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Portsmouth City Council Updates

Miguel Blasco Martin

With the extension to the lockdown, it has become apparent that our professional and personal lives will remain in a state of flux and uncertainty for some time to come. With so much changing every day and week by week, we wanted to keep in regular touch with you to share more information and news pertinent to our sector, which we hope you will find useful.

Last week, we provided you with links to websites offering information on funding and grants as well as platforms that offer practical advice to both businesses and individuals. In this edition, we have an update on grant payments from Portsmouth City Council as well as where to find additional information on business support. The Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is now live, so we have included that link too.

To stay up to date with U.K. Government advice on coronavirus, visit the GOV.UK Website.

We have trawled the Internet to find more links that provide information and support across the creative and sports industries and have collated these for your interest. We have also included the links to the main industry body websites again as they are regularly updated with the latest news and advice.

Many of our revenue organisations have been working hard to provide entertainment for their audiences whilst they remain closed and you can read about these in this newsletter, as well as an update on the content our own services are producing for information and entertainment. Also in this section, we have provided links to online platforms providing a wealth of free creative and entertaining resources – we hope you find something to enjoy amongst all of these!

VE Day, on the 8th May, is now less than a month away, and whilst we can’t have the commemorations and street parties we’d all hoped for, we will still be marking the day; in this newsletter you can read what we are planning and how to get involved. As we get closer to the day we will provide further details on what will be happening locally, and nationally.

Lastly, mental health and wellbeing is of paramount importance as we come to terms living in this unnatural environment so we have signposted a number websites, which provide guidance and support should you need it.

Government Aid

Claim for wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: Job Retention Scheme

Update on Grant Payments from Portsmouth City Council small business grant fund or retail, hospitality and leisure grant

If you have already applied for the small business grant fund or retail, hospitality and leisure grant,we have now started making payments. We have a lot of applications and are working through them as quickly as possible. Like most other local authorities, we have a national software provider and we had to work with them to make the necessary changes to our IT systems before payments could be made.Payments are being made by BAC’s and cheque.


Businesses within the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure sectors will get 100% discount on business rates for 2020/21 regardless of the size of the business.

Additional information regarding business support can be found on you will also be able to subscribe to the Business Update
newsletter from Portsmouth City Council.page2image15208

You can also call the Portsmouth City Council Business help line on 023 9284 1641 (open 7am – 7pm Monday to Friday)

The HIVE, Portsmouth

The HIVE have been working extremely hard to support our most vulnerable residents during the Covid-19 pandemic. As of April 15th 2020, 2,354 individuals have registered for support across the city, 741 of which have indicated they do not have anyone to help them with essential supplies.

Food distribution is continuing, being delivered to and stored at Portsmouth Football Club and managed by Pompey in the Community. In the last week, 196 food parcels have been delivered by Pompey in the Community, 91 by Portsmouth Salvation Army, 122 by Age UK Portsmouth and 268 by the Government.

The HIVE are also offering a Prescription Support Service and carrying out welfare checks regularly.

If you are struggling financially or emotionally during the pandemic, please contact the appropriate Helpline listed below, open 9am-5pm Monday – Friday: PO1 – PO6 postcodes: 023 9261 6709. Residents in other PO postcodes: 0333 370 4000

If you would like to volunteer or donate to The HIVE, visit the HIVE, Volunteering and Donating Page.

Support for Creative Industries and Sport

Creative Industries Federation

Have specific guidance relating to those working within the creative sector. This includes legal advice, public health advice, mental health advice and helping with working from home.


Independent Arts Projects

Support and Advice for Arts workers during coronavirus.


Heritage Emergency Fund

A fund set up by the Heritage Fund available for cultural organisations to help them through the coronavirus crisis to continue delivering projects or to stabilise operations.


The COVID-19 Alphabet

Provides many links to help cultural organisations access financial support such as grants, rates relief and job retention schemes.


Visit Britain

Latest tourism-related news and information for UK tourism businesses on the outbreak of COVID-19, this includes useful links to information and advice.


Artists and Freelancers


Runs a free one-to-one advisory service for those working in the performance industry.

Arts Council England

Providing support for people working as artists, freelancers and in publicly funded cultural organisations.

