The Leeds dads using an app to bring their neighbourhoods together

Virtual DCS....''Photograph by Richard Walker/ImageNorth
Virtual DCS....''Photograph by Richard Walker/ImageNorth
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Two Leeds dads have welcomed the arrival of a new social networking app which has enabled them to get to know their neighbours.

Users of Nextdoor have been steadily growing in the city since the app launched in the summer, with several streets enthusiastically adopting it to share information about their communities.

Dubbed ‘Facebook for neighbours’ by its developers, the private platform allows adults living in the same area to make recommendations, promote events, find lost pets, organise get-togethers, share DIY equipment and crime advice, and even set up book and fitness clubs.

Among the early adopters is 47-year-old Asif Malik, who founded the Gledhow group in north Leeds and has seen huge expansion in his neighbourhood.

The father-of-two has found the app useful in helping him to find customers for his computer repair business, and he has met several of his fellow Nextdoor users in person since signing up.

“The neighbourhood has jumped in size over the last few weeks, and I’ve really enjoyed trying to help it to grow. It is early days, but Nextdoor is already being used in Gledhow to recommend the best local window cleaner, plumber or builder – and to give away free items such as kids’ climbing frames,” he said. Self-employed sound engineer Richard Tyson logged onto the Burley group with an unusual request and had a great response from the app.

He and his 11-year-old son were keen to find speakers of foreign languages who could help Richard record audio guides in his home studio for overseas clients. He took to the app to ask if anyone nearby spoke French, German or Russian, and was even approached by a professional voiceover artist living on the next street. The pair now plan to work together.

“I’ve also recommended a gardener to a neighbour who wanted some work done; there’s nowhere better to get recommendations for local tradesmen than a neighbour who’s had a great experience and been prepared to recommend them,” said Richard.

“It’s early days, but Nextdoor is making Burley feel like a nicer place. Neighbours are coming together to discuss how to stop people parking on pavements, petition the council to sort out a local graffiti problem, and warn each other when there’s been a crime committed on a street nearby.”

A running club in Burley has used the app to advertise its sessions, and has seen several beginners join with their neighbours. Firework displays and Christmas events have also been promoted locally.

Other Leeds neighbourhoods with high numbers of Nextdoor users include Carr Manors, Parklands, Kirkstall, North Farnley, Oulton, Rodley and Woodhouse.