CAROLINE ANSELL MP: So many local jobs depend on tourism
Now Covid restrictions have eased, I have been out and about across the length and breadth of Eastbourne and Willingdon meeting up with shops, tourist places, charities and a host of others to see for myself how the pandemic recovery is going.
Like many, I now realise how much I have missed meeting people and with the Government’s lockdown Road Map still on track, I remain confident we can step out more in the months to come and that Eastbourne is going to have a successful staycation summer.
This week the focus has been on our hospitality offering as it has been English Tourism Week.
Nearly one in three jobs depend on tourism locally and that is why over the past year I have been relentless in Parliament to lobby to support this sector through the pandemic.
One of the biggest wins was the VAT reduction down to five per cent. Time and again, I have been told how important this is for shops, restaurants and attractions across the town.
In other local business, I dropped into The Beacon for Dementia Awareness Week to speak to the team on the stand providing signposting to the help available to those who live with this condition and their families.
There are lots of wonderful people and groups like Memory Lane, Age Concern Eastbourne, Care for the Carers all working together through the Eastbourne Dementia Action Alliance.
They have huge insight and can make the difference for those living with dementia and those who love and care for them.
I also got the chance to go to the Beachy Head Story, which has been transformed. The attraction is an important one for us to tell as it is often only known for its tragic association. But if you pop along, you can find out what has happened there from over 90 million years ago to the present day.
I have been making sure I have toured retailers across the town over the last weeks and I dropped by Eastbourne Hearing Centre in South Street to have a chat with owners Graham and Lynda Sperring.
I had a really great discussion about how the practice has supported its clients through the pandemic; and looking to the future as we move into recovery.
In Westminster, I raised the heart-breaking case of 11-year-old Alfie from Eastbourne. At eight years old he was diagnosed with ALD - a rare and life-limiting condition.
He can no longer walk, chew or swallow and Alfie’s mum Rosie Aldridge, has described this as every parent’s nightmare. I met the lovely Rosie at Christmas and my heart simply goes out to them both.
In the United States a simple postnatal check is used which could have led to a different outcome for Alfie. I asked if something similar could be used here in the UK. I will be looking to hold an Adjournment Debate in the House of Commons on this issue in the future.
Take care and keep in touch.