As I write this column, it is Sunday, the warmest day of the year so far and I am sitting in my garden; the sun is beating down and there is a gentle breeze. I can hear the birds singing. As I take this rare moment in the sun to rest, I am grateful for a breather and some time to reflect on the past few weeks. It is hard to imagine on such a day, surrounded by nature and beautiful countryside, that we have anything to fear.
Three weeks into this health - and economic - crisis, communities are pulling together. From every street and cul-de-sac, village and town, there are volunteer schemes setting up to support the vulnerable and elderly, and businesses adapting and innovating. This moment of national emergency is bringing out the best of British values - of selflessness, determination and quiet resolve. It is so reassuring to see this in Hastings and Rye and I want to thank everyone who has put aside their own concerns, rolled their sleeves up and got on with helping others.
In this, I include not only our NHS and care workers, but also civil servants working round the clock to deal with the increase in welfare applications, refuse collectors, supermarket and shop workers, teachers, social workers and all the people who make sure that our lives function when we are working from home or furloughed. We owe them our debt of gratitude.
I also want to highlight what my small team has been doing to help residents and businesses across our constituency. The past few weeks have been full on, to say the least, and I am so proud of my team, which has risen to this challenge, working around the clock to answer emails and telephone calls from concerned constituents and businesses. Louise, James, Jane, Steve and Tara, are, as I am, deeply committed to their community and are driven to serve it in the best way that they can.
We have helped people with housing, health and isolation issues, those worried about their incomes and how they are going to keep their businesses going, and helping residents stranded abroad, amongst so many other queries and concerns. Where needed, I have taken up cases and lobbied government ministers to see the changes in individual and business financial support, protection against homelessness, repatriation of our residents and making sure that Hastings and Rye residents receive the best medical care possible in this Covid-19 crisis, from primary care up.
On all these issues, I am working for our communities, including liaising with other East Sussex MPs, our local authorities and parish councils, volunteer groups, Sussex Police, the Conquest Hospital, the Clinical Commissioning Group, the food banks, Sussex Resilience Forum, the Federation of Small Businesses and of course, government departments and ministers. I am confident that by working together we can ensure that our healthcare services have the right emergency plans and infrastructure, the ventilators they need, the testing in place, and personal protective equipment.
Sally-Ann Hart MP