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District Dispatch - 30 March 2023

On Thursday 30 March, it will have been two weeks since the hotel fire at The Angel Inn in Midhurst.

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Since that time, we have been working with our partners at West Sussex County Council, South Downs National Park Authority and Midhurst Town Council, to support the businesses and residents in the town.

The majority of businesses along North Street, which were not directly impacted by the fire, are open and can be accessed on foot. These businesses need our help more than ever and so please do visit the town and shop locally wherever possible. All of our car parks are open and fully accessible to those visiting the town and we are offering free parking in all of our Midhurst car parks until the end of 16 April 2023 to support local businesses and residents. Updates are being issued regularly on the situation and so for the very latest news, please visit our social media sites or visit our latest news webpage.

This week, I also want to highlight our social prescribing service, which is delivered in partnership with the GP practices in the district. Many things that affect our health can't be treated by doctors or medicine alone, such as loneliness, debt or stress. Social prescribing connects people to local services and support in their community. It is an opportunity to talk through some of the non-medical issues in your life, which may be having an adverse impact on your health and wellbeing.

We employ eight Social Prescribers, who are based in GP surgeries across the district. You can be referred by your GP or through our self-referral form on our social prescribers webpage. During appointments you can discuss ways to improve how you feel and find out about how you can connect to the practical and emotional support available in your community.

We can also make sure that you access support from other organisations or teams within the council on issues such as: money, debt or benefits advice; support getting into work or finding voluntary opportunities; caring for someone and needing a break and some extra help; changes in your home environment or support making a lifestyle change; or, to find more regular company or activities in your community. Whatever your challenge, our Social Prescribers are here to talk it through and help you to form a plan.

Once we have received your referral, one of our Social Prescribers will be in touch with you to introduce themselves. They will the arrange a suitable time with you to talk through the service and discuss what matters most to you. They can then signpost you to other services, or they can provide up to six appointments to support you to make a change.

We also offer a service for those who are aged between 13 and 19, called Chichester Youth Connections. 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, find out more by visiting our youth connections page. If you, or someone you know would benefit from either of these services, please do get in touch.

Finally, please don't forget we are running a free event for district homeowners looking to save money by making their homes more energy efficient. The event will take place at Chichester College on 30 March 2023 from 6pm until 8.30pm. The event has been organised in direct response to residents' feedback and will show people how they can reduce their carbon footprint and save money by implementing energy efficiency and renewable energy measures in their homes. The event is free to attend and there is no need to book a place.


Best wishes

Diane Shepherd

Chief Executive, Chichester District Council