The Return of Pompey Dhobi Dust

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Portsmouth’s naval history inspires new laundry soap range
Portsmouth’s naval history inspires new laundry soap range

Portsmouth based natural skincare company Southsea Bathing Hut started with a mission to revive the city’s soap-making heritage. This month, it has released a new product line inspired by that industry’s naval origins.

Dhobi Dust is traditional Portsmouth Laundry Soap. Company Director Samantha Worsey explains, “Portsmouth’s soap industry started by serving the navy, 400 years ago. There were a lot of uniforms to wash. At that time, laundry soap was totally natural; a long way from the chemicals and artificial fragrances used in most washing powder, tablets and liquids today.”

Southsea Bathing Hut’s Dhobi Dust takes its name from ‘Jack Speak’, which is Portsmouth naval slang. ‘Dhobi’ refers to the laundry service on-board naval ships.

Made from minerals and vegan soap flakes, Dhobi Dust is completely natural. This makes it perfect for people with sensitive skin. It is available in two fragrances. Splendid Blend is described a ‘a fragrant combination of gentle and uplifting floral aromas’ and Ooh La Lavender is a ‘subtle, relaxing and contemporary lavender fragrance’.

Samantha says, “We trialled Dhobi Dust last summer. The response was really positive. People were very happy with the washing experience. Customers have told us there’s no need for a separate fabric conditioner when using Dhobi Dust. We’ve had a lot of people ask us when we’re making more. So we decided to make Dhobi Dust a permanent part of our range.”

Dhobi Dust is currently an online exclusive from


Positive ferry figures for Portsmouth International Port as UK statistics unveiled

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Increased passenger numbers at Portsmouth International Port have helped boost the UK ferry industry, despite challenges faced at other British ports.

The latest ‘Ferrystat’ figures from Discover Ferries, the industry group representing most UK ports and operators, show an overall increase of motorists using ferries - with 1.3% more cars carried in 2015.

With well-publicised issues on routes to and from Calais, the Discover Ferries report shows some passengers chose alternative ferry routes to the continent in 2015. This resulted in good growth of 3.4% (2.94m passengers) on the Western channel routes to France principally served by Brittany Ferries. The operator, based at Portsmouth International Port, saw an impressive rise in cars too, with the number of passenger vehicles carried up by 5.8% to 990,000 in 2015.

Domestic routes also saw good growth. The Discover Ferries report highlights destinations such as the Channel Islands and Isle of Wight, both reached from Portsmouth International Port, among the top-performing sector in 2015.

Reflecting on the figures, Bill Gibbons, Director of Discover Ferries, said: “ It demonstrates the broad reach and appeal of the ferry industry and how operators can work together in challenging times. We expect a further surge in customer interest when the industry comes together again to promote National Ferry Fortnight (March 5-19) with offers to appeal to ferry first timers, and those trying a new ferry route with their car for the first time”.

Staff at Portsmouth International Port are looking forward to National Ferry Fortnight in March, promoting ferry travel from “Britain’s Best Connected Port” during its 40th birthday year. With more routes to France, Spain and the Channel Islands than any other UK Port there’s plenty to celebrate and plenty of choice – even more reason to make Portsmouth your gateway to a hassle free holiday in 2016.

For further information please contact Emma Gaisford/Julie Blackwell on +44 (0)1256 631 696 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


School set for £7m boost as part of £170m Portsmouth investment plans

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Portsmouth's schools are set to benefit from more than £7m investment as part of new city council plans.

The proposal is part of an updated capital expenditure programme which outlines plans for over £170m of investment by the council.

Money will be spent on extra places for secondary schools and pupils with special education needs.

Currently the council spends around £1.75m a year on school placements outside the city for children with special needs, while an increase in secondary school places follows on from recent similar investment in primary schools and will be vital for the coming years.

Cllr Donna Jones, Leader of the council, said: "With these capital budget proposals we are once again showing that education and the future of children in Portsmouth is the council's number one priority. It is vital that we continue to improve the facilities we have in the city, particularly for those with special needs. Our plans will not only make improvements for those living in the city but also represent investments that will benefit the council financially in the long run."

Spending plans are focused on areas the council has a statutory responsibility for, such as education, and investments likely to reduce the council's costs and drive economic growth in the city.

The council's plans also include contributing an initial £1.25m, potentially rising to £6m, towards the £87m Southsea coastal flood defence scheme; spending £3.5m on the city's traffic infrastructure to improve journey times on key routes; and continuing investment in Portsmouth International Port with £9.7m set to further increase its potential to generate income.

Another income generating proposal is to more than double the council's fund for property investment to £110m, with an extra £60m. This would enable further expansion of a property portfolio which makes money through rental income, this extra money could then be used to avoid future cuts to services.

Cllr Luke Stubbs, Deputy Leader of the council, said: "With government grants decreasing every year it is important that we become more self-sufficient and generate our own income. Investing in assets like the port and property makes profits for the council and this money could be what saves services in future years."

The spending plans are for council funds that can only be spent on capital projects like buildings and facilities, rather than the day-to-day running of council services.

The proposed capital programme for 2016-17 will go before the council's cabinet for approval on 8 February and should that be successful will be presented to full council for final signoff the following day.


Value-for-money training courses launched

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takingnotesNew value-for-money training courses are being offered to local small businesses.

The courses, which focus on essential workplace skills, are available for £90 for a half-day session and £180 for a full day. Run by Portsmouth City Council, they're based on its own successful staff training courses. Topics include coaching, conflict handling, mentoring, insurance, project management, leadership, first aid, computer skills and English for speakers of other languages.

A council spokesman said: "These are straightforward one-day or half-day courses to help managers achieve what they want to achieve. They're down-to-earth and practical and help people become more effective. The council is a big organisation with a huge range of job roles and functions, and a lot of experience has gone into these courses. For anyone in the Portsmouth area, they're very convenient, and mean staff can do a course and be back in the office the same day. We can even design a custom-made course for anyone with particular needs."

For more information click here.


Highbury's Digital Academy - Maths & More

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For anyone who’s ever struggled with maths, Highbury College has launched a Digital Maths Academy in another first for the area.
Open all hours to students and staff, the on-line academy has been specially developed by lecturers at Highbury College, using leading edge technology.

Special taster sessions are now freely available for members of the public to test their abilities and see how a bit of a maths refresher could help them.
“It is widely recognised that improving your maths will widen the employment opportunities available to you,” said Tess Cole, Highbury’s Education and Skills Director. “The Highbury team works closely with employers to provide the skills they need, with maths remaining key to employability.” added Tess.

Cathy Ellis, Director of Research & Development said Highbury is leading the way in e-learning. “We know technology plays a great part in everybody’s daily lives, and the people of Portsmouth and our students want to access information anytime, anywhere – we are digital by default .”
Cathy was among a delegation from Highbury College who were invited to contribute to the BETT Show 2016 which took place at the ExCel Centre in London. BETT is the largest annual education technology event in the UK and attracts educators and policy makers from around the world. Cathy was a guest speaker at the event, advising educators on how to harness technology in their institutions. Florence Gallien, Head of Marketing & Communications, was also invited to advise on the use of social media in education.

The College’s e-learning specialists, Anna Selway and Ross Hounsell, were there to talk about how Highbury has invested in Canvas, the College’s e-learning portal. Canvas is a state-of-the-art technology platform used by Harvard, Stanford and leading US Community Colleges. “There was a lot of interest in how we are using technology for learning at Highbury College, including advising ministerial delegations from South America and Scandinavia,” said Ross.

If you are interested in trying out Highbury College’s Digital Maths Academy, visit their website.

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