Boxing legend Frank Bruno hailed the support of staff and students at Northampton College who have helped renovate a community centre offering wraparound mental health programmes.
The former world heavyweight champion visited Booth Lane to personally thank all those involved in the redevelopment of the Round by Round Centre.
College students helped the sports icon’s charity, the Frank Bruno Foundation, to give its Northampton centre a facelift, with hopes it could also lead to more young people seeking help for mental health issues.
Level 3 carpentry students and Level 2 decorating students helped hang new doors and paint murals to decorate the walls at the centre as part of their assessment, giving them a real-life work experience opportunity. Catering students then baked a cake for the foundation’s gala dinner.
Frank Bruno, who spent time talking to staff and students, signing photos and posing for selfies, said:
“I’ve been in some bad places myself mentally, I’ve been locked up and I promised myself that when I got out I’d do something to help others avoid what I went through. This is the start of that.
“The foundation is all about giving young people a chance in life. It gives them a sense of focus and something to believe in. It’s good to have the support of the community and I’m so grateful for the hard work from all the college students and staff who have helped us along the way.
“I wanted to come in and thank them personally for all they have done and hopefully this can be the start of a long-term relationship which will flourish for years to come.”
The project is aimed at encouraging young people – particularly young men – to open up about mental health and seek support if they need it.
Pat Brennan-Barrett, Principal of Northampton College, said:
“Boxing, and sport in general, can help to break down barriers around mental health and this project will help to make it easier for young people who perhaps wouldn’t normally visit mental health support centres to access help when they need it.
“It has been a fantastic experience for our students and we’d like to continue to support the foundation and it’s work as much as we can in the future.”
For more information on Northampton College, or to apply for a course starting this September, visit www.northamptoncollege.ac.uk