A Short History of Grandparents Apart – Self Help Groups.
It was started in January 2001 in a pub in BAILLIESTON by a few people from Bathgate and quite a few from Glasgow and surrounding areas.
Jimmy and Margaret Deuchars, Jim & Cathy Black, Jimmy Walker, Norma Crawford, Rose Fortune, Malcolm & Agnes Shaw, Hugh & Margaret Rennie formed a committee and eventually became a charity in its own right.
We all had the same problem but were relieved to know we were not alone, what a sense of relief to have a friendly ear, a cup of tea, share experiences, a common bond to help right this terrible injustice
Due to television i.e. The Kilroy Show, The Mathew Wright Show, and coverage in the national newspapers hundreds of calls have come from Scotland, England and Wales which we try to formulate into groups, Glasgow, Kilmarnock, Rutherglen Milton and West Lothian, with very good agents in Lincoln- Mrs. Margaret Vivian, Blackpool-Mrs. Ditchburn and Mrs. Csaszer- London, and Grandparents Action Group in Telford, and when funds are permitting we will try to cover the whole of the U.K. until this unfairness of no automatic legal rights of contact for grandparents is put right.
When someone comes to us with a problem we comfort them and give them a friendly ear , try to help them to build bridges, hoping to bring the family back together again, and prevent further alienation we will also act as go-between (mediation) with anyone who is willing to repair family relationships.
We also hope to have a help line, drop in centres, (funding permitting) and hold group meetings where experiences are shared and friends are made. We do not give legal advice but have excellent family lawyers, there is also a buddy service available for anyone who is nervous of going to court or anywhere with an official air about it.
We will also write letters for anyone who feels pushed aside or is receiving a raw deal from officialdom or otherwise.
Ultimately to highlight the injustice of grandparents having to prove themselves worthy in court (guilty until proven innocent) to contact their grandchildren when they have done no wrong, not having legal right of contact, (not necessarily parental rights) but their moral rightful place in the family, grandparents have the time and patience in today’s world of rush, but for the sake of upsetting the children many grandparents do not pursue contact and broken-hearted they suffer in silence hoping one day they will see their grandchildren again, the children are the terrible losers in this game of power.
In February this year we were invited to the cross party group on ageism, they were impressed and referred us to the social justice committee, which we attended on 14th may and have been invited back to have a meeting with the deputy social justice minister dr. Richard Simpson before a draft paper on family law is produced later this year.
On 24th September Kenneth J Gibson M.S.P. (our guide through parliament) and Bill Butler M.S.P will present a petition on our behalf to the social justice office in Edinburgh, and having written to all M.S.P.s the feedback of support is tremendous.