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More Than Grandparents

More Than Grandparents is an Independent registered charity based in Sunderland run by, and for, kinship carers and their families. Clinton Leeks, OBE, Durham’s Assistant Provincial Grand Master, assisted by Robin Middleton, representing the Durham Freemasons Charity, presented a MCF grant of £13,500, to Melanie Nichols, the founder of the charity.

Melanie has since given an update as to where this funding has been utilised, and how the funding has led to the charity working much more closely with the freemasons of the Province of Durham;  

“We are so grateful to have been supported by the Masonic Charitable Foundation. The funding has meant we have been able to continue supporting vulnerable kinship families who simply don’t get the support they need and deserve from statutory services. 

Too often families are left struggling financially as a direct result of stepping in to do the right thing caring for a child that would otherwise have entered the care system. Too often they are left managing their child’s trauma and challenging behaviour. Too often they are left managing extremely difficult relationships with birth parents and supervising contact arrangements and all of this whilst often having other caring roles caring for a sick partner or elderly relative and managing their own life limiting health conditions. 

This funding from the MCF has allowed us to plug some of the gaps in services to ensure that kinship families feel fully supported, reduce isolation, ensure they understand their rights and entitlements, have better access to mental health support, have access to parenting support and to give them a sense of belonging.

Raising someone else’s child is a huge responsibility particularly if the child you are caring for has emotional difficulties as a result of ‘early years trauma’. For a grandparent parenting a second time around it can be exhausting and isolating and at times extremely stressful and a daunting experience.

We hold regular peer support meetings where you can have a cuppa and a chat to people who have had similar experiences. We arrange regular social events, many which have been held with the support of Durham Freemasons at Queen Street Masonic Hall, allowing opportunities for respite and relaxation to reduce feelings of isolation and to encourage positivity and mental and physical well-being. “

Melanie Nichols, CEO,  

More than Grandparents

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