Registered charity number 1061569

A Jewel in the City’s Crown

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A Jewel in the City’s Crown

Our service Manager Steve is pictured here with Gail Baird the Chair of Friends of Old Portsmouth (FOOPA) at the Hot Walls Canteen. The meeting was an opportunity for Steve & Gail to discuss a new initiative to help build and embed a new positive Restorative Culture in the local neighbourhood of Old Portsmouth. It is hoped that by helping to connect and join up key people in the local community it will be possible to strengthen and create new positive relationships that can enhance community cohesion and build relational capital for the benefit of local residents, traders, holiday makers and the young people who are attracted to the waterfront area, particularly during the hot summer months.

Over the years there have been a range of problems with groups of young people congregating around the Hot Walls, Victoria Pier, and the Camber Dock and ‘tombstoning’ from great heights off dangerous structures and private property. Despite serious injuries to individual in the past, the risk and excitement of this activity continues to draw young people from across the city, and from further afield. It is reportedly seen as a generational ‘rite of passage’ and continues despite attempts to stop it. There are also the associated problems with anti-social behaviour and damage.

In April 2022, Portsmouth City Council commissioned the Portsmouth Mediation Service to develop a long-term restorative plan for the Old Portsmouth area. The work will run over at least 18 months and will involve relationship building, restorative training and meetings between local residents and community groups, business traders and hopefully young people. This restorative programme will be supported with youth outreach by Motiv8, Portsmouth Youth and Play Service, Street Pastors, and others. This work reinforces the new Portsmouth City Council Health and Wellbeing Strategy ‘Positive Relationships’ theme and the City Vison’s priorities as well as three of the Police and Crime Commissioner’s priorities: tackling anti-social behaviour, preventing young people from committing crime and improved outcomes for victims.

After the meeting Gail said “FOOPA and the residents of Old Portsmouth welcome this initiative and the opportunity to get involved at this early stage to help shape the work going forwards. We hope that trust and positive relationships can be built between residents, visitors and all users of the neighbourhood. Old Portsmouth is a jewel in the city’s crown which everyone should be able to share and enjoy harmoniously and respectfully”

“It was good to meet up with Gail” said Steve “she is a real restorative champion and locally an important centre of influence, we hope others will also catch this new positive restorative vision and join the journey. Each summer the young people that gather can cause some tensions with the local residents and traders. There are lots of different voices and opinions in this complicated situation, however increasingly there is a growing consensus that we cannot just police or patrol our way out of these annual difficulties.