During these times we encourage you to look out for vulnerable friends and family. The very young, the elderly and the seriously ill are the groups who are particularly at risk of health problems. We always share weather alerts and advice on our website, and these can always be found on our latest news page.

I know that many people are struggling with the rise in the cost of living and we want to make sure that people are accessing the help that is available. We are currently developing a campaign with the Observer series called 'Supporting You', which aims to highlight the range of support that is available not just from us, but from our partner organisations. We'll be telling you much more about this over the weeks ahead.

As part of this support, I am pleased to tell you that over £4 million has been issued in total to nearly 30,000 households in the district, as part of the government's energy rebate scheme. We are now urging the 4,867 households that have yet to claim their £150 energy rebate to come forward. Most householders in Council Tax band A to D properties qualify for this rebate. If you are not sure which band your property is in you can find it on your latest council tax bill or  check it on the Government's Council Tax band page . It's really easy to apply for and can be carried out online . We understand how important this support is to residents and have gone above and beyond to issue these payments as quickly as possible and to get the message out. Those who live in households in council tax bands E to H and currently access benefits are also encouraged to apply for support under the council's discretionary energy rebate scheme using the same web address.

I am also really pleased to tell you that residents in the district are being offered a rare opportunity to secure an affordable new home in Loxwood. Housing provider Stonewater has built 50 high-quality, affordable and energy efficient houses and flats at Pond Copse Lane. It is anticipated that the homes will be available from September, either for rent, or to buy, through one of the government's home ownership schemes. Residents are encouraged to register their interest early. Of these, 30 are affordable rental properties that will be allocated through the council's housing register. Applicants with a connection to the Parish of Loxwood will be given priority for these properties.

Thirteen 3 bedroom homes are also available for shared ownership, and 7 rent to buy properties are also available. As you know, helping people to get on the housing ladder and access affordable housing is a top priority for us and so we are really excited about this new development and what it offers. Residents wanting to apply for the rental properties must be on the council's housing register before they can apply for a home to rent. Those who are interested in buying can contact Phillip Mann Estate Agent on 01273 517517. To find out more about the housing options that are available, please visit our finding a home page.

Finally, I just want to remind you that we're currently giving away prizes to people who are signed up to our monthly email newsletter, initiatives+. All subscribers will automatically be entered to win prizes kindly donated by Everyone Active and Chichester Festival Theatre — starting with a year's fitness membership at Westgate Leisure Centre. The new-look newsletter contains the latest updates from across the district, including events, community news and details of new schemes that the council is running. Enter and sign up to receive the newsletter.

Best Wishes

Cllr Eileen Lintill

Leader of Chichester District Council