Loneliness is something that many people struggle with, even in the midst of a city as bustling and friendly as Manchester.
Whilst the likes of speed mate dating events do exist, for some there’s no better way to meet like-minded folk than over a steaming cup of coffee and a good book, which is where The House of Books & Friends comes in.
Set up by local law firm Gunnercooke, this new not-for-profit cafe and independent bookshop has been specifically designed with the intention of helping to combat loneliness in the community.
Due to open in The Manchester Club on King Street later this year, it will sit inside a striking Grade II-listed building owned by developers Bruntwood and will neighbour the first-floor Grand Pacific bar and restaurant, which sits in the former home of Manchester’s Reform Club.
When it opens its doors this Autumn, the cafe and bookshop will offer initiatives for customers and businesses through pay-it-forward schemes, as well as opportunities for visitors to make new connections with others.
Stocking a range of books for adults and children, the cafe will run a number of projects using the profits from its book sales to engage with those around the shop – working alongside local charities to connect groups including the elderly, new parents and local schools in its mission to combat social isolation.
Speaking on the new project, Darryl Cooke, founder of gunnercooke, said: “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. 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.
“We have appointed a talented Bookshop Manager from Waterstones, Naomi Self, and are currently recruiting a team whao can bring passion and work alongside us and our charity partners to bring our dream to fruition.”
Feature image – Google maps
Police search for man who threw punch at Chris Eubank Jr vs Liam Smith boxing match
Police are searching for man who threw his own punch at the AO Arena after Chris Eubank Jr vs Liam Smith boxing match.
The man in question is believed to have vaulted over a barrier inside the arena just as the match itself came to an end.
He then punched a man sat behind him in the face, before making off on foot.
He left two women and a man he was with behind.
Police are now appealing to witnesses of the assault on Saturday 21 January 2023 to come forward with any information.
CCTV images of the suspect have been released by GMP.
They said in a statement: “Police are appealing for witnesses to an assault at the AO Arena on Saturday 21 January 2023 after the Chris Eubank Jr vs Liam Smith boxing match.
“It is reported that then man (pictured) vaulted over a barrier inside the arena just as the boxing match finished, and struck a man sat behind him in the face.
“The offender then made off on foot, leaving two women and a man he was with, behind.
“Officers believe that the suspect is possibly from the Merseyside area. If you know the man or have any information relating to the crime, please contact GMP on 101, quoting reference number INC/0075491/23.
“Alternatively, information can be passed anonymously to the independent charity – Crimestoppers – on 0800 555 111.”
Featured image: GMP
Salford police officer sacked for ‘depraved’ relationship with vulnerable woman
A police officer has been sacked after carrying out an ‘improper relationship’ with a crime victim.
Paul Banks, who worked as a PC in Salford, has been dismissed and barred after a Gross Misconduct Hearing on 24 and 25 January 2023.
In the hearing, a panel heard how Banks had advised a vulnerable woman to create an email account – which he then accessed to view images and videos, some of which were explicit, that she had uploaded.
He viewed the content more than 200 times and never reported them to his manager or the force’s Professional Standards Branch.
In the end, his own colleagues sensed that something was amiss and raised the alarm.
GMP has now slammed Banks’s ‘depraved behaviour’ and stressed that ‘there will never be a place in GMP for anybody who behaves like him’.
A statement also said that he ‘abused his position of trust’.
Detective Chief Superintendent Michael Allen, head of GMP’s Professional Standards Branch, said: “Banks knew full well that his conduct was egregiously wrong.
“By cultivating an improper relationship with a vulnerable member of the public who he met in the course of his policing duties, the officer has been deservedly sacked from GMP.
“Not only has he disgraced himself, but his depraved behaviour dishonours policing and undermines the principled endeavours of his colleagues, who everyday do a valiant job catching criminals and protecting our communities.
“Indeed, it was Banks’ own colleagues who sensed something was amiss and triggered the first step in a process that rooted him out.
“The prudence of his colleagues is to be commended and I am grateful to the IOPC for conducting an investigation that left no stone unturned.
“No decent member of the police service wants to work with the likes of Banks and there will never be a place in GMP for anybody who behaves like him.
“He abused his position of trust and for that the Office of Constable has been rightly stripped from him.
“GMP is a better force without Banks and we will recruit a new officer into his post who will discharge their duties with honour and espouse the professional and compassionate values of the GMP workforce.”
Banks, who had been on restricted since the investigation began in December 2020, was dismissed without notice.