A Pokémon Go group with more than 500 members is bringing fun, fitness and friendship to Preston.Advertisement
Pokémon Go blew up on the gaming scene in 2016, and the augmented reality mobile game is still going strong three years later.
Now the Pokémon Go, Preston City raids 2019 Facebook group has over 540 members and counting.
Group founder and admin Lee Ward has been a Pokémon Go fan since the game first launched.
Lee said: “I used to play Pokémon on Game Boy in the 1990s and when Pokémon Go came out I loved the nostalgia.
Read more: Doctor Who virtual reality experience coming to libraries in South Ribble and Preston
“In July 2017 a group of four or five of us started playing together. The group has grown by word of mouth, sharing on Facebook, and even from us stopping random people we see playing the game in the street and asking them to join.
“We have such a wide variety of people in the group. The main age range is about 25 to 35, but there are a few older people too. A lot meet in town on their lunch breaks or after work, so we get a lot of office workers.”
The community is split into four Messenger chat groups: Town covers city centre, Avenham and Broadgate; East is Ashton, Haslam, Ingol and Lane Ends; West is Fulwood, Ribbleton and Deepdale; and South Ribble covers Penwortham, Lostock Hall and Longton.
Lee said: “Pokémon Go has changed a lot since 2016 and now certain aspects require people to work together to achieve goals, which has created a unique and friendly community. Meet ups happen on a daily basis so people can battle new Pokémon together.
“The Messenger chat groups allow the community to organise these meet ups, and also send gifts, add friends in game, trade, battle, or even just socialise.”
Read more: How Preston Twitter helped to reunite Molly the lost collie with her owner
While group members sometimes get abuse for playing Pokémon Go, Lee said they’re not fazed: “You get the odd person driving past us shouting that we’re idiots and that kind of thing, but none of us care.
“The benefits of playing are great – it’s fun, it keeps you fit with all the walking, it brings people together and it can also help people suffering with anxiety and depression. You forget about the stresses of life and have a laugh. Anyone is welcome to join in.”
The group will be meeting in the city centre on the next three Wednesdays from 6pm to 7pm.
To find out more and get involved, join the Pokémon Go, Preston City raids 2019 Facebook group.
What do you think of Pokémon Go? Have you played it? Let us know in the comments below.