Our mission is to combat loneliness and social isolation. We want every customer or visitor to leave our shop feeling better connected with the community. By reinvesting every penny of profit in to House of Books & Friends, “Every book sold makes a difference”.
We believe that bookshops are important spaces for creating a sense of community. Loneliness can affect anyone of any age. It can come about for lots of different reasons; the loss of a close one, moving to a new area, children moving away, a loss of confidence, the loss of a job etc.
Loneliness can have a devastating effect on someone’s life, often leading to depression and sometimes the taking of a person’s own life or an unbearable sadness that a person lives with for the rest of their life. It can become exaggerated by a society that values social media but has lost the value of close friends and neighbours. In an age where we have the opportunity to be more connected than ever, there are people who go for days, weeks and even months without having a conversation.
There are a number of specific groups most at risk; being aged 16 to 24, being widowed, having poor health, having a long-term illness or disability, having caring responsibilities and being unemployed. The ONS report turned these 5 risk factors into 3 profiles of lonely people:
- Widowed older homeowners living alone with long-term health conditions
- Unmarried, middle agers, with long-term health conditions
- Younger renters with little trust and sense of belonging to their area.
In total, 45% of adults feel occasionally, sometimes or often lonely in England. This equates to over twenty five million people*.
*Research from Campaign to End Loneliness
The way we work.
House of Books & Friends has been set up as a Community Interest Company (meaning it seeks to benefit the community rather than private shareholders) and will offer initiatives for customers and businesses through pay it forward schemes, as well as opportunities to make connections with their community through events and a café.
Projects funded by book sale profits will engage the square mile around the shop, working alongside local charities to combat social isolation and connect a wide breadth of people including the elderly, new parents, and local schools.
We aim to grow our network of bookshops across the country and the set up and initial running of the shops is funded by gunnercooke llp.
Delivering Social Good – One Book At A Time.
As a Community Interest Company, we believe that businesses can be commercially successful and profitable whilst having a positive impact on the world. That’s why we only look to work with those who give back as part of their daily business.
- Our founders and funders, gunnercooke llp are a challenger law firm
- We work closely with the gunnercooke foundation who aim to help ‘Do Good, Faster’ through a number of projects.
- Our online shop is provided by Bookshop.org – a certified B-Corporation*
We are also always on the look out for fantastic new organisations to partner with. Please contact us if you have an idea of how we can work together.
*B Corps are companies meeting high standards of overall social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability and aspiring to use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.
Meet our Wonderful Partners
House of Books & Friends exists solely thanks to gunnercooke llp who developed the idea, the business plan and have provided the start up funding, the resource from across their amazing teams of Marketing, Finance, HR and their network of lawyers, consultants and coaches.
gunnercooke llp continue to fully support the day to day running of House of Books & Friends and are an integral part of how the Bookshop operates, achieves our aims, thus ensuring that every book bought makes a difference.
Long term, the plan is to develop a House of Books & Friends in every city where there is a gunnercooke office, ensuring that the business continues to give back to the communities that it operates in and ensuring that delivering social benefit remains at the heart of the gunnercooke ethos and brand.
Independent Age offer regular and friendly contact, free and impartial advice on care and support, money and benefits and health and mobility to those in society who are getting older and want to remain independent and live life on their own terms.
We started talking to Independent Age over a year before opening the bookshop, finding out about what they do and how we could work together. House of Books & Friends will be home to their ‘Change Maker’ who will use the shop as a base to reach out in to the community and work with other organisations to help those who may be experiencing real loneliness. We will run a range of projects with them to bring different parts of the community together. From book clubs and workshops through to coffee mornings where people of any age can just drop in and be sure of a warm welcome, a friendly face and a delicious piece of chocolate cake.
As our property partner, Bruntwood has offered us a great deal of support in setting up the bookshop in Manchester.
The redevelopment of a Grade II* listed building to become a not for profit retail space, encompassing all of the elements House of Books & Friends has to offer, has been a challenge which Bruntwood has assisted us throughout. We look forward to working with them on future House of Books & Friends shop openings!