Holly Cooke had trouble making friends in the big city. She founded the ‘London Lonely Girls Club’ and created countless new friendships.

Sometimes what brings us the most comfort is a friend to talk to and a change of routine. Internal struggles can drag on much further if the carrier doesn’t have an outlet for them.

One new London resident is stepping forward to try and tackle loneliness.

Holly Cooke moved to London from Stoke-on-Trent in 2018. She moved in with family friends when she first arrived to the capital city.

Because she had no previous connections, the 22-year-old struggled to meet people her own age. “London is so big, it leaves a lot of space for loneliness,” she mentioned.

Holly’s Idea Blossomed Out of Need

The loneliness got to a point where Holly began to look for solutions. “I Googled how to make friends in London,” she said.

Google took her to one-on-one meet-up apps such as Bumble BFF. Holly found the idea of meeting a stranger for a one-on-one hangout “intense and scary”.

“I thought ‘What if you could get two, three or four of you together?’,” Holly said.

Surely that would make the process a little easier. This idea resonated with Holly, and she founded the London Lonely Girls Club. 

Holly created a Facebook group and invited the people she met one-on-one through the apps. She then asked everyone to meet for a weekend brunch.

“It was so vulnerable,” Holly mentioned. “Saying that you’re lonely and you don’t have people around, admitting to that was really scary.”

She invited a friend from out of town to the first brunch incase no one showed up.

Unexpected Success

Holly was pleasantly surprised when everyone showed up and got along. Inspired, she began planning bi-weekly meetups and word began to spread about the new club in town.

Fast forward 5 years and the London Lonely Girls Club now has more than 35,000 members! Holly, with the help of a few volunteers, plans between four to seven events per month for women and non binary people to connect. 

The group has attracted a range of people – some from London and some from other cities and countries. Members range from 18-70 years old and the average age is roughly 28.

The London Lonely Girls Club organizes different types of gatherings, something for everyone. They host park picnics, art lessons, jewelry workshops, dinners and even puppy yoga.

“It was very clear that people were looking for what we provided,” Holly said. “We want to be as inclusive as we can be,” adding that the group also has a forum for members to chat and plan their own meetups based on shared interests.

Building Community Amongst Likeminded People

With the continuous growth she’s seen, Holly said she has lost count of how many friendships have been foraged through the London Lonely Girls Club. She has seen girls vacation together, even become roommates after a while.

“It’s beautiful and it’s rewarding, and it’s the reason I’ve carried on,” Holly said. “We can’t stop now. As long as there is a need, we will be here.”

When Holly first came to London, she thought she was alone in her loneliness. Little did she know, there were thousands of people who felt the same way she did.

All it took was a little vulnerability to open the doors to countless new friendships. Holly’s light shines bright in the big city.