40 minutes to save the world…

…or not. That’s an obscenely short period of time so lets not bother and just start screaming, raping and pillaging. For the record, the world isn’t ending; I’m just about to start a blog and I have 40 whole minutes to write it. I’m on my lunch break and I want to actually stimulate my brain for a while rather than spending the whole day with that feeling that I’m slowly dying inside through apathy.

Last year I signed up to become an Ambassador for Portsmouth. I actually have a certificate to say I’m one as well. What this means is that I’m supposed to promote the city of Portsmouth through word of mouth and, ideally, at schools, community centres and all sorts of places.

Look how much fun we’re having. Sigh.

I believe that this is a good idea to an extent but I don’t want to follow the rest of the ambassadors in this form of City Brand promotion. My intention is to simply spread the word through my preaching in cyber space. I currently reach an audience of about 2 people per day so I’m not expecting a huge response (at least not right now).

Why on earth am I that bothered about promoting Portsmouth though? What makes this city special from other places in the UK? How does promoting it help me? How does it’s growth help you? Backstory time, skip it if you want.

We currently live in a city that is undergoing gradual, positive, transformation. When I first moved to Portsmouth ten years ago there had been huge development at Gunwharf Quays and also Port Solent. The work at Port Solent had been finished and Gunwharf had been half finished. Fast forward to the present and these shopping centres are doing well, though in my opinion, at the detriment to other former shopping hubs in North End and Commercial Road. Both these areas are incredibly tired as far as I am concerned. More importantly why am I only talking about shopping?

What swung my desire to study in Portsmouth came down to three things. The sea, the sunshine on the day and the quality of the Gunwharf Quays development. I had considered other Universities but I was sold on the image; and the potential. Portsmouth was changing. The Tricorn was to be demolished and there was talk of massive redevelopment at the entrance to the city (which at the time was a landfill and derelict land). Riding on my wave of optimism I knew I wanted to be part of a city that was finding itself again; just like me.

Portsmouth. A city that is the heart of the Royal Navy saw part of its heart depart last week. The Ark Royal was a visual metaphor for the end of a relationship that has become outdated in the world that we live in. There will always be a naval presence in Portsmouth but it no longer needs to be the cornerstone of the Cities prosperity. Money is power and that power can be found elsewhere.

Off to be torn to pieces in Turkey. Hail the glorious dead.

The city has a continually improving University. It has a cultural scene that is growing exponentially. It has a sea front that can make the city a fortune and be as loved as Brighton and Bournemouth. It is a hub for transport to the continent and further. Most importantly it is a city that is full of people who can make the city as good as they want it to be. You can sit at home and moan or you can do one simple thing that makes things better for both you and your neighbours. You could repaint your house, get involved with local groups, knit a lamppost whatever!

Isn’t that better than magnolia?
Look – colour! In Portsmouth!

You have the power to make the city better. Making this city more appealing will keep more graduates, like me, stay here. More people like me will lead to more business, more skilled labout, more money and more preachers shouting about what a great city this is.

The net result? You get a better city, you get a better life and we all get to save our own part of the world.

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