District Dispatch - 29 March 2022
The pandemic and the rise in the cost of living has impacted on all of us in many ways. This is why it is more important than ever that people are aware of the support that is available to them. Whether someone is struggling to pay bills, feels isolated; or is concerned about rising energy costs, the council and its partners are here to help.
We have produced a new leaflet called Supporting You, which aims to highlight key information. This includes support for the vulnerable; help with finances; and energy tips. You can find a copy of it here: Supporting You Team.
If you are struggling to pay your bills or rent, it is worth visiting Supporting You Team, which highlights the range of financial support on offer. Whether you need help to pay a council tax bill or are struggling to pay your rent or need debt advice, there are various ways we can help.
If you're on a low income, we would encourage you to apply for Council Tax Reduction. People receiving Universal Credit are not automatically signed up for this, so you can make sure you're accessing this help by visiting: Housing benefit & council tax reduction. If you receive Council Tax Reduction and are on Universal Credit you can also apply for extra support through the Discretionary Council Tax Reduction scheme by visiting Benefit forms. If you do not receive these benefits and are worried about paying your council tax, then please contact our team to discuss your options by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call us on 01243 534509, although please be aware that when lines are busy you may have to wait longer than usual.
It is also worth being aware that there is a free benefits calculator at Entitled to - benefits calculator, which provides you with an estimate of your entitlement to benefits, tax credits and Universal Credit. The Government also runs a money advice service which can also help you find financial support.
We are also all seeing a rise in our energy costs. We have developed a series of money saving tips on how to reduce your energy usage at: Climate change , and you may have noticed that we have been highlighting these on our social media channels. This year, most council taxpayers living in properties in bands A to D will receive a one-off £150 payment to help with energy bills. There's also support for people who aren't eligible for the rebate but need help with energy costs. You can find out more about this at: Supporting You Team.
We are also running a Chichester Warm Homes scheme which helps residents on a low income who are living in a property with poor energy efficiency. It can contribute towards the installation of an efficient heating system, as well as loft and wall insulation. Those on a low income can also access the Government's Warm Home Discount, which could save you £140 off your electricity bill. You can find out more about this at: Warm Home Discount Scheme and you can access help with applying for this from Arun and Chichester Citizens Advice by calling 01243 974063 or visiting: Arun and Chichester Citizens Advice - Energy 2021.
We're also continuing to support West Sussex County Council with the Community Hub. This important service is available to those who are struggling to access food, medicine and essential supplies. The team can be contacted on 033 022 27980 or by visiting: Community Hub (COVID-19). If you live alone and feel isolated please also remember that we offer Chichester Wellbeing and Social Prescribing services that are both available to help. They can be reached online at: Chichester Wellbeing or by calling 01243 521041.
We understand how difficult things are for many people at the moment. So, if you are finding things challenging, please do ask for help — the council and its partners are here to support you.
Cllr Eileen Lintill
Leader of Chichester District Council