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Stephen talking to the media
  • Article: Dec 10, 2018

    Every year I do a local Xmas Appeal. Last year it was for Christmas presents for those elderly patients in the DGH on Christmas Day, and the previous year for youngsters who'd recently left being in care. And on both occasions you, my Facebook friends, stepped up incredibly generously. Thank you.

    This year another vulnerable group is in need. Only it's an animal - our very own wild baby hedgehogs!!

    A great local wildlife charity which I'm sure many of you will know is called WRAS, and they've been protecting and looking after wild animals for decades.

    And WRAS told me that what they could really do with at the minute are 20 Hedgehog Houses.

    Yup. I was initially as surprised as you.......as didn't know they lived in houses?!

    But apparently the 100 or so baby hedgehogs WRAS rescue every year, after they've been weaned by the hedgehog volunteer team, need to spend a little time in a sort of halfway house before being released to an outside pen, and then back into the wild.

    I've pasted a photo below of one of their current houses, along with its tenant, which I saw when visiting them recently.

    The target is £800 folks which is a lot of money but with each house costing forty quid, that'll mean WRAS are totally in-stock for the rest of this winter. More info can be seen on the Justgiving site they've launched for my Appeal.

    Please join me in supporting them. WRAS are good people doing good, by protecting those wild animals who live amongst and around us.

    Click on the justgiving site below to donate. Thank you.


  • Article: Dec 7, 2018

    It has to be said that politicians nowadays don't have a terribly good reputation. One of the reasons I suspect is so many are perceived to break their promises to the public.

    They say one thing to get elected or to curry favour, and then drop it with an expediency which is pretty unseemly.

    The public know this and find it infuriating or shrug their shoulders cynically as if to say - 'what do you expect, he/she is only a politician?' I was well aware of such a view when deciding to go into politics, after having been in business for many years, but was equally determined, from the start, that I would try to play a positive role in change this opinion. Thus a fundamental commitment I made to myself all those years ago was that if I made a political promise, I would keep it. Which leads me to where we are today!

  • Article: Dec 4, 2018

    I was delighted to be at the opening of the walkway from the new Beacon to the older Arndale section end last week. Five new stores opened at the same time as this, the first phase of Eastbourne's £85 million extension. Including -
    Schuh, New Look, Flying Tiger,
    Paperchase, Brighton & Hove Albion opening a shop up until Christmas.

  • Article: Nov 30, 2018

    One of Eastbourne and Willingdon's greatest strengths is its deep sense of community. This is shown by the numerous different volunteer groups serving our town. They cover a huge range of support activities from care for the carers, dementia and numerous other medical conditions, children with disabilities, all the sport activities you can imagine, numerous church activities, school groups, those helping people less fortunate than ourselves, our theatres, animal protection societies, the much loved Eastbourne RNLI, St Wilfrid's, and all points in between. The list is virtually endless. These phenomena are rarely explored in any detail but I profoundly believe they are absolutely crucial to the overall health of our town. Why? Because the very nature of giving of one's time and expertise with no expectation of monetary gain, is a truly altruistic act. It may seem small in the grand scale of things but actually it's hugely significant. Significant in that it shows just how much we care for Eastbourne. Significant in that if so many folk didn't step up to volunteer, two immediate consequences would occur. Firstly, the entire superstructure which ensures many of our vulnerable neighbours are cared for would collapse as the statutory authorities do not have the wherewithal to cope.

    Secondly, we'd be a much less kind town. And though kindness is not a word we hear so much about nowadays, it is utterly pivotal to the overall health of Eastbourne. If you did my job which amongst other things is to meet and work with many community groups, you would be amazed at just how extraordinary they are. You would also be struck by the astonishing fortitude of so many people as they, often, struggle against innumerable barriers to make their volunteer groups a success. You would also see on a daily basis tremendous acts of kindness toward others, and I never fail to be humbled by their impact. They are the living, working proof of that old maxim - we keep it by giving it away. And the upside of kindness of course is that we prefer to be around people and communities who wish to support others. It's simply a nicer environment to live in and bring up one's family. And in Eastbourne and Willingdon I see it every single day. Thank you to all those of you who volunteer and do so much for our town. The difference for good that you make in the community is simply incalculable. Small Business Saturday: another one of my jobs which I attach an enormous amount of time and energy to, is supporting our local economy. And small businesses across Eastbourne play an immensely important role in this. It's about aspiration, energy and helps give our town a genuine 'can do' attitude. I love it and believe, in its own way, they are as important to the overall health of Eastbourne and Willingdon as the voluntary groups I've already alluded to.

    I have lost count of just how many businesses I've visited or opened, and every time it's with a sense of excitement. This weekend we celebrate Small Business Saturday; an annual event run by the Federation of Small Business, a group I respect and know well. I'll be out and about as usual at the weekend popping into various shops, large and small, to see people and say hello. So my ask to readers of the Herald is this Saturday, to take in just one extra shop or business, and buy something to show your appreciation for those behind the counter. It takes courage to step out as a small business and it can be pretty challenging sometimes, so give them a pat on the back. They deserve it. Town Centre Christmas Market: Do you fancy showcasing your entertaining skills for the crowds this Christmas? If you do, Eastbourne's Christmas Market, is the place for you. It's running for three weeks from November 30 every day from 10am to 6pm in Terminus Road. They've already got a staggering 100 hours of free entertainment booked and the entertainment co-ordinator, Leanna Forse has secured choirs, bands, soloists, dancers, circus performers, shows and even an entire festive family pantomime.