District Dispatch - 24 January 2022
England's Plan B coronavirus measures are to end from Thursday, with mandatory face coverings in public places and Covid-19 passports no longer required. The advice for people to work from home has also already been dropped.
However, it's important that we all continue to take steps to keep the virus at bay, including hand washing, ventilating rooms, taking regular lateral flow tests and self-isolating if we have a positive result or experience symptoms — and for those who are unvaccinated to come forward to get their jabs.
Last week, more than 50 walk-in vaccination sessions took place across Sussex, in order to make it as easy as possible for people to receive their vaccination. You can find the latest list of walk-in sessions at Sussex Health and Care Partnership.
Our NHS colleagues have also been offering walk-in vaccination services at their hospital sites, including St Richard's Hospital in Chichester. The hospital currently has a vaccination bus in the car park by the main outpatients building, which is open from 11am to 4pm. This service has been confirmed until February. If you'd like more information, you can email: email@example.com or call the vaccine enquiry line on: 0800 433 4545 (open 9am - 4pm, Monday to Friday).
Last week, we launched a new wellbeing assessment tool to help those who are struggling to pay their council tax bills. Residents whose council tax payments are overdue will receive a text message inviting them to complete a TellJo wellbeing survey. This will help us understand what is preventing them from being able to pay and identify ways to help them. From the results, we will be able to identify if they need debt or benefit advice, or if they are eligible for discounts or support that they were unaware of.
Housing advice and discretionary housing payments are available, and we are also able to provide additional discretionary council tax support because of Covid-19 to those who qualify. We know that many households are really struggling at the moment and so this is an additional tool to help us to easily signpost customers to the support they need at the earliest opportunity. If you are struggling financially, please get in touch. We have a Help With Finances webpage which lists the support that is available and how you can access it.
I'm also pleased to tell you that we will shortly be launching a campaign to highlight the range of home energy efficiency measures that you can take, to both help you save money and protect the environment. Generating renewable energy in your own home and making it as energy efficient as possible are two of the biggest things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint. Even small DIY measures, such as fitting a hot water cylinder with an insulation jacket, can save you £20 a year on your heating bill and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 150kg. You can find more tips and advice on reducing your carbon footprint on our climate change webpage.
I'm also pleased to tell you that there are a range of grants available to help you to insulate your home and make sure that it has an efficient heating system, and there will be more launched throughout the year. The easiest way to find out what is available and to see if you are eligible is to contact our delivery partner Arun and Chichester Citizens Advice online or by phone on: 01243 974063.
We have been progressing with many climate change projects across the council and we will be telling you more about these over the coming months. In particular, I would like to thank all of the residents, organisations and community groups that are helping us to plant over 8,000 trees across the district. The initiative is part of a £2.5 million pilot project with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and we are one of several councils taking part across the country. You can find out more about this on our Chichester District tree scheme webpage.
Cllr Eileen Lintill
Leader of Chichester District Council