In this section, you will find some frequently asked questions and answers for our community services, which may be particularly helpful at this time.

We have created a new Community Guide, which includes key information, contacts, and guidance all in one place. The aim of the guide is to inform and assist people, and to ensure their safety as well as the safety of any people they may be supporting. You can find this guide at: www.chichester.gov.uk/helpyourneighbour

It is now more important than ever that we reach out to the people around us, and to support our Community Guide, we are launching a new mini-campaign to encourage residents in the Chichester District to look out for their neighbours. This could include offering to pick up shopping or medication, checking in with a friendly phone call, or making sure they can access the help that they need. Details of this are included within the guide and on the website referenced above, along with important advice about how to stay safe while volunteering. On our campaign web page (www.chichester.gov.uk/helpyourneighbour), you will find a downloadable flyer which you can print off and post through the doors of neighbours to offer support and to give advice on safe ways to accept help.

Q. I can't leave the house and don't know anyone that can get me essential items and medication. Is there any help for me?

A. The volunteer hub, which is being managed by West Sussex County Council, is now up and running. This will co-ordinate support for vulnerable people without any support networks and those wanting to volunteer. West Sussex County Council  have created an electronic form on their website www.westsussex.gov.uk/leisure-recreation-and-community/supporting-local-communities/community-hub-covid-19/#overview or people can call 033022 27980.

Only those that need support should register. Those who have support networks in place - such as friends, family and neighbours should continue using the support they have. This means that we can focus our efforts on those most in need.

 

Q. What do I do if I am worried about a vulnerable adult who may be being abused, neglected or exploited?

A. Please report this to Adult Social Care

You can also call 999 if it's an emergency.
 

Q. Who can I contact if I or someone I know is the victim of domestic abuse? 

A. Domestic abuse or violence is a crime and should be reported to the police. Call 999 if it's an emergency or you or the person you know is in immediate danger. There are also other organisations who can offer help and support including the National Domestic Abuse helpline. You can also report domestic abuse .

For more advice and support, please visit our community safety and crime website.

 

Q: What should I do if I'm worried about a child being sexually exploited or abused?

A: The government wants to ensure that the public and professionals are aware of the following child sexual abuse resources and helplines. Support is available through the Lucy Faithfull Foundation and includes:

  • Stop It Now! (0808 1000 900) -- a confidential helpline for anyone who needs advice on child sexual abuse risk, whether they are concerned about the behaviour of an adult or someone under-18. They also have a secure messaging service at https://contactus.stopitnow.org.uk/, and further information and advice on their website: https://www.stopitnow.org.uk/

 

  • The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command Centre (CEOP) have launched an #OnlineSafetyAtHome campaign to promote their resources on preventing all forms of online child sexual abuse. You can find resources for all age groups and for those concerned about sexting at: https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/

 

 

Q. Can I help by volunteering in my community?

A. Our district is renowned for its generosity and its incredible volunteer groups. The role of volunteers at this time is invaluable. We are working with West Sussex County Council and Voluntary Action Arun and Chichester. If you wish to get involved in voluntary activities, please contact Voluntary Action Arun and Chichester (VAAC) . More information on further initiatives will follow soon.

You may also find some more useful information in our new Community Guide, which includes key information, contacts, and guidance all in one place. You can find out more about this at www.chichester.gov.uk/helpyourneighbour

 

Q.  How can I stay safe when accepting help from others?

A. Here is soome advice if you will be receiving help from volunteers:

• If you are receiving voluntary help do not share financial details like credit/debit card numbers or personal information.

• If someone you don't know calls at your home, always ask for ID and always ensure you are comfortable sharing details like your phone number or address.

• Only provide information on a need to know basis and if you have seen ID. Do not feel pressured into providing information.

• If you have doubts about those who are approaching you, and are concerned, it is advised that you don't engage, and report serious suspicious behaviour to the police.

You may also find some more useful information in our new Community Guide, which includes key information, contacts, and guidance all in one place. You can find out more about this at www.chichester.gov.uk/helpyourneighbour

 

Q. Is the community warden service still operating and how do I contact my area warden? 

A. Our community warden service is still operating.Please note they are not an emergency service and you must call 999 in an emergency.
 

