Section: Sussex

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EUROPE DAY

What does Europe mean to you?

Sussex Bylines
EU flag, with one start missing.

Sunday 9 May, is Europe Day: an annual celebration of peace and unity in Europe and the anniversary of the historic ‘Schuman declaration’. Here we feature some personal testimonies from Sussex people who feel strongly connected to Europe and the EU.

SUSSEX PEOPLE AND PLACES

Preston Park garden manager, Andy Jeavons, and his gardening volunteers

Vivienne Griffiths

When the Brighton Rockery came up as a project in 2000, Andy Jeavons, Preston Park garden manager, jumped at the chance. It was a daunting prospect, as at that stage the garden had not been touched for years and was “completely overgrown”. After the hurricane in 1987, “it went to rack and ruin”, as there was a lot of damage in all the Brighton parks and the Rockery was not a priority.

Storks versus bulldozers: saving Sussex wildlife areas

Elizabeth Riminton-Drury
A pair of storks in their nest on a tree at Knepp estate.

Developers are planning to build 3,500 houses on a greenfield site right next to the major rewilding project at the Knepp Estate, blocking a vital wildlife corridor, increasing carbon emissions, and leaving Knepp as a wildlife island in a sea of housing. Campaigners are urging the government to step in and stop it.

Building the community of the future

Paul Hannam
Graphic

We have until 2030 to reduce our carbon emissions, or face devastating climate collapse with disastrous consequences for humanity as a whole. It is not just up to governments to make policy, or businesses to develop new technology. This alone is not going to save us. We need to change our individual lifestyles, and the best way to achieve this is by working together.

A spoke in the wheel

Ginny Smith
Bicycle chained on seafront railing.

Action group ‘Bespoke’ has been campaigning for safe cycling routes in Eastbourne for many years but every time a breakthrough is close, somehow all its efforts run into the sand. Every other Sussex seaside town has a cycle lane along the front. Eastbourne is the exception, and it is almost certainly because – unlike nearby Brighton – it is not a unitary authority.

NEW WRITER

Engels in Eastbourne – radical history tour

Carol Mills
Memorial plaque to Friedrich Engels, with red paint sprayed all over it.

Eastbourne campaigners, in 50-year battle to reinstate Engels plaque removed in 1976 after being vandalised by the National Front, launch a new walk to uncover Eastbourne’s radical past: Engels and the Ragged Trousered Philanthropists.

Spain in Sussex

Tom Serpell
View of the Sussex Downs, on top of the Seven Sisters.

I love Spain. Spanish Spain. My wife and I must have our Spanish holiday! Despite the efforts of the NHS, it looks likely that we will not be able to enjoy a visit to our favoured haunts this year − again! What to do? The profiteering hospitality of the West Country, much as I love […]

See, Support, Report: a safe, effective way to react to racism

Rick Dillon

Structural racism is endemic in our society, but it can be challenged. Sussex Bylines shines a light on the nature of unconscious bias, the racial inequalities highlighted by the Covid-19 pandemic and hears from Shamser Chohan, creative director of the social enterprise Communities Inc.

LONGER READ

Schooling in Brighton – a Tale of Three Cities

James Joughin
Frontage of Brighton College

Below the shiny liberal surface of the UK’s second most progressive city there is a sharkpit which you fall into at your peril. James Joughin investigates the stark differences in educational achievement across Brighton and Hove.

YOUNG WRITER

Being black and British: the identity crisis I did not ask for

Paige Furlonge-Walker
Black British

Watching the Meghan Markle interview triggered difficult emotions for Paige Furlonge Walker, a young black British woman. The interview felt to Paige like an attack on all black people and all non-white folk. Paige felt angry, with nowhere to direct the momentum it gave her. This article is her doing something about it.

Footballers choose to challenge – International Women’s Day 2021

Ginny Foster

On International Women’s Day Lewes District Council hosted a lunchtime conversation between councillor Zoe Nicholson and two incredibly dynamic women who live in the area. Mebrak Ghebfreweldi, the founder and MD of Diversity Resource International in Eastbourne and Karen Dobres, co-director of Lewes Football Club, were asked what International Women’s Day meant to them.

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY

International Women’s Day 2021: #ChooseToChallenge

Sussex Bylines

To mark International Women’s Day 2021, we feature this selection of articles published in Sussex Bylines in the run-up to 8 March, along with other pieces about women who have fought for political representation, challenged prejudice, refused to remain invisible, and who have been proud to hold the banner of women’s rights high.

NEW WRITER

EU nationals – second-class citizens in post-Brexit Britain

Cllr Marianna Ebel

Thousands of EU citizens were disenfranchised in the 2019 European elections – and yet the High Court has ruled that they have no redress against the government. And to avoid becoming an ‘undocumented migrant’ they are forced to apply for EU Settled Status. Cllr Marianna Ebel explains the issues.

NEW WRITER

Local action for global change: Divest East Sussex

Fran Witt

Divest East Sussex is campaigning throughout the county, pressurising council pension fund managers to act on the climate emergency the planet faces by pulling their investments from companies mining and drilling for fossil fuels.

SUSSEX PEOPLE AND PLACES

Retired doctor turned community worker: Kim Shamash

Vivienne Griffiths

Kim Shamash told Vivienne Griffiths how the Brighton and Hove network sprang up just before the first lockdown. Within a week there were 42 areas with at least 3,000 people joining numerous area and street WhatsApp and Facebook groups to request or offer mutual support.

SUSSEX PEOPLE AND PLACES

Lewes shares the love on Valentine’s Day

Ginny Foster

Despite Covid restrictions, and the coldest February temperatures for years, Valentine’s Day saw Lewes cultural, sporting, political and faith groups involved in a trolley dash to buy well over 7,000 food items for local food banks.

The DIY dunce and the dishwasher

Bruce Smeath

I took stock. I had spent half an hour taking off the inner door cover. I had cut my hand, maybe not badly, but nastily enough. I had got the latch back into the correct position. I had put the door cover back on. The dishwasher still didn’t work.

SUSSEX PEOPLE AND PLACES

For those in peril on the sea: the Newhaven Lifeboat

Ginny Smith
Lifeboat in stormy seas leaving Newhaven Harbour, with water crashing high above the harbour arm.

For over 200 years the Newhaven Lifeboat has been saving lives in the Sussex sea. Volunteers require enormous courage as they face both physical and emotional challenges. The desire to give something back to the people they live amongst is their driving force, and the relationships they form with local and seafaring communities give them the strength to carry on.

LONGER READ

Walking in the Downs – a lockdown odyssey

James Joughin
James Joughin and his dog Ringo on the South Downs, summer 2020

“After slouching around Preston Park a few times I was getting bored and it was then, with the startling visibility of those early lockdown weeks, that I noticed the distant peaks glistening on the horizon, and hatched a vague plan to head up there and ‘explore the South Downs Way’ as my tattered Brighton guidebook maintained I should.”

NEW WRITER

The government needs to think and spend big on children’s mental health

Cllr Elaine Hills

Mental health stigma persists and continues throughout people’s lives. If children are to cope with the scarring of the past year and the extra mental demands of living in a post-Covid society, we must talk about mental health more so they find it as easy as talking about their physical health, and embed that approach into society.