A graffiti wall/ street art with people stood in front

Members of Innovation Connect set a challenge for the young people of Fratton Youth Club

5 min read

ECASS (Every Charitable Act Supports Someone) based at Innovation Connect at the University of Portsmouth recently challenged the young people of Fratton Youth Club to design and create street art to go on the walls outside the centre, with the help of a local artist and the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Portsmouth.

ECASS supports individuals in and around Portsmouth and Hampshire, helping them with issues such as alcohol and drug awareness, mental health, debt support, career empowerment and much more.

Managing Director and Founder of ECASS, John Ryder and their Creative Arts Director and local artist, Neil Foley (AKA Artform) grew up together in Portsmouth and understand some of the difficulties that young people can be faced with. Both felt that a street art project working with creative talent across the city would positively engage young people and help them to feel part of something, and encourage them to engage in other projects in the future.

There was a huge buzz and sense of achievement that weekend which the young people will carry with them for a long time.

John Ryder, Founder of ECASS

The project brought together different resources and community groups from around the city such as Fratton Community Centre, Fratton Youth Service and Pompey in the community and was funded and organised by ECASS.

The young people at Fratton Youth Centre were tasked with designing a piece of street art for a competition that they would like to see displayed on the walls of the centre. A number of designs were submitted which were combined into one overall design. All that was left to do was to get the design onto the wall.

All the young people got involved with spray painting, along with the adults and they were even paid a visit from the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Portsmouth who were happy to roll up their sleeves and get stuck in as well. Both the Lord and Lady thoroughly enjoyed the experience despite the hard work and made time to speak with those involved in the project.

The young artists who submitted designs won prizes provided by Pompey in the Community to watch Portsmouth FC play Bristol Rovers, and to have their designs displayed on screen during the match.

John, who is also an alumnus from the University, said: "There was a huge buzz and sense of achievement that weekend which the young people will carry with them for a long time. We know because we felt that way when we were youngsters growing up in tough environments.

 “I’d personally like to thank everyone involved in the project; Artform for weeks of work planning this project with me to ensure we could put on this free event, the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress for joining us, and all the community groups involved.”

Fratton Community Centre Manager Julie Crook said: “What an amazing event! Everyone has come together and the young people are all enjoying themselves at the community centre which a lot of them feel like is a second home."

Artform said: “I’m glad everyone involved had a great time - it made all the hard work worth it to see how much everyone was gaining from the community street art event.“

If there are any other groups or organisations interested in this project, please get in touch with ECASS Director, John Ryder as there are plans to roll out more projects like this and others of a different nature across the city. There is no age limit or ability requirements; it's open to everyone. Contact John on 07553249696, on social media or via https://ecass.co.uk/

ECASS are based at our Technopole Innovation Connect centre at the University of Portsmouth.

Innovation Connect offers a range of work spaces and business support to help small businesses develop and grow. Our partnership with Barclays Eagle Labs and links with the University open up a wide range of workshops, programmes and events. We also run regular networking events to give you the opportunity to meet like-minded individuals as part of our engaged business community.