A Grandmother’s plea

Copy of a letter recently sent out to various MP’s, Government Ministers etc….


Dear ….

I am the Grandmother of three beautiful granddaughters. My Husband and I think the world of them. We want them to grow up safely, to enjoy life and of course we want the best possible future for them.

There is one child however whose future we worry about most. She is our Granddaughter who was born with a disability. Our Granddaughter who is always going to need someone to care for her for the rest of her life.

Until you experience this within your family you really have no idea of the constant battles Parents/Carers of the disabled have to go through, sometimes just for the simplest of things that others take for granted. Until you see for yourself the mental and physical exhaustion that the Parents go through it can be hard to comprehend.

So many cut-backs seem to be taking place at the moment. Many Local Authorities are having to cut back on services because they do not have the funding from Government. No one likes making cut-backs, but we all know they are necessary at times. What myself and many others find it hard to understand is why these cut-backs always seem to affect the services that are provided for the vulnerable in our Society.

One of the services that seem to be affected a lot throughout various regions is respite care provision and it is that I would like to bring to your attention.

A short break, or respite is essential to Parents who have a child with complex additional needs. I have already mentioned the mental and physical exhaustion. This takes it’s toll on families in many ways. Often Siblings miss out on quality time with Parents too. The relationship that Parents have with each other can become affected as they are unable to spend quality time together. The divorce rate is high amongst such families. Sleep deprivation is common as many, like my Granddaughter, have difficulty in sleeping. There are many single Parents bringing up children with additional needs and also Grandparents who for whatever reason now find themselves taking on the role of the Parent.

Recently my Granddaughter’s SEN school Saxon Hill Academy in Lichfield, has been affected by cut-backs. The school runs a respite centre which they call the Sleepover club. Pupils have the opportunity ( on a rota system) to stay overnight once a week under the supervision of trained staff. This gives Parents that much needed break and the children themselves love it. Children with complex needs miss out on things that other children take for granted such as a sleepover with their friends. The Local Authority responsible for funding my Granddaughter’s school’s respite centre have said that they can no longer continue with their level of funding due to Government cut-backs. The school can carry on funding for another few months then the nights the club can operate will have to be cut resulting in many children no longer being able to use the facility.

I run a support Group for Grandparents like myself who have a Grandchild with additional needs. The subject of services cut due to lack of funding comes up a lot amongst members in the UK. The stress caused to families due to inadequate respite care is also discussed and members are concerned about the affect this is having upon their children and indeed themselves.

Our Country has it’s fair share of problems at the moment and some might question the importance of this letter at a time when the Country is currently waiting for an outcome on Brexit. I apologise, I was hoping not to resort to referring to the “B” word but it does not seem right that during Brexit negotiations Government members are being transported almost daily to locations both in this Country and overseas at an undisclosed cost at the Public’s expense when various Local Authorities are being forced to cut back on much needed services.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. I understand how busy you might be. Please would you take some time to consider those with additional needs and their families in your Constituency or area?

If you can satisfy yourself that there are no problems, no cut-backs affecting much needed services such as respite care provision then by all means accept my apology for taking up your valuable time. If, on the other hand, you find after investigation that you can relate to any of the things I have mentioned then please use whatever power you have to help put things right.

My Granddaughter and many others like her are not able to voice their concerns. We need to speak on their behalf, not just for this generation but for future generations to come.

Yours sincerely,

Anne Hawkes

(Founder of SNUG, Special Needs United Grandparents)

SINCE WRITING THIS, MICHAEL FABRICANT MP FOR LICHFIELD HAS RAISED THE QUESTION OF THE LACK OF FUNDING FOR THE SLEEPOVER CLUB AT SAXON HILL WITHIN THE HOUSE.  (I must add that this was down to the staff & Parents of Saxon Hill who were working hard protesting against this. A copy of this letter to Mr. Fabricant was due to go out in the post today as he does not have a public email address)



This is good news that the Government have recently sanctioned money to various LA’s to build new SEN schools and add on specialist classrooms to existing mainstream schools. I sincerely hope that some of this money can find it’s way to Saxon Hill Academy’s Sleepover Club. It does not however, solve the overall problem of lack of adequate respite care throughout the Country and neither does it solve the many problems that families of SEN children have to face every day. We still need to keep making our voices heard


“We are delighted that Staffordshire County Council have reversed their decision around the cut in funding for Sleepover Club and will fund it until at least April 2020”

This is indeed a good outcome for the pupils of Saxon Hill and their families.

This letter was sent to various people, not everyone replied but I would like to express my thanks to those who did. I have listed their names below:-

Meadbh Dempsey, External Policy and Communications Officer, Children’s Commissioner’s Office.

Amanda Milling MP

Tim Moss, County Commissioner for School Quality Assurances and Intervention.


  1. Well said!

    We must always fight on behalf of those who are unable…We are the voice they do not have and an everlasting love that will never stop fighting for them.

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