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Residents are being invited to make their creative mark on Portsmouth at a fun drop-in session this half-term.

Portsmouth City Council is running a free drop-in session on Saturday 26 February from 11am to 3pm at the Somerstown Central Café (first floor of the Hub), Winston Churchill Avenue, PO5 4JJ, where everyone, of all ages, is invited to get involved with a number of fun art and craft based activities.

Working with attendees, professional artists will design new artwork to be placed along Belmont path and help identify a new name for a part of the city where a brand-new housing development will replace Horatia and Leamington Houses after the Somerstown tower blocks come down.

Belmont Path, just off Elm Grove and located between Woks Wong and Scoops, is all set to change with the investment from the Home Office that will see better lighting, CCTV, greening, removal of the bins, and street art from the local talented professional artist Anna Potten. These improvements will make it safer and a more pleasant place to walk through.

At this free drop-in session local people will have the chance to make bright and colourful picture frames that will contribute to the design of the street art. People will be able to take their named homemade photo frames away with them.

The improvements to Belmont Path are being delivered in partnership with the Hampshire Police Crime Commissioner, funded through the Home Office’s Safer Streets Three funding. It is one of several initiatives aimed at tackling violence against women and girls in the city.

Cllr Dave Ashmore, Cabinet Member for Community Safety & Environment said: “Belmont Path has been more well known as a smelly unpleasant alley but I am pleased to say that will all change very soon as the lighting is improved and the stinky bins are removed. As well as the street art that I hope many of you will help create at the event on Sat 26 Feb. We want this to become a safer route for women and girls, and the local community as a whole, as people move between their homes, school and the shops.”

Donna Jones, Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “This funding has made a real difference to the community. Safer Streets is a brilliant initiative that targets funds to reduce harm, particularly drug related harm. No one should live in fear of violence or sexually abusive behaviours and so it is essential that we not only make our streets safer places for women and girls, but that at the same time we increase their feelings of safety in public.”

The session will also include a rare opportunity to be part of naming a large area of land in the centre of the city. 18-storey Somerstown tower blocks Horatia House, in Meriden Road, and Leamington House, in Earlsdon Street, are being carefully taken down to be replaced with high quality homes, green space and play space. The council is working with a community panel to develop the plans for the area. After the buildings have gone the location will need a new name. At this event, with the help of a professional artist, the team redeveloping the area will gather people’s ideas to help start the conversation with the local community about what that name should be. The team will also have a free, fun craft activity for children and adults so that visitors can create a scratch-art fridge magnet to take home with them.

Cllr Darren Sanders, Cabinet Member for Housing and Preventing Homelessness said: “The local community has been at the heart of this project right from the beginning so it’s only right that they should lead on the conversation about what this exciting development will be called after the blocks have come down.”

At the event there will also be a chance to relax as you have free tea, coffee and cakes.

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