In this roundup


Local updates

  • Don't miss Chichester's Summer Street Party — 26 August
  • Solar panel scheme relaunches in the Chichester District
  • Residents urged to check their voter registration details
  • Accessing Chichester District Council services
  • EU Settlement Scheme support
  • Support for the vulnerable
  • Help with housing payments and bills
  • Free training for independent retail businesses
  • New 'Ghost Walk' at The Novium Museum
  • A few places remaining for Chichester Wellbeing's weight management course

Coronavirus updates

  • Westgate Leisure Centre vaccination service
  • Update to self-isolation rules
  • Vaccinations for under 18s
  • How to stay safe if you are pregnant
  • Update on plans for autumn boosters
  • NHS Covid-19 app updated to notify fewer contacts to isolate
  • NHS Covid Pass
  • Weekly reports, R value and growth rate
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Local Updates

 

Don't miss Chichester's Summer Street Party — 26 August


Our popular Summer Street Party is back this Thursday (26 August) with a wealth of family and children's entertainment, performance and music, and delicious local food vendors, as well as in-store activities and special offers from many of Chichester's high-street businesses. From 3pm until 7pm, the event is a great way to experience everything Chichester has to offer. You can find out more on our  Facebook Events page.

If you're looking for other events and activities taking place across the district, don't forget to check our online What's On calendar

Solar panel scheme relaunches in the Chichester District

The successful 'Solar Together' scheme is back! Working alongside West Sussex County Council and iChoosr, we will be helping district homeowners and both small to medium-sized businesses to access affordable solar panels, which can reduce carbon emissions and save money on energy bills. We will be contacting households that are thought to be suitable for this group-buying scheme by letter from mid-September, inviting them to take part. However, anyone who is interested in joining the scheme can register their interest by visiting Solar Together 's website before 28 September. It's free to register and there is no obligation to proceed with an installation. You can find out more about how the scheme works by reading our Solar Together article on our website.

Residents urged to check their voter registration details


Each year the council checks the electoral register to make sure that any resident who is eligible to vote can do so — this is called the annual canvass. Our Elections Team will soon be in touch with everyone on the register to make sure that all the details held are correct. As part of this process, they will be sending a mixture of letter and email notifications to registered voters. When residents receive this, they are urged to carefully check all of the details and let the council know if there are any changes they need to make by following the instructions. For more information about this process, please visit our annual canvass article on our website.

Accessing Chichester District Council services

Using our website continues to be the safest, quickest and most convenient way of accessing our services, including settling council tax or business rates bills, applying for parking permits, and signing up to services such as bulky waste collections or the Garden Recycling scheme. You can access all of these services and many more on our website. If you can't find what you're looking for online, our friendly customer services team can help, and you can call them on: 01243 785166. If you need to visit our Customer Services Centre at East Pallant House, please continue to wear a face covering, unless exempt.


EU Settlement Scheme support


The Government has advised that while the deadline to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme has passed for most people, applicants in or outside the UK who have been affected by restrictions during the pandemic can still apply if:

  • they have a later deadline — for example, they are joining a family member in the UK who was living in the UK by 31 December 2020, or
  • they have 'reasonable grounds' for being unable to apply by 30 June 2021 — for example they are suffering from an illness or the victim of domestic abuse

If this applies to you, or someone you know, you can find more help and information on the Government's  Help with the EU settlement scheme  webpage. You can also access support from Arun and Chichester Citizens Advice by calling free on: 0808 2787969 (Mon to Fri 9am - 4:30pm). Access to interpreters is also available.

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 in these difficult times. If you have support in place, please continue to use it. You can contact the Community Hub on 033 022 27980 or online at the Community Hub 's website.

Freetraining for independent retail businesses

Independent retail businesses in the district are invited to access a free online training package. There are ten different modules available, each presented by a specialist expert. We have put together a short video  highlighting the range of topics covered and how to access the training. The training can be accessed directly by going to the West Sussex Retail Hub  website. Although tailored to independent retailers, other businesses may also find some of the topics useful.

Help with housing payments and bills

The coronavirus outbreak has affected everyone and many people are experiencing financial difficulties as a result, but help is available and we are urging residents to contact us before things get more serious, so that we can provide support and advice. People can find more information and useful links on our Help with Finances webpage, which is a dedicated web page highlighting the financial support on offer, including: help with paying rent, help accessing support if you are eligible for the self-isolation support scheme, and for a referral for help with food, energy bills and essentials. Or you can contact our team by emailing benefits@chichester.gov.uk

 

New 'Ghost Walk' at The Novium Museum


Join The Novium Museum and The Theatre of Dark Encounters on Saturday 28 August in Priory Park, Chichester, for a totally unique immersive Ghost Walk. You will be led around the park in the shadow of the North Walls, before entering The Guildhall and being summoned to appear before the judge who will hear the trial of the Hawkhurst Gang — the murderous and infamous smuggling gang that worked in the area in the 18th Century. The Priory will come alive from tales of the past, sightings of ghostly figures and stories of murder and intrigue. Will the judge be lenient? Will you escape the authority of the assizes? Join us and find out. For more information, and to book visit the The Novium's Ghost Walk  webpage.

Don't forget to visit the museum's Mystery Warrior exhibition, which runs up 13 November, to explore the secrets of the most elaborately equipped Iron Age warrior grave ever found in England. Find out more on the  Novium's Mystery Warrior  webpage.
 

