Earn your stars and stripes as a volunteer in Portsmouth

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HUNDREDS of volunteering opportunities fresh from the streets of Philadelphia were set to arrive in Portsmouth today.

Portsmouth is one of seven UK cities selected to take part in the Cities of Service programme and it has been awarded £180,000 to set it up.

The initiative follows a similar model which began in America five years ago, where volunteers address specific needs of a city.

Run by the Cities of Service coalition, it has now been brought to the UK for the first time by the Cabinet Office and innovation foundation Nesta.

Philadelphia’s Catie Wolfgang, the US city’s ‘chief service officer’ was to visit Portsmouth today and tomorrow to offer guidance and find out how Portsmouth plans to use volunteers to make huge differences to local issues.

Projects in Portsmouth are focused on education, sustainability and community and civic pride and there are more than 300 opportunities.

Catie Wolfgang will meet students from King Richard’s School in Paulsgrove who are learning from business mentors tomorrow.

The city will also launch a ‘Love Your Loft’ campaign to address issues of sustainable heating.

Volunteers will be recruited to help clear lofts for residents who would benefit from insulation. Meanwhile ‘Love Your Street’ is aimed at communities improving their local area, with the help of a small fund.

Brian Bracher, Portsmouth City Council’s chief service officer said: ‘We can learn a great deal from the success in America.

‘As a city of service we’ve identified local challenges facing Portsmouth, and will now work to mobilise volunteers to address those issues and measure the impact they are having.’

Visit volunteer.portsmouthouth.gov.uk