Grandparents Parenting Again and Kinship Carers (Midlothian) was formed in 2005 and has evolved from a support group, meeting for a chat and a cup of tea, into a constituted, OSCR registered group, writes Myra Orr.
Kinship carers, often in conflict with their own family members (the parents of the children they now raise), provide protection, care and love to the children in their care.
Group members can self-refer or be referred by agencies. Carers come with multiple needs including physical health, disability, mental health and financial anxiety. Isolation and identity can be a major factor in the lives of carers.
The group offers term-time support meetings: weekly on Thursdays at Gorebridge Parish Church from 9.30am-noon; fortnightly on Mondays at Ladywood Leisure Centre, Penicuik, from 10am-noon; and monthly on Monday evenings at Gorebridge Parish Church from 7.30pm-9.30pm. There is also a Peer Support service which provides one-to-one support which includes signposting to relevant agencies, information and representation.
Last year, to coincide with our tenth anniversary, we launched our book Through Our Eyes by Kinship Carers. The book is the product of Kinship Carers who engaged in a creative writing course facilitated by Midlothian Council. As the course unfolded and through encouragement and support from our outstanding tutor, Mrs Pauline Bannerman of MALANI, we shared our stories, bared our souls, shed many tears but had lots of laughter as well. The book has been a tremendous success and is a vital resource for statutory and voluntary agencies.
It has been presented in the Scottish Parliament, used for training days by Midlothian and other councils, and was featured at the International Book Festival last summer. However, by far the greatest success of the book is the feedback from other kinship carers, who can identify and take courage from our stories, poems and reflective writing.
If you wish to purchase a book (£3 which covers the printing cost) contact 07540 300 591.