Happy new year!  Winter is a beautiful time in Wealden, and I hope that you have enjoyed the festive season.  As we step into 2024, please allow me to reflect on just a few of the local successes and work that has been done to support Crowborough and Wealden throughout the past year.

I am incredibly proud to have helped secure over £2m Government funding for building safety improvements at two fantastic Wealden schools, Beacon Academy in Crowborough and Uplands Academy in Wadhurst.  This is an amazing result for Wealden and especially for Crowborough as the £1.5m secured for Beacon Academy comes in addition to the £1.3m that the school received in 2021. This much-needed boost will ensure that students can thrive in an improved environment and better facilities, and I continue working closely with the school leadership and supporting additional bids for funding.

Following the completion of the multi-million-pound accessibility upgrades at Eridge station last year, I was delighted to officially open the newly refurbished Crowborough train station in the spring, which has undergone similar improvements.  The £4.7m investment from the Department for Transport’s Access for All scheme delivered the installation of two lifts and a brand-new footbridge.  This means that both Crowborough and Eridge stations are now fully step free and accessible to all Wealden commuters and fit for the future.

I continue working with the Crowborough, Hailsham and Uckfield Chambers of Commerce and meet their representatives regularly to discuss what more can be done to support our local entrepreneurs.  In September, I was pleased to host Google coaches in Crowborough for a whole day of free workshops and mentoring sessions designed to help local enterprises boost their digital skills, grow their presence online and expand their customer outreach.  Over 30 organisations got involved and the event was so hugely successful that I’m hoping we can bring it back again this year.

Together with Friends of Crowborough Hospital, I continue to support the Minor Injuries Unit and the Birthing Unit, which are both much-valued community assets. I was pleased to welcome Sussex NHS leaders to the site for discussions on improving the delivery of primary care and emergency services in Wealden, opportunities for expansion of current provision, and how to ensure that the existing facilities are being used to their full potential.

Lastly, the Christmas card competition has been the highlight of my seasonal activities since its first launch in 2015 and I was delighted that two schools in the Crowborough area won runners up this year.  Once again, huge congratulations and thanks to Jack (year 1) at Ashdown Primary School and Aggie (year 5) at Rotherfield Primary School for their fantastic designs.

It has been a busy year with lots of wonderful news and successes locally, but there is more to be done and I will continue to work hard in 2024 to campaign for more resources for Wealden and to ensure that your concerns are heard in Westminster.  If you need my assistance, please get in touch via email nusrat.ghani.mp@parliament.uk.