New website set up as Facebook group to help Portsmouth people during coronavirus outbreak hits 8,000 members

SELFLESS Facebook users have been hailed for showing off Portsmouth’s stunning community spirit after a group set up to support people in need during the coronavirus pandemic gained more than 8,000 members.

Friday, 3rd April 2020, 2:19 pm
Updated Friday, 3rd April 2020, 5:03 pm

The Portsmouth Coronavirus Support Group has been used to forge new friendships, deliver shopping for self-isolating residents and promote lockdown-hit local businesses since it was launched on Friday, March 13.

Founder Charlotte Gerada, 31, from Southsea, has admitted being ‘amazed’ at its rapid growth and has now unveiled a new website geared at signposting residents to services that can help them during the outbreak.

It comes as the Facebook group now welcomes hundreds of daily posts which are sifted through by a team of more than 20 moderators, in a bid to fight fake news and panic and spread positivity and unity across the city.

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From left, Portsmouth Coronavirus Support Group organiser Charlotte Gerada, Paula Ann Savage, Kirsty Mellor and Rebecca Ozaniec. Picture Ian Hargreaves (150320-4)

Charlotte, the Labour Party’s community organiser for the south east of England, said: ‘I want to say a massive thank you to everyone who has shown that community spirit is well and truly alive in Portsmouth and there is so much good and kindness in the city.

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‘I really hope once we are out of this situation and in a brighter time this continues to build and grow an even stronger bond between residents.

‘When this began we never anticipated reaching 8,000 people or building a website, but we now recognise the need for that so people can easily see a list of services they can access.’

The group has now become a feeding ground for The Portsmouth Hive as it works with the NHS and Portsmouth City Council to coordinate the city’s volunteer ranks during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Portsmouth Coronavirus Support Group’s website tells people how to get involved in that work, while also offering ideas on how people can best enjoy life during lockdown.

These tips include lists of what to watch, read and listen to to keep spirits high, a guide on how to grow your own fresh produce and a breakdown of which businesses have launched new delivery services to keep revenue ticking.

Charlotte said: ‘Because of the group and the way Facebook sets it up it can be difficult to keep an order to the posts in there – they move very quickly.

‘I hope it will be useful to people to now have things in one place on the website.’

You can join the group on Facebook by going to facebook.com/groups/203940460951601

To visit its website, go to portsmouthcoronavirussupport.org.uk

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