New health promotion scheme piloted at two Portsmouth schools

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The Public Health Team at Portsmouth City Council are this month launching Junior Health Heroes, a new school-based health promotion project. It's initially being piloted at two primary schools in the city, Arundel Court Primary School and St George's Beneficial C of E Primary School. The initiative aims to engage Year 5 pupils in learning about important health topics, including physical activity, healthy eating and emotional wellbeing. The project will involve children creating fun superhero characters and stories, which they'll be encouraged to share with friends and family, spreading positive messages about health.

Junior Health Heroes is designed to equip children to make informed decisions that affect health, by improving their knowledge and understanding around key health topics. Engaging children at a young age increases the chances of them making positive health choices throughout life. While focusing on health, Junior Health Heroes will at the same time develop the children's core skills in reading, writing, numeracy and communication.

At the heart of the project is the need to tackle health inequalities across Portsmouth. Enabling children to become more 'health literate' plays a key role in promoting healthy behaviours into adult life. In turn, this will help to reduce the prevalence of conditions such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease and mental health problems. Junior Health Heroes will complement the work that is ongoing with schools across Portsmouth, such as smoking prevention initiatives in secondary schools, and developing and supporting healthy school environments. The project is initially being run as a pilot, which will allow learning to be taken from the work, with the aim of rolling out the initiative to more schools across the city in the future.

Dr Janet Maxwell, Director of Public Health at Portsmouth City Council, said: "We know that engaging with young children to promote positive messages around health plays a vital role in supporting them to make informed choices throughout life. This new initiative will help children to learn about important issues such as healthy eating, physical activity and mental wellbeing in a fun and accessible way. Positive messages can be spread to peers and families, and encourage healthy choices to become part of everyday life. The Junior Health Heroes project complements the wider work we are doing across the city in promoting healthy school environments, to ensure a healthy future for Portsmouth."

The Headteacher of Arundel Court Primary School, Karen Stocks, commented: "We are really excited to be involved in this new project. We think the children will really enjoy it, whilst learning lots of important things about health at the same time. Ensuring our children receive a well-rounded education, and equipping them to make positive life choices, is something we are very passionate about."


Children get their first taste of opera

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2016 06 10 JP - Opera Workshop 1 web

On Wednesday 8th June children from primary schools across Portsmouth had their first taste of opera at the New Theatre Royal, with the internationally-acclaimed vocalist Melanie Gall and ‘Tilly the opera mouse’.

30 children, aged between 7 and 11 years old, took part in workshops exploring a range of singing and performance skills, before Melanie Gall took to the stage to perform her one-woman show.

Using glove puppets, she told the story of Tilly Mouse who lives under an opera house. Tilly’s dream is to perform on stage, but whenever anybody sees her they scream and run away. With determination, imagination, and help from her friends, Tilly proves that even a mouse can be a star.

The children, who share a passion for singing, heard songs and arias from several operas during the performance, including Gianni Schicchi, Carmen and The Magic Flute.

2016 06 10 JP - Opera Workshop 2 web

Sue Beckett, CEO of Portsmouth Music Hub which organised the event, said: “The children’s confidence grew throughout the workshops, where they had the chance to develop their performance and singing skills, and it’s been a really exciting opportunity for the children to experience opera for the first time. Seeing the children’s enthusiasm and confidence proves that the arts have an important part to play in our young people’s education.”

After the event Ethan Maniebo, aged 11 from St. Paul’s Primary School, said: “It was a good experience and I learnt a lot of new things. I really like the acting and singing. It was brilliant and I didn’t realise I could sing opera.”


Armed Forces Day events in Portsmouth

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Guildhall Square

Portsmouth's celebrations of Armed Forces Day begin on Monday 20th June with a flag raising ceremony in Guildhall Square.

The ceremony will mark the start of commemorations in Portsmouth which include a number of events at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and free entry to the D-Day Museum.

Armed Forces Day is held nationally to raise awareness of the vital contribution our armed forces make and have made to our security and well-being.

The ceremony will be attended by the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Cllr David Fuller, members of Portsmouth City Council and senior representatives of the armed forces, cadets and veterans. The flag raising ceremony will start at 10.20am and last about 30 minutes.

The Armed Forces Day flag will be raised during the ceremony and will fly all week.

Cllr Linda Symes, Portsmouth City Council's Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport, said: " It's important that we recognise the superb job our armed forces do for everyone in the country, and remember all the sacrifices that have been made in the past. We're committed to supporting Armed Forces Day and our flag-raising ceremony is one of several events in the city that will mark this national event."

The D-Day Museum in Southsea will have free admission on Saturday 25 June, and a variety of events including a model ship display by the Surface Warship Association and the chance to meet Normandy veterans.

The museum is open from 10am and the last admission is 5pm. For more information on the museum phone 02392 826 722 or go to


Portsmouth’s Creative Businesses Surveyed For The First Time

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Creative Census Logo orangeCreative individuals and businesses are thriving in Portsmouth, according to the results of the first Creative Census published today, but many still need help to continue to flourish.

The Creative Census Portsmouth project surveyed almost 240 different businesses working in such fields as graphic design, marketing, architecture, fashion, music, film, photography to measure the impact the sector has on the local economy. The report authors hope the results will help inform local policies.

Creative Census Portsmouth is the first survey to give a snapshot of the size, shape and make-up of the city’s creative industries workforce, from large agencies with 100+ staff through to ‘micro’ businesses with people working from home. The survey focused on businesses in Portsmouth but also encouraged businesses based outside to also take part, if over 30% of their work is located in the city.
The creative industries in the UK have grown dramatically in recent years and contribute £8.8m to the UK economy every hour. The census aimed to identify emerging trends in the sector in the city, audit the need for resources and support to help enable to sector to flourish, and identify what, if any, factors were stumbling blocks preventing growth.

