Family & Friends - Kinship Milton Keynes

Serving Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire

© Family & Friends - Kinship Milton Keynes formerly known as Grandparents’ Support Group 2012 - 2022                                                                    

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Past News & Events > Grandparents (Kinship) Support Group: Report - 2014 - 2015

It’s been a busy year.  We welcomed new Grandparents and were especially thrilled when were joined by an Aunt and Uncle, who look after their niece and nephew.  The couple work and so they come to meetings when they are able.  It was really good to see them both at our end of year outing.  

We took phone calls from various kinships (mainly grandparents) looking for advice, most of whom found answers with Family Rights Group (FRG).  We had a couple of GPs visit.  They updated us on a successful outcome for their son and grandson.  We were pleased to have been able to help them and were glad that they visited us.

We all still get a great deal of support from each other at our meetings each Tuesday.

We began September 2014 fresh from the Summer Holidays, ready for the new school year, with usual members and some new members.

We had a couple of Craft Mornings, which proved to be very popular.  Even those of us who didn’t think that we would enjoy making cards, actually found it very therapeutic and we found ourselves talking not just about our situation, but about other topics as well.  These were good mornings and we plan to repeat them.

On 16th December, the Christmas Lunch was very well attended.  We had our usual Craft Morning, where we brought suitable greenery from the garden to make our Christmas table display.  It’s always a lovely morning and a relaxing way to end the term and year.

On 3rd February, Detective Inspector Ian Jarvis very kindly came to talk to us about how we can keep our children safe from drugs.  He explained about his experience in the Police Force and how he now trains other officers and police departments about drugs.  One of his future aims is to visit schools and provide the students with more knowledge about the dangers of drug use.  

It was an extremely interesting morning.  We talked about the different drugs that are now available; those that we take on prescription and the Illegal drugs that are classified on a scale from Class A (the most dangerous) to Class C (the least dangerous).  We compared the 70’s, when there were perhaps four main drugs with today, when there are so many.  They are also far more readily available through the Internet, which makes it easier for people to market drugs.  Prices have also fallen and most children are now able to fund a typical drug’s price of £10 to £20.

Ian provided us with some useful advice.  He told us to be aware of children and any changes in attitude and behaviour and to look for any indication of possible drug use.  He asked us to be open and to talk to our children about the subject.  He explained that conversation is the key to preventing drug misuse.  He asked us to consider why children would want to take drugs and explained that most children do not want to be seen by their peers as being different.  Because of their circumstances, our children are already different; they can feel lonely, isolated and the odd ones.  This makes them particularly vulnerable and highlights why we need to be open and aware.

On 9th February, there was a Panel Event at Family Rights Group (FRG).  Angie and Sandra, two members from our group, attended on our behalf.  They both enjoyed the experience of meeting others, not just our usual group members.  This event enabled FRG to hear our views about how it can best increase awareness and support for children who are being raised in the care of families and friends.

On 10th February, it was lovely to catch up with Annie Simpson (Deputy Team Manager / Fostering).  The morning turned into a stimulating conversation rather than the planned themed morning.  We still plan to have a themed morning with discussions about Contact and Health Issues and to have a representative from Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).  This will now take place on 6th October 2015.

On 17th March, we were kindly visited by Sarah Jones (Community Development Officer) from Age UK (Milton Keynes).  It was a mutually beneficial morning, as Sarah was very unaware of the group, and did not realise what we did.  It was a great opportunity for us to explain.  Sarah was clearly moved by some of our stories.  It has been a couple of years since anyone from Age UK has visited us and so, as we have several new members, it was a good opportunity to be updated about the help that Age UK can provide.  This includes practical things like gardening and the furniture store.  I think we gained a very good contact.  It was a shame that she phoned us a couple of weeks later to say that she had been ‘snapped up’ by the Open University, but it is a great bonus for them.

On 16th June, Cindy Shilton, Community Engagement Officer from Health Watch Milton Keynes visited us.  Click here to visit their website. This proved to be an interesting morning.  Cindy noted our experiences of the different areas of the NHS in Milton Keynes.  Cindy appreciated our opinions and it was good for her to visit a different group of people with different needs.

14th July was our last meeting before the summer break and we visited Emmaus at Carlton.  Although we had visited a couple of years ago, our new members hadn’t.  It was a good morning to end the year.

Some of our members visiting Emmaus at Carlton, Bedfordshire