FRIENDS FOREVER Schoolgirl friendship blossoms into web-based business
AS schoolgirls in Kettering, Annie Dixon and Annie Gillott forged a friendship that is still strong. So much so, the pair have started a business to help others find friendship.
The two pals – now in their 50s – met at the former Avondale Junior School and their long-term friendship became a business when they realised not everyone is similarly blessed. Along the lines of an online dating agency, their website: findafriendtogo.com offers a way for like-minded people to meet and make friends; it’s a way for people to share social activities or to just get together for a chat.
As a recent BBC campaign highlighted, if you are living alone and getting on in years, coping with loneliness without a supportive social network can leave you feeling isolated, uncared for and perhaps a little lost.
It was this modern phenomenon of isolation that prompted the two Annies to search for an answer. Their philosophy is that a friendship, like theirs, can make a life-enhancing difference.
Annie Dixon said: “We all go through major changes in our lives – moving house, changing jobs, having a child or grandchild, losing a loved one, or even retirement.
“Often, we move away from an existing circle of friends and it can be very difficult to establish new friendships or even to maintain the old ones.
“There are dozens of dating sites out there for people looking for a new partner, but often people are not looking for that – they just want a special someone to share social activities or someone they can call for a chat and a catch-up.
“Our website service helps people to meet, get to know others who are like-minded and then hopefully become good friends, with no other expectations on either side.”
Annie Gillott said: “We personally carry out a rigorous matching process on every member’s behalf and try to ensure they share the same interests, values and approach to life with others. Then they can decide whether to go ahead and meet.”
The two Annies’ personal service also includes taking some sensible precautionary security measures before a potential meet-up.
Annie Gillott added: “People nowadays may have lots of friends on social networks, like Facebook, but we believe we are offering something unique – deeper, richer and more fulfilling friendships.
“We believe we are helping people to fulfill a very basic, but very deep, human need for companionship and company.
“Our service aims to help people of all ages to make friends, but it does seem as though older people in particular feel the need for friendship even more acutely than others.”
CLOSE FRIENDS: Annie Dixon (left) and Annie Gillott.