REVEALED: What Portsmouth residents really feel about their community - and how happy they are

The Big Lunch Street Party in 
Rochester Road, Southsea in June  Picture: Habibur Rahman
The Big Lunch Street Party in Rochester Road, Southsea in June Picture: Habibur Rahman

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Our Big City Survey has lifted the lid on what life is really like in Portsmouth, and all week we have been looking at the results.

Today reporter DAVID GEORGE finds out that while people in Portsmouth are on the whole contented, there may not be as much neighbourly community cohesion as in previous years.

We might feel happy at home and in work, but our community spirit could be starting to wane.

The results of our survey into community feeling

The results of our survey into community feeling

According to The News’ Big City Survey, we are living comfortably – with 81.89 per cent of people happy at home and 52.27 per cent saying they are financially comfortable.

But we may be losing touch with our sense of community, with more than 50 per cent of people saying they are not actively involved with their local community.

One person who wants that to change is James Donougher, from Southsea.

Every year, James organises a street party in Rochester Road, with the goal of bringing the local community closer together.

Results of the Big City Survey

Results of the Big City Survey

He said: ‘We have been doing this for several years now and it has gone from strength to strength.

‘Everyone gets involved in the street party and it brings people together who may not have normally spoken to one another.

‘People also bring their friends and family along so it ends up being quite a big event.

‘What makes it so special is that everyone is able to contribute in some way – we all share food with one another, or play games together – there is a really nice community spirit every year – and I would urge other streets to organise something similar to it.’

‘It is easier to arrange than people might think, and has certainly brought everyone in our street closer together.

‘Rochester Road is brilliant but we don’t want to be the only road that creates a tight-knit community.’

With Christmas right around the corner, there are some who believe that this is the ideal time to rekindle community spirit.

Catherine Burt is one of the organisers of the Copnor Walking Nativity – an event that takes the regular church nativity and performs it out on the streets.

She said: ‘It’s sad to hear that some people feel out of touch with their communities and shows why it’s so important organisations, churches and other local groups need to keep arranging events that the whole community can be part of.

‘Last year we had around 400 people come together to take part in Copnor’s Walking Nativity and we’re hoping a similar number will join us this year.

‘It’s an enjoyable and memorable experience for all involved – uniting the community and giving local schools, businesses and churches the chance to work together, which all helps people feel part of something bigger.’