Law firm

A law firm will open a bookstore and a café to fight against loneliness

Gunnercooke’s ‘House of Books & Friends’ will help fund local projects and charities

A model of what the bookstore and cafe will look like

law firm gunnercooke has announced it will open a bookshop, cafe and event space in Manchester to tackle loneliness in the community.

The new “House of Books and Friends” is scheduled to open this fall and will be run as a community benefit corporation (the community should benefit from the investment rather than the shareholders) offering initiatives to clients and businesses through the through pay-as-you-go programs.

The programs will help fund local projects and charities tackling loneliness in the surrounding area, while visitors will also be able to connect with their community through events and coffee.

Darryl Cooke, founder of gunnercooke, explained that “reading can connect us physically, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. When we read, we are not alone. Our goal will be to connect all the charities we work with and, at its core, to develop a culture of connection.”

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Cooke pointed out that “loneliness is a widespread and growing problem in our society. It can affect anyone of any age and can come from many different causes at any time. We believe that bookstores can provide a powerful tool”.

Prior to the pandemic, a survey by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport indicated that around 47% of adults in England experienced loneliness “sometimes or more often”. The British Red Cross has since revealed that 41% of UK adults say they feel lonelier after the lockdown. Research by the New Economics Foundation in 2017 estimated that the annual cost of loneliness to UK employers is £2.5 billion.

Waterstones director Naomi Self has been brought in to help with the new shop, and the company is currently recruiting a team to work with the gunnercooke foundation, the company’s charitable arm, to help deliver the whole project. . You can sign up for more information here.