New bookshop and cafe to help combat loneliness opens in Manchester City Centre

A new independent bookshop, cafe and events space has opened its doors in Manchester City Centre
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Based in the Manchester Club building on King Street, House of Books & Friends aims to combat loneliness by providing a space for local people to establish connections and make friends.

The Community Interest Company, which will reinvest all profits back into running the bookshop and projects which directly address social isolation and loneliness, is the brainchild of Darryl Cooke, founder of Manchester-headquartered international law firm gunnercooke.

House of Books & Friends will have a wide range of fiction and non-fiction books suitable for adults and children.

It 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.”

The bookshop will also support Manchester-based independent businesses and authors and offer a space for local community groups.

Businesses are also invited to show support by joining the ‘House of Business Friends Club’ or by using the space for events.

Darryl Cooke, Co-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.”

Local family-owned property company Bruntwood is a Founding Partner of House of Books & Friends which is situated in its not-for-profit retail space in the redeveloped Grade II listed Manchester Club building.

Charlotte Wild, Head of Retail & Leisure at Bruntwood, commented: “House of Books & Friends is a very welcome addition to Bruntwood’s historic Manchester Club building on King Street.

“It’s set to provide a fantastic new independent bookshop for adults and children and will be an important space to help people combat loneliness in the community. We are so pleased to see it come to life and look forward to it establishing itself as a successful new concept for the North West.”

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.

You can find out more about House of Books & Friends here: https://houseofbooksandfriends.com/

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