CAROLINE ANSELL MP: Good news as we start to ease out of lockdown

Easter saw me out and about in the glorious but chilly weather, joining in with a run of community action in our town.

Thursday, 8th April 2021, 1:16 pm

Firstly, many thanks to Russ, Kirsty and the family for their Easter Bunny delivery around the Kingsmere Estate with generous help from ASDA. What a total joy it was to see the delight on children’s faces when the bunny turned up on their doorsteps with chocolate eggs.

Tugwell Park was also a stop for me to see a band of intrepid tree planters in action. Many thanks to Treebourne for securing the funds for new trees and for marshalling wonderful volunteers like Dave, Sam and Justina who I met on the day. This project is not only important to our carbon neutral ambitions, but with the scale of tree loss to ash dieback and Dutch elm disease now very apparent in our town, it is the start of a come-back.

I also went on an epic spring clean litter pick at Sovereign Harbour Community Centre and we managed to fill bags and bags from the wasteland scrub around the building. This area has a massive potential and doesn’t need to be litter strewn. Some of the thoughts on the day to bring it into use included: a vineyard (!) an adventure play park and a sculpture garden. What do you think? Please get in touch, if you have a plan.

In the coming days, I am continuing my socially distanced tour around town with visits to places taking part in the Government funded Holiday Activities and Food Programme, which is offering free healthy meals and enriching activities over the Easter holidays for those children on free school meals. I am delighted the Government is putting so much money into our town to help children and their families in this way. I am particularly pleased there are activities taking place to help them stay in touch with education, have fun and catch up.

Next Monday, April 12, is a major day in the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown when nonessential shops and hairdressers can reopen. Also reopening will be pubs and restaurants but they can only serve customers outside. Wrap up warm! At least for the next few weeks.

Other good news is outdoor attractions and theme parks will be allowed to reopen. Libraries and community centres can open their doors too and, importantly for Eastbourne, overnight stays (same household) in self-contained accommodation are allowed.

So, a little more normality will come into our lives and this opening up is particularly important for our town, which relies so much on hospitality and tourism. It’s not perfect but we must be cautious as we cannot go into lockdown again.

Finally, my postbag is filling up with views about the Government’s so-called Covid passports. It’s important to stress that what ministers are presently proposing in the pilot for attendance at mass events is not an exclusive ‘vaccine status’ (there will be people who simply can’t have the vaccine) - a negative test result or immunity carries the same weight. There will be important debate on this ahead for sure.