New Portsmouth action group to offer tailor-made support to businesses, individuals and other groups in the wake of the pandemic

A ‘ONE-STOP shop’ group offering tailor-made support is set to help Portsmouth businesses, charities and others move forward in a ‘post-Covid-19’ landscape.

Tuesday, 23rd June 2020, 7:00 am

The Future Together action group, organised by Shaping Portsmouth, will bring together experts from all areas of the city to ensure businesses, charities, individuals, creative groups and even schoolchildren have the best chance to keep developing as pandemic starts to ease.

Among the tools available will be free business workshops and the formation of a business network, help for the unemployed with CV writing, and guidance on charity grant applications.

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Chief exectutive of Shaping Portsmouth, Stef Nienaltowski.

Stef Nienaltowski, chairman of Shaping Portsmouth and Future Together, said: ‘I am delighted to have been asked to lead such a group of talented and focused leaders from across the city.

‘Each one of us is totally committed to providing all the necessary help and support to enable our city recover from this crisis as quickly as possible.

‘By joining forces we will avoid duplication, share knowledge and better inform businesses and organisations of the help and support available to aid recovery.’

So far it is planned members of the group will meet bi-weekly as four separate sub groups: business analysis, business support, charity support and communications.

Plans are also in place for sub groups to look at the city's creative sector as well as education.

Ross McNally, the executive chairman of Hampshire's Chamber of Commerce, will be leading some of the work focused on businesses. ‘This is very post-Covid as opposed to lockdown solutions,’ he said.

‘This is about how we get businesses back up to where they were and developing.

‘Businesses need to know and understand what the impact on their business has been before they can start to look at solutions.'

Workshops will be hosted by the group to allow members of the city's business community to share ideas and resources. It is hoped these will start in July.

Mr McNally said: ‘We recognise that businesses are going to have to go through a period of transformation in respect to the challenges they are facing. In an economic situation like this many people will be looking to work more efficiently and productively.'

Deputy leader of Portsmouth City Council, Councillor Steve Pitt, added: ‘We are delighted that Shaping Portsmouth has picked up the baton on how we move the city forward and make sure we are giving the support required to help save and develop local businesses and groups and I am pleased to be a part of the group.’

As part of the scheme the University of Portsmouth will organise webinars for local businesses involving academics and industry specialists, as well as launching a network for local businesses to work with each other.

Peter Hooley, director of business development, faculty of business and law, at the University of Portsmouth, said: ‘The university is working night and day to help combat the virus and support its local business community.

‘Whether it is online support through webinars and volunteering or surveying our community to plan for the future, the university is invested in Portsmouth, its local business community and is planning a prosperous future together.’

The News is a member of the group, along with Hampshire County Council, The Hive, Pompey in the Community, the Federation of Small Businesses, Solent NHS and others.

Mark Waldron, editor of The News, said: ‘We've seen so much of Portsmouth at its best over the last three months – people and communities coming together and working as one to support those most in need. As we take steps towards recovery it is vital we lose none of this spirit of collaboration and Shaping Portsmouth’s Future Together action group will ensure that.

'I am proud that The News is part of this, working shoulder-to-shoulder with other key partners in the city to celebrate and promote continued business success and to point people in the direction of where support, advice and opportunities can be found.

‘Our focus is on being the catalyst for the city's economy to recover as quickly as possible from the Covid-19 pandemic for the benefit not just of businesses but the community as a whole.’

To find out more or get involved visit or email [email protected]

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