Weekly news from Caroline Ansell
View this email in your browser
Welcome to my e newsletter 

It feels like the world had changed since last Saturday. The reality of our present situation is ever clearer and both restrictions and support have come in unprecedented measures.   

I am still required to travel to London to be in Parliament to pass emergency legislation next week and my role in Defra is now more significant than before; as well as the Environment, the Secretary of State I support, has responsibility for Food. We're working flat out with all stakeholders to keep the country fed, a task made more difficult by the scenes in the supermarkets, but measures are being put in, contingency plans are kicking in and we will come through.  At a time when everyone is focused on food, can I ask you to remember the foodbank in your shopping. If you are at home but could support financially, you can do that online. At such a time as this, it's never been more important to support out local charities. 
From House to Home  
We are living in conditions similar to those this country has faced in war and now, more than ever, is the time to work together here in Eastbourne and beyond to do what we can to protect ourselves and reach out to others during this emergency.
No-one ever thought such a crisis might occur with such speed and the government has responded with £350 billion economic of support so far for business and more on the way for workers.  The government must act to slow the virus and save lives.
And we are all part of this action.  We don’t stockpile, we look after the vulnerable; we self-isolate if we are ill, we link together a whole new wave of volunteering. By dint of their age, there are very many of our most dedicated volunteers who need to self isolate. We must pick up the baton.
This present crisis will end. It is temporary; we will get through it and we will pick up our lives in the months to come. Of this I am absolutely certain.
My time in London this week has been dominated by action on the virus, working with he Foreign & Commonwealth Office to get Eastbourne residents back home and in Defra, the government department I work in, which is at the forefront of one of the most serious challenges to face us – our food supply with an special focus on reaching the vulnerable and isolated.  
While crazy busy in Westminster, home has been constantly in my thoughts and on Wednesday, sitting in the House of Commons, I patched into a telephone conference call which brought together our local community groups and businesses, council officers and the police to begin to rally and co-ordinate our local response.  Council Leader, David Tutt and I have committed to working side by side.
Already friends, families and neighbours have mobilised and that’s fantastic. Now, I’m looking to see the town ‘mapped’ to identify where we need to go street by street, to reach out through our new volunteer hub – details to follow - to make sure no home is left behind.  This will be an absolute lifeline because this emergency could last some time.
So, this article is a call to arms to Eastbourne and Willingdon, as befitting this wartime like scenario.

Everyone has skills and something to offer and if we all join together, I know we will come through.
From the PM 
Yesterday's Anouncement from The Chancellor  

An unprecedented package from the Government yesterday evening to help business and workers cope with the Coronavirus outbreak and to save lives.

The Prime Minister has shown he will do whatever it takes to deal with this crisis.

Main points

  • Cafes, pubs, bars and restaurants to close tonight as soon as they reasonably can and not to open tomorrow. Nightclubs, theatres, cinemas, gyms, and leisure centres to close on the same timescale. Decision to be reviewed on a monthly basis.
  • Restaurants will be allowed to operate as takeaways as planning regulations are relaxed.
  • Government to pay 80% of wages for employees not working during the crisis up to a limit of £2,500 a month for three months with no limit on the total cost, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced.
  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme accessed via HMRC will allow employers, small or large, charitable or non-profit, to access benefit.
  • 'For the first time in our history the Government is going to step in and help pay people's wages,” the Chancellor said.
  • VAT bills for the next quarter will be deferred until the end of the year.
  • £7billion to go to welfare to 'strengthen the safety net'.

Measures to limit the spread of coronavirus will be needed for "at least most of a year".

The Prime Minister says there was a "massive effort" to ensure there are enough ventilators and intensive care spaces for patients with the virus.

London is ahead of the curve on coronavirus infections.

177 people have now died from Coronavirus and there are 3983 confirmed cases.

Befriending Services Sign Up 
I'd like to flag up two services this week and will be using this space to promote community action. If you are part of a group reaching our to help, send me your details - and Thank You!

Linking Lives Eastbourne is a befriending service connecting volunteers from local churches with elderly people for friendship and support throughout the Eastbourne area. The charity is recruiting a team of Crisis Befrienders to respond to loneliness and isolation as a result of the current Coronavirus crisis. A Crisis Befriender is a new short-term role, with an aim of offering regular telephone befriending, shopping and other tasks such as dog walking, to elderly lonely and isolated people over the next few months. For more information about the Crisis Befrienders, please contact Mary Northway on 07930 113 661 or at
Also, Eastbourne Volunteers are setting up a phone befriending service to help reduce social isolation,
Here is a link to their post!
And finally...
This e news is sent to thousands across the town.  I will be using it to gather important feedback to take to ministers, to give direct assistance myself, to connect people to the support services out there and to each other.  Could I ask you, as part of this e news family, to look at your contacts and forward it to local friends so we can reach further and wider in the weeks and months ahead?  

All the while I'm still required to travel to London on government business, I will be keeping an ultra low profile when I'm back at home in Eastbourne, so you if you're still stepping out at this time, you won't see me. I'm at home and my team likewise but we are all working round the clock to provide every support and assistance we can. 

Take care and with my best, 

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