Law firm to open bookshop and café to combat loneliness

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

A mock-up of what the bookshop and cafe will look like

Law firm gunnercooke has announced it will open a bookshop, café and events space in Manchester to combat loneliness in the community.

The new ‘House of Books & Friends’ is set to open this autumn and will be run as a community interest company (the community must benefit from the investment rather than shareholders) offering initiatives for customers and businesses through pay-it-forward schemes.

The schemes will help fund projects and local charities combatting loneliness in the surrounding area, while visitors will also be able to make connections with their community through events and the café.

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

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

Before the pandemic, a survey by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport indicated that around 47% of adults in England experience loneliness “occasionally or more often”. The British Red Cross have since revealed that 41% of UK adults report are feeling lonelier after lockdown. Research carried out by The New Economics Foundation in 2017 estimated that the annual cost of loneliness to UK employers is £2.5 billion.

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

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Nice idea, hope it works out


Kirkland NQ

Hard to be lonely when you wake up with your bed full of models, then on your commute to work everyone stops and stares. I’m like I know I have an amazing Lambo, relax!



Oh shut up. Being a solicitor is sh*t if you are in a firm that pays well. Long, lonely nights, neglecting your partner/spouse and kids (if you have them), going back on plans you had with friends because either you are too busy or too tired, and attending “social events” with colleagues, of which you mostly cannot stand. Even if you do get to spend quality time with your loved ones, you are never in the present because it’s impossible to switch off. I just can’t muster up the courage to leave the profession – I don’t know what else I’d do.


Read the room

Wrong place, wrong time to make a comment like this. You should be ashamed of yourself.



Glad to see you and the rest at Kirkland are doing so well. Us mortals? We could benefit from something like that. Stop by when it opens, I’m sure they’ll validate the parking for the Lambo.
And next time you decide to be a smartass, why don’t you say the bad joke (’cause yeah, you’re not funny) you’ve concocted in you head and then replace it with what “John” wrote above – see how that makes you and others around you feel.



This is the flip side of the everyone for themselves, eat what you kill model. Funny what you miss when it’s gone.


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