The census was organised by Claire Sambrook, a senior lecturer at the University of Portsmouth, and Paul Gonella, co-founder of Strong Island, which describes itself as the city’s cultural resource. Dr Carol Ekinsmyth, principal lecturer, Department of Geography, University of Portsmouth analysed the information drawn from the census which was live between May 2015 and January 2016.

The final report (designed by Portsmouth based award winning graphic designer Sam Barclay) is available both in a limited edition book and in digital form from the Creative Census Portsmouth website:

Anglepoise - Product Design. Original 1227 Giant Outdoor Floor  Wall Mounted Lamp - Marine Blue webRecognised worldwide, Anglepoise® is a product design company based in the city

Key Statistics & Points of Analysis From Creative Census Portsmouth Report

  • The Portsmouth Creative Census was live between May 2015 and January 2016. Respondents were elicited through social media and via one to one meetings
  • Of the Nearly 240 businesses were surveyed, 87 per cent were in the PO1-PO6 postcode area.
  • The majority (almost 53%) of these businesses had started up in the past five years with 14% of this group having started in the past year (2015). This shows both a healthy new business formation rate in the city and also accounts to some extent for the size of firms surveyed and their low annual turnover. With increasing age of the business, we would expect increasing turnover and perhaps growth.
  • An interesting aspect of the survey snapshot is the relatively large proportion that had previously graduated from the University of Portsmouth (36%). This could indicate that Portsmouth is an attractive option for its creative graduates and suggests that any initiatives to increase the retention of graduates to the city might well have a positive impact on new business formation in the creative sector.
  • respondents were asked the “creative industry activities” that their businesses were engaged in. The activities that were reported by 25% of more of the sample were Print Design (27%), Photography (32%), Illustration (25%) and Graphic Design (30%). These are the stand-out activities and are likely to reflect the majority creative activities in Portsmouth as a whole.
  • 43% of businesses earned more in 2014/15 than they had in the previous year, as opposed to 43% who earned the same and only 14% that had earned less. This demonstrates some growth occurring amongst the sample. Indeed, 53% of respondents felt that the current financial year had turned out better than anticipated. In terms of the coming year, 72% of the sample anticipated growth.
  • Despite the preponderance of micro-businesses in the survey, 23% were considering increasing the number of employees in the coming year.
  • There was an obvious need for skills acquisition and development amongst many of the businesses. Just over one half of all respondents (51%) answered “yes” when asked if they felt their businesses required additional skills. Many respondents said there was a need for more local short courses to meet the needs of the local creative economy.
  • Two thirds said they needed greater resources, with a large number asking for studio space that was affordable, flexible and not restricted to memberships or qualifications. A third highlighted the need for more space in which to exhibit and sell their work, with some saying large public events such as festivals in particular offered a great showcase for their work.
  • There was clear consensus among the survey respondents that there was a need for more centralised support, and a comprehensive ‘go-to’ directory of local creative industry skills and practitioners to enable people to source local skilled labour and to ensure they themselves could be found by others. Many also said they’d like to see local government putting local creatives first when they outsourced work.
  • Those questioned also offered feedback that suggested that in order to build the city’s creative base and the reputation of the city as itself ‘creative’, many said they would like to see a central space in which a wide cross-section of creative workers could meet, work and build their community.

Kinetic Mesh for Hyundai 3D Graphics webLocal illustration and 3D animation business Kinetic Mesh’s work for car manufacturer Hyundai

Paul Gonella, co-founder Strong Island said "Working at Strong Island you can’t help but get a sense on the ground that Portsmouth and Southsea is becoming a home for more and more exciting and innovative work produced in the creative industries by new and established individuals, companies and organisations. We wanted to run the Creative Census to, for the first time, look more deeply at what is happening and build a far more definitive picture of the creative sector in our city. The final report has some fascinating statistics and gives us a real snapshot of the city’s creative economy. The analysis and feedback also give a glimpse in to the sector's possible future growth and vital information, from the creatives themselves, on what they need to make this a bigger, stronger creative city.”

Claire Sambrook, senior lecturer, School of Creative Technologies, University of Portsmouth and creative lead for Hotwalls Studios working with Portsmouth City Council said "The response to the census has been very positive in terms of helping us to better understand the needs of creatives in the city. We hope that the results will add impact to inform decision makers on how we can elevate this sector and give it the platform it deserves. There was an overwhelming need to co-ordinate and have more visible networks across the city that would allow all to celebrate, grow, promote and build upon the passion that already exists.”

Richard Dewhurst - Interior Achitecture WebPortsmouth-based interior architecture Richard Dewhurst’s work

Professor Catherine Harper, Dean of the University of Portsmouth’s Creative and Cultural Industries faculty, said: “The creative census has given us a much clearer insight into the needs of those working locally in the creative sector and how best to support them to ensure the region continues to thrive culturally. It has also given us an insight into how many of our own graduates remain in Portsmouth. We are committed in helping not only to educate and inspire our students but to retain these talented individuals and work together to establish a sustainable creative sector within the city.”

Cllr Linda Symes, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport at Portsmouth City Council, said: “The retention of graduates and nurturing of local creatives is pivotal to the success of the city. The new Hotwalls studios will see 13 creative spaces opening next month which will add significantly the cultural offer in the city and the ability of graduates and local creatives to flourish.”

The census has been supported by Portsmouth City Council and The University of Portsmouth.

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