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Coronavirus – Latest advice from Chichester District Council

Coronavirus – Latest advice

Wednesday 18 March

Purpose of the briefing

This briefing is to keep you updated on the evolving situation around Coronavirus (now called Covid-19) and the actions being taken in the district. This information can be shared widely. We are issuing this to all staff, members, parish councils and the Chichester MP.

Latest update

  • New guidance has been issued by the government and an update about economic measures has been announced.
  • The country is effectively on voluntary lockdown.
  • From this point, when council meetings are referred to, this does not necessarily mean face-to-face and can include virtual meetings.

Council priorities

We have been busy testing our business continuity plans.

Our focus is currently on our critical services, which are:

  • Revenues and Benefits
  • Community Support
  • Housing
  • Support to Businesses
  • Waste and Recycling Collections

It is our priority to make sure that these services continue to be delivered and so we will be asking staff from other teams to temporarily support these areas. This is so that we can meet additional demand and account for any staff who may become ill with the coronavirus within these areas. Due to this, a number of other services will not be delivered for the foreseeable future. A full list of these services will be provided within a future briefing.

Council buildings

  • The Novium Museum has been closed to the public.
  • As things stand, our customer service centre is still open, but we are discouraging people from coming in and instead want them to use online services at www.chichester.gov.uk  or if they do not have online access, then to call by phone to 01243 534734.
  • The depot is still carrying out MOTs and taxi safety checks.
  • Due to Government guidance, this week’s Farmers’ Market has been cancelled.

Support for vulnerable people

West Sussex County Council is the lead for the area’s Vulnerable People’s Plan, but we will be supporting them with this work. West Sussex County Council is creating local hubs for groups through their libraries. Those who want to offer support should email Volunteering@westsussex.gov.uk  Another option is to contact Voluntary Action Arun and Chichester www.vaac.org.uk  who can provide advice and guidance, and signpost people to volunteers in their area.

While the majority of people genuinely want to help, there are always some who will take advantage of a difficult situation.  We want people to be on their guard against those who may offer services around shopping and other support who may not be as genuine as they seem. Our advice would be to only take up offers of help from people you know, or from organisations that you are aware of and ask to check any ID.  Please also pass this advice on to others who may be a target for unscrupulous individuals to make sure that we all protect each other during these difficult times.

Issues that are currently being addressed include food poverty, social isolation, financial poverty, ways to prevent fraud against the vulnerable and mental health.

From a housing perspective, we are especially looking at support to rough sleepers and those who find themselves homeless.

More information will follow on this shortly and will be available at www.chichester.gov.uk/cornonavirus .

Support for those who are struggling financially

The Government has announced a number of measures that are in place to support employees, benefit claimants and businesses, which are listed in the following link

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-support-for-employees-benefit-claimants-and-businesses

The Government has also announced that it will be creating a hardship fund for those who are struggling financially. We are currently waiting for the guidance on this, which we hope will be out this week. As soon as we receive this information we will be communicating this with everyone. The council also has a number of schemes to help residents and businesses. You may find the following links helpful:

https://www.chichester.gov.uk/counciltaxdiscount

https://www.chichester.gov.uk/benefitforms#dhp

https://www.gov.uk/budgeting-help-benefits

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/universal-credit-advances

We are currently producing a list of support and where people can access it. This will be sent to members separately and will be placed on our website at www.chichester.gov.uk/coronavirus

Support for businesses

The Government has announced a package of support for businesses and we are waiting for further guidance on how this money will be distributed. We are currently pulling together information, including how businesses can access help. Those businesses that are eligible for business rate relief are being contacted.

We are currently producing more information on this. This will be sent to members separately and will be placed on our website at www.chichester.gov.uk/coronavirus .

Waste and Recycling Services

Our services are currently running as normal. If this changes, we will make people aware through our social media sites, website and the media.

We will also be issuing guidance on what people need to do with their waste if they are self-isolating. Personal waste (such as used tissues) and disposable cleaning cloths can be stored securely within disposable rubbish bags. These bags should be placed into another bag, tied securely and kept separate from other waste. This should be put aside for at least 72 hours before being put in your usual external household waste bin. Other household waste can be disposed of as normal.

Council committees

All of our meetings during April have been cancelled, but we are constantly reviewing this situation and will keep you informed.

As a council we have agreed that formal meetings will only take place if absolutely necessary, in accordance with guidance from the Government. We have already cancelled a number of meetings and this will be kept under review.

