A campaign has been launched by Lorraine Kelly with the aim of encouraging British youngsters to see their grandparents more often and spend more time with them. This comes in the wake of new research which revealed that 15m people in the UK risk losing their heritage and identity by seeing their grandparents less that once a year.
The survey was carried out by Genes Reunited, who found that the best grandchildren lived in Wales where 76% saw their grandparents at least once a month. Almost half of youngsters in the north, 47%, saw their older relatives once a week, compared to only 36% in the south. Two thirds, however, voiced their regret at not seeing their grandparents more often.
It is not just grandparents that suffer from not having regular contact with their grandchildren, as reported this week, but the grandchildren themselves can also be at a disadvantage as research has previously shown that irregular contact with grandparents can lead to lower school grades.
Genes Reunited also found that 61 per cent of people actually enjoy listening to their grandparents’ stories, which contradicts the stereotype of the younger generation being disinterested in their elders’ tales.
Wales has the most devoted grandchildren with 52 per cent visiting their grandparents every week compared to 39 per cent in Scotland and 34 per cent in the south of England. Lorraine Kelly is launching Genes Reunited’s campaign to encourage people to spend more time with their grandparents and chronicle their stories and experiences. She said: “Everyone’s family has got a story to tell. I really regret that I didn’t sit down with my grandfather and talk to him about his war experiences because I’ve not got the chance to do that now so it so important to get these stories while we still can.” The campaign will live on the genesreunited.co.uk dedicated YouTube channel.
Professor Peter Smith of Goldsmith’s University, an expert on the psychology behind grandparenting, said: “Research also shows the benefits to children in having grandparents present, particularly in school attainment. This is especially so for one-parent families.”
Rhoda Breakell, head of Genes Reunited, said: “We were shocked at how many people regret rarely seeing their grandparents. We feel it is so important that people listen to the older generations in their families before their stories are lost forever.”