Town and Parish News – February 2021

Issue 25| February 2021

Act Like you have itLatest on COVID-19 Great to see that rates of COVID-19 cases continue to fall in areas of West Sussex but we urge you to act like you have it and #KeepWestSussexSafe.  In the seven days to Tuesday 2 February there were 1,795 new cases. This means on average, 256 people are testing positive for COVID-19 each day in West Sussex. However, cases are falling compared to the previous week.  The latest data indicates there have been 37,758 cases so far in West Sussex as at Sunday 7th February 2021. This is 4,370 cases per 100,000 population. Around one in three people infected with the virus do not have any symptoms and could be passing it on without realising. Anyone can spread coronavirus. Act like you have it. Stop the spread, it’s your responsibility.  Let your residents know they can get further information on the infection rates in their area by visiting our local data dashboard .   Help spread the word about vaccine scams Please ensure your residents are aware of fake COVID-19 vaccination appointment text and email messages. People are receiving a text or email notification of their ‘vaccination appointment’ and are being asked to confirm it by clicking on a link. This looks very similar to the genuine texts being sent to patients to arrange their appointments at the GP led vaccination services. Spread the word that the COVID-19 vaccination is ONLY available from the NHS and it is FREE – people will never be asked to pay for it or give their bank details. There’s more information on the vaccine rollout in West Sussex here.

calculatorBudget and ‘Our Council Plan’ to be discussed this week A plan which sets out what we should focus on in the future, a five-year capital investment programme, and the day-to-day budget for the coming year could be agreed by West Sussex county councillors this week. At the Full Council meeting on Friday (12 February), councillors will decide whether to approve the ‘Our Council Plan’, which sets out how money should be spent and performance measured. The plan sets out the key priority outcomes for the council over the next four years, focusing on learning from the response to COVID-19 to ensure the council provides the best support it can for residents, both now and in the future. An extra £12m investment in highways and £10m to address the challenges of climate change are two of the investments which are proposed in the revised five-year Capital Programme.  An increase in council tax of 1.99% is proposed – plus an additional 3% for adult social care – making a total increase of 4.99%. This is an average increase of £1.38 per week compared to last year’s bill. The Full Council meeting is being held virtually starting at 10.30am on Friday 12 February. Residents can follow the meeting online here.

winterCOVID-19 Winter Crisis Grants – deadline for applications approaching Sixteen successful applications have already received funds through the £100k Winter Crisis Grant since the start of 2021. The county council is working with Sussex Community Foundation in supporting community groups providing local activities helping families financially impacted by the pandemic. This grant is available to those groups who have undertaken this activity, including food parcels or other household items, financial support through individual grants for utility bills or even providing emergency heaters etc. Information on the criteria, plus a link to the application form can be found here.  If there are any questions please contact Sussex Community Foundation on 01273 409440 or Applications for grants up to £5,000 will be considered weekly as this fund will need to be awarded by end of March 2021. Please disseminate to any groups including faith groups and residents’ associations that you are aware may be supporting families struggling at this time.  

footballerYouth COVID-19 Support Fund Would any of your local groups for young people benefit from The Youth Covid-19 Support Fund? It is open to grassroots youth clubs, uniformed youth groups, and national youth and umbrella organisations. It aims to help  mitigate the impact of lost income during the winter period due to the coronavirus pandemic, and ensure services providing vital support can remain viable. The fund focuses on enabling the struggling, but most impactful, youth organisations to continue operating, where they may have scaled back service provision or temporarily closed due to reductions in their income following COVID-19. This would ensure young people, especially those who are disadvantaged, have uninterrupted access to services, and could prevent local grassroots organisations from permanent closure. Applications deadline is 5pm 19th February 2021. Further details can be found here.

highways enewsletterPothole reporting – new form now live We need your residents’ feedback on an improved online pothole reporting form which aims to make it easier for people to alert us to issues on our highways. Residents should click on the ‘feedback’ link at the top of the website page to give their opinion. Repair and improvement work has continued throughout the lockdowns – more than 20,500 potholes were repaired by West Sussex Highways in 2020 – that’s the equivalent of about 390 a week and compares to 16,000 pothole repairs in 2019. Encourage your parishioners to sign up to our new Highways Residents’ Newsletter, where they can keep up to date with everything to do with West Sussex roads and pavements – including gritting and verge cutting. Visit our website to sign up, scroll down to ‘Roads and Travel’ and subscribe to the ‘Highways Residents Newsletter’.

council chamberFind out about the role of a county councillor Ahead of the next election in May 2021 the County Council has been hosting a series of events for people to find out more about the role of a county councillor.  The final event is aimed at those who have decided to stand for election or have been selected by a political party to stand and will be taking place virtually on 23 February 2021 from 6pm.  Those wishing to attend will need to register in advance via this link.  You can find out more about the role from our ‘Be a Councillor’ website.  If you have any questions regarding this virtual event please contact Amanda Drinkwater in Democratic Services:

Keeping in touch

Please share the information in this newsletter widely within your communities.

For daily updates, residents can follow us on social media @WSCCNews and @WestSussexCC.

We are also now on Nextdoor, the app designed with communities in mind. Your residents can follow the link and join the conversation.

Thank you for your support. Keep safe.

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