CAROLINE ANSELL MP: Great to be out and about once again

There was really good news this week about Covid infections dropping nationally for seven straight days.

Thursday, 29th July 2021, 1:14 pm
Updated Thursday, 29th July 2021, 1:16 pm

The jury is out on why and I am sure there are multiple factors but the fact is, as I write on Wednesday, this is the first time the country has recorded any sustained drop outside of the lockdowns.

The Government is right to say we are not out of the woods yet – maintaining hand hygiene and testing remain important - but the situation is clearly positive and promising for the way ahead. But this stage in recovery however has brought new and different challenges to be navigated.

I welcome ministers moving on extending the NHS Covid app exemptions so we can keep the economy moving and not ping ourselves into paralysis by mid August when self isolation requirements lift for the double jabbed. Hospitalisations and, thankfully, deaths from the virus also remain at a fraction of what they were during the second wave of the virus, although rising.

There might well be setbacks but if we continue to vaccinate everyone we can and especially younger people then I think we can start to move with greater confidence towards living with the virus and Covid-19 moves from a pandemic to an endemic disease.

And confidence is something I am seeing daily in Eastbourne and Willingdon as we continue to open up and take full advantage of the staycation boom we are experiencing.

But the fall in cases and opening up has not ‘lifted all ships’. Conferencing and English language learners are key pillars in our local economy and they remain very much in the vanguard of recovery with international travel, especially for the youngest travellers, still too precarious. I continue to work with ministers to ensure our language schools have a future.

The joy that is being able to get out and about in Eastbourne and Willingdon hasn’t left me after so many months of having to lockdown or social distance.

From the scarecrows in Willingdon, to the community allotments in The Village off Meads Street, to the croquet lawns at The Saffrons and cycling to Sovereign Harbour on my new bike; I’ve criss-crossed the town.

I’ve met the trustees at East Sussex Hearing Centre, drivers of 720 and Sussex Cars fundraising and playing for the Craig Steadman cup, and local young entrepreneurs, Jack and Harry at smashing new coffee shop, Hyde Corner, in Grove Road. Their business, Animate Our Logo, born in lockdown, is proving to be a phenomenal success. It was inspiring to hear their story.

And there was more inspiration to be had cutting the ribbon to open the Queen’s Award-inning Wayfinder Woman hub at the weekend. This amazing charity supports and inspires women to get back on their feet and achieve their ambitions and I was delighted to be able to thank Laura and all the volunteers who have made this organisation so special.

It really is a case of ‘inspiring women inspiring women’ and the new hub at Highlight House in St Leonard’s Road will be a focal point for help and support for years to come.