Getting youngsters active will be key to city’s culture status

UP IN THE AIR Youngsters from Pompey in the Community's Respect programme join Pompey mascot Nelson in a mass keepy-uppy competition at Bransbury Park
UP IN THE AIR Youngsters from Pompey in the Community's Respect programme join Pompey mascot Nelson in a mass keepy-uppy competition at Bransbury Park

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YOUNG people will be encouraged to get more involved in sports in 2017.

It’s one of the council’s key priorities if Portsmouth wins its bid to become UK City of Culture.

Culture leaders hope to expand the city’s Respect Programme, based at Eastney Community Centre, Eastney, to other areas.

The initiative, led by Pompey in the Community and supported by the council and the University of Portsmouth, gets youngsters involved in sports and cultural activities they wouldn’t normally try.

Councillor Lee Hunt, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, said there’s a focus on sports because it’s closely related to culture.

He said spreading the programme would be hugely beneficial and help to reduce crime.

And the council also wants to raise awareness of less popular activities like free walking and wakeboarding. Cllr Hunt said: ‘We want young people to get involved – it’s their city. There are so many different types of sport and we want to raise awareness of activities like wakeboarding and free walking. The Respect Programme has made a massive impact.

‘It’s reduced crime and anti-social behaviour in that area by 30 to 40 per cent and we want to see it (the programme) go to other areas of the city as well.

‘Culture and sport are interlinked and more people are engaging in activities related to those areas.

‘The Olympics, without doubt, without question, have helped to boost that. The evidence is all around us.’

Schools and community centres will also be called on to get involved and help put on activities.

There will also be discussions with the organisers of Portsmouth Festivities to see how they can expand.

A lot of the plans rest on whether Portsmouth makes the UK City of Culture shortlist, which is drawn up in June. The council is filing a joint application with Southampton to The Department for Culture, Media & Sport. A winner will be announced in June.


PEOPLE who want to suggest activities for 2017 are being reminded to attend a public meeting about the bid.

The event will be held in the cafe on the top floor of Portsmouth’s civic offices on Monday from 5pm until 6.30pm. Portsmouth’s poet laureate Sam Cox will lead a question and answer session.

Becoming the UK City of Culture would bring Portsmouth’s activities under one banner, expand what’s on offer and bring in investment and international performers.

The other areas in the running are; Aberdeen; Chester; Dundee; East Kent (covering Ashford, Canterbury, Dover, Folkestone and Thanet); Hastings and Bexhill-on-Sea; Hull; Leicester; Plymouth; Southend on Sea; and Swansea Bay (covering Swansea, Carmarthenshire, Neath, and Port Talbot).

If Portsmouth makes the short list, published in June, then workshops will be held to find out what people want. Fill in your views at