Matinee Mingle 2

First Bus teams up with Age UK and Leeds Heritage Theatres to tackle social isolation in over-65s

  • First-ever Matinée Mingle held with plans for more events
  • Space to socialise before performance of Northern Ballet’s Beauty & The Beast

First Bus has partnered with Age UK in Leeds and Leeds Heritage Theatres to launch an initiative aimed at combatting social isolation among the over-65s.

Leeds Grand Theatre hosted the first-ever Matinée Mingle, giving theatre fans aged 65 and older arriving by bus the chance to meet like-minded people in a dedicated, welcoming social space before enjoying the matinée show.

The theatre’s Wilson Barrett bar was supported by Age UK staff with drinks and refreshments available from for customers to relax and perhaps begin building new friendships before enjoying the 2:30pm performance of Northern Ballet’s Beauty & The Beast.

Lucy Mottram, Marketing Manager for First Bus in West Yorkshire, said: “The Matinée Mingle is such a great opportunity for like-minded theatre lovers over 65 to get together, and it’s really important that we support an initiative which is helping to tackle loneliness.

“With about half of eligible adults, including pensioners and those registered as disabled, owning a concessionary bus pass - giving them free travel - this makes coming to a Matinée Mingle at The Grand Theatre even easier.”

Martin Lewis, Wellbeing Co-ordinator at Age UK Leeds, said: “Age UK Leeds Ways to Wellbeing service is pleased to be working with First Bus and Leeds Heritage Theatres to support the Matinee Mingle event.

“Age UK Leeds staff and volunteers were on hand to make sure everyone had a great time, meeting new friends over a refreshing beverage is good for everyone’s wellbeing!”

Anne Shaw, Head of House Management at Leeds Heritage Theatres, added: “Leeds Heritage Theatres is delighted to be working alongside First Bus and Age UK Leeds to host our first Matinee Mingle. We hope that this will be successful and grow into a regular event.”

Picture caption (L-R): Martin Lewis of Age UK with customers Andrew Perry from Wakefield and Sheila and Nicholas Bielby from Bradford showing off their bus passes inside Leeds Grand Theatre alongside Anne Shaw.


Notes to editors

Media enquiries to Richard Harrison, PR Manager, First Bus North & West Yorkshire 07973 668116  

About First Bus 

At First Bus, we are on a mission to grow bus usage. We will get behind initiatives that move people out of cars and onto bus.  

We are one of the UK’s largest bus operators, delivering over a million passenger journeys every day for the communities we serve.  

Transforming our business for the better, we are putting our people and customers at the heart of all we do.  

We are all about making journeys easier for our customers, which is why we were the first national bus operator to rollout Tap On, Tap Off payment technology across our entire UK fleet of 4500 buses. Our First Bus app has also been voted ‘best in class’ amongst UK bus operators.  

First Bus is committed to operating a zero-emission bus fleet by 2035. By March 2024, 15% of our will fleet will comprise Zero Emission Buses (ZEBs).  

We are passionate about giving back to the communities we serve, which is why we are helping local businesses to progress their own decarbonisation journeys with access to our charging hubs while our buses are on the road. 

We also operate the Aircoach network in Ireland, Specialist Passenger Solutions, First Travel Solutions and Ensignbus.  

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