The Government has announced their intention to relax rules that govern formal meetings and specifically to relax the requirement for members to be physically present during a meeting to be able to vote. However, as yet, the necessary legislation has not been passed. Once the rules have been relaxed we will consider holding virtual meetings and officers are exploring systems that the council could use to facilitate such meetings.

Regular briefings

This is a fast-moving situation and we will do all we can to keep you informed. We will from now on add a time of issue to the top of these documents so you will be aware if the information has been superseded by further announcements.

How residents can help

We live in a generous compassionate district and people are keen to offer support in any way they can. We have seen a rise of groups on social media and in the community looking for ways to help.

Advice:

  • panic buying is unhelpful, please encourage people to buy only what they need.
  • please do not stockpile items such as toilet roll, this prevents everyone being able to maintain basic hygiene.
  • please support your local foodbank if you are able to.
  • check in on elderly and vulnerable neighbours, many may not have access to the internet for latest updates.
  • if you are unwell, follow Public Health England advice to stay at home to avoid spreading germs.
  • please use our online services at www.chichester.gov.uk rather than making the journey to one of our offices. If you don’t have online access, please call 01243 534734 instead.
  • we are working closely with West Sussex County Council who are co-ordinating volunteering across the district to effectively use the resources available and reach those in need. They are creating local hubs for groups through their libraries. Those who want to offer support should email Volunteering@westsussex.gov.uk  Another option is to contact Voluntary Action Arun and Chichester www.vaac.org.uk  who can provide advice and guidance, and signpost people to volunteers in their area.
  • localised community efforts are appreciated, please encourage groups to look at the advice from Public Health England about staying at home (self-isolation) https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance when offering support.
  • if any vulnerable residents are concerned about people knocking on their doors, please remind them they do not have to open the door to anyone if they don’t want to.
  • only take up offers of help from people you know, or from organisations that you are aware of and ask to check any ID.

Health advice

At present the government advice has not changed since Monday 16 March. The latest information is on www.gov.uk/cornonavirus and this link can shared with anyone asking for more information.

More advice

We will be providing frequently asked questions on our website this week and will let you know as soon as this is ready.

Coronavirus – Latest advice from Chichester District Council2020-03-31T18:06:38+01:00

Community Shelter progress…

In these challenging times we wanted to share an update on how our Community Shelter is progressing in Easebourne Park. The floor is now almost complete and the roof structure will be the next area of work. The target completion date is still set for the 9th April.

Our mature trees were also planted this week, placed to provide some shade during the summer. Next on the list will be the new picnic benches, notice board and BBQ!

 

Community Shelter progress…2020-03-19T12:14:09+00:00

Message from our District Councillor

Please see below a message from Francis Hobbs, our District Councillor:

Hello everyone. I realise these are unprecedented times and it will take a while for all the information and actions to settle as we find a new way of managing over the coming months.

I wanted to assure all those who follow me, particularly locally, that the County and District Councils are working hard to bring together plans to support all in our community in line with Government direction. There are continuous meetings and we will be given central advice and direction soon.

With things moving so fast I realise there are several local initiatives already in play with very kind residents offering support via various networking groups.

I know all my parishes, Heyshott, Lodsworth and Easebourne already have immediate plans in place to support those who cannot or should not go out to buy food and other necessities. If you feel isolated and need to be pointed in the right direction please let me know.

I am particularly conscious that cash flow in many local establishments and businesses will now be a significant issue. I would normally immediately do a round trip to check everyone is OK, but I’m sure you will understand that may be unwise. Similarly, many in the private rented sector will be feeling particularly vulnerable. Should you think I can help in any way to highlight a specific issue please let me know, either through this or contact me privately.

I will provide a update when there is anything useful to add. Above all please simply look out for anyone who would normally keep themselves to themselves and ensure they know someone is there to help them if needed.

Many thanks.

