Just Left Home: Tomo Delaney's Website Every University Student Should Visit

Just Left Home

Huffington Post UK   First Posted: 24/10/11 18:35 Updated: 24/10/11 18:43

A new website called Just Left Home looks set to be a hit among university students who have flown the nest and moved to a city for the first time.

Founded by Tomo Delaney, the site offers a one-stop shop for meeting new people, finding new places and viewing personally recommended pubs, shops and and other local amenities.

The fashion photographer came up with the idea three years agoas "a place you could go to for the answers which parents would normally shout up the stairs at you", but the site only went live last month.

"I had a brainwave one day and started tinkering with the idea of a hand-drawn website which could act as a virtual mum for those who'd recently left home", Delaney told HuffPost UK.

"The hand-drawn aspect was especially interesting to me, maybe because my background was so image-centric, but also because it's been so under-utilised."

There is certainly a niche in the market for Delaney's site. Forums such thestudentroom host discussion topics including "What's everyone eating?", "What are you taking to uni?" and "So homesick".

One user, Olivia1234, commented: "I haven't found any friends I've 'clicked' with and I'm scared about going out with new people where I'm not comfortable."

Delaney, who hails from Gloucestershire, explained he created the site mainly for university and college students, but it would be "useful" for anyone moving to a new town.

"I also think part of the appeal is the fact that you can see and learn so much about people near you. It's fascinating to discover what music different people like, or where they hang out."

The 39-year-old confesses he was "particularly proud" of the interactive side of the site.

"You can enter a song or book title in your profile and it's auto-searched and added by iTunes or Amazon, and then displayed as a clickable link which other members can browse."

Delaney used income generated from his still-life photography to fund the site, but admits he is keen to find a "Sheryl Sandberg figure" who can manage the business side and "tell me to shut up when I start waxing lyrical about which illustration I want to next use".

According to Delaney, the site is becoming more of a social tool as it evolves and the photographer already has "a whole set of sister sites" ready to roll out if Just Left Home takes off.

"The next one is going to be justleftthecloset, for young gay and lesbian kids: a place they can come to find others nearby who are in the same situation as them, a support network as well as a friend-finder."

"I'd love to start generating an income from it", he concludes. "But more importantly, I want the site to pay for itself so I can keep rolling out the others."

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