Chichester’s local vaccination centre has now moved from the Westgate Leisure Centre to a new purpose-built facility in the Northgate car park. Since it opened in mid-February the centre has delivered over 122,000 vaccine doses to local people. I am hugely grateful to Siobhan Melia, and her brilliant team from the Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust, and the dedicated group of volunteers, who’ve managed this incredible feat. The operation has now moved seamlessly to the new site, where they are continuing to offer walk-in appointments to eligible people including 16–17-year-olds for both first and second does. Over the coming months, booster jabs are being offered by appointment to people over 50 years old and the clinically vulnerable.
Towards the end of last week, I dropped in to the St Pancras Church Breakfast Club, which provides a cooked breakfast, essentials like toiletries, and a safe space for homeless people and those in need of extra support. Run by Father Mark, the Christian charity HEART and Chichester District Council, they provide between 15-20 meals per day. These breakfast meetings have been hugely important for people, especially during the pandemic, where being isolated can cause further complications and mental health issues for example.
One positive legacy of the pandemic has been the ‘Everyone In’ campaign which saw all rough sleepers offered accommodation. Since then, we only have two people sleeping rough in the Chichester District, who did not want to accept the offer. This is a huge achievement and a testament to the work of the council and local charities like Stonepillow, who provide and coordinate a huge amount of support and practical help. Next month, on October 16th their Big Sleep Out returns, so I hope lots of you take part or support someone who is. Sadly, unlike previous years I am unable to join in this year, to find out more visit: www.stonepillow.org.uk
I also visited Kingsham Primary School last week, which was an absolute joy. The highlight of my week is going to our fantastic local schools and hearing from the children about what they are learning and how they are getting on. I was given a tour by Rebecca, Ellie, William, and Austin – and I was particularly impressed that each class in the school is growing their own vegetables in the allotment. This trip was special as I awarded the school’s ‘Green Gang’ with a “Green Hero Award” for the work they’ve done to help their school win the Eco-Schools Green Flag Award, through their recycling, litter picking and gardening. If you think your local school, community group, or an individual deserves to be recognised for their commitment to improving our environment, I’d love to hear from you –firstname.lastname@example.org