Abstract

This paper reports on Age UK Wirral's Department of Health funded project into the needs and experiences of grandparent carers within the Borough of Wirral. Grandparent carers are people who take on the full-time parental care role for their grandchildren at any point between birth and the age of 18. The project set out to support the identification of, and engagement with, an increasing number of grandparent carers living in Wirral. In addition to seeking to engage with as many grandparent carers as possible, and supporting them to participate in user-led support groups through which practical and emotional support would be offered, the project sought to record individual experiences to use as case studies when influencing future policy and awareness raising. The project identified the need, and demand, for a long-term service to work directly with and support grandparent carers. It is felt that this support would be best met through the provision of a specialist Advocacy Service for grandparent carers. This Service, a single point of access to information and support, would be able to fulfil a number of the gaps in current structures.