Freelance Artist Resources List

A document containing a collection of links to resources to help freelance creatives and artists during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Theatre, Film and TV

The Royal Variety Charity

The Royal Variety Charity is uniquely positioned to provide financial assistance to anyone who serves any facet of the Entertainment Industry, should they find themselves experiencing unforeseen financial hardship as a result of ill-health.

Equity Charitable Trust

They provide welfare grants to actors who find themselves in a difficult financial position, theatres who are struggling and those who have had a change of circumstance or would like debt or benefits advice.

Film and TV Charity

They have a 24/7 support line which is free to use and confidential. There is also a COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund providing one-off grants from £500 to £2,500 to active workers in film, TV and cinema that are not eligible for SEISS. They also have a Repayable Grant Scheme for self-employed film, TV and cinema workers who are eligible for the Government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

Actors Benevolent Fund

A fund for actors who are in need due to illness, injury or old age.

The Royal Theatrical Fund

Provides support to those who work or have worked professionally in the entertainment industry for seven years or more. Along with the fund, they provide advice and emotional support.

Music Industry

The Royal Society of Musicians

The Royal Society of Musicians have collaborated with Help Musicians UK to release £500,000 to musicians affected by coronavirus.

Musicians Union

The Musicians Union are posting regular updates detailing which grants are available to musicians and individuals in the music industry.


Dance Professionals Fund

Providing grants for dancers due to illness or injury, supporting everyday living costs or crisis funding. They provide confidential advice and financial support tailored to the individual.

One Dance UK

Providing advice for dancers on managing their business and finances during COVID-19. They are also regularly updating with new schemes and grants available for dancers.

Sports and Leisure


Sport England Community Emergency Fund

Providing grants of between £300 and £10,000 to sports clubs and voluntary/community organisations that deliver or enable sport or physical activity. To learn more about the fund, click how we can help


Portsmouth City Council’s Revenue Funded Organisations

Aspex Gallery

Aspex Gallery are working hard to keep communities engaged from home. ‘Aspex at Home’ is still providing MiniMakers and Family Saturdays online; you can access these on the Aspex Gallery Facebook page. The dementia group is still being supported with contact via phone calls and delivery of art material packs and online tutoring.

There is also an Arts Award online for young people aged five and above. This will enable them to gain an award as well as a completed personal portfolio and certificate. To find out more, click aspex arts award.

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

BSO have been very active on their Facebook Page with posted links to audiobooks, podcasts, music suggestions and articles.

This week saw the launch of a new BSO@Home magazine programme with a regular Wednesday night 7.30pm new release video of chats, insights and musical delights. Additionally, a new special video is going live at 5pm on 23rd April with the BSO Voices community choir and others who have recorded a special version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow to bring joy and thanks to key workers across the South Coast.

The Kings Theatre have been regularly updating audiences through their mailing lists, keeping people up-to-date with shows and news, which you can subscribe to here. They have also been hosting live streams on their Facebook Page, answering your questions about the theatre.

New Theatre Royal

NTR have been sharing links on their Facebook Page to online performances such as pantomimes and dance workshops with lots of entertainment to keep little ones busy! They are also promoting the National Theatre at Home each week with links taking you to performances.

Portsmouth Guildhall

Portsmouth Guildhall are keeping people updated via blogposts on their website. As well as this, they have been hosting musicians on their Facebook Page for live streams.

Peter Ashley Activities Centre

The PAAC have been posting ‘Fort Facts’ on their Facebook Page with throwback images and information about the forts and their history. As well as this, they have been snapping the wildlife in and around the forts.

Culture and Leisure Service Update

Our staff continue to work behind the scenes to bring the city, museums and services into people’s homes; below is a snapshot of what you can currently enjoy in the virtual world.

If you haven’t done so yet, head to Visit Portsmouth to take a virtual tour of Portsmouth. As people are unable to visit Portsmouth in person whilst the UK is in lockdown, this enables people to take in the sights from their sofa!

Portsmouth Museum have announced their upcoming exhibition ‘Portsmouth Revisited II’. To introduce this they have uploaded a detailed video on their YouTube channel. They are also active on Facebook, posting facts and information from the museum.

