At this week's Full Council meeting, councillors approved an investment of £300,000 to deliver the new initiative, which will initially be run as a two-year pilot, with a review after six months.

The new 'one-stop shop' service will be delivered by a specialist team of trained advisors who will be able to extensively support people with a range of issues by understanding their individual situation. The team will help people access support through the council, such as financial help to pay bills, help with housing, and health and wellbeing support.

The service will also help people access help from partner organisations, such as Arun and Chichester Citizens Advice, Arun and Chichester Food Partnership and the Community Hub, for debt and energy advice, food support and employment.

"With the spiralling cost of living, the number of households needing help and support is continuing to grow," says Councillor Peter Wilding, Cabinet Member for Finance at Chichester District Council. "Whether someone is struggling to pay bills, feels isolated, or is concerned about rising energy costs, the council and its partners are here to help.

"A top priority for us is to make sure that people can easily access the support that is available to them. That is why we are creating a specialist team to help residents tackle a range of difficult and challenging issues at once so that we can help make the process as easy and stress-free as possible for them. This initiative will help our officers to be able to provide the level of all-around support that people need, and a helping hand through this process.

"This new service will also form part of the council's Supporting You campaign, which is due to be launched in September in partnership with the Chichester Observer and Midhurst and Petworth Observer. The campaign aims to highlight the range of support available from both the council and its partner organisations. If you haven't already, make sure you take a look at , where you can find a 'Supporting You' leaflet, that highlights a number of different schemes that may help you."

The new holistic support service is due to be launched later this year.

Date of Release: 20 July 2022

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