It was wonderful to experience the fantastic atmosphere as visitors enjoyed the entertainment. The feedback we received from the many businesses involved was incredibly positive. It's still so important that we support our local businesses following the difficult few years we've all had, so please continue to shop and spend locally to make the most of the wonderful and unique products our district businesses have to offer.

You may remember that last year we introduced a pilot scheme to enable people within a trial area to recycle their unwanted textiles, broken small electrical items and used coffee pods. The free kerbside collection trial, which is available to 75% of households in the district, has received a great response and we've completed over 4,400 collections and recycled over 11 tonnes of material already!

I'm pleased to tell you that following feedback from residents, we're changing the way we collect the items so that people in the trial area will now book their free collection quickly and easily on our website. We've also increased the frequency of collections from monthly to fortnightly, and people won't need to request a special bag for textiles and small electrical items anymore either — the items just need to be tied up securely in a standard plastic carrier bag, keeping textiles and small electricals separate.

Used coffee pod collections, delivered in partnership with Podback, will also now be bookable online. People can book a one-off collection or regular fortnightly collections. Because plastic and aluminium pods must be kept separate and distinguishable, you'll still need to request bags through the Podback website to use this service.

We want to make recycling at home as easy as possible for people. Making collections bookable will be more convenient for residents and will make for a better and more efficient service. To see if you're in the trial area and to book a collection, please visit our Textiles and Electrical Recycling page or our Podback page. Although this is still a pilot, the aim is to monitor and review how things are going to see whether this service could be rolled out to more of the district in the future.

I also wanted to talk about safe and easy ways to pay your bills with us. It's really important that our customers can pay for their council services safely and conveniently. This is why from 1 November, we will no longer be taking cheques. They take longer to process and can get lost in the mail, which means your service may be delayed or not delivered at all. Moving away from cheque payments lessens the risk of fraud and has the added benefit of keeping council tax low. There are lots of safer and easier ways to pay your bills — simply visit our Apply, Report, Pay page or call: 01243 534880.

As part of our work to help tackle the effects of climate change in our area, we recently secured further funding to enable residents to improve the energy efficiency of their homes and install insulation and low carbon heating measures. We're working with delivery partner, Agility Eco, who are currently contacting eligible homeowners in the district to let them know that they can apply for a grant to pay for things like air source heat pumps, insulation and solar panels.

If you are interested in making energy efficiency improvements to your home, or if you are struggling with your energy bills at the moment, don't forget that you can contact Arun and Chichester Citizens Advice on 01243 974063 or visit  Arun and Chichester Citizens Advice . More tips on how to save money while also doing your bit in the fight against climate change, can be found on our Climate change page, where you can also find out about the different ways in which the council is taking steps to protect our environment.

Best Wishes

Cllr Eileen Lintill

Leader of Chichester District Council