District Roundup – 28 January 2022: Chichester District Council

Local updates

  • Customer Services Centre opening hours
  • Calling local businesses – are you eligible for new financial support?
  • New support for people struggling to pay their council tax bills
  • A message of thanks from our waste collection, street cleaning and parks teams
  • Culture Spark: a cultural celebration to showcase the district in 2022
  • Grants available to help parishes celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee
  • Over £250,000 issued to residents to help make their homes more energy efficient
  • Chichester Warm Homes Initiative
  • Local groups, businesses and residents begin planting their free trees
  • Community Hub support for the vulnerable
  • Help from Chichester Wellbeing
  • Government digital scheme launched
  • Other local news

Coronavirus news

  • Latest update
  • Local vaccination services
  • School and home visit vaccinations
  • Vaccine scam warning
  • NHS Test and Trace in the workplace
  • International travel to the UK
  • Public urged to sign up to Covid-19 antiviral study
  • Other updates to Covid-19 guidance
  • Weekly reports, R value and growth rate

 

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Local updates

Customer Services Centre opening hours

From Monday 7 February, our Customer Services Centre opening hours at East Pallant House will change to 9am-4pm, Monday to Friday. If you need to visit our offices, please wear a face covering, unless exempt.

The quickest, easiest and safest way to access our services, is on our website. Going online is a convenient way of accessing a whole range of services, including settling council tax or business rates bills, applying for resident parking permits and resident visitor permits, signing up to services such as bulky waste collections or the Garden Recycling scheme, to name just a few.

Our phone lines remain open 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday. If you can’t find what you’re looking for online, you can call our friendly customer services team on 01243 785166

Calling local businesses – are you eligible for new financial support?

Over £5 million of Government funding is now available to support businesses that have been affected by the Covid-19 Omicron variant in the Chichester District.

Applications are now open for three different types of support:

  • the Hospitality and Leisure Grant, which is available for hospitality and leisure businesses — the grant amount is dependent on the premises’ rateable value and ranges from £2,667 to £6,000.
  • the Additional Restrictions Grant, which is intended to support businesses impacted by Covid-19 that may not be eligible for the Hospitality and Leisure Grant.
  • the Covid-19 Additional Relief Fund, which is a new business rates relief scheme.

See if your business is eligible, and apply on our business rates announcements webpage.






Experience West Sussex is hosting a free Government Funding webinar



on Thursday 3 February, 12pm-1pm, to help businesses navigate the range of support available.

New support for people struggling to pay their council tax bills

We’ve just launched a new wellbeing assessment tool to help residents that may be struggling to pay their council tax bills. People whose payments are overdue will receive a text message inviting them to complete a TellJO wellbeing survey, which will help us identify ways to help them.

Completion of the assessment is not mandatory, but it will tell us if someone has rent arrears, is unhappy with their landlord, or needs debt or benefit advice — some residents may even be eligible for discounts or relief they did not know about. A range of council tax discounts and support payments are available for people struggling financially. Extra advice can be found on our help with finances webpage.

A message of thanks from our waste collection, street cleaning and parks teams

Our waste collection, street cleaning, and parks teams would like to thank you for all of the support you have given them over the past two years. Throughout this period, they have continued to deliver services to you through very challenging times and your support has helped lift their morale when they have most needed it. Our council is one of the few across the country that has continued to deliver these services to you without disruption throughout the pandemic.

As you can imagine, we continue to face considerable challenges due to the amount of staff affected by coronavirus and the measures we have put in place to keep our teams as safe as possible. We fully intend to try and continue with our normal high standards of delivery, but we do hope you will understand if your collections, street cleaning, or parks maintenance are affected over the coming weeks. We hope this will not be the case and our crews are determined to go above and beyond to keep the services running smoothly. Thanks once again for your support!

Culture Spark: a cultural celebration to showcase the district in 2022

An exciting season of events, performances, live entertainment and community projects will be held to mark a momentous year of culture in Chichester District this year. Culture Spark aims to give everyone — including every child in the district — the chance to participate in an amazing cultural experience, and it also celebrates multiple milestones of some of its cultural organisations. The full programme of events will be announced later this spring and the season will run from 29 March to 31 October. For more information, including hosting your own event as a Bright Spark or supporting the season as a sponsor visit




The Great Sussex Way’s



website.

Entertain the family this half term with The Novium Museum

With February half term fast approaching, don’t miss your opportunity to visit The Novium Museum’s popular




Brick Wonders exhibition



. Or if you are looking for a special gift, a family gift voucher for the exhibition can now be purchased from the




museum’s online shop



. A full programme of half term events being run by the museum will be available soon on the




Novium’s website



.

Grants available to help parishes celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

The council has set aside £10,000 to help communities celebrate The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Parish Councils across the district are invited to apply directly to Chichester District Council for grants of up to £250 to pay for lasting tributes such as tree planting, street furniture and equipment for celebrations that can be reused. It is hoped that the funding will help support the exciting events taking place across Chichester District over the bumper Bank Holiday Weekend of Thursday 2 June to Sunday 5 June marking Her Majesty’s 70 years as reigning monarch.

