Mental Health Awareness Week: Notting Hill couple launch Amiko a platform to help Londoners make friends

It seems Londoners are interested in the idea, as within the space of a week more than 700 people have joined Amiko’s waitlist via word of mouth.

Andrea Venzon and Colombe Cahen-Salvador are on a mission to help lonely Londoners find and keep new friends.

The Italian-French couple have launched their platform Amiko to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week, in which coincidentally this year’s theme is loneliness.

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Andrea Venzon, 30, (left) and Colombe Cahen-Salvador, 28, (right) founders of Amiko

Amiko aims to “connect people through social first activities” and “vows to provide everyone with a new community whilst redefining the way friendships are made.”

The Notting Hill-based pair were inspired to create the platform after moving to London in July 2020 in the midst of the pandemic having both struggled to meet new people.

Amiko’s new website.

“We experienced this problem and we thought, are we alone or are there more people facing these difficulties?” Andrea, 30, told LondonWorld.

“The data is quite worrying, there are four million people in the UK who say they are feeling lonely on a daily basis.

“Here we are trying to offer a platform for people to meet new friends but not following the dating app model, like scrolling.

“You don’t choose your friends based on how they look.

“You do stuff together and that’s how you build a connection.”

A group of Amiko users enjoying a Hiit workout

It seems there is a gap in the market for their platform, as within the space of a week more than 700 people have joined Amiko’s waitlist via word of mouth.

So far they have hosted three successful events, which included a coffee tasting hosted by a local cafe, a crypto pub talk, and a sports workout.

“Andrea and I both have a background in community organising so we created this model of bringing people together through social activity and then forging bonds and working together,” Colombe, 28, told LondonWorld.

“We’ve done it before so we know how to bring people together.

“Our events don’t tend to include more than 12 people because we think that otherwise it’s really hard to connect a meaningful relationship with new people, if you have around 30 people in a group it’s hard to establish a connection.

Amiko users enjoying a coffee tasting event

“In any big cities it’s really hard to meet new people, working from home makes it harder as you don’t create new connections in the workplace and then in cities where you have a high level of internal mobility like London, with a lot of expats and a lot of people from the UK moving there its difficult to maintain friendships.

“We’ve both moved cities and countries several times and I’ve always had huge difficulties in meeting people.”

“When you grow up in a small village you have lots of people around you but in bigger cities that’s not the case,” said Andrea

“Also there are a lot of risks connected to that, mental health is definitely one that’s very obvious.”

Amiko users enjoying a talk

Amiko aims to end the epidemic of loneliness by facilitating the creation of friendships and reimagining the way we connect with one another.

The couple are hoping to fully launch Amiko in September 2022 and introduce it in other cities across the world.

You can learn more about Amiko on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and you can also visit the website.