HELEN BURTON: Ways of keeping residents informed

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The government backing down on their plans to force all schools to become academies was great news last week. Teachers, head-teachers, parents and the public showed the government what they felt and the government listened! The fact that Jeremy Hunt has now also backed down a little and ‘paused’ plans to force new contracts on junior doctors in order to resume negotiations shows that if people stand firm for what they believe in it can make a difference. Let’s hope it lasts.

Locally I have been working on a forum to give residents of Pevensey more of a voice locally. Following the model of Forest Row I have created a community group on Facebook which I hope will become an on-line noticeboard for residents to share local news, information, events, asking for (or offering) help, discussing local issues and for swapping or giving away items for free. www.facebook.com/groups/Pevenseycommunity/ Recognising the important part local businesses play in our community I have also created a separate page for Pevensey Businesses to share their news, events and special offers. www.facebook.com/groups/Pevenseybusinesses/

I’m also looking at ways of keeping residents who aren’t online informed, although with our library still shut this is very difficult. Without our library a huge part of our community is effectively cut off, not even being able to apply for bus passes etc as so many services are now only accessible online. I’m looking at the possibility of some sort of weekly drop-in to help with the problem, hopefully in conjunction with other local groups, but the sooner the library opens the better. In order to help local organisations in Pevensey use social media Pevensey Volunteers and Helen Owen Marketing Enterprises will be joining forces to run some training soon at the Priory Court Hotel on 13th June. HOME also run many workshops in Eastbourne and you can see what they offer at www.helenowen.me.uk or on their Facebook page.

Hopefully it will be beneficial to our community to have Facebook groups where residents and local businesses themselves can post their own news and information. With the Parish Council now posting updates on their page, Pevensey Bay Life online and the new Pevensey Bay Life newspaper coming out soon our Parish has never been so informed and connected! Effective communication is the key to any thriving community, and it’s important that everyone has a voice. 25% of our Parish don’t have access to the internet so whilst local projects try to fill the gap as best we can, it’s our library we need more than anything.

Just for fun I have also created a Pevensey Gardening group for residents to share photos of their gardens, news from local gardening groups, events and anything garden related that others might be interested in. One thing I know about Pevensey is that we do love our gardens! www.facebook.com/groups/Pevenseygardening/

Life can’t (shouldn’t) be all about campaigning, sometimes you just have to put your feet up in the garden and enjoy the sunshine while it lasts!