Fun in spades with Pompey legend

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Residents in Leigh Park have been having a bloomin' marvellous time this week as they geared up for the final judging of this year's Gardens in Bloom competition.

Run by Portsmouth City Council's Resident Development team, the competition is always a popular event with local residents, and now in its 4th successful year. This year there's been an overwhelming response from local people and pupils from schools across the area.

This year, the special guest was the Portsmouth Football Club legend Alan Knight, who alongside the other judges which included Havant Councillor Beryl Francis, went along to each of the schools and gardens over three days to judge the entries that had been submitted.

There were some truly fantastic entries with people using their skills and imaginations to create some beautiful displays.

The awards ceremony with strawberry cream tea was held today, Friday 1 July, at the Resident Participation Centre in Sharps Road, West Leigh.

The categories this year were Pots, Yards, Gardens & Unusual Gardens, Schools and Children's Centres:

Judge and Pompey legend Alan Knight said:

"Judging something like Gardens in Bloom was a new experience for me, it really opened my eyes to the commitment of the residents and pupils who poured so much love and effort into their entries. I'm no expert on gardening, but I was really blown away by some of the entries, the creativity was astounding, we have some really passionate gardeners in the area, it's been really difficult to judge and pick one winner for each category!"

Addieson Lawrence, (8) St Albans Primary won Best Pot and Outstanding Pot:

"I really love my prize because it will help us do more gardening, I won some seeds and a pot to plant them in, the seeds I won are for plants that are good for bees, and they're really important, most of the food we like wouldn't be there without bees!"

Lydia Warner aged 6, winner of best pot (4-7 years) from Barncroft Primary School said:

"I decorated a pot with friends in my class. I used paper, feather and gems to decorate my pot. I'm really pleased to be a winner!"

Josie Cole, aged 10, winner of best pot (8-11 years) from Barncroft Primary School said:

"I really enjoyed the competition, I decorated my pot with coloured beads and made handles with pipe cleaners. It's really good to be a winner, I'm proud for my school".

Following the awards presentation there was an official opening of the Centre's new garden which has had a fabulous make over and will give local people a new area to relax and enjoy.

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Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, David Fuller said:

"It's an absolute honour to open the centre's new garden today, it's all thanks to the local people who actively get involved in their communities to make change and improve the areas that we live in. It's amazing the change that every day people can make when they come together to nurture the areas they live in. Thank you to everyone who came along today."

Organiser of the event, Centre Manager Heidi Golder, Resident Development Officer said:

"It is so wonderful to see so many people in the community getting involved in our fourth Gardens in Bloom event"

"This year we have had an amazing 961 entries, this is between Portsmouth City Council residents, gardens, schools and children and adults using the centre and making, decorating and sowing seeds for the event."

"Our Gardens in Bloom event seems to get bigger and bigger each year. It's been a truly overwhelming response and we couldn't be happier to see people getting involved in gardening, improving their surroundings, and coming together this way."


Dementia walking group hailed for positive impact

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A new walking group is being hailed for its positive impact in supporting people living with dementia and their carers.

Portsmouth City Council launched the Social Strollers dementia walking group in April. The group provides a way of staying active, companionship and a change of scenery and feedback has been very positive.

Merelyn Bishop cares for her husband Alan who is living with dementia, the couple have been regular attendees at walks and benefited from the experience.

Merelyn said: "As a carer I appreciate the opportunity to walk with other people in a group. We don't just walk we go to interesting places that evoke memories of the past which are more accessible to someone living with dementia. It's lovely to see my husband chatting with others in the group."

Alan added: "It's great that there is so much to see in the local area."

It is hoped that the positive start will attract more people to join the group.

Cllr Luke Stubbs, the council's Cabinet Member for Health & Social Care, said: "It is great to hear the positive impact our new walking group is having for those living with dementia and their carers. It's only been going a couple of months and as word spreads I hope it can go from strength to strength and help even more people in the future."

Social Strollers meet at the John Pounds Centre, Queen Street, at 1.30pm every Tuesday with the walk taking place from 2pm. The walks, and all the venues visited, are suitable for people using wheelchairs.

Locations lined up for future strolls include Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, Gunwharf Quays and St Agatha's Church, with each stroll including a break for refreshments.

There is no need to book a place, just turn up. Walkers should bring money for refreshments and dress appropriately for the weather on the day.

For more information contact Nicky Ansell on 02392 841 762 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Students sail through traditional boatbuilding course

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IBTC gradutation June 2016 web

The first group of students studying for a diploma in traditional boatbuilding in the unique Boathouse 4 at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard have now graduated.

Ten students of the International Boatbuilding Training College (IBTC) Portsmouth are celebrating after completing their Practical Wooden Boatbuilding Diploma.

