February 22, 2010

UK: Joy over city backing for grandparents

. GLASGOW, Scotland / The Glasgow Evening Times / News / February 22, 2010 By Jasper Hamill Brian McNair, Jim Black, Ian Sloan and Eamonn Kelly are delighted. Picture: Mark Gibson Campaigning grandparents are celebrating after Glasgow City Council took a step towards giving them a greater role in their grandchildren’s lives. Councillors unanimously backed a motion to consider adopting some of the recommendations of the Charter For Grand­children, a document drawn up by elderly activists who said grand­parents had too few rights. Grandparents Apart, the organisation that drew up the charter, claimed social services “ignore” the benefits of placing children with grand­parents in custody or welfare cases, preferring to send them into care. They are also angered that grandparents too often lose contact with children after the parents break up and have no legal right to demand access. Jimmy Deuchars, of Mosspark, formed the group after his daughter died and he was unable to see his two grandchildren. He is determined that this should never happen to anyone again. Mr Deuchars said: “We are delighted. This is the largest council in the country and it has taken a vital step towards allowing grandparents to be more closely involved in their life. “This decision is proof that people are beginning to recognise how important grandparents can be. This will be a big boost to our campaign.” Mr Deuchars and his wife are among a million UK grandparents that cannot see their youngest relatives, mostly because of family break-up. Councillor Ruth Black and three other councillors submitted a motion that was heard at Glasgow City Chambers suggesting the council implement part or all of the Charter For Grandchildren. Ms Black said: “If there are ways in which Glasgow City Council can encourage or facilitate the continued presence of grandparents in a child’s life then we should examine them.” Jim Black, 68, from Clydebank, lost contact with his granddaughter 13 years ago. He has been supported by the Deuchars’ group. He said: “We are not saying grandparents should have the same rights as parents, we would just like to be given greater rights by councils and social services. It’s in the interests of children to know their grandparents.” [rc] Copyright © 2010 Herald & Times Group