Portsmouth residents ‘the shyest in Britain’

The Big Lunch's Giant Door Tour pictured at Bath Square, Spice Island, Old Portsmouth. '(l-r) Marianne Jamieson from Big Lottery Fund, Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Cllr Frank Jonas and Jacky Charman from Community Action.'The Big Lunch is a one-day get together for neighbours- encouraging people across Portsmouth to come together. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (13584-432)
The Big Lunch's Giant Door Tour pictured at Bath Square, Spice Island, Old Portsmouth. '(l-r) Marianne Jamieson from Big Lottery Fund, Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Cllr Frank Jonas and Jacky Charman from Community Action.'The Big Lunch is a one-day get together for neighbours- encouraging people across Portsmouth to come together. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (13584-432)
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PORTSMOUTH has been named the shyest city in the UK when it comes to people knowing their neighbours.

A study revealed that thousands of people fail to introduce themselves when they move house.

Research conducted by The Big Lunch found that out of 3,000 people surveyed, 57 per cent did not know their neighbours well. One in four of those could not even name them.

The most popular reason people gave, with almost a third, was that they were too shy to knock on their neighbours’ doors. Other factors included lack of time and worries that they might not get on with them.

Now, the Big Lunch wants to change this by getting neighbours to eat together.

Led by the Eden Project and funded by the Big Lottery Fund, The Big Lunch looks to get people together in their communities.

Sir Tim Smit, co-founder of The Big Lunch and creator of the Eden Project, said: ‘There was a time when everyone was friendly with the people living next door.

‘But as time goes on, this seems to be coming rarer.

‘We are keen to change this and last year, 8.5m people took part in our Big Lunches.

‘Getting to know your neighbours creates a safer, happier environment and you might even end up with a new best friend.’

The study found that, despite not knowing their neighbours, 78 per cent of residents would like more community spirit.

Councillor Frank Jonas, the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, said: ‘Portsmouth has always felt like such a friendly city so I am very surprised to learn we are the shyest region in the UK when it comes to talking to our neighbours.

‘I certainly think we should change this and taking part in the Big Lunch is a great way to overcome nervousness.’

The Big Lunch was launched in 2009 with increasing numbers taking part each year.

This year’s event is held on June 2. For more information, go to thebiglunch.com