This time of year can be a struggle for those who are vulnerable or who have mobility problems and live alone. As a council, we are encouraging everyone to keep an eye out for anyone who might be alone or need some extra support. Just a friendly face can make a huge difference, but it's also about making sure that people are warm and safe. This is especially important at this time of year when the temperature drops and we are at risk of severe weather.

One of the schemes that we have introduced to help keep people warm and well is the Chichester Warm Homes Initiative . This scheme is for residents on low income living in a property with poor energy efficiency and could contribute towards the installation of an efficient heating system, as well as loft and wall insulation. If you know someone who may benefit from this, please encourage them to get in touch with our delivery partners by visiting their website or calling 01243 974063. There are a range of grants available to help both householders and tenants to make their homes more energy efficient and comfortable and so it is worth getting in touch with our partners at Arun and Chichester Citizens' Advice to find out more.

It's also worth visiting our 'help with household bills' advice within our 'Supporting You' campaign. We highlight a range of ways you can access help or save money on your bills and so it is well worth taking a look. It's also worth reading our 'Supporting You' eight page pull out, which the Observer series has kindly included in this week's edition. This highlights the range of support that is available to those who may be finding things challenging at the moment - including help with finances, bills, housing, health and wellbeing, and support for businesses. The pull-out is worth keeping and referring to over the months ahead. We'd like to thank the Observer for partnering with us on this very important campaign.

I'm also pleased to tell you that we have also launched our 'Countdown to Christmas' campaign to encourage people to support our local businesses and to highlight the range of activities, markets and events that are taking place. As part of the campaign, we will be again running special parking offers over the festive season. During December, when you select two hours on the MiPermit app, you will get a third free in all council-owned car parks across the district, except Avenue de Chartres and Westgate car parks. We will also be offering free parking after 4pm in the Avenue de Chartres car park in Chichester for late night shopping in Chichester on 15 and 22 December. You can also download personalised gift tags and wrapping paper designs for the city and towns of the district that you can print at home. 

It's also worth mentioning that we have teamed up with St Wilfrid's Hospice Christmas Tree Recycling scheme to offer a simple, green and charitable way to dispose of your real Christmas tree. By signing up to the scheme, the hospice's team of volunteers will collect your tree and recycle it for you in January 2023, in return for a donation to the hospice. If you are not signed up to our Garden Recycling Service, this is a great way to ensure that your Christmas tree is recycled, while also supporting your local hospice. Please also note that our waste and recycling dates will alter slightly over the festive period. You can also check your bin days.

Best Wishes

Cllr Eileen Lintill

Leader of Chichester District Council