A GOVERNMENT minister has supported a bid to get people involved in the Love Your Street campaign.
Minister for civil society Rob Wilson learnt about The News-backed project during a visit to Portsmouth yesterday.
The initiative, which has been given £20,000 by The Southern Co-operative, urges people to apply for grants to help boost their streets.
A further £10,000 comes from the Cities of Service funding that Portsmouth was awarded last year.
In total, it will provide up to 30 £500 mini-grants each year.
Mr Wilson visited King Richard School in Paulsgrove to discuss the Cities of Service scheme, of which Portsmouth became a member of the international coalition last year.
He said: ‘Portsmouth is doing a terrific job in getting people and businesses involved in the City of Services project.
‘It’s a great way to get more volunteers helping make the city a better place.
‘And the Love Your Street initiative sounds a fantastic opportunity for communities to improve where they live. I hope there are lots of applications for grants.’
Councillor Donna Jones, leader of Portsmouth City Council, said: ‘I have been personally promoting the Love Your Street initiative as it provides a great way to enable local people to develop a scheme of their choosing to enhance their own neighbourhood.’
The scheme is linked to Portsmouth Together, a council project that looks to get more volunteers to help improve where they live.
Brian Bracher, chief service officer, Portsmouth Together (Cities of Service) said: ‘We’re delighted to have been able to host the first visit by the civil society minister to one of the Cities of Service.
‘Our “Portsmouth Together” initiative such as “Love Your Street” is a prime example of how the City of Service model can make a difference to lives and communities in the city to make Portsmouth a better place to live, learn and work.’
Inspired by work of the former mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg, Cities of Services is an international coalition of cities dedicated to engaging citizens locally to make a difference against pressing city issues.
Mentoring programme inspiring youngsters at school
Rob Wilson’s visit was welcomed by students and mentors at King Richard School who have benefited from the Portsmouth Together initiative Activate.
Activate involves mentors from businesses working with children to support them through their GCSEs.
Mr Wilson said: ‘The mentors and young people are getting an enormous amount out of this project.
‘Having someone to go to outside of teachers or parents makes a difference to students to help them with what they want to do in their life.’
Mentor Ian Saynor, from Baffins, said he was paired with a student after they both filled out a questionnaire.
‘This was done so we can talk about general things like football and soaps which makes it easier for them to talk to us,’ he said.
How to apply
As part of the application process for Love Your Street, you must describe a project to improve the lives of people in your community that can be carried out between June and August this year.
You must provide a budget for how you would spend the grant of up to £500, and indicate what city services or support from the council your group wants.
The grant programme seeks to have 30 projects happening across the city and aims to fund projects in each of the 14 wards of the city.
Groups may be long-standing, newly-established or in the process of forming, and are not required to have charity status.
For an application form, visit volunteer.portsmouth.gov.uk, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (023) 9284 1280.
Closing date for entries is Tuesday, March 24.