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District Dispatch - 23 March 2023

Before I start this week's District Dispatch column, I want to introduce myself. My name is Diane, and I am the Chief Executive of Chichester District Council.

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I am temporarily taking over the district dispatch column because we are now in the pre-election period when specific restrictions on communications activity are in place. This means that I will be writing this column until after the elections.

While we are talking about the elections, I just want to remind you that for the first time, you will need to show photographic ID to vote at this year's local elections on 4 May. A lot of people have been asking about this and so I thought it was worth providing a bit more detail. Accepted forms of ID include a UK, European Economic Area (EEA) or Commonwealth passport; a UK or EEA drivers' licence; and, some concessionary travel passes, such as an older person's bus pass or an Oyster 60+ card. The full list can be found on the Electoral Commission website (opens new window). Voters will be able to use expired ID if they are still recognisable from the photo. If you don't have any of the accepted forms of ID, you can apply for free photo ID on the apply for photo ID page (opens new window) or by requesting a paper application form from our Elections Team by emailing: elections@chichester.gov.uk or calling 01243 521010. Before sending this in, please remember to supply a hard copy photo or electronic photo to accompany your application. Our Elections Team will also assist you if you are unable to supply your own photo or need further help applying.

I'm really proud of what our Tree Chichester District scheme is achieving. Over 4,000 trees have been planted in the district as part of a series of tree planting projects which have been funded by our scheme. The projects, which began last November and were completed in March of this year, include five community orchards in Selsey, Chichester and Fishbourne; two community tree nurseries in West Wittering and Selsey; as well as a new mini urban forest planted in Hambrook. This work builds on a number of projects that form part of the council's Tree Chichester District scheme, which has utilised funding from HM Treasury's Shared Outcomes Fund to test different ways of increasing tree cover in rural and urban areas. Since the Tree Chichester District scheme was launched in January 2021, nearly 25,000 trees have been planted, across the district through 175 individual projects. I would like to thank everyone who has supported this scheme. You can find out more on our tree scheme page

I'm also pleased to let you know that our Five Ways to Wellbeing sessions have been running again in local schools to help pupils learn important skills which will help them maintain their happiness and wellbeing. The sessions, which have been delivered by START, in partnership with our Wellbeing Team, have been running successfully for seven years and support the mental health of Year Five primary school children. They focus on how to incorporate five positive actions in their daily lives (opens new window). You can find out more about our Wellbeing Team (opens new window) and how they can support you by visiting their page.

We also recognise the negative impact that the pandemic has had on our young people and so we also now deliver Chichester Youth Connections. This is a new service which aims to support the health and wellbeing of young people aged 13-19. It supports those who live or go to school in the district and who are looking for help with issues such as loneliness and isolation, improving self-confidence, and making connections with others. The team can also help young people find their next steps in education and employment. To find out more, please visit the Chichester Youth Connections page.

Best wishes

Diane Shepherd

Chief Executive

Chichester District Council