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District Dispatch - 21 December 2022

As we approach Christmas, please check in on those who are living alone, or do not have any family. Christmas is meant to be a time of joy, but for many people it can be a very lonely time.

District dispatch 1

If you are someone who feels isolated, you may want to sign up to Age UK's free telephone friendship service (opens new window).They offer two different free friendship services - one matches over 60s with a friendly volunteer for a weekly chat, while they also offer a 24 hour helpline service, where people can call for a chat, day or night - whatever the reason. There are also many churches across the district that are offering Christmas dinner for anyone who is on their own and would like some company.

I would like to say a huge thank you to Grace Church and the Trussell Trust Foodbank for delivering festive gift boxes to those residents in our short stay accommodation. Families across the area have been donating Christmas boxes full of treats, such as Christmas puddings, mince pies, biscuits, sweets and Christmas crackers. We hope that this will put a big smile on the faces of the families benefitting from the boxes. Thank you to everyone involved in this initiative.

Our own staff are also supporting the Chichester District Foodbank's reverse advent calendar initiative, by donating goods each week. The foodbank needs your help more than ever and so if you are able to donate food and goods, please visit Chichester District Foodbank's donating webpage (opens new window). They are looking for items such as tinned meat, washing up liquid, ready-made sauces, hot chocolate, sponge puddings, rice pudding, and kitchen roll. The foodbank is also looking for volunteers to help with its vital work. If you are interested and want to find out more, please visit their volunteering webpage (opens new window).

Recently, the weather has become much colder. Due to this, we wanted to make you aware of the organisations supporting the 'warm welcome' scheme. The mission of the initiative is to support organisations to open their doors and provide a warm welcome for those struggling to heat their homes this winter. You can find a full list of places and their opening times by entering your postcode on the warm welcome 'find a space' webpage (opens new window). In our area, a number of organisations are supporting this initiative including: the Young People's Shop on South Street, Chichester; Chichester Cathedral; Bell Tower Youth Drop-In; Revelation Family Church, Chichester; Chichester Festival Theatre; Grace Church, Chichester; Chichester Baptist Church; St Peter & St Mary Fishbourne Church; Dementia Support, Tangmere; St John's Church in Southbourne; Southbourne Library; Witterings Library; The Meeting Place, Westbourne; Selsey Library; Midhurst Library; and Petworth Library. Thanks go to all of these organisations for offering this support to our communities.

This is also a good opportunity for me to remind you of the support available through our 'Supporting You' campaign. We understand how challenging things are for people at the moment and so we have provided information on help with finances; household bills; housing; health and wellbeing, as well as the support available for local businesses. Please also don't forget that we also have our 'Supporting You' team who are available to support those who are struggling with the cost of living. The five-strong team of specialist, trained advisors are working alongside services across the council to help people access a wide range of assistance. You can get in touch with them by visiting our Supporting You webpages; calling 01243 534860; or by emailing supportingyou@chichester.gov.uk

Finally, please be aware that our council offices will close on Friday 23 December at 2pm and will reopen on Tuesday 3 January. For any district council related emergency, please call our out of hours number on 01243 785339. Our car parks out of hours service can also be reached on 01243 534734.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!

Best Wishes

Cllr Eileen Lintill

Leader of Chichester District Council