Street parties, beacon lighting, tree planting and big community lunches are just some of the ways people can celebrate. The Government has provided




simple guidance on the steps you need to take to organise a street party



 on their website. 

Over £250,000 issued to residents to help make their homes more energy efficient

Over a quarter of a million pounds offunding has already been awarded to residents in the Chichester District over the last two years to help make their homes more energy efficient, with further funding on its way. This is one of the actions within the Chichester District Council’s Climate Emergency Action Plan.

The council is also launching a new campaign to inform residents about the different ways in which they can help play their part in achieving this goal — focusing on the energy efficiency measures that can not only save money, but also protect the environment. Whether it’s switching to LED light bulbs; making sure your washing machine is full before running on a quick wash at 30 degrees; or, closing curtains to keep the warmth in and the cold out, simple changes can really help at a time when we are all seeing our energy bills rise. There are also various grants available for measures such as loft, floor and wall insulation. Find out more at on our climate change webpage.

Chichester Warm Homes Initiative

If you are on a low income and live in a property with poor energy efficiency, you may be able to access support through the Chichester Warm Homes Initiative. The scheme offers a contribution towards the installation of an efficient heating system, as well as loft and wall insulation. If you know someone who may benefit from this, please encourage them to get in touch with our delivery partners by visiting the




Arun and Chichester Citizens Advice Bureau



website or by calling: 01243 974063.

You may also be eligible for the Government’s Warm Home Discount which could save you £140 off your electric bill. You should check with your electricity provider to see if you are eligible and you can find more information on the Government’s 




Warm Home Discount scheme



webpage and you can get help applying from the




Arun and Chichester Citizens Advice



webpage.

Local groups, businesses and residents begin planting their free trees

We were pleased to hear from a number of local community groups, residents and landowners who successfully applied for free trees through our Tree Chichester District scheme and who have already started their tree planting projects. Selsey Children’s Nursery used their trees to create a natural screen from the sun and wind, and to attract wildlife, helping the children learn about their environment. The planting has also extended the wildlife corridor from the adjacent Manor Park.

We’re looking forward to seeing more trees planted across our district in the coming months as a total of more than 8,000 free trees are being given out. The scheme has been funded by HM Treasury’s Shared Outcomes Fund, which aims to test different ways to increase tree cover in rural and urban areas. You can find out more about the scheme and how to access funding for trees on our tree scheme webpage, or by emailing our Tree Project Officer

Community Hub support for the vulnerable

We are continuing to work in partnership with West Sussex County Council to support those who are most at risk. You can contact the




Community Hub



if you, or someone you know, need help. If you have support in place, please continue to use it. You can contact the Community Hub online or on 033 022 27980

Help from Chichester Wellbeing

Chichester Wellbeing are here to help with free one-to-one advice and support for anyone over the age of 18 who lives and works in the district. Covering emotional wellbeing; weight management; healthy eating; exercise; smoking cessation; alcohol awareness; and pre-diabetes, our team of experienced Wellbeing Advisors can help you make small changes to your lifestyle which will make a big difference to your health and wellbeing. Book a free one-to-one appointment today by contacting Chichester Wellbeing on: 01243 521041, email: wellbeing@chichester.gov.uk or visit




Chichester Wellbeing’s website



.

Help to Grow: Digital scheme launched

The Government’s




Help to Grow: Digital scheme



— designed to support smaller businesses in adopting digital technologies so they can grow — has opened for applications. Under the scheme, eligible businesses can now receive discounts of up to £5,000 off the retail price of approved Digital Accounting and CRM software from leading technology suppliers. This software will help them to effectively manage their finances and build customer relationships. Businesses must meet a set of criteria to be eligible for the scheme. 

Other local news

Keep up-to-date on all the latest council news by visiting our Latest News page.

Here, you can find the latest media releases, including how a fingerpost revamp has provided a welcome boost to Chichester city centre and about The Novium Museum’s national award nomination for innovative field trips.

On this page, you’ll also find the latest District Dispatch column, and previous issues of our newsletter that you may have missed.

Coronavirus news

Latest update

The Government has now lifted Plan B coronavirus measures in England as scientists believe that the Omicron wave has peaked nationally. This means:

  • the Government is no longer asking people to work from home.
  • staff and pupils in secondary schools and colleges are not required to wear a face covering in classrooms or communal areas.
  • there is no longer a legal requirement to wear a face covering, although the Government suggests that you continue to wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces where you may come into contact with other people you do not normally meet.
  • venues and events are no longer required by law to check visitors’ NHS COVID Pass. The NHS COVID Pass can still be used on a voluntary basis.

However, it’s important that we all continue to take steps to keep the virus at bay, including hand washing, ventilating rooms, taking regular lateral flow tests and self-isolating if we have a positive result or experience symptoms — and for those who are unvaccinated to come forward to get their jabs.

