District Dispatch – from the Leader of Chichester District Council
As everyone is aware, the government has extended the lockdown period for at least another three weeks. This means more than ever that we need to look out for those who are most vulnerable. It could be making a phone call to check that a neighbour is coping, picking up food and medical supplies, or having a chat over the fence.
Staying indoors is hard for everyone, but especially those who live alone or are vulnerable. This is why we are hoping that our community guide will help people, either those who need help, or those who want to help. It provides lots of useful numbers, information and guidance. To access a copy, please visit https://www.chichester.gov.uk/helpyourneighbour where you can also access support on how to you can help your neighbours and the things you need to consider.
For those who don’t have access support from family, friends and neighbours, there is the community hub. This offers support to those who have no other help available.
People can access the support by visiting www.westsussex.gov.uk/covid19communityhub or calling 033 022 27980.
We have been supporting West Sussex County Council with this work, collecting and delivering food, supporting volunteers, calling people to check that they are okay – and in one case, making sure that a lady had some wool so that she could continue knitting. Being able to continue with hobbies such as knitting, or being able to have a chat with someone can mean so much at this time. I know that so many groups and individuals are out there helping people. We are so lucky to have such generous people living in our district and I would like to thank you again for the role that you are playing.
I am pleased to tell you that over £24 million of government grants have been issued to local businesses to help them through the COVID-19 crisis. Overall, the government has issued £37 million of support for businesses in the Chichester District. We have written to everyone who is eligible and we have been phoning, sending emails and promoting the scheme to encourage these businesses to come forward and apply for their grant.
Those who receive business rates relief are also entitled to apply. It’s quick and easy to apply and it’s important that you are aware that you do not have to repay the grant funding.
I’m also pleased to tell you that all of our critical services have been operating normally – including all of our waste and recycling services. We will also start to resume some of our council meetings in May, but these will be carried out virtually. We will make sure that agenda items are published on our website a minimum of five working days before the meeting. If you wish to speak at Planning Committee or ask a question at Cabinet please contact email@example.com. You will either be able to join the virtual meeting or submit a written statement which will be read out for you. A recording of each meeting will also be published on the council website after the meeting in the usual way.
- Planning Committee – 6 May
- Cabinet – 12 May
- Planning Committee – 13 May
- Annual Council – 19 May
I want to finish my district dispatch on a really positive note. Many of you will know that we have provided accommodation and support for all rough sleepers who would accept it. The majority of people accepted our help and I’m pleased to say that one particular individual has made remarkable progress over the past three weeks. With the positive changes that they have made, we recommended this person for a vacancy in a privately rented flat in a block close to family members. I’m pleased to say that they moved into their new accommodation last week. It’s nice to know that in these challenging times, there are still plenty of positive things that we can focus on.
Please continue to stay safe and well.
Leader of Chichester District Council