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District Dispatch - 17 May 2023

Making sure that people are accessing the support that is available to them is a top priority for us, which is why I want to talk about pension credit this week.

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This tops up weekly income to a guaranteed minimum level of £201.05 a week for single pensioners or £306.85 for couples. It's a tax-free payment for those who have reached pension credit qualifying age and live in Great Britain. The Government has created a pension credit calculator (opens new window) which enables you to find out how much Pension Credit someone could get without giving any personal details. Those who claim before the 19 May will also receive the cost-of-living payment, worth £301.

The Government is keen to help dispel some common misconceptions that might deter people from claiming Pension Credit. This includes making people aware that even though someone may have modest savings, retirement income or own their home, they may still be entitled to claim this. The scheme can also provide access to a range of other benefits such as help with housing costs, council tax, heating bills and for those aged 75 or over, a free TV licence.

We know that a nudge from a loved one can be a powerful motivator. If you are talking directly to friends and family of people over State Pension age, please encourage them to talk about Pension Credit and the other benefits that come with claiming it. This can help open up important conversations that could make a real difference to the lives of their loved ones. To find out more you can visit the pension credit guidance webpage (opens new window).

If you would like further advice on this, our Supporting You team is available to assist you. Their role is to enable people to access a wide range of support including income maximisation; debt advice; employment advice; budgeting support; and health and wellbeing advice. You can contact them by visiting our Supporting You team page or by emailing or calling 01243 534860. You can also find out more on our Supporting You campaign webpageThis month, we're also encouraging people to buy less and fix more with the Big Fix campaign. The Big Fix is designed to counteract throwaway culture and promote repair and reuse. A Repair Café is a meeting place where people can bring things to be repaired by volunteers in their local community. This can include things such as clothes, furniture, electricals, bikes, and toys.

Here in the Chichester District, we want to support reuse and repair as much as we can. Transition Chichester run a repair café on the fourth Friday of every month at the Earth Café from 11am until 1pm at The Guide Hall, Whyke Lane, Chichester, PO19 7US. The next one will be held on Friday 26 May. They are offering repairs to small electrical items, clothing and jewellery. You can find out more by visiting Transition Chichester's website (opens new window). Harting Climate Action Network also run a repair café. This takes place on the third Saturday of every month from 10am until 12.30pm at Harting Club, Church Lane, South Harting. The next session will take place on 20 May. Visitors are welcome and refreshments are available. So far, they have repaired 298 items in eleven months, which is fantastic! If you are interested in setting up a Repair Café in the district, then it is worth visiting Repair Cafe's website (opens new window) for tips and further information. We would also obviously love to hear about it too, so that we can help promote it.

On Wednesday 17 May, we will hold the first Full Council meeting since the election. At this meeting, the new Leader of the Council will be announced, and so they will take over this column from next week.

Best Wishes

Diane Shepherd

Chief Executive at Chichester District Council

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