The five-strong team of specialist, trained advisors will be working alongside services across the council to help people access a wide range of assistance including financial help to pay bills, help with housing, and health and wellbeing support.

The team has been put together in direct response to the cost of living crisis. In July councillors agreed to invest £300,000 in the pilot service over the next two years, with a review planned after six months.

"One of the things we know is that, when people approach the council on a particular matter, it often becomes clear that in fact there are a number of related issues involving more than one council service," explains Councillor Peter Wilding, the council's Cabinet Member for Finance. "We understand that for people experiencing these complex situations, it can be incredibly frustrating to have to deal with each different service, and so our Supporting You team will be here to assess what sort of help they need, and act as a bridge between different council services so that each person receives individual, tailored help that addresses all of their needs.

"The team can also help signpost people to our other partner organisations when they feel this is appropriate, such as Arun and Chichester Citizens Advice, Arun and Chichester Food Partnership and the Community Hub.

"The team have only been in post for a week or so, and so there has understandably been a lot of focus on training and learning about the council and its different services. As individuals, each Supporting You team member brings a wealth of experience to the council and already they have been carrying out work relating to the energy cost rebates and have also attended a community event at Swanfield Community Hall, organised by the A2Dominion housing association.

"With spiralling household costs, we know that even more people are going to need support so we're delighted to have the team on board. We know that they are going to make a huge difference to people's lives in these difficult times."

This new service also forms part of the council's Supporting You campaign, which was launched in September in partnership with the Chichester Observer and Midhurst and Petworth Observer. The campaign highlights the range of support available from both the council and its partner organisations.

Resources include the council's 'Supporting You' leaflet, that highlights a number of different schemes that can help those who are finding it tough in the current climate.

People can contact the Supporting You team by emailing or by calling 01243 534860.

Date of Release: 15 November 2022                                                              

Reference: 4173