Further information can be found at: Coronavirus (COVID-19).







Who does it affect?

  • Residents and businesses within the district
  • Chichester District Council staff and councillors
  • Parish councils
  • Community groups and charitable organisations

In this briefing

  • Latest update

Local news

  • Service status
  • Vaccination programme in the Chichester District
  • Help with financial support
  • Business grants update
  • Grants for energy efficient home improvements
  • The Census is here - local support
  • Places available on Chichester Wellbeing's weight management course
  • Stay up-to-date with other council news

National news

  • Coronavirus testing for homecare workers
  • Businesses encouraged to register for workplace testing
  • New analysis of lateral flow tests
  • Extensions to residential and commercial evictions ban
  • UK transition news and support fund

Latest update

Last week, the first step in the Government's plan to ease coronavirus restrictions in England saw the return of over seven million children to schools and colleges. The Education Secretary has commented on this step and given an update on rapid testing in secondary schools and colleges .

The next stage of the Government's roadmap out of lockdown is due on 29 March. This will depend on whether conditions relating to the vaccine rollout, hospitalisations, infection rates and new variants are all still being met. Full details of the plans can be found at COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021 .

Everyone is being encouraged to continue to follow the current national restrictions in place, as well as remembering measures such as handwashing, social distancing and wearing face coverings. Thank you for doing your bit to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Yesterday, the Health Secretary gave a statement in which he provided an update on shielding and confirmed that more than 25 million people in the UK have received a first dose of coronavirus vaccine.

The Government has also published a 'frequently asked questions' document in which Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, answers a range of questions about the vaccination programme.

The Government also publishes the latest vaccination data at: Coronavirus data . We have included a local vaccination programme update below.

Local news

Service status

The majority of our services are currently operating as usual. Our leisure centres, which are run in partnership with Everyone Active, are currently closed during the national lockdown, however the current indication from the Government is that leisure centres will be able to reopen for some activities from 12 April. This is just an indication at this stage and is subject to certain Government tests being met, but we will keep everyone updated on this. For more information, visit: Westgate Leisure .

Our Novium Museum and Tourist Information Centre are also closed during the current restrictions, however people can enjoy a virtual visit of the museum at The Novium Museum - virtual museum .

In line with the national guidance, our sports pitches are due to be available to hire from 29 March. An update on all of our services can be found at: .

Vaccination programme in the Chichester District

The vaccination programme continues to go from strength to strength, with three quarters of a million vaccinations having now been given across Sussex. The NHS are now inviting those aged 55 or over who haven't yet been vaccinated, to book their jab online or by calling 119. Those clinically extremely vulnerable, those with underlying health conditions, and unpaid carers are also currently eligible for the vaccine, and you can find our more here: Sussex COVID-19 vaccination programme . We will continue to share updates from the NHS as we receive them, and these can all be found on our website at Coronavirus support for residents.

It's worth noting that the NHS is sending texts to some people to invite them to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment. These may come from a local NHS service, or from 'NHSvaccine'. Remember the NHS will never ask for copies of your personal documents to book an appointment. When you have received your vaccination, please continue to follow the Government guidance.

Help with financial support

The coronavirus outbreak has affected everyone and many people are experiencing financial difficulties as a result, but we are here to help. From help to pay a Council Tax bill to support for people struggling to meet their rent payments, there are a number of ways in which we can help people who are struggling to pay their bills during this difficult time. Residents can find more information and useful links at Help with finances affected by coronavirus, or contact our team by emailing benefits@chichester.gov.uk.

If you receive financial support from us and your income has changed as a result of the coronavirus crisis, don't forget to let us know as you may be entitled to more support. You can update your details here: Change of circumstances.

Anyone who is concerned that they may lose their home as a result of not being able to meet their rent or mortgage payments can contact our Housing Advice Team by emailing housingadvice@chichester.gov.uk or calling 01243 534734.

Business grants update

If your business has been affected by coronavirus, we'd urge you to check whether you are eligible for any of the Government grants available, and apply, here: Coronavirus support for businesses.

The Government has confirmed that the Local Restrictions Support Grant deadline has been extended until the end of March 2021 for business that have been required to close during the current national lockdown, and haven't yet applied. There is also a grant scheme for businesses that have not been required to close but that are still affected by the current national lockdown.

Further Government business rate grants, 'restart grants', are due to take effect from 1 April 2021. We are waiting for further guidance but as soon as we can, we will update our website at Business rates announcements with more information.

Grants for energy efficient home improvements

We're pleased to tell you that the council has successfully bid to extend the Government's Green Home Grant Local Authority Delivery scheme in the Chichester District. This means that eligible homeowners, including park home owners, 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 low energy efficiency.

