We have been in touch with local charities who have already started collecting donations, as well as food and clothing. I know how generous our residents are, and many people have been asking how they can help. Children on the Edge Sanctuary in Chichester , and, the  British Red Cross are just some of those who are involved in the response. We also know that some of our local businesses, such as The Village Shop & Team Room in Compton, have also been collecting items. Their goods were collected last Thursday by an incredible volunteer who was driving to Poland to drop off supplies for those affected.  The Government has also announced that it will match pound for pound, up to £20 million, donated by the public to the Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal. You can find out more about this and make donations on the  Disaster Emergency Committee website.

As things stand, British nationals and Ukrainian people settled in the UK will be able to bring extended family members into the UK. The Government is also looking to launch a scheme by which UK companies and citizens can sponsor individual Ukrainians to come to the UK. We are waiting to hear more regarding the Government's approach and are ready to offer our support. We will keep you updated on this. We will also support West Sussex County Council if a resettlement scheme is introduced. I have also asked our officers to purchase a Ukrainian flag for us to display outside our building to show our support for the Ukrainian people. I also know how difficult it must be trying to explain this situation to children and grandchildren when they see the devastating images on TV. Save the Children has produced a really useful article , which may help you with this:

I'm pleased to tell you that we are launching £71,000 worth of Enabling Grants from April for small businesses in the district to help them grow and develop. Businesses will be able to apply for up to 50% of the total cost of growth projects, up to a maximum of £2,000. Smaller grants up to a maximum of £500 will be available for start-up businesses, without the need for match funding from the applicant. Further information of eligibility criteria will be available nearer the time and businesses are encouraged to sign up to the council's E-Biz newsletter to ensure they receive the launch announcements. You can sign up for this at: Business and economy.

The Government has announced that most council taxpayers living in properties in tax bands A to D will receive a one-off payment of £150 to support households with rising energy bills. Customers who pay their council tax by direct debit will get this support quicker and are likely to receive the rebate in their bank account in April. If you are not already paying your council tax by direct debit, you can set this up on our website here: My Account. Local authorities are due to receive discretionary funding to help those who are not eligible for the rebate and who need help with their energy bills. We're still waiting to hear more about this and will keep our web pages updated: £150 energy bills rebate 2022.

Finally, I know I have mentioned this a few times, but this is my last chance to remind you that our Cross, Market & More event will be returning to Chichester on Sunday 13 March. The markets will take place in North and East Street between 10am and 4pm. Our previous event in November was a huge success, with people filling the streets and supporting our local businesses. It is vital that we all continue to support our local businesses and choose local wherever we can. This is one of many ways we are showing our support.

Best Wishes

 

Cllr Eileen Lintill

Leader of Chichester District Council