A few places remaining for Chichester Wellbeing's weight management course


Chichester Wellbeing's weight management course, Weigh Better Life, returns from the week commencing 13 September for 12 weeks. The course takes a holistic approach to weight loss, exercise and general wellbeing to ensure it has lasting changes for life. Unlike other courses, it 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 Chichester District residents who are over the age of 18 and with a BMI of 25-40. Sessions will be run at a variety of venues, including Chichester, Midhurst, Selsey and virtually on MS Teams. Spaces are extremely limited. To find out more information about securing a place please email: wbl@chichester.gov.uk. To find out more, you can watch this quick Weigh Better Life video .

Coronavirus news

Even though restrictions have been lifted, coronavirus is still with us and it's important that we continue to protect ourselves and others. People are reminded to take regular coronavirus tests, which can be ordered for free through West Sussex County Council's testing service  or the government's test ordering website ; wear a face covering in crowded places; give each other space; enjoy the fresh air if possible; and get double vaccinated against the virus, with findings from a recent study indicating that fully vaccinated people were three times less likely to test positive for Covid-19 than unvaccinated people.


Westgate Leisure Centre vaccination service


Did you know that Westgate Leisure Centre in Chichester is operating a walk-in vaccination clinic every single day with no appointment needed? The service is running between 8.30am and 7pm every day of the week, offering first and second doses for Pfizer and second doses for AstraZeneca. You can find confirmation of the sessions and timings on the Sussex Health and Care website .

If you'd like to book an appointment in advance, visit   The NHS vaccine booking website  or call: 119. Our NHS colleagues have put together a helpful guide on what to expect at your vaccination, as well as a short video on the benefits of having the vaccine .

Update to self-isolation rules

On 16 August, self-isolation rules changed  so that people who are double jabbed or aged under 18 are no longer legally required to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of a positive Covid-19 case.

Instead, double jabbed individuals and under 18s who are identified as close contacts by NHS Test and Trace are now advised to take a PCR test as soon as possible to check if they have the virus and for variants of concern — they will not be required to self-isolate while they wait for the results of the PCR test. Double jabbed people identified as close contacts will also be advised to consider wearing a face covering in enclosed spaces and limit contact with other people, especially with anyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable.

Vaccinations for under 18s


The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised that 16 and 17 year olds should be offered one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine: . This group are now being invited by letter to receive their vaccination, and more on this can be found on the NHS News annoucement page .

The updated JCVI guidance also advises that children and young people aged 12 years and over who have specific underlying health conditions (that put them at risk of serious Covid-19), or who are household contacts of persons (adults or children) who are immunosuppressed, should be offered a vaccination. It is expected that this should be offered before the new school year. The NHS are making arrangements for this group and ask that families wait to be contacted.

Quarantine and testing if you've been in an amber list country

On 19 August, the travel guidance on quarantine and testing for people who have been in an amber list country was updated to include additional information on what to do if someone is notified by NHS Test and Trace that they have been in contact with a positive Covid-19 case; you can find more informaiton by reading the Government's travel announcement .

The guidance also sets out the rules around quarantine exemptions for fully vaccinated people. Quarantine compliance checks, including NHS Test and Trace phone calls and in-person visits, will still be conducted on individuals who are not exempt. People who have a duty to quarantine at home following international travel must travel directly to the place they are staying and remain in quarantine for 10 days, with day one starting the day after arrival. They must also take two PCR tests on day two and day eight after they arrive in England. More information can be found on The Government's checks to make sure you're following quarantine webpage .
 

How to stay safe if you are pregnant

The Cabinet Office has updated the guidance on staying safe and preventing the spread of coronavirus to include information for pregnant people. The guidance sets out that people who are pregnant should, as a minimum, follow the same guidance as everyone else. For people who are more than 27 weeks pregnant, or are pregnant and have an underlying health condition that puts them at a greater risk of severe illness from Covid-19, it recommends they consider limiting close contact with people they do not normally meet with regularly.

Public Health England are also encouraging pregnant people to Get their Covid-19 vaccine. Though uncommon, severe illness due to Covid-19 is more likely in later pregnancy. Further advice is also available on the NHS's Pregnancy and coronavirus  webpage.

Update on plans for autumn boosters


The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has provided interim advice on Covid-19 booster vaccinations, indicating that these should be offered in two stages from September. Our colleagues at the NHS have been working on the basis of this information, and have been making preparations to identify all of the sites where they will be able to offer vaccinations. This includes GP led vaccination services, vaccination centres, pharmacy led vaccination services and hospital hubs. More information can be found on Sussex Health and Partnership's Phase 3 update .

Further advice from the JCVI is expected over the coming weeks about how the vaccinations should be offered. This includes whether the Covid-19 and flu vaccines can be given at the same time, and which vaccines will be used.


NHS Covid-19 app updated to notify fewer contacts to isolate


Earlier this month, the Health Secretary announced changes to the NHS Covid-19 app, meaning that fewer contacts are now being advised to self-isolate following a close contact with a positive case. Previously for people who had a positive test but were asymptomatic, the app looked for close contacts five days prior to a positive test. Based on public health advice, this has now been updated to look back at contacts two days prior to a positive test. This change reduces the overall number of notifications sent by the app but does not impact the sensitivity of the app, or change the risk threshold, and will result in the same number of high-risk contacts being advised to self-isolate. More information can be found on the Government's NHS COVID-19 app update press release .

NHS Covid Pass

Anyone can now access a Covid Pass allowing them to demonstrate their Covid status, including if they have received their vaccine, their test results, or whether they have natural immunity from Covid-19. The updated guidance  reflects that proof of natural immunity shown by a positive PCR test can be used to demonstrate Covid-19 status when travelling abroad. The update also clarifies that people who have received the Novavax vaccine as part of a formally approved vaccine trial can now obtain the pass.

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  is also regularly updated. You can also look at the latest Covid-19 figures for West Sussex .

 

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