SINCE 2018, Mandy Norris' Facebook group Southbourne Singles has taken Bournemouth and the surrounding areas by storm.

Now, the group boasts over 800 members and was recently renamed South Coast Singles in order to accommodate the large number of people outside of Bournemouth wanting to join.

The group focuses on making friends with fellow single people, regardless of age.

For Mandy, finding love through the group isn't what it's all about: "I always say that there's the possibility of finding someone special, but it's really about getting singles out with other singles."

Members are aged 18-80 and activities in the group include local meet-ups, parties and fun activities such as trips to the New Forest.

With the group continually growing in popularity, Mandy has big plans for the future.

She explained: "I have a lot of plans for the group. In the future, I want to get enough people from each area in South Coast Singles to create separate groups and hold various meet-ups and events."

Plans for 2020 include South Coast Singles' next big event: their Valentine's Party at Eden nightclub on February 14.

Hot Radio's Artwell and DJ Rob G will be providing the music for the event, which is open to those outside of the group as well.

As with all parties and events held by the group, there will be a raffle available whereby all the proceeds will go towards 'A Little Group of Kindness.'

This year has also seen an engagement between a couple who met on the group.

These are just one of 30 couples who have come together as a result of South Coast Singles.

The group has also positively impacted those who joined for friendship purposes.

A member said: "Without Mandy and South Coast Singles I wouldn't be where I am. I'm more confident, very happy and now with this lovely man. This group is amazing and that's because of the people."

But the purpose of the group stretches much further than that of finding love.

Another member highlighted the importance of friendship in the group: "The aim of this group is to bring together single people from all walks of life to either further their social skills or to help people take the first steps to making new friends."

Members of South Coast Singles aren't the only ones who get something positive out of the group.

Mandy explained what she's gained from starting South Coast Singles: "I have made a lot of wonderful friends and I feel very proud for changing people's lives in the local area.

"Meeting people through the group is like a knock-on effect - the group all rally round to help people."

The group is made up of 37 per cent men and 63 per cent women.

Mandy and fellow members continue to encourage other people to join, whether they are looking for new friendships or love.

To join, search South Coast Singles on Facebook.

You will be asked to honestly answer three questions to join.

If you do not answer the questions you will not be accepted into the group.