Frank Bruno to open mental health referral centre and boxing club in Northampton

Frank Bruno (centre) celebrates getting the space to open a mental health referral centre and boxing club in Standens Barn Community Centre in Northampton with Cllr Brandon Eldred (left) and Alex Le Guvel from England Boxing. Photo: Frank Bruno/Twitter
Frank Bruno (centre) celebrates getting the space to open a mental health referral centre and boxing club in Standens Barn Community Centre in Northampton with Cllr Brandon Eldred (left) and Alex Le Guvel from England Boxing. Photo: Frank Bruno/Twitter

Frank Bruno will be opening a referral centre for people suffering with mental health issues and a boxing club in Northampton through his charity.

The Frank Bruno Foundation will be taking over Standens Barn Community Centre in the Eastern District to run a 12-week programme for anyone over the age of 10.

In the evenings and at weekends, the community will be able to use the boxing ring and gym at their own leisure.

Frank said he was proud to be opening his charity's first centre when he announced the news on Twitter yesterday (Monday, August 12).

Northampton councillor Brandon Eldred has been working with the charity to find a home for the centre for six months and believes it is a coup for the town.

"For the last 12 years I've been trying to get a boxing club in the eastern side of town and Frank is hoping to do a boxing club in the evenings which hopefully will help with the behaviour issues with that side of town," he said,

"Frank is really keen for people to come and use the gym and he will be around to help if they want to fulfill their dreams of being a boxer or if they just want take out their aggression on the bags instead of on the streets."

Cllr Eldred said the foundation had been 'let down' by other buildings in other towns in its search for a base for the 'round by round' programme, which consists of wellbeing sessions and non-contact boxing.

In March, the East Hunsbury borough councillor was approached for help and suggested Standens Barn as the community centre was being 'under-used'.

Eventually an agreement was made for Community Spaces Northampton, which had been running the space, to give up the lease for the Frank Bruno Foundation to take it over.

Frank and his team came yesterday to have a look and started measuring up, the cabinet member for finance said.

"It's great to have Frank in Northampton, we've not had the greatest of times in Northampton so it's nice to have someone choose to come here and see that potential, especially in the eastern side where there's not that much to do," he said.

"I'm really pleased we're going to get a boxing club in that part of town.

Renovations will begin soon but generous traders have already started offering their services or goods for free - any other offers are welcome to email info@thefrankbrunofoundation.co.uk.

The Frank Bruno Foundation, which the former boxer set up having suffered from his own mental health problems, tweeted its thanks to everyone who has supported the charity.

The programme's aim is 'to bring healthy-body and healthy-mind approaches together to provide a holistic and enjoyable approach to supporting all clients with mental ill health', according to the charity's website.

"This may help: increase self-confidence, improve self-regulation, develop self-worth, develop social skills, increase mental wellbeing," it reads.

"Focusing on these key areas will help to support social inclusion and to fight stigma."

Frank is very open with his struggles with mental ill health, having been sectioned under the Mental Health Act twice since 2003, spending five weeks at St Andrew's Hospital in Northampton in 2012.

Many people have given their support to the centre, including England Boxing, and lots of people on social media.

Paul Roberts tweeted: "All the hard work has finally paid off. Congratulations Frank, I'm sure it will be a great success."