The Conan Doyle Collection is available on the Visit Portsmouth website. This exhibition has proved to be extremely popular and you can view artefacts, stories and more on the website.

Portsmouth Libraries staff have been busy assisting local residents to access a range of resources due to the library closures. The Facebook page has been the focal point for accessing information and entertainment. The team have also been working closely with Corporate Communications on sharing information via mailing lists. This has extended the library reach beyond existing library members. There are also free audio books, music and craft activities available via links from their Facebook page.

The latest edition of Libraries Make A Difference details library activity from January to March.

National and International Projects

Damien Hirst Rainbow Artwork

The artist Damien Hirst has created a new rainbow art work to show support for the NHS in the current coronavirus crisis. The work is titles ‘Butterfly Rainbow’ and is made up of band of coloured butterfly wings.

You can download the image here, which can be used in a variety of ways such as printed and placed in the window to show your support, saved as a screensaver or used as a poster!

BBC Culture in Quarantine

The BBC have compiled a hundreds of videos and tasks to keep any age busy. The list consists of theatre productions, music performances, visual arts, dance, cinema, games and creative activities to do at home.

Association of Leading Visitor Attractions

Google Arts and Culture has partnered with more than 500 cultural institutions to offer virtual museum exploration, following the temporary closure of thousands of museums. The ALVA has provided an insight into the benefits of online exploration.

Online Poetry

Access online poetry readings, workshops and shows. These are both in video and audio format with live events too. Explore different genres for all ages.

Chatter Pack

There are links to free, online, boredom-busting resources. This contains virtual tours and live webcams, online learning, geography, nature, history, music, literature online and arts.

The Online Art Show

The Online Art Show is a platform displaying art from a range of artists, which is also available to buy. Gilbert and George have also put together a range of ‘lockdown posters’ also available on the site.

Get Creative 2020

A campaign that shines a light on all the great cultural activity that takes place on a regular basis in local communities. There is a link to their Activities page to start getting creative at home.


Artsy is a platform which is continuing to support artists and galleries through online fairs, benefit auctions and collections.


The TV show, Taskmaster are producing home tasks on their YouTube channel. These challenges are family-friendly and not as easy as they seem…

CNN Digital Libraries

A variety of videos and access to 7 US libraries with specialised collections from home.


VE Day: 8th May 2020

Virtual VE Day plans are ready and in place. Portsmouth City Council have a great relationship with Wave 105 and there will be a radio broadcast of Winston Churchill’sspeech at 3pm Friday 8th May.

The ‘from darkness to light’ event will also be taking place with spotlights in the sky at approximately 20:45hrs until 22:00hrs. If you have a torch then please do lean out of your of your window and shine it into the sky; let’s light up the whole of Portsmouth!

Although street parties will not be being held, local residents are still very much encouraged to make bunting and other homemade decorations to hang outside their houses.

The D-Day Story will be hosting a live Q and A session on 8th May to talk about Portsmouth and VE Day. You will be able to watch this on the D-Day Story Facebook.

VE Day marks an important moment in history and we want to encourage all our residents to get involved with our new virtual plans to mark the 75th anniversary and commemorate it appropriately. Please do share these with your neighbours and local community to spread the word as far as possible.


Wellbeing and Emotional Support

Finally, we need to remember to take good care of our loved ones and ourselves as we continue to stay at home for the next few weeks. Please find below a list of websites you can go to for guidance and support.

Public Health England have a guidance for the public on the mental health and wellbeing aspects of the coronavirus available for free on the government website.

The NHS have advice on Mental wellbeing while staying at home as it is important to take care of your mind as well as your body during lockdown.

Mental Health UK are offering tips for managing mental health during the outbreak of coronavirus. They have simple steps you can take to look after your mental health and wellbeing and are continuing to add and update their information.

The Samaritans are available 24/7 if you are feeling anxious, lonely, worried or if you are worried about someone else. The Samaritans are a confidential service to support you through any situation.


The current government advice surrounding COVID-19 is as follows:

  • Only go outside for food, health reasons or work, this is only if you cannot work from home
  • If you go out, stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people at all times
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get homeDo not meet others, even friends or family. You can spread the virus even if you do not have symptomsFor additional details on current government advice, please visit: or

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