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District Dispatch - 26 September 2023

You may be unaware that as a council we run a Choose Work service. This is a fantastic service that supports residents who are currently out of work and who live in the district. Our dedicated team offer individual support and advice to assist with personal and professional development.

Councillor Tracie Bangert, Cabinet Member for Communities and Wellbeing

As part of this, they run mentoring and coaching in one-to-one sessions; workshops and events to help people feel more positive about their future. Sue and Lucy who run the service are so friendly and supportive and they are making a huge difference to people's lives — offering direct support and helping to connect people with other useful groups and services. In many cases, this support has helped people to overcome their anxieties and build friendships and support networks.

They have also just relaunched the popular 'Technology Doesn't Byte' course, which provides residents with the chance to improve their computer skills and help them adjust to an increasingly digital world. By offering practical training, this course will help people progress in their lives and move into or towards employment by improving their IT skills. These practical sessions provide an opportunity to gain hands-on experience using a range of IT applications in a friendly environment, while the small group size allows the course to accommodate the needs and goals of each person. People can find out more about the service by visiting the Choose Work web page; by emailing; or by phoning 01243 534889.

Since taking on my role as Cabinet Member for Communities and Wellbeing I have loved meeting so many charities and groups across the district that are helping to transform people's lives. In the past month, I have visited the Parents and Carers Support Organisation play scheme at Fordwater School with our Chairperson, Cllr Clare Apel. PACSO offers play and social opportunities to children and young people aged 0-25 with any kind of additional need/disability. These clubs and plays days provide much needed respite and provide activities that the whole family can enjoy together. This is the most incredible charity that supports over 500 children - most of whom are in our district. You can find out more by visiting the PASCO website (opens new window)

I also attended an Alzheimer's awareness event in Chichester, which was offering support to families and individuals affected by this dreadful disease. Globally, dementia is one of the biggest challenges we face, with nearly 50 million people living with dementia worldwide. This is why events such as these are so important — to make sure that people are accessing vital support. The Alzheimer's Society provide a dementia support line on 0333 150 3456 for those who are affected by dementia or worried about a diagnosis. It was also World Alzheimer's Day on 21 September and so it is really timely to talk about this and highlight the support that is available.

With the current cost-of-living crisis we are also hugely thankful for the amount of community groups and food banks that are assisting those most in need. I attended the Bourne Food Bank recently and saw first-hand the difference it was making in my own local community. As a council we are working closely with the food banks. Our Supporting You team often attend the food banks to offer additional support. If you are struggling, please don't suffer in silence. Our Supporting You team can offer a range of support from income maximisation through to debt and budgeting advice. They can also put you in touch with other agencies. Our aim is to support individuals out of their financial difficulties and get them on an even keel and give them the tools to help prevent the situation happening again in future. We've helped people to access food, benefits and even white goods. If you would like to find out more, please visit our Supporting You web page or call 01243 534860.


Best Wishes

Cllr Tracie Bangert

Cabinet Member for Communities and Wellbeing at Chichester District Council