Weekly news from Caroline Ansell
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Dear Friends, 

Another week in lock-down means a week closer to revival!

These are undoubtedly testing times in every definition of the word. As a country we are tested, as individuals too. More literally, we are rolling out testing on a serious scale and Parliament itself, that 700 year old institution is testing the capacity of new technology to deliver on our democratic pillars of governance and accountability. Extraordinary times.. 
There is some cause for optimism around Coronavirus with four out of five government’s tests to enable the UK to move out of lock-down either been met or close to being met despite many challenges

1.we do have the intensive care capacity and some to spare through the Nightingale hospitals.

2. we do have early signs of a 'sustained and consistent' fall in the daily death rate but it needs to go more

3. the rate of infection is decreasing to 'manageable levels'

4. the supply of tests and PPE to meet future demand is effective although challenges remain. 

However, it is the fifth test that is a little trickier: we must be confident removing or altering lock-down measures will not risk a second peak that overwhelms the NHS. Without a vaccine, this is a challenge for every country and it’s why the government is still cautious about lifting the restrictions.

We must also be mindful that the coronavirus situation in care homes remains a real challenge and that will play into this thinking too.

I do understand there is growing frustration and real concern about jobs and the economy going forward but, as the foreign secretary said this week, we are at a delicate and dangerous situation and I think patience, for a little longer, is needed as we prioritise saving lives.

This week I have spoken with Hospital leaders and we have over 200 new babies born! - life will go on and there's a brave new world for us to imagine for these little ones, born at such a time as this.  I have spoken with Sussex Police and council leaders. We are all working together to come through this. 

On the parliamentary front, the Northern Ireland Affairs committee, of which I am a member, sat virtually for the first time.  I also chaired a meeting of MPs engaging with the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs; my department has been very much to the fore in this crisis. 

I won't be returning to London next week but the work of parliament goes on, in fact, in another parliamentary first, I voted from home yesterday.  No doubt some changes will remain but I will always support voting in the Lobbies at The House of Commons - it's that golden time in the day when I know where Ministers will be!  It's off camera, and may go unseen, but those opportunities to promote the interests and concerns of Eastbourne & Willingdon really count. 

📣 Do You Need a Coronovirus Test?  

There is spare capacity at the drive through centre at the Amex Stadium in Brighton.

➡️ Test eligibility has been opened up to anyone who has symptoms, who is over-65 or has to leave home to go to work. Also and very importantly, anyone who is a social care worker in a care home or resident in a care home, with our without symptoms.  

I would encourage all those eligible who need a test to get one.

You can book a test through this link:…

📣 Bounce Back Loans for small businesses 

Available from Monday, I am delighted that the government announced this week a new scheme to provide new access to lifeline funds for our local businesses in Eastbourne & Willingdon. 

For more information:…/small-businesses-boosted-by-bounce-bac…

New 'one stop' delivery hub to promote local food firms 

Eastbourne Borough and Lewes District Councils have launched a new website to showcase the wide array of local food and drink businesses offering deliveries in response to the Covid-19 crisis.

With demand rocketing as people stay at home, some businesses have diversified by transforming their premises into a community shop with a delivery option while others have scaled up their takeaway service.

Businesses are listed free of charge and the website has a "Suggest a business" facility to register details of a new outlet.

Visit for more information. Businesses can register their details by emailing

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

A socially distanced interview down at The Enterprise Centre in support of shared space businesses 
I took the opportunity of my 'government walk' to join BBC South East reporter Amanda Akass. The Town Centre is now just a stroll from the seaside flat where Nick & I and the boys are tucked away in this lockdown time. It was a strange experience and I ca

It is absolutely the truth of it that the government has given unprecedented supported to match these unprecedented times; as we speak £21.5 million is reaching businesses across Eastbourne. But over these last weeks, I have raised with ministers the situation of those businesses not on the rateable register-  but who nonetheless contribute through a landlord - like those at our characterful and colourful Enterprise Centre who cannot currently access the government's grants scheme.  This was the focus of the BBC's coverage this week.

Click on the link to see  part of that interview
And finally...

On a real positive note Eastbourne Borough Council has been granted more than £1million to help it cope with COVID-19. This substantial sum can be spent by the council as it sees fit and it will be a real help as authorities all over the country cope with the pandemic while revenue streams have fallen.

So despite the many challenges, there are also some grounds for optimism too, that life will be able to go back to some normality soon. It may be a ‘new normal’ of social distancing but this lock-down phase will end. Until then, please stay at home. Your actions will save lives and thank you for all you are doing.

Finally, happy 100th birthday to Honorary Colonel Captain Tom Moore, who has raised £29 million for the NHS by walking laps of his garden. This is a man from an older generation who is an absolute inspiration to this generation.

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

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