The Oasis Centre is a community day centre which supports some of the most vulnerable adults in Gorton, East Manchester; an area ranked within the bottom 1% of all neighbourhoods in England and Wales, for ‘total deprivation’. We act as a vital ‘first rung on the ladder’ into mainstream services for those that are hardest to reach and we address both emergency needs and the often complex issues behind these needs.
The Oasis Centre’s primary activity is a drop-in centre which is open three days a week. Everyone is welcome to come into the Centre for a free hot breakfast and lunchtime meal; a charity shop sells donated clothes and goods at very affordable prices, and a games room with pool, table tennis and board games are free.
The Centre is a lifeline for over 70 people a week, including families living on benefits, long-term unemployed, asylum seekers and refugees, homeless people, ex-offenders and those struggling with alcohol and drug problems or mental illness. A wide range of welfare and education services are delivered by four part-time staff and a highly dedicated and skilled team of 17 volunteers.
For every resident and those sleeping rough that arrives needing our support, we aim for them to:
- RE-BUILD – Moving them from chaos to stability
- RE-ENGAGE – Moving them from isolation to integration
- RE-START – Moving them from feelings of hopelessness about their future to being skilled and aspirational
We have an Emergency Provision Service which consists of emergency food parcels, emergency meals, emergency clothing, household goods and toys which are available for people who are in great need. A community support team is also available for clients needing help with any problems they are facing. Demand for our Emergency Provision continues to grow. Currently, each month over 100 issues are being dealt with through our Community Support Team; over 40 ‘two week’ family emergency food parcels are being given out and over 1,000 items of affordable clothing are being purchased from our clothing stall. In addition, the number of Gorton residents regularly attending The Oasis Centre and benefitting from opportunities to address the complex issues behind their needs has increased every year, typically by 15%. Last year we recorded 4,696 ‘client attendances’, with an average of 65 clients joining us on a regular basis and 432 local residents visited Oasis for the first time seeking support.
We also have an ‘Anti-Poverty’ Prevention Service which consists of a Basic Adult Life Skills Training Programme, a Getting Work-Ready scheme, Educational Trips and an in-house volunteer programme which is available for people who want to escape the benefit lifestyle, reach their full potential and respond to the challenge set by the Jobcentre to get back into work. These provide inspirational, stimulating and thought provoking activities, workshops, courses and events helping clients gain motivation, aspiration, self-esteem and self-awareness. Last year a total of 98 clients benefited from our Basic Adult Life Skills Training Programme and ‘Getting Work-Ready’ scheme and 7 clients enrolled on to our Getting Work-Ready Volunteer Programme. We were delighted to help 22 clients achieve their goals, move into training, volunteering and education and we saw 8 clients find full-time employment.
We also run a parent and toddler group providing stimulating activities encouraging parents to positively engage with their children. All families are encouraged to participate in Oasis activities and services.
The Centre is open 10am till 2pm on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. In addition to our regular drop-in sessions The Oasis Centre runs a weekly ‘invite only’ support group for vulnerable women and a 10-week ‘Issues of Life’ discussion group.