Grandparents Plus helped me through what felt like a minefield.
Jane became a kinship carer overnight when her daughter died unexpectedly. ‘I got a phone call from the hospital saying could I come in, she’s not stable and 15 minutes later she died in my arms.’
Reeling from the shock of her daughter’s death, Jane was also faced with the task of guiding her two young granddaughters through the grief and trauma of losing their mother. ‘At first I felt like a failure – I felt like I’d failed to protect their mum.’
She was utterly unprepared for what was to follow. Recently retired and in her 60s, Jane soon discovered that there was little support on offer for her or the girls. When the children moved into Jane’s two-bedroom flat, she had to move to the sitting-room and has been sleeping on the sofa ever since. And despite being a pensioner, she was told she wasn’t eligible for an allowance and was forced to shop at food banks.
It was only when she heard about Grandparents Plus that Jane began to understand her rights. ‘The schools were great but we hadn’t had much other support. Then I discovered Grandparents Plus. They helped me through what felt like a minefield and I honestly think that I’d have gone under if I hadn’t had the support I got at that stage.’
Now Jane and her granddaughters are starting to move forward with their lives. ‘I can’t believe how far we’ve come – it’s been an incredibly difficult journey and the girls have been incredibly brave – but at last we’re starting to look to the future and make plans.’
Please donate to Grandparents Plus so that we can help more families like Jane’s.