Since opening its doors, our award-winning museum has established itself as a much-loved visitor attraction in the heart of Chichester's city centre. There have been numerous highlights, with headline exhibitions including 'Tim Peake: An Extraordinary Journey', 'Mystery Warrior: The North Bersted Man'; and most recently 'Brick Wonders', all of which have attracted tens of thousands of visitors of all ages. On Saturday 9 July, the museum will celebrate with a 10th birthday party. Historical characters will bring the museum to life through the day and there will be lots of activities for everyone to enjoy. Book your free ticket to the party via the Chichester box office.

The museum has also launched a new exhibition which highlights the huge range of unrivalled cultural experiences that the district has to offer. 'The Art of Chichester: 60 Years of Creativity' celebrates the district's cultural heritage, from its world class venues, including Chichester Festival Theatre, Pallant House Gallery and Chichester Cathedral, to smaller community groups and local creatives. Open until 25 February 2023, the free exhibition tells the story of Chichester's arts, culture and heritage from 1962 — when Chichester Festival Theatre opened — to the present day.

I would like to thank the curator, David Elliot, for his work on this fascinating exhibition. Through his research he discovered that several local organisations would be reaching milestone anniversaries this year. This inspired the wider season of culture taking place across the district this summer, Culture Spark 2022. This has brought our communities together to celebrate the rich culture and heritage of the district. The recent 'Carnival of Lights' parade was a huge success with people lining the streets down to the canal. You can find the full programme on The Great Sussex Way Culture Spark events calendar.

I'm also pleased to tell you that our Summer Street Party is back on Sunday 17 July in Chichester's city centre. It will be running as an all-day event for the very first time, showcasing city centre businesses, as well as food and entertainment from across the district. The event is also being held in conjunction with the popular Cross, Market & More street market, celebrating local designers and producers. The event, which will be held between 10am and 4pm, will feature music from various local artists; street food and drinks; in-store events, competitions, and giveaways; children's entertainment; interactive challenges from Goodwood, the Scouts and Everyone Active; and market stalls from local businesses.

Events such as these are designed to support our local businesses and are in response to your feedback. As you are aware, supporting local businesses is a top priority for us and so I'm also pleased to tell you that our Pop-up shop initiative is now welcoming applications from budding entrepreneurs and start-up businesses at any time throughout the year. This scheme enables small businesses to trade in a high street location without the commitment or cost of a longer-term lease. To find out more please visit our Business advice and support page.

You may also remember that at the beginning of the year we launched the ShopAppy initiative. The ShopAppy online platform gives local high street shops and businesses the chance to be part of a local business community; establish an online presence if they don't already have one; and offer a range of services including 'click and collect' and home deliveries. The council is paying for local businesses to join the platform until March 2023, using a government grant. I'm pleased to tell you that the Chichester and East Wittering platforms are now live, and they will be closely followed by Selsey, Midhurst and Petworth over the coming months. Please take a look and help us to support our local businesses at  ShopAppy for Chichester and ShopAppy for East Wittering.

Best Wishes

Eileen Lintill

Leader of Chichester District Council