Francis

District Councillor, Easebourne, Petworth and Heyshott

Message from our District Councillor2020-03-31T18:06:45+01:00

Coronavirus update

As we move into the next phase of response to the Coronavirus in the UK we wanted to update you on the local situation.
– We are now receiving updates from West Sussex County Council and will share any guidance or changes to services should they arise
– We are in touch with Midhurst Angels on the support network that is being set up for residents of Easebourne and Midhurst who may need help. For example,  calls for those who are isolated, or delivering pre-paid food or prescriptions. We will keep promoting their contact details on our website and Facebook pages. We will make sure we can reach all Easebourne residents with any leaflets that are produced.
– We have spoken to all the local shops – Easebourne Stores, Cook, M&S at BP and Cowdray who are all looking to keep their stores stocked and continue to operate normally. Cowdray plans to introduce a delivery service at the end of the week. You can read more about their plans on their website.
– Unfortunately our plans for local events have had to be put on hold, including the planned litter pick on 29 March and our joint Easebourne/Midhurst event on the 75th Anniversary of VE Day on 8 May.
We are in challenging times but as a strong community we know that people will support each other as best they can.
We will continue to share updates on our website as soon as we receive them and will also share everything on the Easebourne Village Facebook page.
Coronavirus update2020-03-31T18:06:51+01:00

Reporting potholes

Did you know that you can report potholes to West Sussex Highways Team by going to the following website and adding a report?

https://love.westsussex.gov.uk/reports/add

It takes just a couple of minutes and will then automatically get assessed by the team. If you spot a nasty pothole please don’t wait for someone else to report it.

Reporting potholes2020-03-12T14:41:02+00:00

Construction begins!

The big day is almost here, with construction beginning on our Community Shelter within Easebourne Park, tomorrow, Monday 9th March! Despite the rather soggy ground conditions, it’s full steam ahead and the build is expected to take just 5 weeks.

Deliveries to site will all be made outside of the busy school drop-off and pick-up times. However, as with any project, there could be times when additional activity is taking place in the Park and we would ask for your patience whilst we build this exciting new addition for the community!

After construction of the shelter, an extension to the perimeter path will be added around the shelter and at the same time 2 additional picnic benches are being installed. We’re also planting a number of very mature trees which will hope will give a little instant shade this summer. Other additions in the coming weeks will include a traditional see-saw, a large community noticeboard and a BBQ area!

All of these additions have been made possible after our successful bids for funding from Chichester District Council, The Grange Community Association, The National Lottery and the South Downs National Park Community Infrastructure Levy.

 

Construction begins!2020-03-08T08:38:02+00:00

Please share your views on the recent flooding

A reminder that the Parish Council would like to hear your views on the recent flooding in the village, leaflets have now been dropped through letterboxes of the most at risk houses, they are available to pick up in the Village Stores, The White Horse, The BP station and Cook, plus the online Survey Monkey questionnaire is available.

As already mentioned, we’re looking into obtaining funding from West Sussex County Council in order to plan some significant improvements to current surface water drainage in an attempt to stop the events caused by Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis from happening again.

A critical element of any funding application will be to demonstrate that we have strong support within the community for the proposed improvements and so your feedback is very important.

Thank you to those of you who have already completed the survey. You can find the survey on the link below, which should only take a few minutes to complete:

Flooding survey

If you prefer you can email your comments to parishclerk@easebourne.org or write to the Parish Council address on this website.

Please share all your comments with the Parish Council by Wednesday 11th March 2020. Thank you.

Please share your views on the recent flooding2020-03-04T18:27:44+00:00

Post Office delay

As you may already know, the opening of the Post Office in the Village Stores has been delayed. We understand everything possible is being done to open as soon as they are able to and we’ll update the website again as soon as we know more. But please be patient and then show your support for Vickey and Kirisha when it’s all up and running. It will be a fantastic addition to the village.

Post Office delay2020-03-04T18:18:48+00:00

Wheelbarrow Castle record…

The Midhurst Green Volunteers and our own mini team of village volunteers dodged the rain and hail on Saturday 29th Feb to clear just over 2 tonnes of green waste from the eastern side of Wheelbarrow Castle! We also collected a black bin bag full of empty drinks cans that were sadly uncovered after clearing the banks of leaves.

It was our busiest session yet and we were thrilled to have 5 village volunteers this time. The extra hands meant we could tackle even more than had been planned. We hope you can see by the photos, the path is now wider, the layers of decaying leaves have gone and we’ve said goodbye to the overhanging, overgrown brambles!

A massive thank you again to the Midhurst team who gave up their time to help us. YOUR next opportunity to help is next Saturday, 7th March. Same time, same place, meeting from 8.30am on the corner of Cowdray Road to tackle the opposite side of the road!

Please don’t forget though, for this amazing partnership between Midhurst and Easebourne to continue, we need volunteers not just at our own village sessions, but also at sessions all around Midhurst. 

Wheelbarrow Castle record…2020-03-01T19:15:47+00:00