More pensioners bringing up children, says Hull's Sailors Children's Society
PENSIONERS are increasingly turning to a Hull charity for tips and financial support to help bring up their grandchildren.
The Sailors' Children's Society reports a rise in grandparents seeking support as their grown-up children struggle to make ends meet in the recession.
The charity, which currently supports about 425 children from families who have served in the fishing fleets or the Royal or Merchant navies, says demand for its services is growing fast.
Staff say they are increasingly seeing grandparents taking on responsibility for looking after children.
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Deanne Thomas, the society's chief officer, said: "We are seeing more grandparents in the region, who are having to become full-time parents again.
"These grandparents are retired from fishing or working on the Merchant Navy vessels from Hull and represent a past generation of seafarers.
"Being retired and suddenly having a child to bring up is difficult emotionally and practically if you are already struggling to provide the necessities of life – food, clothing and heat.
"The situation is particularly bad now when people who have struggled on for years cannot manage any longer because of the rise in the cost of living.
"The grandparents are left to pick up the pieces and try to maintain a family life for these children."
According to Ms Thomas, the charity is working with a number of grandparents whose children have drug and alcohol problems.
The society is hoping for a major funding boost from its biggest annual event, the sportsman's lunch on Friday, October 12.
Former Manchester United and England winger Lee Sharpe will be guest speaker at the event.
The charity hopes to raise thousands of pounds for its child support scheme, which provides winter clothing grants.
The lunch, which is already sold out, will be held at the Mercure Grange Park Hotel in Willerby.
Staff at the charity are seeking to reach its annual fundraising target of £500,000.