National Friendly joins forces with The Bristol Hippodrome to combat loneliness in the community through the arts


Bristol-based insurer National Friendly is supporting a series of exciting social events at The Bristol Hippodrome in a bid to reach a wider audience and help tackle the growing issue of loneliness amongst the elderly in the local community.

The Bristol Hippodrome’s Matinee Mingle scheme brings together lone theatre-goers aged 60 and above before certain matinee performances, giving them the chance to make new friends, meet like-minded people and enjoy a complimentary hot drink. The programme began in collaboration with LinkAge Network, a Bristol charity which empowers older people to lead fulfilled and satisfying lives.

Rhona Cockle, who attends the Matinee Mingle, says,

“It’s such a nice way for people to gain confidence and meet friends in a world where being on your own can be quite daunting when you are older.”

Ben Phillips, Theatre Director at The Bristol Hippodrome, says,

“The number of over-50s experiencing loneliness is set to reach two million by 2025/6 and so we are thrilled to continue working in partnership with National Friendly, LinkAge Network and Age UK to ensure we are reaching out to some of the most vulnerable people in our community through our Matinee Mingle.

“The Bristol Hippodrome is proud to be doing its part to help alleviate the isolation and loneliness older people can experience. We hope these regular social meet-ups can enable like-minded people to chat, laugh, share memories and make new friends.”

Jo Stokes at LinkAge Network says,

“LinkAge Network is delighted to be working with The Bristol Hippodrome to run the Matinee Mingle. Going to the theatre is one of life’s pleasures; going with friends is even better! Matinee Mingle is here to offer solo theatre-goers aged 60+ the chance to meet others before a performance.”

Jonathan Long, Chief Executive Officer at National Friendly says,

“We at National Friendly are delighted to be supporting the Matinee Mingle in association with The Bristol Hippodrome, LinkAge Network and Age UK to help combat loneliness in later life.

“The Matinee Mingle gives individuals aged 60 and above the opportunity to make friends and create new memories. It also encourages theatre lovers to come together and meet likeminded people”.

The Matinee Mingle is free to attend and takes place an hour before selected mid-week matinee performances in The Bristol Hippodrome’s Piano Bar. Members need to purchase their ticket for the show they wish to see at the discounted mid-week matinee rate by calling 0844 871 3012*, or popping into the Box Office. If you or someone you know would like to join please contact Sarah Walker on 0117 302 3310 (option 5) or at

* Calls cost up to 7p per minute, plus your phone company’s access charge