I am pleased that applications for our new business and community grants schemes are now open. These schemes are a key part of our council's recovery plan and I urge businesses and community groups across the district to find out if they are eligible. They can check eligibility and apply on our website.

Our Pop Up Shop Initiative is now back up and running, with the current tenants Dylan's Ice Cream and Coco Baby open at their premises in Crane Street, Chichester. Unfortunately the first pop up  launched just before the lockdown started, but I am pleased that they are now open for the next few weeks and I would encourage you to visit and support them. The Pop Up Shop Initiative offers short-term opportunities for fledgling businesses who want to pilot a high street location, and the next round of leases will be open soon. So, if you know someone who would be interested, please let them know and encourage them to keep an eye out as we will be promoting the next round of opportunities in the autumn.

We have more positive economic news, this time in Petworth where over the next couple of months we will have some new businesses starting up in our council-owned premises in The Old Bakery. Meanwhile, other businesses are expanding and taking on larger units in the arcade, which shows that there is confidence in the local economy. These businesses are hoping to be open by the end of October.

You may not be aware, but as part of the recovery phase the Government recently changed legislation to temporarily allow district and borough councils to issue pavement licences to businesses who want to place tables and chairs outside. This is to help boost business now that the hospitality sector has opened up again. I am very pleased to say that we have so far issued three licences to restaurants in Chichester. I hope this has gone some way to support them and enable them to serve more customers.

It was recently announced that since the Eat Out to Help Out scheme was launched, 35 million meals have been claimed for. We only have a few days of the scheme left, so if you haven't managed to do so yet, do consider supporting a local eatery that is taking part and play your part in helping them on the road to recovery. You can find out which local businesses are taking part at Eat Out to Help Out scheme .

I really hope that the scheme has been a support to our local businesses and I also urge people to continue to support their local eateries once this scheme ends, as this will do a lot to help secure jobs and protect the local economy.

Following the summer break, our council meetings will resume from September. As was the case before the holiday period, these meetings will continue to take place online via our website, and can be viewed in real time by going to View council meetings

As we are now in the last week of the school holidays, I want to take this opportunity to remind you that The Novium Museum and Chichester Tourist Information Centre is open again from Tuesday to Saturday, 11am - 4pm. Admission remains free of charge, with donations gratefully accepted, and tickets can be pre-booked online on The Novium Museum website . If you are looking for something to do this week, then the museum has a wealth of fascinating exhibitions and displays, including its headline Mystery Warrior exhibition which tells the amazing story of the North Bersted Man. Because of the pandemic, this exhibition has now been extended until 17 April 2021. The museum also has some wonderful virtual exhibitions, which you can find on The Novium Museum website .

I also want to say huge congratulations to the museum team after The Novium Museum was one of just 18 applicants to receive an Art Fund Respond and Reimagine grant. This will be used to develop a series of innovative virtual field trips for schools.

Finally, as we head into the autumn and our children and grandchildren start back at school, we don't know what will happen regarding coronavirus — things are still very uncertain. What is certain though, is that we all need to continue following the latest Government advice. This includes wearing face coverings where it is obligatory, washing our hands properly, and following social distancing rules. We should also be isolating ourselves and getting tested if we have any coronavirus symptoms. By doing this and being sensible with our interactions with other people, we can help protect ourselves, our families and our communities.

Councillor Eileen Lintill

Leader, Chichester District Council