Kate Garratt, 31, runs her own communications agency, The Herringbone Consultancy, which has offices in London and Cockermouth, where she lives herself. She set up and continues to run the Cumbria Girly Book Club, which has close to 300 members.

“I started the club after I moved to Cumbria, it was quite a big move from London. I came up to take on a role with Britain’s Energy Coast, before I had been working in the energy division of a PR agency in London. I had been quite worried about how I was going to make friends and get a social life. I joined Lakeland Rowing Club and Derwent Athletics Club (a running group), which was one way of making friends. I was missing girly company though so wanted a way to do something social that was not based around sport.

“I remembered that when I had been new to London I was a member of the Girly Book Club. It had been set up by a Canadian woman who just wanted a way to make friends. She thought that because she liked reading she could get to meet other people who liked reading as well. She set it up and instead of getting about 10 people turning up at the meeting she got hundreds. There is a really big market out there for making friends as an adult. I thought it would be good if there was something like that in Cumbria.

“I went online to a website called Meetup and found out there was not one in Cumbria. I thought ‘ I am going to give this a try and see what happens’.

“We now have 288 members of the group as whole with about 10-20 usually at meetings and meet every month. The location rotates around Cockermouth, Keswick and Bassenthwaite, just to give it a good catchement area but we have a policy of never choosing a venue that will cost you more than a Diet Coke to get to. Once everyone has rocked up we go around the room and introduce ourselves and give our name and where we come from.

“Most people who come are just looking to make new friends. We have some who are new mums who have been focussed on bringing up their children and we also have a lot of people who have moved to the area for work and it really helps them to meet new people.

“The age range varies from 21-50-years-old.

“I feel I have three groups of friend, from rowing and running and from the book club. It has gone from quite a friendly meeting to a social circle.

“We can often talk about the book we have picked for about five minutes then the conversation can broaden out and somebody will start talking about Harry Potter or another classic.

“This is an area which lots of people move to for work and we can help them meet people. If you do not have children or play sport it can be quite hard to make friends as an adult.”