Those on low incomes may be eligible for up to £10,000 — covering 100% of the cost of the improvements. It's really easy to apply, you just need to answer a few simple questions on the Simple Energy Advice website or you can call 0800 444202. If you are interested, then please look into this as soon as you can because you must redeem the voucher and ensure improvements are completed by 31 March 2021. The finer details can be found on the Government's Green Homes Grant website .

You may remember that we launched a £500,000 discretionary grants scheme in August to help local community groups and businesses recover from the impact of the pandemic, as part of our COVID-19 recovery plan. Many businesses and community groups have already benefitted from this support. However, we have now extended the deadline for applications until 23 October. This could be earlier if all of the funds are allocated. We are urging community groups and businesses to apply as soon as possible, to make sure that they access this help. You can find out more by visiting COVID-19 recovery grants.

As a council we are backing the Government's 'Here for Culture' campaign. Living in the Chichester District, we are lucky to be able to visit so many wonderful arts, culture and heritage organisations. From stately homes, to museums, gardens, galleries and theatres, there is something for everyone. Our local arts and heritage organisations need your support more than ever. They have all been working hard to make their premises safe, ready to welcome you back. Many of these organisations are charities, so there are lots of ways you can support them, from making a simple donation to enjoying their cafes and gift shops. You can find out more about places to visit around the district at Visit Chichester or look out for our posts on our social media channels. We will also be including a feature on this within the next issue of our initiatives magazine, which will be out next month, when we will be asking you to Shop Local, Visit Local and Support Local.

While on the subject of arts and heritage, I'm really pleased to tell you that our Novium Museum has been awarded a 'Travellers Choice 2020' award on TripAdvisor. This is awarded when venues receive great reviews and are ranked within the top 10% of venues nationally. They have enjoyed welcoming lots of visitors since reopening. They have also extended their 'Mystery Warrior - The North Bersted Man' exhibition until 17 April 2021, which is not to be missed! All we ask is that you book in advance and make sure that you wear a face covering during your visit. You can find out more about the safety measures that the museum has introduced and book your visit at The Novium Museum - reopening . The museum has revised its opening hours for the winter season and is now open from Tuesday to Friday, 10am to 3pm and Saturday 10am to 4pm.

Finally, please continue to play your part in keeping the Chichester District safe. As I write this, cases of coronavirus in our area are still very low in comparison with other areas of the country, but cases are increasing nationally. As things stand, the current alert level in West Sussex is yellow. This is because cases have increased compared to previous weeks and so we all need to be more vigilant. We need to continue to follow Government guidance by maintaining social distancing, wearing face coverings where advised, limiting contact between households and following the 'rule of six'. You can find out the latest figures for our area by visiting West Sussex County Council's COVID-19 weekly data .  

I'd also encourage anyone who is eligible, to take up the free flu vaccine this winter. Those suffering with both coronavirus and flu are more at risk of severe illness and so it's really important you take up the vaccine, particularly if you are in a high risk group.

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Please take care and stay safe.

Best Wishes

 

Cllr Eileen Lintill

Leader of Chichester District Council