May 2016 be a better year for those facing trouble

Cladding being removed from Horatia House and Leamington House earlier this year

COMMENT: A towering mistake to backtrack on fire safety

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So this is my final column for 2015, a year in which the Spinnaker Tower could have been rebranded in red and white stripes thanks to an interesting agreement between Portsmouth City Council and Emirates Airlines.

Thankfully that giant faux pas (I’m sure this was how it was described up and down the corridors of the civic centre) was avoided and a bunch of people, probably in Southampton, got their hands on some cut-price scarlet paint.

The Victorious Festival was a highlight for any music-lover and a real bright spot in the events calendar

The reason for the Spinnaker rebrand was, of course, the arrival of the America’s Cup, a sporting event generally accepted as a ‘good thing’ even when it was nearly washed away thanks to summer storms.

Hot on the heels of that came the Victorious Festival, a highlight for any music-lover and a real bright spot in the events calendar.

In 2015 unemployment has fallen, investment has been announced in the dockyard and building work has started at The Hard, transforming Europa House into student accommodation.

This has all been good news for the city and its surrounding area.

But of course there always has to be a flip side.

This has been the year when Portsmouth Mind, a vital charity that provided help and support for those with mental illness and their loved ones, had to close its doors because of a lack of funding.

It’s also been the year in which services for those suffering domestic abuse in the city almost went the same way.

They face finding themselves in the same position in 12 months’ time when the money finally runs out.

This year has been the year when yet again Portsmouth didn’t attract investment in a shopping centre, though thankfully the Centros Northern Quarter development was ditched in late 2014.

This year has also been the year in which, for many of us, our focus has not been on our lives but the lives of those in Paris, Syria, Iraq, and other areas of the Middle East where the innocent are dying in the hundreds of thousands.

May 2016 be a better year for those people and for all those facing real trouble around the world.