Charities will listen to estranged grandparents but they ‘cannot intervene’

By Charlotte Oliver, June 3, 2014

Charities have urged grandparents estranged from their families to come to them for help.

According to the Institute for Jewish Policy Research (JPR), the Census in 2011 revealed there are 55,000 Jewish people aged 65 and over in the UK, 87 per cent of whom have children. So there are potentially 48,000 Jewish grandparents living in the UK.

These figures suggest that there could be thousands of people in the community suffering in silence, while charities remain unaware of their needs.

Jewish Care said it currently provides no specific services for grandparents estranged from their grandchildren. Angela Murphy, assistant director of community services said: “It is not something we hear about a lot, but we would encourage anyone who is struggling to seek help.”

Stanmore-based therapy service, Raphael Jewish Counselling, does not cater specifically for estranged grandparents but, said its head of clinical services, Sara Cooper, it would do so if such services were required: “At Raphael, anyone who wishes to have counselling with us can bring any issues, including all family conflicts and estrangements, such as that of grandparents who are denied contact with grandchildren,” she said.

“What we would offer is the opportunity, as with any other issue, to discuss and explore this with a counsellor, although we couldn’t intervene in any active way.”

In Manchester, social care charity The Fed takes a similar view. A spokesperson said: “We do not specifically provide any service which supports estranged grandparents.

“But we would refer anyone in need to our children and families’ social work team.”

Last updated: 12:40pm, June 6 2014