Footballing hero Martin Keown opens Banbury Keystone hub

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Footballing hero Martin Keown opens Banbury Keystone hub

Banbury’s new high street Mental Health & Wellbeing Hub has opened its doors thanks to footballing hero Martin Keown.

The former Arsenal and England player pulled back the curtain to officially open the Mental Health & Wellbeing Hub Banbury as part of a gala event on Thursday, July 20 at Castle Quay Shopping Centre in Banbury.

Celebrated football pundit Martin Keown said: “We’ve got to be honest with ourselves, right now people have various issues, just a word here and there can help people. You can go here, its aligned with your GP it is an NHS initiative, its less formal. I think this will bring a lot of people through the doors.

“In football mental health is something we train for. We have psychologists now that look at key things in your game and your make-up. I think local people should come in and make that first step.”

Guest at the celebratory event included MP Victoria Prentis, Banbury mayor Fiaz Ahmed, Vice-Chairman of Cherwell District Council Councillor Dr Chukwudi Okeke, Imam Shouaib Ahmed and assistant curate Sarah Cotterill.

And amid local mental health, local government and third sector professionals, members of the public and shoppers popped in to find out more.

The hub will be home to a Primary Care Mental Health Team and include professionals from health and social care including mental health professionals from the NHS, the third-sector and people who have experienced mental health challenges themselves.

Adults experiencing mental health challenges will be enabled to thrive among friends, family and their community, drawing on support from the hubs which are linked to their local GP surgeries, NHS mental health services, and third-sector mental health services.

The Banbury hub has been developed with adults who use mental health services in Banbury after they said they would like to see more specialist care available at local level via their GP surgery, and improved communication between GPs and mental health services.

A keystone is the central stone, or principle, which holds a building or system together. It is part of a series of Keystone Mental Health & Wellbeing Hub opening up in town centres and communities across the county.

Hub manager and mental health nurse David Naidoo said: “We’re open every weekday 10am to 2pm for people to pop in, find out about what we do, and get support with their mental health. That’s alongside regular appointments and support for patients at the hub from 9am to 5pm. Call in and talk to us, where here to help.”

READ ON for more news from the official opening of Keystone Mental Health & Wellbeing Hub Banbury


Dr David Chapman, Clinical Mental Health Lead for the Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West Integrated Care Board (which is responsible for commissioning and funding of local health and care services), said: “Our priority is to help people with serious and complex mental health illness lead better lives with the support they need. Keystone hubs will help these patients by providing them with access to a team of dedicated mental health professionals in their communities across Oxfordshire. This new NHS service will also enable GPs to work very closely with health staff in the hubs to ensure their patients receive care and treatment closer to their homes making it easier to get the support they require.”

Chief Executive of Elmore Community Services, one of the third sector Keystone providers, Tom Hayes said: “Elmore’s caseworkers play a crucial role, providing support to people with mental ill health closer to their homes and communities. Our caseworkers work closely with our NHS colleagues to provide flexible and person-centred support. Elmore is proud to be supporting the new mental health hubs and belong to the Oxfordshire Mental Health Partnership.”

Councillor Phil Chapman, Cherwell District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Healthy and Safe Communities, said: “This new Keystone hub is a great addition to Castle Quay and Banbury town centre. Mental health is a key component of people’s wellbeing, and thankfully the recognition that it is okay to seek help when it’s necessary is becoming increasingly widespread. Access to this support in a central and convenient location can only be a good thing for the wellbeing of our residents and communities.”

Oliver Wren, Centre Director at Castle Quay, said: “This is a hugely welcome addition to the centre. The whole Banbury community stands to benefit from this hub through access to high-quality, mental-health care within a convenient, local setting. Helping people manage their mental health, and ultimately live a better life, is something we are very proud to support.”

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Published: 24 July 2023