I have been heavily involved in the campaign these last few months to ensure we have a Post Office presence in Meads.
I have been working with councillor Jane Lamb, Meads Community Association and our local businesses to keep a branch open in Meads Street.
The demand for post office services is high in this area of our town and the anticipated closure, along with the Co-op store by the end of the month, is a big concern for residents.
The good news is there continues to be interest from local businesses for a Post Office to be located within a store. Post Office representatives have been to Meads Street and are looking at options.
I have written to local residents with an update and raised the matter with the relevant minister to see what can be done. I am due to speak to him again soon.
I have also asked the Post Office to consider an outreach service to maintain this vital presence on the High Street. Watch this space for further updates.
There have been reports that the Government is looking to publish a ‘Living with Covid’ strategy in the coming weeks.
I really welcome the country looking beyond the pandemic. For Eastbourne – so dependent on tourism, hospitality and foreign language learning – this has to happen and the sooner the better.
We have a brilliant vaccine programme and a new variant that looks to be less severe. Many experts are now of the view the virus will now become endemic. This is a gamechanger for us all but we must get it right and so having a plan is vital.
Some of the changes touted include mass testing to be stopped except for vulnerable situations like hospitals and care homes. Isolation periods might be shortened or ended, but we need to await the details.
I have said all along we must live with the virus sooner or later and it appears this position is coming into view.
In good news East Sussex is now one of the lowest counties for infection rates, and as reported by our Director of Public Health our NHS is under pressure but not overwhelmed.
Workforce in self-isolation remains a challenge rather than the rate of hospitalisation and losses.
However, it would be unwise not to take into account that Covid will still pose significant challenges for Eastbourne and Willingdon, the country and the world. The UK is in a very good position to move away from restrictions and into normality thanks to the Government’s huge financial support and good decision making but we cannot be complacent. We also need to learn from what has happened and do all we can to avoid the health and economic crises it has led to if we find ourselves in the same position in the future.
A shoutout for the Samaritans Brew Monday on the 17th. I visited Eastbourne’s Samaritans last year, and met Ralph who marked fifty years of service. A huge thank you for everything they have done during this time.