies e.g. sickness (47%), baby sitting in the evenings (31%) and childcare while not at work (30%).

For those in less fortunate, in crisis situations it is estimated that 300,000 children are living with grandparents and cannot get access to the benefits paid out to their children.

Richard Hall, Head of Savings Development for Legal & General said, "We are delighted to support the Grandparents Association with their campaigning work to support those grandparents who are actively supporting their grandchildren with their time but are lacking in financial support and often drawing upon their life savings to do the right thing for their families”.

To read more about our Pensioner Poverty Campaign at Legal & General click here http://www.legalandgeneralgroupcsr.com/what_matters_to_us/pensioner_poverty.aspx

Ends

If you would like more information or to talk to grandparents who have experienced these issues then please contact:

Louisa Wearn 07969 361663 / 
louisa.wearn@grandparents-association.org.uk

Other information can be found on our website:www.grandparents-association.org.uk

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Additional Information:

The Grandparents’ Association is a national charity with the mission: ‘To improve the lives of children by supporting relationships between grandparents and grandchildren’

National Services:

An information and advice line run by staff and trained volunteers (many of whom are grandparents): 0845 4349585 & a welfare benefits advice line: 0844 3571033 (this helped kinship carers to claim over £250,000 in benefits last year).

A range of information on our website: www.grandparents-association.org.uk

This includes free leaflets/factsheets on a range of issues related to caring or grandchildren/kinship care, and has the option to buy some more extensive publications. 

  • Setting up of groups – helping to set up/run ‘support’ or ‘grandparents and toddler’ groups 
  • Campaigning for the recognition of grandparents role in family life. We are talking to senior figures in all main political parties about how they plan to provide appropriate services and benefits for grandparents caring for their grandchildren – and supporting grandparents to regain ‘contact’ 
  • Other local offices in Kentish Town and Leeds.

Notes to editors

If you would like more information or to talk to grandparents who have experienced these issues then please contact:

Louisa Wearn 07969 361663 / 
louisa.wearn@grandparents-association.org.uk

Other information can be found on our website:www.grandparents-association.org.uk

+++++++

Additional Information:

The Grandparents’ Association is a national charity with the mission: ‘To improve the lives of children by supporting relationships between grandparents and grandchildren’

National Services:

An information and advice line run by staff and trained volunteers (many of whom are grandparents): 0845 4349585 & a welfare benefits advice line: 0844 3571033 (this helped kinship carers to claim over £250,000 in benefits last year).

A range of information on our website: www.grandparents-associati

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