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

It’s been another busy week working remotely round the clock! I’ve been on Zoom, Teams and Skype calls but my latest surreal experience, was virtual parliament. 

Have you ever watched Prime Minister’s Questions? Well, each week MPs apply to ask a question and rather ‘lottery-like’ you’re drawn -  or not - and then feature on the Order Paper and are invited to put your question, in the Chamber, by the Speaker. Alternatively, if have a burning question you take your chances and ‘bob’ during the session in the hope of catching the ‘Speaker’s eye’, it’s the parliamentary equivalent of putting your hand up in a classroom. I’ve bobbed in vain too! 

Well, I faithfully applied every week in 2015-2017 for a PMQ and now every week since December 2019. Never drawn…  UNTIL NOW!  

I was to make my PMQ debut this Wednesday. More than than, on the day this hybrid virtual Parliament made history. 

It was strange and stressful to sit waiting to be beamed in from Eastbourne.  My teenage boys were all under strict instructions that this was not the moment to make themselves heard! I duly ran through the sound and video checks and watched the proceedings unfold… only for the session to come to close in the mid twenties – my Question was 43! So near, and yet so far.  Although PMQs has the highest profile TV coverage of any proceedings, it is but one window of opportunity in the week to raise issues and concerns, and on that front, I’ve been exceptionally busy. 

Ongoing challenges remain in support for those businesses not on the rateable value register like those at our characterful Enterprise Centre. I have raised this issue through parliamentary channels and directly, with Minister Paul Scully.  It is a national picture, of course, and MPs across the country have similarly raised this situation which now rests with the Treasury and with BEIS, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. 

While pressing at national level, I have also looked more locally at any and every avenue for support and am working Council Leader David Tutt on what local support for these ultra local businesses there could be.  

Bank and insurance pay outs are proving another challenge.  I have relayed to Treasury, local disappointment over delayed responses by Lloyds’ and have had a local test case raised with the Financial Conduct Authority on a rejected insurance payout.  I have also written to our local bank managers to request updated figures on applications made to them to access funding through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Scheme or CBILS.

Just another week in lockdown.. 

From House to Home 

Thursday was St George’s Day and this year, it coincided with the new tradition of applauding our brave carers on the frontline of the fight against the virus.  

A group of friends in Eastbourne suggested a rather lovely twist to this Thursday night’s vigil to include a celebration of England’s patron saint and to reach out to all in our town, of every nationality, as we face this crisis together. A riot of England’s red and white with a rainbow backdrop. Perfect!

With Nick & I having moved out in a hurry to allow my parents to self-isolate safely, finding the colours to wear or digging out the World Cup jubilee bunting wasn’t a prospect and as I write, I’ve only been able to find red lipstick!  We stepped out nonetheless and it was rather wonderful that it was a fundraiser for the Friends of the DGH and St Wilfrids. 

The Welsh, Irish and Scottish all seem much more enthused by national celebration than England.  I have always thought this a great shame although being equally proud of being British, I’m happy to embrace all! Indeed my Scottish mother found out just a few years ago that she had an Irish grandmother and my Scottish father’s name was Evans.  I can thus claim allegiance to Welsh cakes, Guinness and haggis, as well as Yorkshire pudding!

St George is, of course, synonymous with the dragon he is alleged to have slain. But the fact is, there is absolutely nothing English about him at all. He was of Greek origin and lived in Roman times and was beheaded because he refused to renounce his Christian faith. England cannot even claim him as their own personal saint either because Ethiopia, Georgia and Catalonia have him as their patron too. So, this symbol of England has international resonance and that seems very fitting right now. 

Looking wistfully at my dairy again, I see our annual St George’s day parade listed and another community event fallen to very necessary social distancing of this present time. I’ve always really enjoyed seeing the seafront lined with a riot of colours from our youngest Beavers through to our 6ft Explorer Scouts. (2017's parade pictured above) It will come round again! 

This St George’s Day, members of the Scout family were encouraged to wear their uniform and after the round of applause, to renew their promise to serve Queen and community, and on that, a Happy Birthday to Her Majesty The Queen! 

New Wilmington Hotel & Mulberry 

Your Name; Sally Kitchen

Your Business; New Wilmington Hotel & The Mulberry Restaurant & Bar

How are you keeping your business going?  We have moved into the hotel and my husband is doing redecoration work. We are also liaising with our guests and rebooking for later dates, as well as planning for next year.

The restaurant has used its catering suppliers to set up food home deliveries for the community, as the supermarkets online shopping is too long a wait. We can get all basic supplies, plus meat and fresh fruit and vegetables. People are also collecting from the hotel front entrance, we are very careful about social distancing.

What changes you’ve had to make?  We are essentially closed to the public, so after doing a deep clean, we set up the home delivery business on the first day of lockdown.

We are also now planning how we will operate when we reopen to the public with new protocols in place.

What’s surprised you?  Just how quickly word spread, how many people had no one to call upon to help them or key workers not able to get the shopping they needed.

What would have happened to your business if you hadn’t taken this positive action? We would have just been closed for the period and all the good work we had done over the previous 9 months since we took over would have been lost locally.

Any positive learnings?  Community and family are everything. I truly feel part of the community of Eastbourne having only moved here 3 and half years ago.

Any other comments?  I Just want to say thank you to everyone that has used our services and a big thank you to the NHS, Keyworkers, Council and Caroline Ansell for all they do for our town.

The New Wilmington website website is

Telephone: 01323 721219

Email :

Facebook:  (Hotel)

Send a message to a loved one 💌

From Monday 27 April, patients at Eastbourne DGH, Conquest Hospital and Bexhill and Rye Hospitals will be able to receive messages of support from their loved ones in a new way – by virtual post box. 📬

Family and friends of inpatients can send messages, letters or photos to

Those who don’t have access to email can phone their message through to our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) – for Conquest, Bexhill and Rye Hospitals, call 📞01424 758090 and for Eastbourne DGH call 📞 01323 435886, between 9.00am to 3.30pm Monday to Friday.

Make sure to give the following information when contacting the service:
➡️ Your name
➡️ Your contact details
➡️ Patient's name
➡️ Ward
➡️ Bay (if known)
➡️ Date of birth (if known)

Working With Our Local Hospital 🏥

I received calls and emails earlier in the week from local people concerned about reports that DGH has run out of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) for its staff.

On Tuesday I spoke to the hospital trust’s chief executive, Adrian Bull, who reassured me the hospital has enough supplies for everyone and he has released this statement:

“To reassure local people, we have supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) and every member of patient-facing staff has been issued with the appropriate PPE in line with Public Health England guidance.

“At the current time we have a good supply of PPE and are getting regular “just in time” deliveries to help keep our staff safe. The Trust has not issued a formal plea for gowns. We currently have enough gowns, however, we are aware this is a national issue which we are monitoring on a daily basis.”

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
📞 For Willingdon, Wannock and Jevington :   dial 01323 443322

Very Clever! Quarantine Through Art
'Summer 2020' was particularly poignant but this very short clip did made me smile at the end of a long day! I hope you enjoy it too. 
And finally...

My eldest now has a few weeks to decide on his first choice of Uni, it feels a bit surreal to be making decisions in April but it is good, all the same, to project beyond this current lockdown. As I write, the sun is shining, the windows are open wide and a chap a few doors down is playing the keyboard. We’ve just called over to ask if he’s taking requests. ‘When will I see you again’ by The Three Degrees came to mind!   

Until then, take care, keep in touch and with my very best, 


Copyright © 2020 *Caroline Ansell*, All rights reserved.