The Sussex Community NHS Trust has said that staff are ready to vaccinate people with booked appointments, as well as taking walk-in appointments from 8.30am. Walk-in vaccinations for all adults, as well as 16 and 17 year olds, are also available at the new Northgate vaccination centre. In addition, the testing site which has been running in the same car park for the last few months will continue in its current location.

I'm really pleased that as a council we have been able to continue being able to support the national vaccination effort and ensure that people in and around Chichester can access a centrally located vaccination centre in the city. The site at Northgate is well located in the car park, and I would encourage everyone to attend their appointments and get their vaccinations as we head into winter.

I was also really pleased to learn this week that our Rough Sleeper Outreach Team has been nominated for an award by Sussex Police for their work in helping to keep vulnerable people safe during the pandemic. The team is up for a Divisional Commendation and they will be attending a ceremony at Arundel Castle next month. I know that they have been working on a variety of projects with our partners Stonepillow, HEART and The Four Streets Project and that their work has been crucial in helping a number of people to turn their lives around and secure long-term accommodation and support, so huge congratulations to everyone involved.

Another excellent piece of news is that in partnership with Arun District Council, we have been successful in our bid for some funding from the Energy Hub. This will help both our councils to enforce the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards in privately rented homes. You may not be aware, but in Chichester we have a significant number of properties that are classed as cold homes, where residents are at risk of  fuel poverty, which can impact their general health and wellbeing.

This is a very proactive piece of work, which will involve officers identifying privately rented properties across the district that currently do not meet the minimum energy standards and then contacting the landlords to explain their responsibilities and the work that needs to be carried out. If the work isn't done, then we will be able to carry out enforcement action. Another council that carried out a similar project had a very good response, and the number of enforcement actions that had to be taken was minimal so we are hoping for a similar result. Everything is in place so we hope to start the project within the coming weeks. The project will make a huge difference to affected residents' lives, helping improve their accommodation standards so that the cold no longer poses a risk to their health.

You may not know, but as a council, we have been working on a project to increase the amount of much-needed short stay accommodation for people facing homelessness. In the last couple of weeks, we reached a key milestone with our existing building which we are refurbishing, and three refurbished flats are now ready for use. Work is also progressing well on the new building which will provide a further 17 new flats.  This is one of several initiatives that we have introduced to tackle homelessness and I know that once completed, it will make a real long-term difference to people. Named the Freeland Close Project, it is due to be completed early next year.

Best wishes,

Councillor Eileen Lintill

Leader, Chichester District Council