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Discover a community of friendship at Meetup in Manchester

Loneliness is a pervasive issue in today's society, especially in densely populated cities where people can often feel isolated despite being surrounded by others.

Loneliness is a pervasive issue in today’s society, especially in densely populated cities where people can often feel isolated despite being surrounded by others.

And it’s no different in Manchester.

Recognizing the importance of human connection, Dan Armstrong took matters into his own hands and launched the AR&SE initiative on Meetup in September of last year.

Meetup is a unique platform that facilitates social gatherings, allowing individuals to broaden their social circles and combat the burden of loneliness.

Dan, a Hastings native, had a firsthand experience of moving to Manchester in July, knowing nobody and having no established places to go or people to meet.

Motivated by the situation, he embarked on a mission to create a community-driven initiative that would connect individuals and foster meaningful friendships.

Meetup was born out of this desire to provide a space where people could come together, free from judgment or strings attached.

Since its inception, AR&SE, otherwise known as All Relaxing & Social Events, has organized an impressive 140 events in the past eight months, all of which have been free for participants.

The initiative hosts events four to five times a week, including Saturdays and Sundays, and typically features a Monday games evening, weekend walk and a mid-week comedy night.

The range of activities is diverse and includes things as varied as coffee afternoons, evening drinks, comedy shows, city center walks, pub quizzes, meals out and even local festivals.

Meetup aims to create an inclusive environment that allows individuals to forge new friendships and expand their social networks.

One of the key aspects of Meetup’s success lies in its affordability.

Participants are not required to pay any fees or charges to attend the events.

More and more people are getting involved too, with three Facebook groups promoting events boasting approximately 11,000 members collectively.

Having previously owned a coffee shop in London for two years before relocating to the south coast for a decade, Dan has cultivated strong relationships with venue staff throughout Manchester.

This network of connections not only benefits the initiative but also offers reassurance to attendees who may be apprehensive about entering unfamiliar venues.

The initiative’s positive impact on the hospitality industry cannot be understated, as it encourages people to return to establishments they have discovered through Meetup events.

Dan emphasizes that AR&SE is not motivated by self-interest or financial gain.

Unlike other groups that may exploit participants for personal gain or romantic interests, AR&SE remains focused on its core mission: helping people make friends and broaden their friendship circles.

The initiative does not accept kickbacks or offer free drinks to organizers.

It is purely driven by the belief that everyone experiences social anxieties to varying degrees and that stepping into unfamiliar social situations can be daunting.

Especially in light of the challenges posed by the recent lockdowns,  AR&SE aims to revitalize individuals’ social skills and create a sense of belonging.

Loneliness can have severe consequences for individuals’ mental health and well-being, and initiatives like Meetup are crucial in addressing this growing concern.

By providing a platform for people to connect, Meetup not only combats loneliness but also fosters a stronger sense of community and belonging.

You can get involved with Meetup by clicking here.

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