February 4, 2023

Boxing legend Frank Bruno MBE cut the ribbon at a health and wellbeing centre at Oxford Stadium.

The former WBC Heavyweight Champion officially opened The Frank Bruno Foundation’s Oxford centre on Friday (November 25) in front of the charity’s key partners, representatives from the stadium and local dignitaries.

Capable of working with up to 2,000 people each month, the charity’s Oxford base will deliver funded non-contact boxing programmes and wrap-around care services to anyone experiencing mental health issues.

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The legendary boxer opened the new site (Image: Fortitude Communications)

Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust also launched Keystone Mental Health & Wellbeing Hub which will be home to a Primary Care Mental Health Team.

 The team will take referrals from local GPs and improve mental health care for local people.

Mr Bruno said: “A lot of hard work from our brilliant team has been put in to make sure opening this fantastic new facility for the people of Oxfordshire and its surrounds is possible.

“In partnership with the Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust and Oxford Stadium, we hope to help as many people experiencing ill mental health by providing the support, encouragement and motivation required to succeed.

“We are very grateful to everyone who turned up for the opening and look forward to changing lives through the power of our non-contact boxing programmes.”

Debbie Walton, head of service for adult mental health in Oxfordshire, said: “We’ve set up the Keystone Health & Wellbeing Hub in the heart of the community so we can help remove some of those barriers to people receiving mental health care when they need it.

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“It is such a fantastic opportunity to be able to do it in partnership with the Frank Bruno Foundation and it has been wonderful to open the hub with Frank Bruno and people from the local community.

The site will offer support to 2,000 people a month (Image: Fortitude Communications)

“The hub will be an exciting collaboration of local people who have experience of mental health challenges themselves, mental health professionals, psychologists, peer support workers and employment experts.

“It will be linked to local GP surgeries and by working with the Frank Bruno Foundation and Oxford Stadium we will be here to support people when they experience mental health challenges, respond if their care needs change and enable people to stay well.”

Other provisions at the centre include four activity studios, a coffee shop and fully equipped gym used by the Foundation and out of hours by Blackbird Leys ABC – Oxford’s oldest boxing club.

The club was saved from closure this summer after partnering with the Foundation and Stadium amid plans to regenerate its former base at Blackbird Leys Community Centre.

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This story was written by Sophie Perry. She joined the team in 2021 as a digital reporter.

You can get in touch with her by emailing: [email protected]

Follow her on Twitter @itssophieperry

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