Grandparents Plus is the national charity supporting grandparents and other family members raising children whose parents aren't able to care for them.
Known as kinship carers, these family members step in, often at a moment's notice, and turn their lives upside down to provide stable homes for children, many of whom have experienced bereavement, abuse or neglect. Despite making huge sacrifices, kinship carers aren't usually entitled to any statutory support, and many struggle to make ends meet - lacking financial, emotional and practical support.
Grandparents Plus believes that every kinship care family should be able to get the help they need so their children can thrive. Support from players of People's Postcode Lottery is helping to make this dream a reality. To date, the charity has received £450,000 to help bring families together and fund a free advice service for kinship carers.
Emma* took on the care of a family member's little boy, Sean, after his mother couldn't care for him. She was granted a legal order to look after him, but struggled to get any support from her local authority. Emma found Grandparents Plus, and has been able to get independent advice and join a local support group. Emma said, "When you're a kinship carer, it's difficult to know where to turn. I wanted to do the best I could for Sean, but it was hard to cope. The information from Grandparents Plus was invaluable. For the first time I could speak to people who knew what I was going through, who could help me navigate when it was hard to see a way forward. Knowing that there is someone there to talk to and ask questions to is so reassuring."
Emma then found out that Sean's mother had had another baby, and was asked if she would care for him, so that Sean and his sibling could grow up together. She added, "This time was so different - with Grandparents Plus on my side I could use my voice and make mine and the children's needs clear. The people who answer the phone are just there to help you, they've even found a way for us to go on our first holiday together, which we're really looking forward to. Thank you to the players of People's Postcode Lottery for making it possible. I can't thank you enough."
*To protect their privacy, carers names have been changed.