Portsmouth charity Urbond secures National Lottery funding to expand and develop its Portsmouth-based community integration programme

A CHARITY set up to help Portsmouth thrive has won National Lottery funding to expand and develop its Portsmouth-based community integration programme.

Monday, 20th September 2021, 5:11 pm
Urbond's Willard-Hans Shongue, Stephen Morgan MP, Urbond CEO Ousmane Drame, Lord Mayor Frank Jonas, Urbond's Anthony Helmore and Duke Harrison-Hunter, Equality Diversity Officer from PFC. Picture: Mike Cooter (170921)

Urbond was established in Portsmouth eight years ago by a group of residents who wanted to help their community. It runs a a wide-ranging programme including mental health workshops, fitness activities, charity events, women’s empowerment workshops and has an expanding youth development programme.

To date the charity has been run solely by local residents on a volunteer basis, during which time the scheme has brought together over 30,000 people spanning 75 different nationalities.

Urbond’s growth has been supported by generous sponsors and it has received an extra boost from the National Lottery Community Fund, enabling it to increase its support – putting on more events on a wider range of subjects, as well as moving into an office within the Challenge Enterprise Centre.

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Guests at the Urbond inauguration event. Picture: Mike Cooter (170921)

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The new office was officially opened on Friday, with special guests as well as dignitaries Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan and Frank Jonas the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth.

Mr Morgan said: ‘The Urbond community brings people from all backgrounds together to build a better city. I’m so proud of the team and to have supported them on the journey they’ve been on in helping others. It was a pleasure to attend the opening of their new home and celebrate the bright future that lies ahead.’

Cllr Jonas added: ‘It was good to catch up with Ousmane Drame, the hard-working and passionate CEO of Urbond, which is helping to advance racial harmony, equality and diversity.’

Urbond CEO Ousmane Drame addresses guests at the inauguration. Picture: Mike Cooter (170921)

Charity CEO Mr Drame is a proud Portsmouth resident whose vision is to see the area prosper.

He said: ‘Portsmouth has a diverse and growing community. With the correct support it will go from strength to strength.

‘At Urbond all participants are accepted regardless of their backgrounds or beliefs, in fact we embrace our differences and work together to promote a peaceful, productive and stronger community. Offering the best opportunity for it to rise to the challenges we face.’

Mr Drame has seen first-hand how important the work of the charity is and the positive impact it is having. He said the charity has helped many people, including homeless veterans, wayward youths, and unemployed women, plus more.

He added: ‘The scope for organisations such as Urbond is limitless because the community can achieve so much more when its members work together.’

Go to urbond.org/home for more.