Lateral flow tests remain free of charge and can be collected from local pharmacies or can be ordered online from the Government’s




lateral flow test



webpage. People who test positive with a lateral flow test are required to self-isolate immediately but are no longer required to take a confirmatory PCR test. This is a temporary measure while levels of Covid-19 are high. Lateral flow tests are taken by people who do not have Covid-19 symptoms. Anyone who develops one of the three main Covid-19 symptoms should stay at home, self-isolate, and take a PCR test. You can find out more on the




Government’s PCR test



webpage.

The Government has also




reduced the minimum self-isolation period for people with Covid-19 to five full days in England



. People who test positive for Covid-19 can leave self-isolation at the start of day six, provided they test negative using lateral flow tests on both day five and day six and do not have a temperature. 

For the most up to date information and advice on keeping yourself and other safe, visit the




Government’s Coronavirus webpage



.

Local vaccination services

The latest figures show that 85.5% of eligible adults in West Sussex have now received their Covid-19 booster vaccination, which is great news.

Our NHS colleagues have advised that while the number of appointments available across local sites has increased significantly, unfortunately thousands have gone to waste due to people not turning up. If you no longer need your appointment, as you got your jab earlier or have tested Covid positive, please remember to cancel the appointment so that others are able to book. To book or manage a vaccination appointment visit the




NHS’s vaccination webpage



. If you have previously missed a vaccination appointment because of having Covid-19, your rescheduled date for vaccination mist be at least 28 days since you received a positive test if you are aged 18 or above, or 12 weeks since a positive test us you are under 18.

Walk-in Covid-19 vaccination sessions are taking place across West Sussex. The service in Northgate car park, Chichester, is currently operating a walk-in service every day between 08.30-18.00. The Pfizer jab is available for 1st, 2nd and booster doses at this location – you don’t need an appointment, and you can simply turn up to receive your vaccination. All




walk-in services



can be found listed on the Sussex Health and Care Partnership website.

A free transport scheme is available for West Sussex residents to help them access vaccination appointments or walk-in sessions. The booking service is available between 10am-1pm and 2pm-5pm Monday to Friday. Call 01444 275008 to speak to a travel coordinator.

School and home visit vaccinations

Schools in West Sussex are being revisited as 12 to 15-year-olds become eligible for their second dose. In addition to the school visits, appointments for 12 to-15 year olds are also available through the




National Booking Service



website.

Home visits to provide booster vaccinations are also underway. If you are housebound and have not yet been contacted, please contact the Vaccine Enquiry Team on 0800 433 4545 (open 9am-4pm, Monday to Friday) or email: sxccg.vaccineenquiries@nhs.net

Vaccine scam warning

The Government has warned that criminals are sending text messages, emails and making phone calls, pretending to be from the NHS, to steal money, financial details and personal information relating to the Covid-19 booster vaccine. Please remember that the booster vaccine is free — the NHS will never ask for payment or any financial details relating to the Covid-19 booster vaccine and will never arrive unannounced to administer the vaccine.

NHS Test and Trace in the workplace

The critical worker scheme was recently launched for 100,000 workers, under which they are able to take a test on every working day. This will help to keep essential services and supply chains running. Roll out started from 10 January and the provision of precautionary testing will be for an initial five weeks. Critical workers are those who:

  • work in essential services
  • cannot work from home
  • may be at risk of spreading the virus (for example, due to working together in an enclosed space)
  • have been identified as being in priority, specialist roles

Critical workforces identified for this scheme are listed in the Government’s




workplace guidance



webpage.

International travel to the UK

The Department for Transport has announced that




all testing measures for eligible, fully vaccinated travellers arriving in the UK will be removed



from 4am on 11 February. Before the end of February, eligible fully vaccinated travellers will only need to fill out the passenger locator form, which will be simplified, confirming their vaccination status, travel history and contact details, and people will have an extra day to fill it out before travelling.

Children aged 12-15 in England will be able to prove their vaccination status or proof of prior infection via a digital NHS COVID Pass from 3 February for outbound travel. For inward travel, all under-18s regardless of their individual vaccination status will continue to be considered as fully vaccinated.

Public urged to sign up to Covid-19 antiviral study

The Department of Health and Social Care is urging adults over the age of 50 or with an underlying health condition who test positive for Covid-19 to




sign up for a Covid-19 antivirals study



. Antivirals are medicines to help treat people with coronavirus infections to reduce the risk of hospitalisations and death.

The study will support scientists to understand more about how to deploy treatments in the NHS more widely later in the year – including who would benefit most from receiving antiviral treatments for Covid-19.

Other updates to Covid-19 guidance

Since our last newsletter, the Government has updated:

Weekly reports, R value and growth rate

The Government continues to publish




weekly national influenza and coronavirus reports



. Updates on




the number of cases of variants of concern



are also published weekly.

The latest




R value and growth rate



 can be found on the Government’s website. You can see the latest Covid-19 figures for West Sussex on the




West Sussex Covid-19 Data Dashboard



.

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