District Dispatch - 26 December 2023
2023 has been a busy year for the council - with the elections in May seeing a new administration and a new group of councillors. As we reach the end of another year, it's good to look back and see what has been achieved, as well as look forward.
Supporting our communities is a major priority for us. We are spending £1.7 million of funding on improvements to the district through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and the Rural England Prosperity Fund. This has enabled us to provide grants to local community and business projects and fund a variety of initiatives ourselves. It's not too late to apply, through the but you only have until 3 Jan!
One of our initiatives is helping to support our high streets and night-time economy. This year, we have held numerous events across the district, including the light show; cross, market; and more; summer street party; city sounds and culture spark - all of which have had a positive impact increasing business in our retail outlets, cafes and restaurants. Many of these events and more will take place in 2024!
Earlier in the year, the council reopened its St James Industrial Estate after undergoing a £6 million redevelopment. This is already providing local businesses with first class accommodation and encouraging more to move into the area.
The cost-of-living crisis has continued to make life challenging for many people across the district. This is why our invaluable Supporting You Team are playing such an important role. They work with services across the council to help people access a range of assistance including financial help to pay bills; help with housing; and health and wellbeing support.
We have moved forward with our work to help tackle climate change. We've completed the first stage of our comprehensive climate education programme, giving staff and councillors the ability to further address climate change in their work and communities. This has led to staff pledging changes to their everyday activities, which could amount to a reduction of around 12 tonnes of carbon — the equivalent of two return flights to Australia!
Education is a crucial tool in our fight against climate change. The more conversations we have that help us understand the causes and impacts of this issue, the more empowered and motivated we feel to make the changes necessary to reduce its impacts. So, our progress with this new carbon literacy training project is a positive milestone that will enable our staff and councillors to further integrate climate considerations into the council's day-to-day work. It is one of over 60 actions outlined in the council's Climate Emergency Action Plan.
One of the biggest ways to reduce our carbon footprint — and save money at the same time — is to make our homes as energy efficient as possible. Throughout the year we have been highlighting the range of different schemes available, for more information visit our Chichester District 'home energy efficiency' advice.
Our 'Tree Chichester District' scheme has also continued to go from strength to strength. Since the initiative was launched, it has seen nearly 25,000 trees planted across the district through 175 individual projects. This has benefited our district in so many ways, including improving biodiversity and enhancing the local landscape for community enjoyment.
This year, the scheme was extended thanks to a £120,000 funding boost from the Shared Outcomes Fund. As part of this fund, we've launched a new grant scheme to help people plant trees and hedgerows in priority areas across the Chichester District with the aim of better connecting woodland habitats. It's not too late to apply, visit our Chichester District Tree Scheme page or email email@example.com, but you only have until 8 January.
These are just a few of the projects delivered this year.
Thank you for your support and we look forward to building on this work with you in 2024. Wishing you a very Happy New Year!
Cllr Adrian Moss
Leader of Chichester District Council