The new Emirates Spinnaker Tower experience [Interview]

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Emirates Spinnaker Tower has reopened with a newly refurbished entrance foyer, including a brand new animated film show, Sail of the Solent, introducing the fascinating stories and characters that helped make Portsmouth the great waterfront city it is today.

At the launch, Cheryl Buggy spoke to Sarah Webb, General Manager of the Emirates Spinnaker Tower:


Portsmouth introduces talking bus stops

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Travelling by bus is being made easier for blind and visually impaired passengers as Portsmouth City Council have introduced 90 talking bus stops in the city.

Under the scheme, Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) React trigger fobs, which can be used to hear information at bus shelters, will be available to residents at 25 per cent of the full cost, with the council paying the difference.

The RNIB React system links into the city’s Bus Real Time Information signs allowing blind and visually impaired people to hear announcements at bus stops telling them which bus stop they are at, which buses are coming and when they are due to arrive, meaning they no longer need to rely on fellow passengers for help.

The RNIB React system helps make the city more accessible, bringing independence and confidence for blind and visually impaired people who want to use local buses.

Cllr Jim Fleming, the council's Cabinet Member for Traffic & Transportation, said: "I am delighted that we are able to offer our residents the opportunity to make use of this technology at a reduced price in order to make travelling by bus in Portsmouth an easier and more attractive option."

The council has written to every visually impaired concessionary card holder directly to let them know about the availability of the fobs.

The RNIB React trigger fobs are available at a reduced cost of £10 from Central Library, Guildhall Square, Portsmouth. Please call Julie Duffy in advance to arrange an appointment on 02392 829 923.


Gunwharf Quays choose Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance as Charity of the Year 2016/2017

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Gunwharf CharityRetail outlet Gunwharf Quays has selected Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance (HIOWAA) as Charity of the Year for 2016/2017. With eight million shoppers visiting the South Coast’s leading designer outlet shopping centre every year, the opportunity will provide HIOWAA with invaluable exposure, helping to raise the profile of the charity within the local community.

Ray Southam, HIOWAA Corporate and Community Fundraiser, commented: “We are hugely grateful for this opportunity to be able to reach out to a wider audience and to spread the word about our life-saving work in a new environment."
Throughout the year the HIOWAA fundraising team will be joined by Gunwharf Quays staff to help raise valuable funds through a series of events at the centre. The team recently visited the retail outlet with their popular ‘Herocopter’ mascot and spent the day handing out flags and posing for photos with children.

Colin Wilding, General Manager at Gunwharf Quays, added: “It’s great to be supporting Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance as our chosen Charity of the Year. The charity provides a vital service which relies on support from the community so we’re delighted to offer our help. Over the next 12 months Gunwharf Quays will be hosting an array of fundraising activities for shoppers, diners and local residents to get stuck into; we look forward to raising as much as possible for this very deserving cause.”

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance flies seven days a week, up to 19 hours a day, and attends an average of two to three missions a day, many of them lifesaving. The charity receives no government, statutory or national lottery funding for routine operations, and is entirely dependent on gifts received from members of the public, companies and grant-making bodies to keep the Air Ambulance flying and saving lives. To keep the Air Ambulance flying HIOWAA needs to raise approximately £230,000 per month.


ARISE has awarded over £5,000 worth of funding to Portsmouth charities

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ARISE 1 web

ARISE – the charitable scheme founded by Gunwharf Quays – has awarded over £5,000 of funding to Portsmouth charities. 1st Portsmouth Sea Scouts has received more than £1,000 of funding, allowing the group to purchase aqua fleeces to keep the scouts dry and warm when learning to sail. Over £1,000 has also been awarded to North End Baptist Church for a new cooker, enabling the church to host cookery classes and prepare meals for the local community.

In addition, £1,000 has been granted to multi-sports club, Enable Ability, meaning they can now hire venues for weekly activities for disabled children and young people. Hope Portsmouth, a King’s Church charity who host community and charity activities including the Portsmouth Foodbank, has also received £1,000. The charity is currently refurbishing its hall and the funding will help create an accessible entrance with a new shopline door.

Colin Wilding, General Manager at Gunwharf Quays, said: “ARISE has made such a huge difference to the Portsmouth community, awarding over £38,400 to 55 local groups and organisations since starting in 2012. It has been a pleasure to help ARISE support these organisations, who together provide inspiring and essential work for our local community.”

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Furthermore, ARISE has awarded funds to Hilsea Lido Pool, part of the People’s Trust, for a new extraction board. This equipment is essential for people requiring rescue from the pool by static board. Loud and Proud, a youth volunteering group, has also received funding from the scheme.

Funding from ARISE is awarded through an application process in which any group, organisation or individual within the Portsmouth postcodes PO1 and PO17 can apply for tangible goods or projects that have a lasting legacy for the community. The deadline for the next quarterly awards to be considered is Tuesday 14 June and the application form can be found at


Get hands-on with biggest UK gaming collection

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Ports City Museum

Gaming fans of all ages will be flocking to a new free exhibition at Portsmouth Museum covering 40 years of home video games.

Game Over: The Future of the Past starts on Saturday 28 May. It's believed to be the largest single private collection of TV games, home computers and consoles on display in the UK, taking in everything from the first Pong TV game to the latest PlayStation.

Visitors can practise their retro gaming skills on a hand-picked selection of playable consoles and explore the history of the video game, with more than 100 machines on display.

An exciting programme of events will be running alongside the exhibition, including the chance to make a video-game-inspired pixel artwork with local artist Kendal James.

The show has been put together with collector and lifelong gamer Steve Lowe, founder of Game Over retro-gaming cafe in High Street, Old Portsmouth.

Portsmouth City Council's Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport, Cllr Linda Symes, said: "This is a unique exhibition that's sure to be a big success with today's gamers and anyone who has fond memories of the games and the consoles they grew up with. And it's great that it's truly local, reflecting Steve's passion for gaming."

Steve said: "I want to take people on a journey through the evolution of gaming. A couple of years ago I started visiting exhibitions and displays of gaming in the UK and realised there was nothing really out there for people interested in the history of gaming. That’s when I got the idea for both the café and the museum exhibition.

"The exhibition will be a hands-on experience that I want to appeal to veteran gamers and newbies alike. I’m hoping it’s something they want to visit again and again, but I also think there will be an element of surprise for a lot of people – they just don’t expect to find gaming in a museum.”

Steve will be on hand at the museum to chat to visitors – and anyone interested in volunteering to help with the exhibition – at the launch of the show on Saturday, between 10am and 5pm.

The museum is open 10am to 5.30pm, Tuesday to Sunday and on bank holiday Mondays.

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