CAROLINE ANSELL MP: We need to build back better

I’m sure everyone is really pleased that schools went back this Monday. Children need to be with each other and in their lessons.

Thursday, 11th March 2021, 1:13 pm

Hope rises too that in our different ways, we’re all on our way back.

Parents have had to juggle work with home schooling in many cases and I know this has been tough. Teachers too in making sure online lessons have been available while schools have had to remain open for keyworker children to attend.

This has not been the best start to a year but I do believe we have now weathered the biggest storm and with our brilliant vaccination programme, we can be confident we will not have to close classrooms again. I thank one and all for their dedication and patience.

There is a debate about how children can catch up the lost months with the government looking at longer school days and shorter holidays.

I have fed my views to ministers. I support a catch-up programme linked to activities like sport, drama and art. The importance of the core curriculum subjects of maths and English are rightly identified but school is about many more things – about socialising, learning how to work in a team, friendship and expressing thoughts and emotions. So, any catch-up idea must have these subjects in it too.

The government announced the £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund to invest in high-value local infrastructure and Eastbourne is in the top priority areas for potential development as we are a coastal community.

We have been allocated £125,000 to use to work up bids for projects with up to £20million available for projects, or up to £50million if it involves transport.

As the MP, I will have a role to play with local authorities in making sure any bids we put in champion the prospects of constituents.

This is big money that could make a difference to Eastbourne’s communities and transport infrastructure. The way forward now is to identify projects, work up a business case and for everyone to work together for the good of the town to unlock this money.

I certainly want to hear from local people and local organisations about what we should bid for.

We need to build back better and, again, the government is looking to spend considerable sums in Eastbourne to make that happen.

Monday was International Women’s Day and I made a video you can watch on my Facebook page where I celebrated women in leadership roles in our town but also flagged the need to see more women politicians.

Sadly, witnessing online abuse is stopping many women from entering public life. Social media platforms need to do more but it’s people power that will change the online world and that’s down to us as a community.

Take good care and keep in touch.