VOLUNTARY groups across the city have been gathering inspiration from the Minister for Civil Society at a conference.
Nick Hurd MP addressed more than 150 guests at the Portsmouth Festival of Ideas.
Mr Hurd visited the Hilsea Lido, the Portsmouth Advice Centre and Action Stations in the Historic Dockyard.
The day-long event was hosted by the Portsmouth Voluntary and Community Network to generate new ideas to tackle some of the issues facing people in the city.
This includes issues such as obesity, social isolation, mental health and domestic abuse.
Mr Hurd said: ‘I spend a lot of my time going around the country connecting with the voluntary sector.
‘There’s a hell of a lot going on. It’s very exciting and I wanted to come down and meet a few representatives of the voluntary sector in Portsmouth.
‘It’s hugely impressive here and it’s typical of what I see around the rest of the country. I am always struck by the creativity, energy and the passion inside the voluntary sector.
‘This is the kind of activity that keeps communities together and keeps them strong and provides support that others can’t.’
Mr Hurd spent time at the Hilsea Lido finding out about plans for it to reopen in the summer.
Community Action Hampshire is the countywide support body for the Voluntary and Community Sector in Hampshire.
Liz Donegan, head of service at Community Action Portsmouth, said: ‘This has been about providing a showcase for the voluntary and community sector in the city and showing the richness and diversity of the work that they do. We are generating new ideas about the different issues the city faces.
‘We want to bring everybody together with organisations large and small to start collaborating.’
Kim Hosier is the centre director for PARCS (Portsmouth Area Rape Crisis Service).
She said: ‘I was inspired by the day. I have got lots of new ideas and lots of energy. It’s good in terms of partnership working.
‘It’s really good to have someone from central government taking an interest.
‘He did seem to be really interested in the work we are doing.’