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Stroke survivors expect to be the latest victims in council cuts

Councils across the south east are again struggling to balance the books as they meet to set this year's council tax rate.

Many authorities expect hikes of well over 3% - substantially more than last year's increase. But even with that rise more cuts seem unavoidable.

In East Sussex, the council needs make savings of almost £20 million. Council chiefs in Lewes say if not their deficit could reach £70 million in two year's time.

Funding for projects ranging from supporting isolated people in rural areas to refuges for women and children fleeing domestic violence look set to be hit.

Another of the groups facing funding cuts helps stroke survivors and their carers.

Andy Dickenson has our report. He speaks to Anne Harrington-Lowe and Judy Walker, Chief Executive of the Stroke Association.

Pack of snowdogs to descend on city streets

Snowdog sculpture Credit: Snowdogs by the Sea

A huge charity artwork project has been announced for Brighton and Hove next year.

'Snowdogs by the Sea' will bring a trail of 50 sculptures around the city, all individually designed by local celebrities and businesses. Fatboy Slim - DJ Norman Cook - is the first celebrity to back the scheme.

The sculptures, inspired by the Raymond Briggs book, will eventually be sold at auction to raise money for the Martlets Hospice in Hove.

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Chair of failing hospital trust resigns

Stuart Welling Credit: LinkedIn

Stuart Welling, the chairman of East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, has resigned after more than four years in the role.

It follows news that last week that the trust was being put into special measures.

Mr Welling's four year tenure came to an end in July but he was asked to stay on to provide some stability and leadership continuity.

I feel enormously privileged to have worked with my 7,000 colleagues at the Trust, and those outside it, to improve healthcare for local people.

Yes, we still have improvements to make, but there is a strong determination within the Trust to focus with pace and purpose on delivering excellent care for our patients.

– Stuart Welling, the chairman of East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

Seagull attacks: 'Don't feed them and they won't be a problem'

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has spoken out about managing seagulls, with numerous complaints being made about the birds' aggressive behaviour in Brighton.

A spokesperson for the animal charity said: "If we feed gulls they will grow more confident, they will learn that we are a source of food. They will not then distinguish between food offered and people simply walking around carrying food, cafe tables outdoors and the like."

Seagulls at Hove seafront Credit: PA

Brighton and Hove City Council have already said that culling the birds, which are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, might not be an option.

It is working on ensuring food waste is properly disposed of to avoid attracting the birds to control the population.

Credit: PA

In a statement, the council said: "Nuisance alone is not considered to be a reasonable justification for culling."

Despite the population of the birds declining in coastal areas, they are continuing to "do well" in urban areas, according to the RSPB.

The charity said: "Councils who have identified gulls as a nuisance would be right not to encourage feeding. And, to be honest, a diet entirely of chips and ice cream probably isn't giving the birds their five a day!"

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Complaints about seagull numbers in Brighton

There have been complaints about seagulls throughout the region Credit: ITV

A seagull cull in Brighton and Hove may not be an option for controlling the large numbers in the city. That's according to the council which receives numerous reports about the birds. Seagulls are frequently criticised for swooping down to take food, and have gained a reputation for aggravating people. The local authority is trying to stop them nesting.

Head of East Sussex Heath Trust resigns

Darren Grayson was in charge of the East Sussex health trust for five years Credit: ITV Meridian

The head of the East Sussex health trust has resigned saying he can no longer offer the long-term commitment needed for the role.

Darren Grayson was in charge of the trust for five years.

In March IT and the Conquest and Eastbourne hospitals - which are under its control - were all rated inadequate.

ITV Meridian spoke to Cllr Michael Wincott from East Sussex County Council.

School praised for improving performance

Children at Herne Bay Juniors enjoying the library's new books Credit: ITV Meridian

A school that was told it needed to improve by Ofsted just over a year ago has now been praised by inspectors for its work to improve performance.

Herne Bay Juniors is among 103 primary schools in Kent and Medway that are rated as needing improvement. But in East Sussex, which has less than one third of the number of Kent's schools, there are just 6 requiring improvement. And in Brighton and Hove, there's one.

Abigail Bracken's been to Herne Bay to see how one school is managing to turn itself around...

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