CAROLINE ANSELL MP: Cautious optimism for the summer

This week I started out on a bit of a mission to speak to our town’s host of small business owners about how they are recovering from the pandemic and what the Government can do to help.

Thursday, 6th May 2021, 11:39 am
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First stop was Little Chelsea.

Whether they had remained opened during lockdown, or had had to shut up shop, it was clear it had been a very challenging time, but I was really impressed with the optimism and energy of everyone I met.

All were quite simply glad to be open again. There was praise for the Government’s grant support, hope for the future but also a very definite message about what any return to lockdown would mean.

Ahead of the visits, I dropped in a letter with my contact details and commitment to see the town fly.

This letter will wing its way across the four corners of the constituency, Langney to Devonshire, Sovereign to Willingdon and everywhere in between over these next weeks.

I’m looking forward to really seeing people as we all start to emerge from the last 14 months - Zoom is not the same! And in that same spirit, I will be moving back to public advice surgeries just as soon as I can.

There have been one or two precious opportunities to get out and about recently. I had the pleasure of going to the Chalk Farm Learning Disabilities Centre mini fete over the Bank Holiday weekend.

It was great to meet some of the students and see the gifts they had made to raise important funds. They pulled this event off in just days and kept calm and carried on through the wind and rain too!

I went away very happy having bought a plant and some delicious brownies. A big thank you to everyone who was involved in this success. They are next organising a sponsored walk, pier to pier, Hastings to Eastbourne, next month... I’m tempted!

Another stop was the opening of the newartgallery in Hyde Gardens right in the town centre. There is an “eclectic mix” and so much to admire, see and love and thank you to Peter and Ian and all who got involved in this new venture. This new life and entrepreneurial spirit is just the energy and inspiration we need as we build back better.

Finally, great Covid news emerged this week. The UK recorded single-digit fatalities from Covid for the second day in a row. And, almost 70 per cent of the adult population in England now have virus antibodies, figures from the Office of National Statistics found.

The presence of the antibodies suggests someone has had the infection or has been vaccinated. It is really starting to look like the vaccination programme is starting to cut infections, serious illness and deaths.

We are not completely out of the woods and new variants remain a concern but, right now, we are looking at finally getting back to normal next month with the spectre of further lockdowns looking increasingly unlikely.