As a council we are encouraging everyone to keep an eye out for anyone who might be alone or need some extra support. Just a friendly face can make a huge difference, but it's also about making sure that people are warm and safe. This is especially important at this time of year when the temperature drops and we are at risk of severe weather.

 

It's important that people know what services are available to help in these circumstances. One of the schemes that we have introduced to help keep people warm and well is the Chichester Warm Homes Initiative. This scheme is for residents on low incomes, and could contribute towards the installation of an efficient heating system, as well as loft and wall insulation. Our Home Energy Advisers also run the Wellbeing Home service and work with various organisations to identify people on low incomes who may benefit from their expertise. If you know someone who would benefit from this, please encourage them to call 01243 521041 or email info@chichesterwellbeing.org.uk

We also have a dedicated Outreach Worker who works directly with rough sleepers to try and support them back into accommodation. If you are concerned about an individual rough sleeping, please let us know by filling in the details on the Street Link website. . This referral will go directly to our Outreach Worker, who will attempt to find the individual and assess their needs. Our officer also works very closely with Stonepillow, a registered charity, which provides a lifeline for homeless people with a drop in day centre and a 24 hour hostel. The council provides an annual grant towards their work. If you want to offer support to the homeless over the Christmas period, please consider donating to charities such as Stonepillow, HEART and the Greater Change, rather than giving money directly. By supporting these charities you can be assured that the money will be used to provide the right kind of help and support needed by those who are living on the streets. By donating, volunteering, fundraising or attending one of their events, you can help them to continue their crucial work to support and empower people to recover from homelessness.

 

Our Community Wardens are also keeping an eye out for those who are on their own or feeling vulnerable. I know that two of our Wardens, Gareth and Dawn, have joined together with a small group of volunteers to make Christmas lunch for around eighty local people in Oving. These acts of kindness can make a huge difference to people who feel lonely or isolated. I know this is one of many examples where local residents are giving their time to help and support others. We are very lucky to have such wonderful volunteers across the district who make such a big difference in our local communities.

 

Christmas is also a time when we should be supporting our local businesses. I'm really pleased to tell you that lots of people have been participating in our 'Countdown to Christmas' campaign and helping to highlight what's happening on our local High Streets and across the district over the festive period. Our local shops and businesses have so much to offer and so if you still have some last minute Christmas shopping to do, please support our local businesses. The city and our towns have already enjoyed their light switch on events and many exciting activities and events are continuing to take place. Our popular free Chichester park and ride has also returned and will continue to run until Christmas Eve. You can find out more about this on our .

 

Please also be aware that some waste and recycling collection dates will change over the festive period. Please visit our waste and recycling collection page to see how this affects you. We are also working with St. Wilfred's Hospice to provide a Christmas tree recycling scheme. St. Wilfred's wonderful team of volunteers will collect your tree between 6 and 20 January in return for a donation to the hospice. They will then pass the trees to us and we will make sure that they are recycled. To register your tree to have it collected, or to find out more, please visit the St Wildred's Hospice website.

 

Finally, I want to take this opportunity to wish you all a wonderful Christmas and New Year from all of us at Chichester District Council.

 

Cllr Eileen Lintill

Leader of Chichester District Council