EASTBOURNE MP CAROLINE ANSELL: Government investment, and public campaigning

There was really good news for children and families across East Sussex earlier this week when the Minister for Children and Families confirmed our county has been selected to receive funding from the Government’s £302 million Family Hubs and Start for Life Programme.

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For some time now I have called for Family Hubs with other East Sussex MPs and I have discussed the initiative with the county council on several occasions. I am delighted ministers have listened and we are one of 75 areas in the country to receive this support.

Family hubs will allow families to access a range of important services making it easier for them to get any support they need. They offer services for families with children of all ages but are particularly focussed on ensuring that they give children the best start to life.

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What this means for Eastbourne has not been fleshed out yet but I am looking forward to hearing of the details from the council very soon. This is another major investment in our area by the Government. I am particularly pleased it will be focused on our young.

In more good news East Sussex has also received a further £41m from the Government’s Bus Strategy funding to improve bus services, and again, more detail is to follow imminently.

The situation in Ukraine took a very distressing turn this week when evidence emerged of atrocities against civilians in areas the Russians had invaded but then retreated from.

The Government has led for calls to gather evidence ahead of an international investigation. The images we have all seen were graphic and horrifying. If war crimes have been committed, then the international community needs to work together to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Parliament has been in recess so I have had the pleasure of being back home in Eastbourne getting out and about to a host of events and meetings.

I joined the Friends of Motcombe Pool open morning at the weekend. This new group is mobilising local support and working to see it operating again. This is a highly valuable community asset and a crying shame it has had to be mothballed for want of investment.

I also attended the Save the Eastbourne Bandstand public meeting where borough council officers fielded a run of challenging questions about the council’s management of this iconic Eastbourne gem. Sadly, we have a silent summer season ahead.

There is potentially an opportunity to secure the funding through a second round of the government’s Levelling Up Fund but I am also exploring other funding streams to help the council out of its predicament.

I have enjoyed meeting local groups this week to talk about our local campaigns and my work in Westminster to advance them. If you would like me to visit an organisation or speak to a club you run, then please do get in touch with me at [email protected]

As I write, I’m en route to the JPK project in Old Town to mark a special moment in their development. Theirs is truly inspiring work and I am delighted to be a supporter.