LEWES COMMUNITY RANGER LOSES HER JOB

After 12 years in post Lewes District Council’s community ranger is to lose her job, the Eye has been told.

This is not just another covid redundancy.

She works for Lewes District Council as their community ranger. As far as the Eye can see she is the only community ranger the council has.

Amongst other things she organises the volunteers at Castle Hill nature reserve in Newhaven and the Railway Land in Lewes.  Without an organiser, there can be no volunteers and without volunteers, as the volunteer who broke the story told me “would take over to the detriment of the wildlife”. So the community loses not just 12 years expertise but also the work of volunteers.

Her other work included keeping an eye on Landport Bottom before it was transferred to Lewes Town council,  promoting nature to local people and school students as well as supporting  the Railway Land Wildlife Trust.

Lewes will lose more than just her services.  There will be a knock on effect.  There will also be money that will have to be found for the redundancy payments.

She is by no means the only Lewes District Council staff member facing a future without a job.  Large numbers of staff expect that their jobs will go, or fear that they will have no work come the spring.  Morale is understood to be not good.

The blame can be laid squarely at central government’s door.  Local councils have had to do far more because of covid, but have not been given the money by government to do it.  They have also lost money on things like lost parking fees and similar.

There is a major financial crisis and there is even talk of selling the council’s main office in Southover House, Lewes.

The government deliberately keeps councils short of money with the idea that people will blame councils for the deterioration of services. It is a shame to see Lewes District walking into their trap.

Since this article the council has contacted me to say that volunteers will continue to be supported and that any current redundancies are voluntary. How long the redundancies will continue to be voluntary is an open question.