It is estimated that over 100,000 grandparents are full-time raising their grandchildren, because the parent, for whatever reason, is unable to do so.
Whilst the grandchild is fairly small grandparents generally tend to get by, but as the child is growing up and becoming more demanding, the grandparents are getting older and feeling less energetic. The pressure often becomes a real problem when the child hits adolescence, pressure can build up and become overwhelming.
We have recently begun helping a single granny who has been caring for her granddaughter almost the whole of her life. We received a cry for help as it was apparent that this precious little family unit might break apart, which would mean an entry to the care system for this young girl just hitting her teens. What was needed was basically respite, an arrangement whereby granny could get a chance to recharge her batteries and an opportunity for her granddaughter to gain some new experiences that tends to miss out on given her home circumstances.
A wonderful Safe Families Host Family agreed to offer hospitality to the teenager for a weekend. When she arrived it was apparent that she was a little low on self-confidence but Orry the family dog quickly came to the rescue giving a very warm welcome and instantly breaking the ice! Over the course of the weekend Orry proved to be a fantastic Safe Families volunteer showing kindness and affection, responding to commands to roll over, sit and do little tricks. Down at the beach they played together like old friends.
Later in the day it was into the kitchen to bake beautiful fairy cakes for the Safe Families 1st birthday party at church the following day, another activity that the visiting child showed great enthusiasm for, and real talent too – watch out Mary Berry!
At the end of the weekend everyone agreed it was a really successful placement and it was agreed that all being well it will become a regular date in the diary, and also that Orry the dog takes the prize for Safe Families star volunteer of the month!