Sleep service closure saddens Norwich family

Tanya Antill and Andrew Wenley and their daughters Melissa and Rebecca, who have been helped by NANS

Tanya Antill and Andrew Wenley and their daughters Melissa and Rebecca, who have been helped by NANSA's sleep service.Picture by SIMON FINLAY. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

The family of a child with Down's syndrome say they are saddened that a specialist sleep service provided by a charity is set to close due to a lack of funding.

Melissa Wenley, five, and her family, of Norwich, have all benefited from personalised sleep therapy offered by disability charity Nansa, which has run the programme for seven years.

But that service is set to close at the end of the month after two clinical commissioning groups (CCG) confirmed funding would not be extended.

The CCGs said not enough families were referred to the service and it had not worked as well as hoped.

The sleep service was originally funded by Norfolk County Council, before Norwich and South Norfolk CCGs gave the charity Nansa grant funding for a one-year contract with treatment starting last November.

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Since then 20 families from Norwich and South Norfolk have been seen by the charity.

Tanya Antill, Melissa's mother, said: 'I am really sad to hear the service might close.

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'It is a very helpful service and it means a lot knowing they are there.'

She said Melissa would often wake up during the night and struggle to fall asleep again, which impacted on the rest of the family's sleep.

Nansa's experts have worked with the family, including father Andrew Wenley and sister Rebecca, nine, to come up with a personalised sleep plan and tips to help Melissa fall asleep again if she wakes up.

'I don't know how many people have the level of expertise with disabled children that their experts had,' Miss Antill said.

Lack of sleep can lead to risks of heart disease, high blood pressure, and strokes.

Chris Towndrow, Nansa's children and young people's services manager, said: 'The positive impact of this programme is really dramatic, and families cannot believe the difference it has made to their lives.'

Tom Garrod, a county councillor and trustee of the charity, said he was 'very disappointed' the service faced closure.

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