The funding can be used for a range of improvements and low carbon heating measures, including solid wall insulation; loft insulation; first-time energy efficient double glazing; first-time gas central heating and air-source heat pumps; and, smart heating controls. Private and social landlords will be able to access up to £5,000 with a one-third contribution. Find out more and apply for a grant at Warmer Homes or call 0800 038 5737.

For advice on how to reduce your energy bills, visit: Chichester Wellbeing - Warm Homes .

The Census is here - local support

This weekend is Census Weekend. Run by the Office for National Statistics, the census is a once-in-a-decade survey that helps all kinds of organisations - from local authorities to charities - to plan and provide the services we all need.

If you haven't already, you will soon receive a letter with a unique code enabling you to complete your form online. You can go to Census 2021 or ring 0800 141 2021 to request a paper form if you need one. In our area, West Sussex Libraries are able to help people complete their census forms. To access this support, you can book an appointment by phone on 0330 222 3455 or visit: Help with the census .

If you have questions about the census, there is an online help hub , as well as a national Census Support Centre: 0800 141 2021, where you can also get help with completing your form.

Places available on Chichester Wellbeing's weight management course

Chichester Wellbeing's free weight management and exercise course, Weigh Better Life, returns from the week commencing 19 April for 12 weeks. Weigh Better Life takes a holistic approach to weight loss, exercise and general wellbeing to ensure lasting changes for life. The course is aimed at sustainable weight loss and exercise habits, rather than a diet, and the approach is rooted in nutrition and science and delivered by a trained nutritionist. The course is FREE for residents of Chichester District with a BMI of between 25 and 40, and spaces are limited. You can find out more about the course, in this video . To secure a place, email: info@chichesterwellbeing.org.uk.

Stay up to date with other council news

Keep up to date on all the latest council news by visiting our Latest News page. Here, you can find:

  • news on how we'll be offering extra support to help improve property standards and reduce excess cold in the district;
  • information about how we will be applying for grant funding to help protect coastal homes as part of the council's Beach Management Plan;
  • the announcement that the Chichester Community Development Trust will be creating a health and wellbeing hub thanks to funding released by Chichester District Council;
  • an update on how the Season of Culture 2022 partnership project to celebrate arts and culture across the district is moving ahead with the appointment of a dedicated project manager;
  • this week's District Dispatch column from the Leader, and
  • previous issues of our newsletter that you may have missed.

National news

Coronavirus testing for homecare workers

The Government has updated the guidance setting out how homecare agencies in England can order regular tests for their homecare (domiciliary care) staff. The update includes a guide to registering test kits for homecare workers. For more information, homecare agencies can sign up to Department for Health and Social Care’s webinars .

Businesses encouraged to register for workplace testing

Over 48,000 businesses have now registered their interest in the Government's free workplace testing programme, which uses rapid lateral flow tests that can give a result in 30 minutes. Businesses are encouraged to register by 31 March, even if they're not yet open or are not able to start using the tests straight away. Businesses can register at: Workplace coronavirus tests .

New analysis of lateral flow tests

The Government has published new analysis showing that lateral flow tests have a specificity - a measure of how good the test is at detecting true negative cases - of at least 99.9% when used in the community. NHS Test and Trace has conducted the analysis of rapid testing using data from community testing, rapid testing in educational settings and asymptomatic test sites.

Extensions to residential and commercial evictions ban

The Government has announced an extension to the ban on bailiff enforced evictions for residential tenants , in all but the most serious circumstances, until at least 31 May. The requirement for landlords to provide six-month notice periods to residential tenants before they evict will also be extended until at least 31 May. The Government has also confirmed that the ban on commercial evictions will be extended for a further three months to 30 June.

In line with this, the Government has updated the guidance for landlords and tenants in the private and social rented sectors.

UK transition news and support fund

Smaller businesses can apply for grants of up to £2,000 to help them adapt to new customs and tax rules when trading with the EU. Small and medium sized businesses that trade solely with the EU, and are therefore new to importing and exporting processes, are encouraged to apply for the grants. To be eligible, businesses must import or export goods between Great Britain and the EU, or move goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Separately, the Government has set out a new timetable for introducing import border control processes . It will now introduce full border control processes on 1 January 2022, six months later than originally planned, to provide businesses with further time to prepare for changes at the border and minimise disruption.

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As the situation around coronavirus changes, it's important that people across our district have the most up-to-date information possible. Please encourage your friends and family to sign up to this newsletter so that we can all be prepared and play our part in the fight against the virus.