Skip to main content
8th December 2017


Former heavy weight boxer and mental health champion Frank Bruno launched Heineken's Christmas campaign - #BrewingGood Cheer - to raise awareness around the impact of loneliness and social isolation - and the important role of pubs in responding by bringing people from all walks of life together. The UK’s leading beer, cider and pub company, is teaming up with around 50 pubs and charities across the UK to bring hundreds of socially isolated people together for festive lunches.

Mental health campaigner Frank Bruno joins HEINEKEN’s annual Brewing Good Cheer campaign to reduce social isolation over the festive period


  • Brewing Good Cheer demonstrates the important role pubs play in the heart of communities
  • 50 pubs across the UK will put on a festive lunch for hundreds of isolated people.  
  • Frank Bruno visited one pub in Brixton to see the campaign first hand. You can view the video here


For many the festive period is the season to be jolly, with fun filled celebrations and socialising with friends, colleagues and family. Yet an estimated nine million people1 will be alone for a large proportion of the holiday.


HEINEKEN’S Brewing Good Cheer campaign is set to raise awareness of this issue and inspire people to connect with their community. As a passionate supporter of the Great British pub, the UK’s leading pub, cider and beer company is teaming up with Frank Bruno to show the important role pubs play in bringing people together.


This festive campaign will see 50 pubs across the country put on a free festive lunch for hundreds of socially isolated people.  And former heavyweight boxing champion and mental health campaigner, Frank Bruno MBE, took a ringside seat as he went back to his South London roots to see how one pub is helping vulnerable people this December.


South London born Frank, who recently released his memoirs documenting his own battle with mental health and struggle against loneliness, entitled Let Me Be Frank, co-hosted a special Brewing Good lunch to launch the month long campaign at The White Horse, close to his childhood home and the gym where he used to train.


The former boxer turned author was joined by members of Opening Doors, a support network for elderly people in the LGBT community and people from Sound Minds, a charity that uses art, music and film to help people deal with depression or other mental illnesses. Frank also chatted to locals in the pub about how he overcame his own battle with loneliness. He even got stuck in behind the bar and lent a hand serving out the lunches!


Frank Bruno said: “Without the strong support and safety net of my friends and supporters I wouldn’t be standing in front of you today. Their friendship and company not only helped during dark times in my life but also prevented me from being alone and dwindling even further down that road. Millions of others will not only agree with me but will also identify with my situation so I am glad HEINEKEN is taking positive steps to address this issue.”


The sports icon continued: “I completely identify with the ethos of Brewing Good Cheer. Pubs are a totally unique British institution, and bring people from all walk of life together unlike anywhere else in the world. I think pubs provide a great setting to connect lonely and isolated people and to bring some much needed Christmas cheer.”


Frank and ambassadors from both charity organisations tell their first hand experiences of learning to deal with loneliness in a series of videos available on the HEINEKEN UK YouTube page.


Juliet Chard, Member Services Coordinator at Opening Doors said: “While ageing inevitably presents challenges and opportunities for different individuals, getting older can be much more complex for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people. As well as having lived through a history of prejudice and persecution, LGBT* older people are more likely to live alone, have less family support, as well as experience, and expect to experience everyday discrimination in housing, social and health care.”


Juliet Chard continued: “Opening Doors London exists to create safe and welcoming social opportunities for LGBT* older people and link the most isolated individuals with incredible volunteer befrienders to break this loneliness. We’re so excited to be part of HEINEKEN’s  Brewing Good Cheer campaign which is about promoting togetherness and connections between communities whoever you are.’


Paul Brewer, CEO at Sound Minds commented: “Our ethos aligns perfectly with the Brewing Good Cheer campaign’s aim of supporting lonely and isolated people in the community. Over the past 25-years we have strived to offer unique routes such as of creative classes in art, film production and music to offset the social isolation experienced by people living with long term mental health issues.”


Paul Brewer continued: “The premise of these classes, like the lunches, is to encourage people to interact with others and in turn enhance their outlook and wellbeing. I hope it will lay the foundation for a series of meetings between neighbours in the community for months, if not years to come.”


David Paterson, corporate affairs director for HEINEKEN said: “There really is no place like the Great British pub – it’s the place where relationships start, friendships are cemented and memories made.  We believe pubs are at the heart of communities and we’re delighted to be working with so many pub landlords who want to make a positive difference this Christmas.  We hope our Brewing Good Cheer campaign raises awareness of the issue of social isolation and inspires more people and publicans to get involved and brew some good cheer this Christmas!”



The Brewing Good Cheer campaign will see 50 pubs joining up with local charities to host free pub lunches over the festival period for hundreds of socially isolated or vulnerable people. For more information on the lunches, please visit


To watch a video of the lunch, please visit the HEINEKEN YouTube page.




Please share on social using #BrewingGood.



Notes to editors





Headquartered in Edinburgh, HEINEKEN employs around 2,000 people. In addition to being Britain’s leading cider and beer business, HEINEKEN owns nearly 3,000 pubs through its Star Pubs & Bars business. We are passionate about our cider and beer brands and the outstanding service that we offer to our customers. Our unrivalled portfolio of brands includes Foster’s, Heineken®, Strongbow, Desperados, Kronenbourg1664, John Smith’s, Bulmers, Amstel, Birra Moretti and Old Mout backed by a full range of niche and speciality brands.


Opening Doors

Opening Doors London supports the older LGBT* community, helping them to live full, vibrant and respected lives free from loneliness, isolation, discrimination and prejudice. We are a membership organisation, creating regular social opportunities to develop networks and communities for LGBT* people over 50 years of age. We also offer specialist training and consultancy for statutory and voluntary organisations (e.g. care homes, housing associations or hospitals) to help them better understand the needs of older LGBT* people.


Sound Minds

Sound Minds is a small user led mental health charity and social enterprise serving Wandsworth and surrounding boroughs.  We believe in the transformative impact of the arts and mutual support in people’s recovery from long term mental health conditions. The majority of staff, volunteers and trustees originally came to receive the service they now help to provide. Members participate in a weekly timetable of short courses, music and arts activities with regular performances opportunities and exhibitions. Celebrating 25 years at our Battersea studio base, Sound Minds has built an award winning national reputation for innovation and engagement with hard to reach groups.


A group of Sound Minds services users founded Canerows Peer Support Services 10 years ago with the aim of improving the experiences of people in the local mental health system who are from BaME backgrounds.  Today our peer support team of 16 people make weekly visits to people in hospital in Tooting and Roehampton, offer post discharge support for people leaving hospital and run a drop in supporting around 40 people a year.


Further information:

Joanna Dring            UK PR Manager            Corporate Affairs            HEINEKEN UK Limited


M          07788 369161