Due to this, I wanted to remind you of the one-to-one advice and support that is available from our Chichester Wellbeing Team. This free service is available to you if you live in the district and are aged over 18.

They cover advice on: mental wellbeing; work-life balance (including working from home); weight management and healthy eating; exercise; menopause; smoking cessation; alcohol awareness; pre-diabetes; and, home energy. Our friendly team of Wellbeing Advisors can help you make small changes to your lifestyle, which can make a big difference to your wellbeing. If you would like some advice and support, please do get in touch by calling 01243 521041; emailing info@chichesterwellbeing.org.uk; or visiting Chichester Wellbeing .

The Wellbeing team are also involved in home energy; making sure that people have warm homes and helping them to save money on their energy bills. I'm pleased to tell you that the council has successfully bid for funding to extend the Government's Green Home Grant Local Authority Delivery scheme in the Chichester District. This means that eligible homeowners in the district will receive fully-funded support of up to £10,000 for energy efficiency improvements in their homes. Residents can apply for this funding if they have a household income of less than £30,000 and their home has a low energy efficiency rating. The funding can be used for a range of improvements and low carbon heating measures, including first-time gas central heating and heat pumps; wall insulation; loft insulation; smart heating controls; and, energy efficient double glazing. Private and social landlords will be able to access up to £5,000 with a one-third contribution. People can find out more about the scheme and apply for a grant at Warmer Homes or call 0800 038 5737. To find out more about our free Home Energy service, please visit: Chichester Wellbeing

While on the topic of grants, I'm also pleased to tell you that we have issued nearly £500,000 in grant funding to businesses and community groups in the district, which has been taken from the council's reserves, as part of our Covid-19 recovery plan. A total of 190 business grants and 66 community grants have been approved for funding. We launched the scheme in August 2020 to provide support to organisations that were struggling due to the pandemic, but were either not eligible for Government grants or which needed additional support. As I've mentioned before, it is vital we all play our part in supporting businesses and community groups - and we will be again encouraging you to support local when our businesses are ready to safely welcome you back and Government restrictions are lifted.

If your business has been affected by coronavirus, Government funding is still available and we would encourage you to check whether you are eligible for any of the grants on offer. You can find details on all of the grants, and apply on our website. New Government business rate grants have been announced. These are known as 'restart grants' and will take effect from 1 April 2021. We are waiting for further guidance on these and as soon as we have more details, we will update businesses through our email newsletter, social media channels and on our COVID business support web page. To date, our team has issued more than £47 million in Government funding through business rate and discretionary grants to businesses in our district.

This weekend is Census Weekend. Run by the Office for National Statistics, the census is a once-in-a-decade survey that helps provide a unique snapshot of the society we live in. The information you give helps all kinds of organisations, from local authorities to charities, to help plan and provide the services we all need, including transport, education and healthcare. By taking part, you will be helping make sure you and your community get the services needed now and in the future.

Many of you will have already received a letter from the Office for National Statistics inviting you to take part in the Census and providing you with all of the information you need on how to do this. Every letter includes a unique access code that will enable you to complete your form online.

If you have questions about the census or need help completing your form, there is an online help hub — as well as a Census Support Centre, which offers support to people who need assistance in completing their census form. The contact centre is UK-based and free to call, and the number is: 0800 141 2021. There is also language helpline: 0800 587 2021. Paper copies of the Census can be requested online or by phone: 0800 141 2021.

It's also useful to know that West Sussex Libraries are part of the national Census Support Service and library staff are able to complete the census form online for residents over the phone. You can book an appointment by phone on 0330 222 3455, Monday to Friday between 10am - 4pm. Find out more about this service here: West Sussex libraries census support service

For more information about the census you can visit the designated Census 2021 website where you will find lots of information about how data is kept safe and how you will be invited to submit your census form.

Please take care and keep safe.

Best Wishes,

Cllr Eileen Lintill

Leader of Chichester District Council