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Southsea Castle transforms gift shop

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Southsea castle web

Southsea Castle gift shop has been given a makeover to become the latest home of Waterfront Gifts.

Created by Portsmouth City Council, Waterfront Gifts offers a range of local and Portsmouth branded products as well as a wide range of waterfront themed gifts and decorative accessories.

The transformation follows the opening of Waterfront Gifts in Southsea Library and will help generate funds to support the services provided by museums and libraries at a time when the council is having to make savings.

Cllr Linda Symes, the council's Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure & Sport, said: "This is the second Waterfront Gifts shop to open in the city, and another great example of how the council is becoming more commercially minded and generating money to support the valuable services we provide. There are some fantastic products on offer and a popular visitor attraction like Southsea Castle is the ideal place to showcase them."

Southsea castle is open Tuesday to Sunday free of charge and also includes the Courtyard Café offering a delicious range of food.

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Portsmouth Festivities: Another Great Year

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Ports Fest LogoAnother great year, another great variety of events, Portsmouth Festivities 2016 programme has ended and we have had some excellent feedback from audience members on the great variety of experiences we provide the city, and how enjoyable this year’s programme has been.

Their opening Gala Concert with the London Contemporary Orchestra was something new for Portsmouth audiences which left them pleasantly surprised with a taste of a genre of music some had never experienced. Portsmouth Festivities were delighted with LCO for their fantastic concert and involvement with young musicians from the Portsmouth Grammar School.

Portsmouth Festivities is nothing without the people of our great community, and the strength of our community and its love and participation with the arts was well and truly on display on the evenings of our Electric Lumiere displays at Portsmouth Cathedral and the Royal Garrison Church. Hundreds of people lined the banks of the sea wall to watch the illuminations provided by Luxmuralis, with media teams out in full force to catch the display.

The Spice Island Art Trail was once again filled with art lovers from around Old Portsmouth, Southsea and beyond, giving the High Street a buzz of activity between the Square Tower, Jack House Gallery and the Royal Naval Club.

The Cathedral was filled with the sublime sounds of Merton College, Oxford’s choir performing classics from the choral repertoire such as Bairstow, Sheppard and Duruflé; but also some outstanding contemporary pieces from Eriks Esenvalds, Jonathan Harvey, and Matthew Martin.

“Sometimes Folk, sometimes not” duo India Electric Co. displayed great showmanship at the Square Tower, entertaining in every sense, and with great musicianship.

The Festivities commemorative events were a great success this year with military historian Andy Robertshaw’s talks on the centenary of the Battle of the Somme and the Making of War Horse the Movie, and Dr Nick Walton from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, giving a fascinating insight into how Shakespeare’s legacy can be found wherever you look for the 400th anniversary of the bards death.

Physicist, author, and broadcaster Jim Al-Khalili’s talk on Michael Faraday’s discoveries on electromagnetic induction and the way they have influenced the world around us fascinated the audience that filled the David Russell Theatre at The Portsmouth Grammar School.

Principal organist of Westminster Abbey Daniel Cook gave a powerful display of the instrument in Portsmouth Cathedral in his lunchtime live performance. Local a cappella choir the Nelson Consort presented a stylish programme at St Georges Church, Portsea that was equally stylish in execution.

Dr John Cooper Clarke and his supporting act, Simon Day were such a hit at the New Theatre Royal that audience member’s faces ached from laughter by the end. The New Theatre Royal also thundered with the inexorable energy of the Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers with their captivating display of the different elements of Japanese performance art.

Portsmouth Festivities are very grateful to all who came to support our Festivities this year, and to their creative partner and community platform events that help to make up our huge variety of events and activities in our 10 days; unfortunately not all of whom could be mentioned.

The dates for next year’s Portsmouth Festivities are 16-25 June 2017.

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Disability Confident Event - 9th September 2016

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Disability Confident LogoPortsmouth Football Club, Warrior Room, 10 am to 1 pm

On Friday 9th September, Flick Drummond, MP for Portsmouth South, is hosting Disability Confident, an event for local businesses and employers to learn more about the financial, operational and social benefits of being a Disability Confident Employer. To enable employers to make the most of the talent that exists amongst disabled people in this country, this event, supported by the Minister for Disabled People Justin Tomlinson MP, is to encourage employers to understand the business benefits of employing disabled jobseekers.

Local employers, role models and employees are invited to this event which will showcase how people with a disability can make a major contribution to local business success and challenge negative attitudes to disability employment.

Disabled people make up almost 20% of the working age population, many being highly qualified individuals. Employers can sometimes be reluctant to employ them, missing out on a valuable pool of potential and skills. The event also aims to challenge the many myths about disabled people taking more days off sick, costing money to have workplace adjustments and creating a fear of discrimination claims.

If you wish to attend, please confirm your attendance by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . You can also contact her office on 02392 292 690 if you have any queries about any aspect of the event.

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Southsea Library to celebrate 5th Birthday

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Southsea Library is hosting a series of activities to celebrate its 5th birthday on Friday 29th July.

Between 10am - 3pm there will be activities including creative writing for 9-12 year olds, face painting, quiz, rhyme/story time and a visit from Portsmouth Poet Laureate Sam Cox.

Local author Pete Adams - known for his Bleunoir novels - will also be giving a talk and signing books.

At 12 noon the Deputy Lord Mayor will cut the birthday cake and visitors will be able to join hourly tours of the Southsea Archive Repository - which isn't usually open to the public.

There'll also be computer courses throughout the day and staff will be on hand to help demonstrate the eAudio and eBook download service.

For programme details and to book places, call in at Southsea Library, phone 02392 688 999 or contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Young performers take to the stage

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Portsmouth Music Hub has been busy giving young people in Portsmouth the chance to take to the stage.

On Wednesday 15th June the Hub held a performance evening given by children aged 5 to 15 years of age. Portsmouth Music Hub runs a range of music ensembles throughout the year, including a jazz band, rock bands, a wind band and orchestra, and the performance evening was a chance for the young musicians to show off their skills. The concert was compered by 13 year-old Reuben Honeychurch who introduced a range of different acts, including a spectacular solo cornet performance from Freya Leon.

A day later, on Thursday 16th June, more than 100 children from schools across Portsmouth came together for a Recorder Festival held at Northern Parade Infant School. The primary-aged children rehearsed all morning and later that day they performed a concert, with songs including 'Winklepickers Carnival', 'Strolling in the Park' and the children's favourite 'Recorder Rock', which had been specially written by Music Hub composer Jonathan Cook.

At the end of the Recorder Festival Charlotte Bouckley, aged 8, said: "Today has been exciting and fun, and I loved seeing all the different sizes of recorder. The best song was 'Recorder Rock'. It was great!"

In the next few days the Music Hub will be busy with more concerts. On Tuesday 21 June the Hub's Rock Bands will be performing at the Wedgewood Rooms in Portsmouth, followed on Friday 24 June by 'Singathlon', a concert at the New Theatre Royal, with hundreds of children singing about sport and healthy living.

Sue Beckett, CEO of Portsmouth Music Hub, who conducted the Recorder Festival said: "There's an enormous amount of musical talent in our city, and it's wonderful to see progress and passion. When children and young people get the chance to develop their creative skills and perform to an audience they really are inspirational."

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