Shoppers in Weymouth town centre will be urged to 'Give it a Go' as a new campaign launches today (Sat) to get people talking instead of looking at their phones.

Give it a Go is a push to try and get people spending a 'little less time on technology and a little more time talking'.

This 'communication revolution' is being spearheaded by New Yorker Joe Diomede – a cyclist, author, vlogger, world traveller – and a one-time Dorset resident now residing in France.

He makes frequent visits back to the county and has been working with the community action group WeyPROGRESS group to launch the campaign locally.

They will be handing out badges and explanation cards to try and spread the word.

By wearing a Give it a Go badge, people will know you are willing to chat.

One person already wearing a badge is the comedian John Bishop, a cycling friend of Mr Diomede.

Mr Diomede said the idea behind the campaign came out of observations that people rarely talk to each other in public compared to just a few decades ago – "when eye contact and a smile was an opening to talk, not a reason to look away".

"Could we give it a go again?" he asks.

Mr Diomede said: "I think we just need to be more aware of each other and our surroundings, so we can act on those special opportunities for face to face communication throughout the day.

"Making these words visible will show you are willing to be a part of a communication revolution, even if it is just for five minutes at a time."

Mr Diomede said he acknowledges the technological world is 'truly amazing' with many opportunities and he isn't pushing for people to go without their phones.

He said: "Look around you. People are bent over phones as they move through their day. We are missing golden opportunities to connect with those right in front of us. And we are slowly losing the art of reading a person's face, body language or intonation when they speak. Even phone calls are becoming obsolete.

"True communication is free – and it's needed. A smile and a conversation will go a long way to help us build a sense of community."

The campaign starts at the WeyPROGRESS town tidy, meeting from 12.30pm today outside Debenhams in New Bond Street. The event lasts until 3pm.

Badges and explanation cards are available from 'Cobblekeys 'n' Tees Gift Shop in St Thomas Street.

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