CEO of IBTC, Nat Wilson, said: “Boathouse 4 was constructed for the specific purpose of building boats, and that is exactly what IBTC Portsmouth does. Our courses are all ‘practical and hands on’ and the training is all on real boats, not in the classroom.

“This is a model recognised and supported by employers, many of whom are past students of IBTC; our students therefore have a good chance of gaining employment themselves.”

Student Richard Atherton, 24, from Petersfield, said: “I was one of the first intakes last year. The course has been really hands-on, which is something I like. It’s a nice atmosphere in Boathouse 4 and it’s like working in a real boatyard.”

Richard hopes to work in classic boat restoration and on new builds.

Students at IBTC Portsmouth now study in the unique cathedral-size space of Boathouse 4, which was built in the rearmament period of the Second World War.

Students learn the techniques of traditional boatbuilding and related skills required to work in conserving wooden boats. They will be joined by students from the new Solent Marine Academy in September.

Visitors can get a great birds-eye-view of the Boatbuilding Skills Training Centre from the exciting exhibition at Boathouse 4, The Forgotten Craft, which tells the heroic stories of the small boats that were the backbone of the Royal Navy.

Kerry Jarvie, Head of Attractions for the Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust which runs Boathouse 4, said: “Boathouse 4 is a magnificent historical building brought back to life as a boat building college, offering the opportunity for our visitors to come and discover the fascinating world of small boats, some of which were the backbone of the Royal Navy.

“We have an exciting new exhibition which tells the story of small craft from wooden cutters that ferried Lord Nelson to and from his flagship, to powerful motorboats that helped to win the First World War. The exhibition features a range of innovative interactive exhibits which bring these small craft to
life! Not to mention those visitors feeling extra courageous, who can put their wits to the test by scaling our amazing Mast & Rigging experience to see if they have what it takes to make it to the top of the crow’s nest!”

Boathouse 4 is free to enter. It costs £4 to take part in the Mast & Rigging experience.


A musical celebration of sport

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2016 06 29 - Singathlon Concert

The New Theatre Royal in Portsmouth had a stage full of probably the healthiest looking young singers ever seen in the theatre's long history.

On Friday 24 June, in front of proud parents, the public and the Deputy Lord Mayor of Portsmouth primary-aged children from schools across the City were there to perform 'Singathlon', a concert celebrating healthy living, keeping fit, and working hard to achieve goals.

There was every possible costume on display, from footballers, to dancers to tennis players, and even the teachers got in on the act performing a song about weightlifting which included, to the delight of the children, a teacher 'struggling' under the weight of a set of plastic dumbbells.

The concert, produced by Portsmouth Music Hub, saw more than 200 hundred children perform a range of songs written by the Music Hub's team of composers, which included 'Triple Jump', 'Live a More Active Life', and a firm favourite with the audience 'Losers Like Me'; which made the point that without losers there are no winners.

Sue Beckett, CEO of Portsmouth Music Hub, said after the show: "In this Olympic Year it was the perfect time for a celebration of sport and keeping fit. The children gave some fantastic performances, and the Schools worked really hard to make the event such a success. Concerts like these are full of talent and enthusiasm and they are completely unforgettable, not only for the audience, but for the hundreds of children who took to the stage."

For further information please call Portsmouth Music Hub on 02392 375 655.


Make a difference to their life... and yours

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If you've been considering fostering, the council's monthly drop-in sessions at the Civic Offices reception area restart this coming Tuesday, 5th July, from 7pm-8.30pm. There is no need to book, simply drop by for a chat with social workers and current foster carers, and see an informative presentation at 7.15pm.

The fostering service need people like you to provide a caring home, guidance and direction to children of all ages, and especially teenagers, where you could be just the role model and inspiration they need to help them turn their life around. There are numerous fostering opportunities available, from a stay at home full-time foster carer for a young child, to fostering a young person whilst continuing to work full or part-time.

Another option, if you do not feel full or part-time fostering is right for you, is simply providing a room and around 10 hours a week support to one Portsmouth's vulnerable 16-24 year olds through the "Lodgings Plus" scheme.

All Portsmouth carers are given excellent support, training, competitive allowances and fees for all fostering options available. You can foster regardless of your ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, whether single or part of a couple, or whether you own or rent your own home.

Cllr Ryan Brent, Portsmouth City Council's Cabinet Member for Children's Social Care, said "We are looking for foster carers who can provide stability and care for some of our most vulnerable children and young people, especially teenagers, who need a range of periods of care from short to longer term placements, and an environment where they can grow, develop and achieve their goals. I would urge anyone considering fostering to come along to one of our monthly drop-in sessions."

For more information on fostering in general, please contact the Fostering Recruitment Team on 02392 834 071 for a chat to one of our friendly fostering social workers, visit to enquire online, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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