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The Community Hub aims to support the most vulnerable residents in our communities. You can contact the Community Hub if you, or someone you know, need help, or if you want to volunteer your services in these difficult times. This is available seven days a week and staff are on hand to respond to enquiries from 8am-8pm. The team is contacting the most vulnerable to tell them how to get help. The best way to contact the hub is online; if you have access go to www.westsussex.gov.uk/covid19communityhub. A dedicated telephone helpline is also available for residents who are unable to go online: 033 022 27980. We are trying to keep the resources available through the hub for those who are most vulnerable, so if you do have support in place already, such as from family or friends, then please continue to use their support.
Since the coronavirus crisis began, people from across our district have been pulling together and demonstrating a real sense of community, and that’s something we should all be incredibly proud of. Unfortunately, at times such as this, we also see a rise in the exploitation of vulnerable people, and the unease, uncertainty and anxiety that many of us are feeling at this time. This is why we are encouraging people to be on their guard. Thankfully, the majority of the support that is in place across the district is delivered by established community and support groups, but we all need to be cautious, especially with online, email and phone scams. We have included advice and guidance on this topic within our new community guide, which can be found at www.chichester.gov.uk/helpyourneighbour. This also includes important telephone numbers, email address and web addresses for key organisations and support groups across the district. We are hoping that this will provide extra support and reassurance to both residents and community groups at this difficult time.
A direct link to the community guide is herehttps://www.chichester.gov.uk/media/33362/Supporting-your-local-communities-guide---Coronavirus-COVID-19/pdf/Community_guide_8.4.20_web.pdf.
We have also designed a downloadable ‘help your neighbours’ flyer and provided further advice to those who want to help local neighbours and friends at https://www.chichester.gov.uk/helpyourneighbour
Post office scheme for vulnerable people
Post Office is making two of its products – ‘Payout Now’ and ‘Fast PACE’ (a pre-authorised cheque encashment service) available to all UK’s banks, building societies and credit unions so they can be offered to any of their customers who are most in need of access to cash simply and speedily during this national emergency.
The improved services mean that self-isolating or vulnerable citizens affected by the coronavirus pandemic can now contact their financial institution to see if they choose to offer these and arrange to withdraw cash quickly from their normal accounts through any local Post Office branch, with the help of a trusted friend, family member, carer or local support worker.
‘Payout Now’ is the Post Office’s one time voucher service that is available to all banks, building societies and credit unions to enable them to send a barcode voucher to their customers via text, email or in the post and which can be exchanged for cash in any Post Office branch. To find out more, please visit http://corporate.postoffice.co.uk/our-media-centre#/pressreleases/post-office-makes-access-to-cash-products-available-faster-to-help-self-isolating-individuals-during-coronavirus-pandemic-2990603
Waste and recycling service
Our household waste and recycling services have been operating as normal. We have redeployed staff from other areas of the council to assist with collections, as well as recruiting new staff. You can be assured that we are all working very hard to support our local communities and to keep our services running. We would also like to thank those residents who have been coming out to clap our workers and leave messages of thanks for them – our crews have been really touched by this. We’re also advising people to keep hold of old clothes until the lockdown measures are lifted, because it has been brought to our attention that the textile banks, which are operated by supermarkets and charities, are not currently being emptied. We’ve also seen an increase in fly tipping, so if you are getting rid of DIY waste, please either keep hold of it until the lockdown ends or make sure you use a registered waste carrier to remove it.
We are continuing to receive reports of bonfires being lit across the district. We’re sending out further reminders to encourage people to consider the health of local residents with respiratory problems and not light fires if this can be at all avoided. https://www.chichester.gov.uk/article/33909/Council-warns-against-bonfires-during-coronavirus-outbreak
Support for businesses
We have also been busy supporting businesses, including contacting those who are eligible for government assistance to make them aware of the support that is available. The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a number of support measures, including grants for businesses in receipt of ‘Small Business Rate Relief’ and ‘Rural Rate Relief’, as well as financial help for the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors in premises with a rateable value below £51,000. We’re encouraging businesses within these categories to apply for financial support on our website at www.chichester.gov.uk/businessratesmarch2020 We have already started issuing grants, but we want to make sure that all of those businesses that are eligible make sure that they get their application in as soon as possible. In total, we will receive and issue up to £37 million in government grant funding for businesses in the Chichester District. We are also keen to make businesses aware that we have received reports of scams that claim to be linked to the government grant scheme. Please be aware that these grants can only be issued by us. If you need any help, please contact us directly by emailing email@example.com
Self-employment income support scheme
HMRC has published how it works out total income and trading profits for the Self-employment Income Support Scheme. Please note, it is not possible to make a claim yet.
Council tax reduction scheme
More information is now available about council tax reductions available in Chichester District.
Every working age household who receives a Council Tax Reduction in 2020/21 will receive an additional reduction to their council tax bill. This means:
they will have a reduction to their Council Tax bill by a further £150 (note: this only applies if there is a balance of £150 or more left to pay during 2020/2
that anyone who has less than £150 to pay on their Council Tax balance e.g. £100 left will receive £100 not the £150.
If anyone is concerned about being able to pay council tax bills due to the impact of the coronavirus, please let us know as soon as possible. In addition to the normal options that we offer, such as our council tax reduction scheme, we have also been suggesting that people can pay their council tax in instalments over twelve months or even spread them between June 2020 and March 2021. We are trying to do all we can to assist people through these very challenging times. If you, or someone you know, would like to find out more about this, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or if you do not have online access, please call us on 01243 785166. Please consider using our online services wherever possible. This will keep essential lines free for those without access to the internet. You can find out more here https://www.chichester.gov.uk/article/33911/Council-tax-help-for-residents-in-the-Chichester-District
My Sisters' House Women's Centre
My Sisters’ House Women’s Centre has extended its domestic abuse helplines to include 8-10pm in the evenings which includes live chat also via their website: www.mysistershouse.info– clicking on the speech bubble on left hand side at the bottom