Enthusiastic and optimistic, James Hutchison is determined to bring people together and create human connections in Carlisle.

The Carlisle Midweek Social is a monthly opportunity to wind-down with a drink and make friends at the William Rufus pub on Botchergate.

The fast-paced, digital-focused nature of modern life makes it hard to have meaningful interactions, to get to know those who live around us, so James, 43, decided to set-up the social club to solve that.

He said: “It’s not dating and it’s not networking, it’s socialising. It’s a different thing.

“The whole concept behind it is that whether you’re coming with friends, or whether you’re coming to make friends, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a student at the uni or the college; it doesn’t matter if you’re 55 and just divorced; it doesn’t matter.

“Everybody needs humans in their life and there are an awful lot of people out there who don’t have humans in their life.”

James understands that starting the conversation and meeting new people is difficult but he is eager to stress that he will make the first move and start up conversations with anyone who turns up.

To make things easier, rather than leading to a lot of confusion, there will be a sign directing people to a certain spot where James will meet people.

“An event like this needs someone to stand there and say ‘hi, how are you doing? Are you here for this?’,” he commented. “That kind of takes a little bit of the edge off it.

“I’m not a shy, retiring wallflower; I never have been.”

There are no underlying motives in setting this up, it simply does what it says on the tin. But, it’s personal to James, who previously lived in Manchester, but moved to Carlisle in August with his wife and son.

“This is about one night per month, putting your self out there,” he said. “I’m not charging anything, it’s not about making money - it’s an opportunity for me to make friends and for me to help other people do the same thing.

“If people make connections, keep coming back and make friends out of it, then fantastic - if they come and they hate it, it’s not for them, then that’s cool as well.”

The first Carlisle Midweek Social will take place on Wednesday at 7.30pm in the William Rufus pub.