Registered charity number 1061569

Stronger Together

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Stronger Together

There has over recent years become a gradual and growing realisation among local people who live and work around the Hotwalls & Camber Dock, along with other various stakeholders, agencies, and council that we cannot just police or patrol our way out of the perennial summertime problems associated with large groups of young people visiting the area to swim, dive and hang out.

In commissioning Portsmouth Mediation Service (PMS) to help develop a restorative plan for these recurring issues Portsmouth City Council (PCC) became specifically intentional about developing greater communication, cooperation and collaboration among local people & business and the agencies and youth organsiations that were seeking to support and serve them.

At the core of this restorative approach was the idea of working WITH people and not doing things TO them or FOR them. It is a key restorative principle that PCC has adopted in other spheres of city life. The ultimate aim is to help encourage and empower local people to work together for positive solutions and not to become over dependent on outside agencies or indeed too reliant on the council. ‘Together we are Stronger’ has become a strapline for this restorative journey.

Ove the past two years or so PMS has been encouraging local people who live and work in the neighbourhood to come and work together on ideas and solutions that can each incrementally help make the summer situation better. This work of helping to envision and enlist local restorative champions and ambassadors is ongoing and new ‘movers & shakers’ are continually joining in with the restorative vision. Key to the implementation of this restorative strategy is the Hotwalls & Camber Dock Restorative Support Group which is made of local residents along with representatives from The International Port Authority, including the Harbour Master, The Portsmouth Sailing Club, FOOPA, Spice Island Association, The Camber Building, Fish Market, Wightlink, Square Tower, Portsmouth Cathedral (St Thomas Parish) Hotwalls Artists and traders, Neighbourhood Police, PCC Seafront Management and Community safety teams. It also crucially incudes our city’s youth organsiations, Motiv8, Pompey in the Community, Urbond, Andrew Simpson Centre and the PCC Play & Youth Service. This motivated group has been meeting twice monthly in the summer and once during the winter months for over 18 months.

Pictured above at the February meeting this group is currently focusing on the opportunities to engage with some of the young people who visit the area, it was great that young Malachi who attended this meeting was able to powerfully share how valuable it is when young people get the opportunity to be mentored by those who care and take the time to build relationships.

PMS have taken some of the restroative leadership in supporting our local youth organsiations to coordinate and collaborate on a joined-up approach to youth outreach and activities. Again, the restorative message here is that Together we are Stronger. The aim for this summer will be to build on this Youth Support Alliance and relieve further pressure on our hard-pressed Police and PCC wardens. This summer will see a greater emphasis on connecting with the young people who visit the Hotwalls & Camber Dock on hot summer days. Building positive relationships with some of these visitors and connecting them to some of the local people will be another key step forward in this ongoing journey.

It is also worth noting that while PCC commissioned this restorative approach primarily to help reduce the summer anti-social behaviour. The benefits of local people working more closely together will have a positive impact on the local neighbourhood and economy throughout the whole year.