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Get behind campaign to save care homes

February 2, 2018 4:05 PM
By Stephen Lloyd

As local feelings grow in their opposition toward East Sussex County Council's proposal to close Milton Grange and Firwood House, there's all to play for to save these vital services. To have any chance of securing a change of mind from County Hall though, I believe it is absolutely essential we keep building the campaign impetus, so if you have not already signed the petition calling on local Eastbourne Conservative county councillors David Elkin and Colin Belsey, then please do so. It was put up by local resident Maria Galt (for which many thanks) and already - within a week - has been signed by more than 6,500 people! Meanwhile I have been contacted by hundreds of people who have used either Milton Grange or Firwood House and their determination to retain these important respite and rehab services for Eastbourne (and beyond) is testimony to the fantastic levels of care and expertise provided by the staff at each of the homes. To show your support sign the online petition by typing the link below into your computer or smart phone: http://bit.ly/CountyCutsPet If you are not able to do this, please write to me with your name and address and I will keep a separate paper copy which can be added later. As you know my office is at 100 Seaside Road, Eastbourne BN21 3PF. And keep writing to Messrs Elkin and Belsey making it clear your opposition to their and the county council's proposals. The emails are: cllr.david.elkin@eastsussex.gov.uk and cllr.colin.belsey@eastsussex.gov.uk

Why are these two so important to keep lobbying? Because; 1/ Cllr Elkin is the county councillor in changes of finance and resources - he decides where the money is spent. 2/ Cllr Belsey is a senior and influential county councillor who used to be chairman of the county council. 3/ They both live in and are Eastbourne county councillors; for Ratton Ward and Sovereign Ward respectively, so it's important they truly grasp just how opposed Eastbourne is. 4/ They're the current and former chair of the Eastbourne & Willingdon Conservative party. 5/ East Sussex County Council is controlled by the Conservatives. 6/ The Government who provides much of their funding is Conservative. I am sure you get my drift!

Basically - they're in charge of the local Tories and it's their party which is running both the county council and the government. And both need to take responsibility and be held accountable for their actions. Our ask couldn't be simpler - Cllrs Elkin and Belsey - do the right thing for Eastbourne: don't close Milton Grange and Firwood House...

Some of the Herald readers will be aware that an inspirational local young woman has been running a national campaign for some time now to reduce the age of bowel cancer screening from 60 to 50 years, as it is in Scotland. Her name is Lauren Backler and we had a very productive meeting up in Parliament this week along with the bowel cancer charity team, to discuss what we can do to raise the ante on the Department of Health to secure progress. Phase two of the campaign so to speak. My Early Day Motion has already secured the support of 72 MPs so I've a real cross-party push behind our initiative which is encouraging. I was reminded by the charity that although their have been some improvements over the last 10 years, we, as a county, still lag behind others. For instance we are 18th in Europe and 30th in the world for survival rates once the cancer is identified, which is simply not good enough. Lauren was galvanised into launching her campaign by the early death of her mum. A desperate situation made worse by the reality that if she had been screened at the earlier age it is very likely identification may have saved her life. So the fight goes on.

I also had the pleasure of speaking at a new Eastbourne wine-tasting club recently, run by popular and well known local couple, Ian and Penny Shearer. Pop and Pour they're calling it and it's all part of the original company, Fizz on Foot. See their website here for info: http://www.fizzonfoot.com/ It looks great fun and I am reliably informed by many that there are worse things in life than enjoying a nice glass of wine alongside convivial company.

I note in the media that Theresa May appears to be getting it in the neck again from various Tory MPs, and Westminster is abuzz at the minute that, allegedly, a government minister is going to break ranks soon demanding she steps down. It can be a brutal business politics but with the sort of 'friends' the Prime Minister appears to have, who needs enemies?