We’ve all experienced loneliness at some point but sadly the issue doesn’t seem to be going away. However, in order to combat loneliness in the community law firm gunnercooke has opened purpose-led independent bookshop, café and events space, The House of Books & Friends, in Manchester.
The space in Bruntwood’s Manchester Club building at the top of King Street is now open where you can enjoy a coffee, bite to eat, spot of reading or get involved in the community. The bookshop will offer initiatives for customers and businesses through pay it forward schemes, as well as opportunities to make connections with their community through events and a café.
Projects funded by book sale profits will engage the square mile around the shop, working alongside local charities to combat social isolation and connect a wide breadth of people including the elderly, new parents, and local schools. The House of Books & Friends will also be stocking a range of titles, suitable for adults and children.
The building itself, Manchester Club, is an impressive Victorian Gothic Grade II-listed building steeped in history, originally opening back in 1871 as a members club, with members including Winston Churchill. The building, also home to the opulent bar and restaurant Grand Pacific on the first floor, will run a variety of events throughout the year including ‘meet the author’, book clubs, music evenings, children’s story time and talks hosted by charity partners.
Naomi Self, Bookshop Manager at House of Books & Friends, said: “We’re excited to open our doors and begin establishing connections between members of the community and making a difference through the power of reading. Our employees are extremely knowledgeable, provide excellent customer service with a smile and are approachable people who have mental health first aid training.
“We’re looking to establish a real community hub and welcome approaches from groups who would like to host regular meetings or events which align with our values. We’ll also be providing online services such as virtual book clubs and subscriptions for those who can’t reach us in person or live far away.”
Darryl Cooke, Founder of gunnercooke, added: “It’s well documented that loneliness is a pernicious issue in society, and we’re pleased to be opening ahead of the festive period at a time when many people can struggle. One hundred per cent of our profits go back into the organisation, so every purchase someone makes and every amazing event they attend means we can make a difference to those experiencing loneliness.
“We’re very much in a contract with the local community where we only exist because of them. It means there’s a real focus on quality, community service and being as supportive as possible if people are having a difficult time.”
House of Books and Friends has partnered with charity Independent Age which offer regular and friendly contact and free impartial advice to those in society who are getting older and want to remain independent and live life on their own terms. The bookshop will be home to their ‘Change Maker’ who will use it as a base to reach out to the local community and work alongside other organisations to help those who may be experiencing loneliness.
Find House of Books and Friends at Manchester Club, 81 King Street, M2 4AH.