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Weekly news from Caroline Ansell
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Welcome to my e-newsletter!

On this beautiful Easter weekend, welcome to my e newsletter. 

Public service was personified by Queen as our head of state and our rock in a crisis, and I was very moved by her address to the nation and Commonwealth last Sunday.

In her very own quiet and determined way, she was pitch perfect when she spoke so movingly of these challenging times and thanked the NHS, other key workers and the public for all they are doing.

I was particularly struck by the mention of her first ever radio broadcast in 1940 when she spoke to children who had been evacuated from their homes to avoid bombing during the Second World War. When she said, “Today, once again, many will feel a painful sense of separation from their loved ones. But now, as then, we know, deep down, that it is the right thing to do” I think she perfectly encapsulated that sense of duty and, but also sadness that many millions of people – apart from their loved ones - were feeling as they watched.

She also spoke of remaining united to overcome this terrible disease and talked of our “attributes of self-discipline, of quiet good-humoured resolve and of fellow-feeling”. I don’t think these strengths have ever left us. Sometimes they may lie dormant, but at times like these they come again. It was nice to be reminded of those strengths by someone so respected and loved.

From House to Home  
Eastbourne’s very own ‘COBRA’ meeting to co-ordinate the town’s response to Coronavirus took place again this week and it was great to see 40 people and organisations on the call.
 
The police, health, local government, the voluntary sector and businesses were all present and coming together to get Eastbourne through this emergency.
 
I briefed everyone about my work on behalf of the town and the work of my government department - DEFRA. Since the last Cobra meeting one week ago So my small team has dealt with over 1000 emails. We continue to signpost people in need to our local hub, give advice to NHS volunteers and support many Eastbourne residents stuck overseas in Australia, South Africa, Guyana, Philippines, Thailand, Pakistan and New Zealand.
 
I told the meeting about my earlier call with my colleague and Sport & Tourism Minister, Nigel Huddleston. We're going to be working closely together to boost this vital sector in recovery. I'm delighted that post-lockdown, he has accepted my invitation to come to Eastbourne. 
 
My team and I have now contacted the near 70 care homes in our town and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) remains a very pressing priority. There is a new system about to swing into action. It's a huge logistical exercise.  I have proposed that we in Eastbourne take care of 'the last mile' in the delivery run to speed up the process. This would see our town-wide supplies delivered to one local hub and from there, we would mobilise a fleet of vehicles to express these vital supplies right across the town. 
 
During the call I also shared that I had been very moved by the number of local well wishes I had received for Boris and I have relayed those to him in a letter, wishing him a speedy recovery. I've relayed our best wishes to Secretary of State, Dominic Raab too, who is standing in for the PM. If you live in Dickens Way, you may remember him knocking on your door last December when he was supporting me in the General Election campaign!  
LOCAL SPOTLIGHT
Doing things differently in Devonshire

The Devonshire General Stores in Carlisle Road is a lovely little deli that opened it's doors in April 2017.

Owner Chris Copping says, 'Located on the seafront we realised there was a need for a general store providing food essentials and much more. We have fresh bread delivered daily as well as fruit and produce . Every Friday is fresh fish day, steaks and other local seasonal produce. We stock gluten-free, vegan, and local honeys! 

Our customers come from across Eastbourne but many people walk to us and therefore we knew when the pandemic struck we were in a unique position to keep supplying food to local residents.

However,  The Devonshire General Stores now have to do things a little differently. Rather than allow shoppers to enter the store there are shopping lists outside that people can take away and choose what they want. They can phone through an order, email  or drop it back at stores and it'll be made up and ready for collection or delivery.

'This way we maintain social distancing and help ensure people only go out once a day. Several of our customers have told us they combine their daily walk with collecting their shopping thereby reducing their trips outside.'

If you would like to see what's available, collect a list from 6 Carlisle Road or call 01323 645142.

Like so many of our local businesses this is a very worrying time but Chris said 'As we enter our 3rd year we are determined to strive to meet the needs of our local community during these uncertain times.'

We wish Chris and his team well and thank them for helping to make food available for local residents.

COVID-19: Latest Government Measures 

📣 The government has announced £750m of funding for the charity sector.

➡️ £370m of that funding will support small, local charities working with vulnerable people.

➡️ £360m directly to charities providing essential services and supporting vulnerable people, as we battle #coronavirus.

➡️ The government will match pound for pound public donations to the BBC ‘Big Night In’ charity fundraiser on April 23rd, starting with at least £20m to the National Emergencies Trust appeal.

➡️ A large amount available to hospices.

➡️ More information on the support available to charities affected by #coronavirus can be found here.

➡️ The Government is doing whatever is necessary to ensure people are supported through these unprecedented times. Universal Credit is rising by £1,040 a year from today - and Working Tax Credit is going up, too. 

The Government is providing more support for benefit claimants in the Private Rented Sector by increasing Local Housing Allowance rates, helping to alleviate affordability challenges. 

➡️ The Minimum Income Floor will be temporarily relaxed for all self-employed Universal Credit claimants affected by COVID-19. This means if your earnings drop, your UC payment will rise to top them up.

➡️ Carers won’t lose out on their entitlement during the Coronavirus outbreak due to a break because of isolation. They will continue to receive their Carers Allowance in full during this time. 

📣 Chancellor strengthens support on offer for business as first government-backed loans reach firms in need

➡️ £90 million of business interruption loans approved for nearly 1,000 firms and £1.9 billion corporate finance provided to firms hit by COVID-19

➡️ Current loan scheme extended so more small businesses can benefit

➡️ Lenders banned from requesting personal guarantees on loans under £250,000

➡️ New scheme announced to bolster support for larger firms not currently eligible for loans

➡️ Chancellor emphasises importance of banks moving quickly to support the economy, jobs and businesses

➡️ for more information click here 

Need Help? Help is at hand

If you’re feeling isolated, anxious or unwell at home and don’t have anyone that can help you, the Eastbourne community hub may be able to help. 

📞 For Eastbourne, dial: 01323 679722

And finally...

Coronavirus is making heroes of many and this week I would very much like to single out the police, who I believe are doing a magnificent job protecting the NHS and saving lives in difficult circumstances.

To police with consent an unprecedented lockdown of the country is no small task but two weeks in and public support for the police’s approach remains high.

With a strategy to engage, explain, encourage, enforce, it is testament to their even handedness that so few people have been fined for flouting the instruction to social distance. It must also be remembered these officers are bravely putting their health and possible their lives at risk doing this vital job. I know some have taken the difficult decision to leave family behind in this lockdown time to continue to serve us.  When I hear of people spitting or coughing at them, I am deeply angry and I have raised priority testing with the Home Office. If you chance to see officers on one of the very limited times you are out – and at a safe distance! -  please join me in thanking them personally.   


Take care, keep in touch and with my very best, 

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