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I would like to congratulate Eastbourne and Willingdon’s pupils and thank their teachers and parents too for all the hard work they have put in toward their qualifications, including GCSEs and A levels. 
The last 18 months have been incredibly difficult for our pupils, their families and schools and the fact they have managed to post results and kept moving onward and upward is testament to their resilience and dedication.  
As every year, there has been much talk about grade inflation but to my mind, that is to miss the most challenging issue here.  It is those young people who have not ‘made the grade’ and are leaving school without the skills they need to prosper.   
I am pleased to report that there was an improvement for pupils on free school meals this year as they received double the rate of top grades that they gained in 2019. However, the gap between these students and those not on free school meals increased this year from 8% to 12%; for disadvantaged children, covid has cruelly and disproportionately impacted their education and only exacerbated a gap which was closing.    
Pupils across England will be offered up to 100 million hours of tuition to help them catch up on learning lost during the pandemic in key subjects like maths and English. There is funding too for summer schools and mental health support, bringing total investment to over £3 billion. 
In the Easter holidays I spent time with children and staff at The Art House in Grove Road and with Defiant Sport based in Sovereign Harbour where the new-to-Eastbourne, government-funded, ‘Holiday Activity Food Programme’ was in full swing.   
This programme gives children on free school meals a brilliant opportunity to have new learning experiences, make new connections and enjoy good food over the holiday.  I am very much looking forward to welcoming the Minster responsible for this unprecedented Government investment to Eastbourne next week.      
As a former teacher myself I know learning remains the best way to fight poverty, improve life chances and ultimately, create a better world.  
For that reason, what has happened in Afghanistan in recent days is so deeply concerning and distressing – on many levels.  My thoughts have been very much with our veterans and their service and sacrifice in this twenty year long campaign.   
In withdrawing as we have, what of their legacy, a significant part of which is in a whole generation of girls given the chance at an education? When the Taliban last ruled, there were no girls in school, neither were there women in public life, ‘now’ there are 69 Afghan women MPs. One of their number, Elay Ershad, spoke in our Parliament in 2018. She has declared that with her daughters, she will stay and stand with her people. What extraordinary courage. 
I would like to thank our brave armed services and Foreign Office personnel on the ground to get British nationals home and provide rescue for the most vulnerable and sanctuary here for those Afghans who risked their lives to partner with the UK.  


I was very pleased to add my name, this week,  to this cross party letter along with 139 other female MPs across the House.
This letter shows the Westminster women MPs pledging support for the 69 Afghan women MPs who are standing their ground and fighting for women and girls and democracy. we will be watching closely what will happen to these women.

As a proud patron of Eastbourne's MPCT - Motivational Preparation College for Training -  it is good to see their new campaign "The Making of you 2021". Each year scores of young people come forward and benefit from their programmes. It was also good to see MPCT students being showcased at our first Armed Forces Day Parade held in June!

Where to pick them up and how to do the test.

Our vaccination programme is rightly a big driver in getting back to normality but so is testing and we need to make it as normal as brushing our teeth to protect our progress against the virus and community transmission. 

Recent openings will inevitably mean more cases, but free testing for those without symptoms is an important new line of defence to protect our recovery.  I now TEST regularly.  It is pretty easy and comforting to see a negative result when so many can have the virus without symptoms.  You still have to keep the usual safety measures but it feels good to step out knowing.

✅ Testing will help us
✅ Keep on the roadmap to freedom👣
✅ Stop the spread
✅ Protect the NHS 💙

TESTS: Now available free to all without symptoms and you can do 🏠 at home, order online or collect locally.

You can get a pack of 7 tests sent to your home. Order rapid lateral flow home test kits on GOV.UK
If you do tests at home, you'll need to report your results online or on the phone.

The video below explains how to do the test.

How to do a COVID-19 Self Test (rapid antigen test)

Community Collect Site

Fort Fun Princes Park Car Park, Royal Parade, BN22 7LQ site is operating as a test site for symptomatic testing  but only in the mornings.  In the afternoons 2:30pm – 8:00pm, following a clean down, it is operating as a Community Collect site for people to collect home test kits and supports the Government statements on providing universal asymptomatic testing.

Eastbourne Pharmacies

✅ A.E. Pharma Limited, 11 Grand Hotel Buildings, Compton Street, BN21 4EJ - Pick up site - for at home test kits

✅ A & S Shillam Limited, 82 Seaside,  BN22 7QP - Pick up site - for at home test kits

✅ Asda, Crumbles Harbour Village, BN23 6JH - Pick up site - for at home test kits

✅ Boots, Princes Park Health Ctr, Wartling Road, BN22 7PG - Pick up site - for at home test kits

✅ Day Lewis, 2 Furness Road, BN21 4EY - Test site for people with no symptoms - a booking is required

✅ Day Lewis, 10 Freshwater Square, BN22 0PS - Pick up site - for at home test kits

✅ Osbon Medicals Limited, 116-118 Cavendish Place,  BN21 3TZ - Pick up site - for at home test kits

✅ Tesco Stores, Lottbridge Drove, BN23 6QD - Pick up site - for at home test kits

You can find further details 

Vaccination Information
How & Where to get a Test
Community Help & Support
Free Transport for Covid-19 Vaccinations
Vaccination Scam Information
Mental Health & Wellbeing
Support for Businesses
Test & Trace Support Payment
From Monday 16th  self-isolation rules have changed for the double jabbed and those under 18.
The legal requirement to self-isolate if you are a close contact of someone who tests positive has ended. Instead you are encouraged to take a test. 16 and 17 year olds are now, also being invited to get vaccinated.

Everyday scores of people across Eastbourne & Willingdon are getting vaccinated for either their first or second dose. It is thanks for this effort - by the NHS and you - that we can now look to relax rules further as we continue to get on top of the virus.

Remember both doses prevent serious illness to yourself and others. If you have not had either or both jabs please book here:

For more information on the new rules please click this link

Every town has been touched by the conflict in Afghanistan and ours is no exception - I spoke to some at our Armed Forces Day event in Five Acres Field a few weeks back.
For our veteran community the news in recent days could be especially troubling but there is help out there.

We also have fantastic local charities such as Blue Van Veterans Drop-in. If you need to talk you can find them at

More information and support is available 


And finally...

Today I will be visiting Langney Shopping Centre for their Annual Great Day Event. 

This Year the proceeds of the  Family Fun Day will be split 50/50 between Great Ormond Street Hospital and a local  charity, Children with Cancer, Polegate. I hope to see you there. 

Have a good day, take care and with my best,


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Caroline Ansell MP · Eastbourne Town Hall · Grove Road · EASTBOURNE, EAST SUSSEX BN21 4TX · United Kingdom