Written by the MP for Folkestone and Hythe, Kent

We continue to see excellent progress in Kent in our efforts to tackle the spread of the coronavirus. Infection rates in Folkestone and Hythe remain at their lowest levels since the start of the pandemic, as do hospital admissions for the East Kent Trust.

Based on the latest information available, there is no evidence showing that new coronavirus variants from elsewhere in the world have had an impact on local infection rates.

The government also told us this week that existing coronavirus vaccines are effective against these newer variants of Covid.

A total of 60 million vaccines have been administered in the UK, which is an incredible achievement.

Credit is due to the NHS who ran the immunization program and the companies who developed and provided it, but we also need to recognize the invaluable work of the thousands of volunteers who helped make it all possible.

Last week I went to the Sellindge Sports and Social Club, to see the fantastic work being done at the local tennis club.

The club has two lighted outdoor courts, which are being put to good use, with a substantial increase in membership since the return of outdoor sport to the base.

Many people who haven’t picked up a racket in years have decided to return to tennis, to stay fit and enjoy the fresh air.

The club is also running a program with local primary schools to give more children their first good introduction to the sport.

You can find more information on the club’s website on how to get involved and what they offer. I want to congratulate them on all they have accomplished so far.

During my stay I also had the pleasure of calling on the team from the adjacent pétanque club, which was preparing to open for the new season. Again, they have also seen increased interest in participating in outdoor lawn balls in recent months.

Last Friday I also visited The Beacon School in Folkestone to meet the chef, Neil Birch and his team members. The Beacon is a school for all ages, with students aged three to 19, for students with complex needs, deep and severe learning difficulties, and physical and sensory impairments.

The school was rated as outstanding in all areas during its last Ofsted inspection, due to the “ very effective ” teaching, the “ clear vision ” of the management team and the “ excellent progress ” made by the students.

I was very impressed with all the work I saw and was interested in the achievements of the students through their personalized learning programs. The school itself has become a center of excellence for its approach, and it’s great that we have such an excellent and state-of-the-art facility in our community.

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