North End residents in community Facebook group meet for the first time after years of friendship

THEY have shared laughs and frustrations while supporting each other for years – and now these residents have met for the first time after an online community group brought them together.

Saturday, 30th April 2022, 11:00 am

More than a dozen members of the 5,000-strong North End Portsmouth on Facebook came together for their first face-to-face meeting at the Costa in London Road earlier today.

Group admin Howard Honey said the isolation of the Covid-19 pandemic had sparked the idea to bring together residents who had been communicating online since the group began in 2018.

Howard said: ‘All the people here – I have never met them before. But we have been messaging for years.

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Members of a North End Facebook community group have met for the first time to discuss the issues facing the area.

‘Everybody is just the same, they are as they come.’

The group has been a huge benefit for residents, according to Howard.

He said: ‘We have noticed that a lot of people lose things like credit cards and word goes out and they are found

‘Also people lose pets and they get found through the Facebook group.

‘People like to help each other.’

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Group member and North End resident Dini Aytoun, who moved to the UK from Holland in 1990, said the meet-up had helped the resident have a better understanding of the issues affecting the area.

She said: ‘It’s been wonderful.

‘I would definitely come to another one.’

Among concerns raised was the state of London Road’s shops and empty units, with banks including Halifax, Barclays, and Lloyds closing their branches in the last four years.

Portsmouth City Councillor Lee Hunt, who attended the meeting, said that local councillors were working with residents to address the dearth of banking facilities in the busy high street.

The politician said: ‘We are working with a lady who has a petition in Nuts Cafe – we are bringing a motion to the council to put pressure on banks to come and meet us. Hopefully we can have a counter put back in.’

After the success of the group’s meeting, Howard is now keen to organise another event in the evening to increase attendance.

Howard said: ‘I would like to make this a more regular thing – maybe once a month.’