Q. How do I report anti-social behaviour?

A. Our Community Safety Officer, Piers Taylor, and Anti-social Behaviour Officer, Marshall Abbott, are still working but are limiting face-to-face meetings. They are available as follows:

Community Safety Officer: ptaylor@chichester.gov.uk or call 01243 53 34802 
Anti-social Behaviour Officer: Marshall.Abbott@sussex.pnn.police.uk or call 07712 539578


Q. How can my family stay safe online?

A.
The Government has published new advice to help people, particularly children, stay safe online during the coronavirus outbreak. 

The guidance gives information about reviewing security and safety settings, checking facts, guarding against disinformation, being vigilant against fraud and scams, and managing the amount of time spent online. 

This advice can be found at: www.gov.uk/guidance/covid-19-staying-safe-online
 

Q. Can I still get Wellbeing information and advice?

A. If people are well and not exhibiting symptoms, we will see people on a one-to-one basis while maintaining the advised two-metre social distance. We are offering telephone appointments if people decide they do not want face-to-face meetings. This all depends on Westgate Leisure Centre remaining open but we will review the situation if it changes. You can also find information on our Wellbeing website .
 

Q. Will your Wellbeing classes, Move it and Lose it, Pre-diabetes and Well-balanced be running?

A. All of these classes have been cancelled for the time being. We will be contacting people to offer one-to-one telephone support instead. 
 

Q. Can the Social Prescribers still see clients?

A. The GP surgeries are not allowing unnecessary visits to their practices, so our Social Prescribing Team are not allowed to enter these premises. The team are still taking referrals but will contact people by phone. They are also looking at how the local community is responding, as well as providing support and ensuring that clients are aware of this support. 
 

Q. Will the Social Prescribers still do home visits?

A. No. All staff have been asked to avoid home visits.
 

Q. Can we still refer people to Choose Work?

A. The current programme of workshops for Choose Work clients has been cancelled, but our Choose Work coordinators are still working with clients one-to-one using telephone and email where appropriate.

 

Q. Where can groups go for advice on how to support individuals/households who are self-isolating?

A. Groups should contact Voluntary Action Arun and Chichester (VAAC)  who can provide advice and guidance, but also signpost volunteers from their area.

The volunteer hub, which is being managed by West Sussex County Council, is now up and running. This will co-ordinate support for vulnerable people without any support networks and those wanting to volunteer. West Sussex County Council  have created an electronic form on their website www.westsussex.gov.uk/leisure-recreation-and-community/supporting-local-communities/community-hub-covid-19/#overview or people can call 033022 27980. Only those that need support should register. Those who have support networks in place - such as friends, family and neighbours should continue using the support they have. This means that we can focus our efforts on those most in need.

 

Q. What advice and support is there for charities and community organisations?

A. Advice and information

Support is available for local community groups and organisations from local charity Voluntary Action Arun and Chichester (VAAC) . They continue to offer 1-1 support to member organisations remotely during this period and are also producing a range of helpful, tailored local information.

There are many national sources of information and advice that might be helpful depending on the type of organisation you are. Some of the more generalist sources include:

The Government has provided advice for charities  who are struggling to provide their services as a result of the coronavirus. There is also funding information  The  Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme  may also be relevant to some charities.

Support with fundraising

Listed below are some examples of funding opportunities (accurate at the time collating) that indicate the range of sources that might be available to support local organisations. Some funders have changed the focus of their support in response to the current issues that communities are facing. Voluntary Action Arun and Chichester (VAAC) are continuing to provide local groups with fundraising advice and their regular funding news bulletin which will include the most up to date information. They will endeavour to keep up-to-date with developments including when there are more details of the recently announced national funding support for frontline charities.

Funding for community groups

The discretionary grants pot for 2019/20 is already fully allocated.  While grants will be available again from April, we anticipate that community led responses will focus on coordinating local volunteers and will not require significant financial assistance. 

We will continue to communicate with parish councils about the process for New Homes Bonus. While applications won't be considered until September, the months ahead remain a significant period for considering suitable projects and developing proposals.

 

Q.  What should communities do about their preparations for VE75?

A. A number of parishes have applied to us for small grants for more permanent commemorations such as benches and tree planting.  These projects are not time limited and the parish councils will be reimbursed when they have been completed. Other parishes have been planning street parties or similar events for the Bank Holiday 8-10 May 2020.

Some parishes have already decided to cancel or postpone their events and we have spoken with those parishes that have already secured funding individually. Options could include an alternative commemoration or postponing them to August 2020, which would be VJ75 (Victory Over Japan).  We are maintaining a list of planned events on our  web page, which we will regularly update.
 

