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District Dispatch - 22 August 2023

Last year, the district was recognised as the 'most generous' area in the country, due to the help and support it gave Ukrainian refugees.

Councillor Adrian Moss, Leader of Chichester District Council

It was nationally reported that Chichester has taken in the highest number of Ukrainian refugees per capita in the country. We know how generous our residents are - but the whole country recognised it when the national media highlighted the support our area had offered the Ukrainian people.

We have also seen first-hand the level of support that you have been providing to those fleeing war. From taking people into your homes, through to helping them to find jobs and even helping to settle their children into local schools - we want to thank you.

The Government has set aside £500 million of capital funding to support local authorities to provide more accommodation for people who have arrived in the UK under the Ukraine Family Scheme; the Homes for Ukraine Scheme; and the Afghan Resettlement Scheme. It also aims to provide a new and permanent supply of accommodation for local authorities to help address local housing and homelessness pressures.

As an area that has shown significant support for Ukrainian families, I'm pleased to say that we have been awarded over £2 million of this - which will help to provide accommodation to support Ukraine and Afghan families. In the long term, it will be used to provide a new, permanent supply of accommodation for local communities to address future housing and homelessness pressures.

This is a huge opportunity for our area, because not only does it allow us to further support those families who have been affected by the horrific wars in Ukraine and Afghanistan, but it also means that in the long term that there is additional housing available for our local residents.

As you may be aware, we don't own any housing stock and so we are very pleased to be working with two local housing associations, The Hyde Group and Vivid Housing, who are topping up the Government funding to enable us to deliver this housing.

It's also important to highlight the role of local voluntary organisations and the support that they have been providing. Further grant funding is also being used to support these groups with their integration and wellbeing. This will mean that those coming into the district can be supported so that they feel welcomed and less isolated.

What's shocking is that over 500 days have now passed since Russia's initial invasion of Ukraine. It is vital that we all continue to support those who have been affected in what we believe is the most generous and welcoming place in the country.

Across our district there are many voluntary groups who are always keen to hear from anyone who is willing to offer their help. Voluntary Action Arun and Chichester (VAAC) is one of the many groups that highlight the volunteering opportunities that are available. They shared the majority of the grant funding we received with voluntary organisations in the district, who provided a range of support, including counselling, translation services and Ukrainian food events.

From supporting refugees through to helping lonely and vulnerable residents - there are lots of volunteering opportunities. VAAC have also now launched a brand-new app to help people find their volunteer role. To download, you simply search for 'Get Volunteering' on the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. You can also find out more about them on the VAAC website (opens new window).

Volunteering also provides the chance to make new friends; increase your confidence; learn new skills - and most importantly, make a difference. We work very closely with groups like this and recognise the important role they make within our district.

Best Wishes

Cllr Adrian Moss

Leader of Chichester District Council