After a difficult period of lodging and settee surfing, Oxfordshire Mind has finally found a new, permanent Banbury home and can now fully concentrate on providing a full array of crucial services to those suffering with mental health issues.
The charity has had a presence in the town for a number of years, both at Banbury Health Centre and the Mill Arts Centre.
Justine Robinson-Bartlett, who has worked within the field of mental health for 20 years and for the charity for the last seven years, explains:
“We used to have a space at Banbury Health Centre but they wanted the space back so we were temporarily renting rooms at the Mill which wasn’t ideal as we couldn’t run as many activities as we usually do.
“They were very accommodating but it isn’t the same as having your own space.”
Their new location on Britannia Road, just across the road from Dreams, is owned by Oxfordshire County Council and has previously been a school, a meeting centre for the elderly but has been empty for the last four years until the charity got the keys on June 1.
Behind the single door entrance, which can be easily missed, is a large fully equipped space offering a wealth of activities and programmes.
Justine said: “There’s peer support groups and then in the afternoons we have something called option sessions which is how people access our services.
“Everybody has to have an options appointment and that can be done either face to face or over the telephone.”
Oxfordshire Mind is a self referring service but is recommended by GPs and the Banbury Elms Centre and welcomes anybody with mental health concerns no matter the type or severity.
The hub also runs women’s groups throughout the week that offer a range of classes including French, origami, sign language and pampering which includes massage and nails between fellow women in the group.
Wellbeing worker, Annie Mellor said: “It’s quite a good way of engaging without, sometimes, having to have eye contact.
“It’s being touched actually, which if you live a very solitary life can be very comforting.”
Classes and activities are free and the charity also offer advice for those on or looking to seek benefits due to mental health concerns and participation at the hub can be for as long or short as a person needs.
For more information or to book an option session call 01865 247788 or visit http://www.oxfordshiremind.org.uk.