I am also pleased to say that our Novium Museum and Tourist Information Centre will also be reopening their doors on 18 May. You can already plan and book your free visit now by visiting: The Novium Museum - plan your visit . I know that our staff can't wait to welcome you back! They have lots planned, including their popular Chichester Roman Week in May half term, which you can find out more about here: The Novium Museum - Roman Week 2021 . It's also great news for other indoor entertainment venues and our local hotels, hostels and B&Bs which can also reopen. Everyone Active will also be reintroducing group exercise classes at our leisure centres. It truly feels as though we are heading back to some sort of normality, which I know that we are all ready for. We just need to make sure that we are continuing to wash or sanitise our hands regularly; wear face coverings in enclosed spaces; and maintain social distancing.

Although things are looking very positive, the financial effects of the past year will be with us long-term. If you are experiencing financial hardship then please contact us for advice. There is a lot of help available, and we want to reach out to people before their situation worsens and before people slide into debt or are faced with potential homelessness. There are many different circumstances affecting people: for example you may have been furloughed, or made redundant, or your household may have suffered the loss of one or both incomes. This may have caused you to fall behind with your rent or mortgage for the first time. Or, you may be a landlord with a single property which acts as your retirement pension, but you are currently not receiving any income and don't know what to do. Our benefits team can offer advice and guidance about your options and where to go for further support. You can find out more information at: Help with finances affected by coronavirus.

It's also worth being aware that if your home has low energy efficiency and your income is less than £30,000, you could be entitled to a free Government grant of up to £10,000, which can be used to upgrade your property with: solid wall insulation; loft insulation; first-time energy efficient double glazing; first-time gas central heating and air-source heat pumps; smart heating controls; and solar panels. The financial support is all part of the Government's Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery scheme to help residents save money on their energy bills and make our district's homes more environmentally friendly. We have successfully bid for more money for this scheme and the grants are available up until the end of September 2021. To make an application you can contact our delivery partner, Warmer Homes at Warmer Homes or call 0800 038 5737; or if you want help making an application please contact our Home Energy Advisor, Jo Williamson on 01243 521 041 or email jwilliamson@chichester.gov.uk.

Finally, I just want to remind anyone who is an EU citizen living in the district to remember to protect the rights they currently have, including access to healthcare, benefits and pensions,  by applying to the EU settlement scheme. This is really important because the deadline is 30 June 2021. If this applies to you, please apply by visiting: EU Settlement Scheme .

Best wishes

Cllr Eileen Lintill

Leader of Chichester District Council