Q. Are you still issuing vouchers for Chichester Foodbank?

A. At the moment we are no longer able to issue vouchers for clients who need to visit the Chichester Foodbank. Instead, our staff are emailing details of people who need help to the foodbank and then advising clients to make an appointment with them directly.
 

Q. How do I find out about supermarket shopping times for the elderly?

A. Voluntary Action Arun and Chichester (VAAC) have details on their Facebook page about dedicated shopping times for the different supermarkets.
 

Q. Are your home energy advisors still carrying out home visits?

A. Not at this time. Support will be available for vulnerable residents who are in exceptional need. This support is for low income vulnerable households with broken heating systems and low income households struggling to pay for their energy at home.

The West Sussex Emergency Heater Scheme is currently still operating if any clients find themselves without a working heating system, and who have no other forms of temporary heating. You will need to be referred for this help.

We are also offering Safer Warm Homes Grants and the Chichester Warm Homes Initiative

 

Q. What do I do if I am concerned about someone's mental health at this time?

A. There is a range of information from Chichester Community Network  including resources and links and our Chichester Wellbeing  service is also able to help. Our Wellbeing advisors are able to offer phone consultations.

 

Q. I need to apply for EU Settled Status. Can I still do this?

A. While EU Settled Status applications continue to be processed, during this challenging time they will take longer than usual. In addition, in line with the latest Public Health England advice some of our support services and application routes have temporarily changed. Please find an outline of these changes below:

  • The Settlement Resolution Centre will no longer be answering telephone calls.  It will, however, continue to respond to email enquiries and provide a call back function when required. Email enquiries can be made via the online contact form: https://eu-settled-status-enquiries.service.gov.uk/start. Emails from support organisations will be prioritised where possible.  

  • ID document scanner locations are following all the latest Public Health England advice to protect staff and the decision has been made to suspend them at this time.  

  • The postal route for submitting Identity evidence is currently suspended. Documents cannot be accepted by post at this time, but all documents already sent will be returned as quickly as possible. Applications can still be made online using the EU Exit ID Document check app

  • 57 grant funded voluntary and community sector organisations — some services have been suspended but organisations are seeking to provide support in other ways, in line with social distancing guidance, for example via telephone and online. Please check individual organisations for further details: www.gov.uk/help-eu-settlement-scheme

For the latest information on the scheme please visit www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families


Q. How can I avoid coronavirus related scams?

A. Members of the public are being advised to be vigilant of coronavirus related scams. These might take the form of pensions transfers, high-return investment opportunities or health insurance supplements.

Amongst other precautions, the public should:

  • not give out personal details (bank details, address, existing insurance/pensions/investment details)
  • beware of adverts on social media channels and paid for/sponsored adverts online
  • be wary of promised returns that sound too good to be true
  • get the company's name and establish their credentials using the Financial Conduct Authority's Financial Services Register

Further advice is available here: www.fca.org.uk/scamsmart

The FCA's Financial Services Register can be found here: www.fca.org.uk/firms/financial-services-register

If a member of the public suspects that they may have been contacted in what could be a scam, they can call Action Fraud straight away on 0300 123 2040 or make a complaint to the insolvency service here: www.gov.uk/guidance/make-a-complaint-to-the-insolvency-service

 

Q. Can I offer to walk my neighbour's dog if they are unable to?

A. Yes, the RSPCA has issued advice for people wishing to support key workers, or those who are self-isolating or shielding, by taking their dogs out for a walk. You can find more information at: www.rspca.org.uk/coronavirus/dogwalking

Q. I am struggling to pay my fuel bills. Can I access help?

A. Vulnerable people who meet specific financial criteria are able to access emergency fuel vouchers, funded by Your Energy Sussex and delivered by Citizens Advice across West Sussex. These are available to people who currently use pre-payment metres.

To be eligible a person needs to be facing financial crisis and therefore either:

  • On a means-tested benefit or awaiting a benefit decision, or;

  • Limited income and no recourse to public funds, or;

  • Has no other way of obtaining funds, e.g. funds needed to pay rent arrears to avoid homelessness.

And must be vulnerable for one of the following reasons:

  • Has a disability, or;

  • Is a carer to a child* or disabled person, or;

  • Is of pension age and frail, or;

  • Has *recently been housed following homelessness, or;

  • Recently released from an institution such as prison or hospital, or;

  • At risk of becoming homeless, or;

  • Is fleeing domestic abuse; or

  • Is shielding or self-isolating as defined by Government.

For further advice and to access the scheme, please contact your local Citizens Advice .