Help is at hand for anyone in Portsmouth with project that emphasises '˜kind and considerate' city

The launch of the Hive project at Portsmouth Central Library 
Picture: Fiona CallinghamThe launch of the Hive project at Portsmouth Central Library 
Picture: Fiona Callingham
The launch of the Hive project at Portsmouth Central Library Picture: Fiona Callingham
A ONE-of-a-kind support network has been established in Portsmouth to boost quality of life and make use of the city's 'unique, kind and considerate' community spirit.

Based on the ground floor of the Portsmouth Central Library, the Hive will act as a 'one stop shop' to help residents with issues ranging from mental health, debt, loneliness and physical illnesses.

Thought to be the first of its kind in the country, the Hive will allow local voluntary, community and social services to share resources more easily with the council and the city's Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

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Currently 20 voluntary groups are part of the Hive, which will be officially launched in April next year, including the You Trust, Motivate and Pompey in the Community, although there is hope this will grow.

For the council's head of resources, Cllr Jeanette Smith, the Hive will make the most of the help that is already available in the city. 'Portsmouth traditionally has always been a very kind, considerate city,' she said.

'What the Hive will do is pool all those resources together. The idea is really to put the voluntary and statutory sectors in one place, like a one-stop shop.

'This is also about the voluntary sector having a say on what they need to do, not us telling them what they should be doing. They know the city and the people better than anyone, they're out all the time meeting people and learning about the issues out there.

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'And it will bring the council together because some projects and ideas will span different portfolios.'

Her colleague, head of leisure Cllr Steve Pitt, added: 'It is improving the quality of life that goes beyond the legal requirements.

'If someone has a problem that might not be appropriate for one service, instead of being turned away they will be signposted in the right direction as all services will be working closely together. That way no-one will fall through the net.'

The Hive has already had several success stories. In one case the team were able to find 28 volunteers to sit with people for allocated times to give their family carers a break.

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Nicola Youern, the chief executive of You Trust, said: 'This also improved the health and wellbeing of the carers as well as those receiving the care.

'It is so exciting to be involved with the Hive. We are coming together as voluntary groups with the council and CCG as equals.

'There are so many important issues we will be tackling together in the future like rough sleeping and childhood obesity. But it's also evolving, we will look at problems as they arise in the city.'

There are plans to extend the Hive to more locations in the city, including other libraries, following its launch next year.

The Hive will be open during Portsmouth Central Library's normal opening hours.