Thursday 2 April 2020

Issued by Public Relations Team –

This briefing is to keep you updated on the evolving situation around coronavirus (COVID-19) and the actions being taken in the district.

 Who does it affect?

  • Residents and businesses within the district
  • Chichester District Council staff and councillors
  • Parish councils
  • Community groups and charitable organisations

In this briefing

  • Latest update
  • Service changes
  • Community hub is open
  • Coast to Capital small business grants
  • Support for businesses
  • Accommodation, food and support for rough sleepers
  • Advice on waste disposal
  • Hardship fund
  • Council tax help
  • Customer Services
  • Local Plan
  • Sports England funding
  • Arts Council England funding
  • Please do not visit the district

Latest update

Business Secretary, Alok Sharma MP, last night spoke about the support that was available for local businesses.  He also provided more information about increases in testing.

Professor Yvonne Doyle also said that there had been a rise in motor vehicle traffic that was ‘concerning’ and again urged people to stay at home.

The emphasis continues to be on the need to stay at home and maintain social distancing to prevent the spread of coronavirus COVID-19. These actions slow the opportunities for the virus to be passed from person to person and this saves lives.

Everyone should:

  • stay at home
  • only go outside for food, health reasons or work (where this absolutely cannot be done from home)
  • stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people
  • wash your hands as soon as you get home

Anyone can spread the virus. The advice is to stay home and save lives.

Service changes

Please visit for the latest information.

Community hub is open

As a council, we are working in partnership with West Sussex County Council, which has developed a Community Hub 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 will be available seven days a week and staff will be on hand to respond to enquiries from 8am-8pm. The team will be 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 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.

Community guide to be launched next week

We have produced a community guide, which offers advice to community groups and residents. We hope that this will be available next week.

Coast to Capital small business grants

Coast to Capital has set up a Backing Business Grants Fund of £2 million to help small businesses and social enterprises in the region. If you have a business in the district with a workforce of between five and 50 and have been trading for more than two years with a turnover of under £10 million you may be eligible for a grant of between £5,000 to £25,000. More information on how to apply can be found here

Support for businesses

Our Economic Development Team has spoken to over 350 businesses offering support and guidance. We’ve also been sending details out about the business rate relief and grant schemes, as well as directing people to all of the other Government business support that is available. Our Revenue and Benefits team has also sent communications out to all of those who are eligible for business rate relief.

Accommodation, food and support for rough sleepers

We want to assure you that we are also doing everything we can to help rough sleepers during the current crisis. We are especially conscious that rough sleepers face particular health risks and so we have offered accommodation to all known rough sleepers.  The majority have taken up the council’s offer and are now in accommodation. However, there are a small number of long term rough sleepers who continue to refuse all help. In these cases we provide advice and guidance around the need for self-isolation and signpost to the support that is available. We will continue to support rough sleepers once they are in accommodation by ensuring that they have a phone, food supplies and are in regular contact with a key worker. Support will also be available through Stonepillow day centres in Chichester and Bognor, which are providing food and access to other services. It is worth noting that in order to meet social distancing guidance; the centres are limited to a certain number of people at any one time. We are supporting this work by providing staff to assist Stonepillow at the Chichester Hub. Sainsburys has kindly donated food to Stonepillow, Four Streets and Heart, all of whom are continuing to provide fantastic support to those who need it the most at this difficult time.

This week, our staff have been helping Stonepillow to make up food parcels and deliver these to rough sleepers in our district. In one day, they collected 500 loaves of bread and a ton of cheese! Thank you to our colleagues Sarah, Ralph, and Trudie, and to the whole team at Stonepillow. Great work!

Advice on waste disposal

The government has published advice on waste disposal for people with possible or confirmed coronavirus. 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.

We are doing all we can to continue to collect your waste and recycling as usual, but there may be times where this may be affected. If this is the case, please place your bin out on your next fortnightly collection day. At the moment, our priority is to collect household rubbish and household recycling. Please also keep a close look at our or follow our social media pages on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates on all of our services.

Thank you to everyone who has been sending their messages of thanks and support to our refuse crews on our social media pages. We’ve received over 120 messages of support so far and they really have put a smile on our refuse workers faces. We’ve been sending your messages of support each day to the screens in their cabs.

Read more about our waste and recycling services here .

Hardship fund

The government has announced a Hardship Fund to support those residents who are financially struggling. Residents who are eligible for the support will have their award automatically credited to their Council Tax bill. Residents do not need to contact us to receive this payment because we have all of the relevant details. The benefits team will be processing these payments as quickly as possible and currently estimates that this will be done during April.

Council Tax help

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. The best way is to visit, or contact by  If you do not have online access, please call us on 01243 785166. Please note that due to high call volumes we recommend using our online services in the first instance wherever possible.

Customer services

Staff are working hard to improve the customer service options available both online and through the council switchboard.

Teams are currently dealing with high call volumes and so we are encouraging people to use our online services or contact us by email in the first instance if they have online access. This will keep essential lines free for those with an urgent need or those without access to the internet. For those who need to contact us by phone, they should call 01243 785166.

Local Plan

Cllr Eileen Lintill, Leader of Chichester District Council and Cllr Susan Taylor, Deputy Leader of Chichester District Council, have written to the Secretary of State to ask for a delay to the Local Plan. It is important that our focus is supporting our local communities right now and we hope that they will take this into consideration. In the meantime, work is continuing.

Sport England funding

Sport England is making up to £195 million of funding available to help the sport and physical activity sector through the ongoing coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis. The package is made up of:

  • a £20 million Community Emergency Fund, which will be opened immediately for clubs and community organisations to bid into. Grants between £300 and £10,000 are available.
  • a £5 million pot for existing partners to bid into if they’re facing specific financial difficulty
  • an additional £55 million to support our sector during an ongoing period of restrictions, to fund new and innovative ways to keep people active and, when the period of restrictions is over, to help organisations get back to business and adjust to a different environment
  • a £115 million rollover of current funding into 2021/22 to give long term certainty to over 100 well established partners who play a vital role in the delivery of sport and physical activity in England.

Alongside this, due to cash flow concerns in the sector, Sport England have also agreed to consider requests to release six months of the coming year’s funding (50% of awards) to partners, meaning additional funding will be available sooner. Further details can be found at the following link:

Arts Council England funding

Arts Council England will offer individuals and organisations working in the cultural sector new financial support during this crisis, totalling £160m.  They have repurposed all of their investment strands to be able to offer this support.

They will be making £90m available to National Portfolio Organisations to reboot their creative work but also understand it may be required to alleviate financial pressures on these organisations.

£50m will be made available to organisations that are not in receipt of regular funding from the Arts Council. They can apply for up to £35,000 tosupport business resilience as well as enable cultural organisations to develop new public facing activity during the Covid-19 emergency, for example, organisations who have new ideas to harness the power of digital in sharing creativity at the moment.

They are also supporting artists, creative practitioners and freelancers with £20m of financial support available to individuals so they can better sustain themselves and their work in the coming months. Further details can be found at the following link:

Please do not visit the district

We have published the below messages on social media to anyone who is thinking of visiting our district this weekend.

“We are used to welcoming people and sharing the beauty of our district with everyone, but now is not the time to visit the Chichester District. We need you to stay at home and keep safe. Social distancing is vital and we all need to play our part in supporting our NHS workers battle this virus. We can’t wait to welcome you back when this crisis is over. Thank you for your understanding.”