gunnercooke to launch a new kind of bookshop to combat loneliness

September 23, 2021

gunnercooke is launching a string of bookshops to combat loneliness in the community.

The first House of Books & Friends is due to open in Manchester next year and will offer initiatives for customers and businesses including pay it forward schemes, as well as opportunities to make connections with their community and join membership clubs.

Community projects funded by book sales will engage the square mile around the shop, including connecting older people with friends, providing a place for new mums to meet, working alongside local charities, and providing a learning environment for schools. Activities and events will be held at the store including speakers, concerts and small gatherings and parties.

Darryl Cooke, Chairman of the gunnercooke foundation, said: “Loneliness is a widespread and growing issue in our society. A recent study from the AEI suggests that people who can name six close friends has dropped from 55% to 27% since the 1990s, while a YouGov study showed that 9 in 10 people between the age of 18 to 24 suffered from loneliness to some degree and nearly half had difficulty making friends.

“Bookshops are the centre of communities and can provide a much-needed service that improves people’s lives, focussing on all the challenges that exist. Reading can connect us physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. When we read we are not alone.

“Our bookshops will not only sell books but offer a space to create activities that will bond communities, from reading clubs to walking groups to wine societies. Our focus will be to connect all the charities we work with and at the heart to develop a culture of connection that will combat loneliness.

“In an increasingly hectic and fast moving world influenced heavily by social media, the House of Books & Friends will provide a haven of friendship and support, a nurturing and caring organisation and space that will provide education and understanding to all combatting loneliness.

“We are searching for a bookseller who will bring necessary expertise and passion to our dream and who will work alongside us and the many charities that we work with to bring our dream to fruition.”