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Gosport Borough Council

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Best year ever for Summer Passport scheme

Gosport borough's Summer Passport scheme, which offers free outdoor activities for secondary school students, attracted more young people than ever this year.

A total of 714 young people took part in the annual event – an increase of 36% on 2017.  And the festival-themed launch day at Walpole Park attracted a record 288 participants, a 38% increase on last year. 

Young people enjoyed a whole host of activities, with the most popular this year being ice-skating, water sports, making dream-catchers and cooking. For the first time, 14-year-olds could have a go at driving, with sessions fully booked on the day held at Fort Brockhurst. 

As well as fun, young people also had specialist advice available on issues such as relationships, mental health and drugs. A total of 36% of those completing a feedback survey said they had improved their knowledge of how to keep themselves and others safe.

Parents praised the event, which is run by Gosport Community Safety Partnership, which includes Gosport Borough Council, Hampshire Constabulary, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service and local NHS organisations. 

One mum, Rachel Askham, said: “Thank you all so much for doing this! Such amazing and varied activities! This was my daughter's first year and she's come home with tales of kayaking and mocktails on the beach, owls and Mexican food making. She sparkled with glitter tattoos and beautiful henna art, and took part in fabulous craft sessions where she made a tie-dye top, bunting and a dream-catcher. What a summer! She will be back next year.”

Another mum, Jill Crowthers, said: “Thanks to everyone involved. My son has had an amazing time doing lots of different activities. The highlight was the driving lesson. Looking forward to next year already. Bravo guys.”

And Kelly Doherty said: “My daughter has had the best time ever. Thank you. The first of many years passporting.”

Young people also said why they valued the scheme.

Rebecca Paton, 16, said: “I loved kayaking and the henna tattoos, and I loved making new friends and encouraging new people to join as it helps keep them safe and have a good time.”

Tegan Jones, 14, said she enjoyed “being able to socialise with others whilst doing fun activities such as creating our own dream-catchers.”

Cllr John Beavis, Chairman of the Community Safety Partnership, said: "I'm delighted at the success of this year's Summer Passport. It gives young people the opportunity to make new friends, and it's great for parents, who know their children are safe and being looked after."