Oasis – An Evening of Celebration

An Evening of Celebration at the Oasis Centre and Dreams of a New Home are Launched

On Saturday 7th March, I attended a wonderful evening hosted by the trustees and friends of the Oasis Centre, along with Maureen Woolley, Janice Sweetman, Margaret Worthington and Janet Adamson. We were there along with 160 other invited guests, including potential sponsors of the Centre, Local dignitaries and volunteers.

We were treated to a most delicious meal held at The Message Trust in Wythenshawe, where the food was prepared and served by a most friendly and efficient group of  young people who had been trained in catering and hospitality to give them a fresh start in life. Victoria Armstrong, whom many of you will have heard of and who is the Founder and Director of the Centre, gave us a brief history of events from the conception of Oasis 13 years ago to where they are today. Her vision was to make Oasis a refuge from which to bring about lasting and positive change in the lives of some of the hardest to reach and most vulnerable adults in Gorton, East Manchester, and we were there to celebrate the success of this venture and to hear a little about the countless success stories.

We heard about a lady who had come to them in a desperate state. She had lost one son in a fatal accident, another who had been the fatal victim of a knife attack and her third son was in and out of prison.  If that was not enough, she had lost her husband to cancer and was herself recently recovering from cancer and suffered with mobility issues. She held out no hope for the future.

Over a period of six years in which she was a regular visitor to Oasis and was helped and mentored by the team there, she began to see hope and a way forward. She now raises money for third world charities with the help of the management team at Oasis. She also spends many hours with vulnerable clients at the Centre who need someone to talk to and she listens . . . welcoming others with the same warm smile and can do attitude which saved her when she felt so isolated and hopeless. We met this amazing lady and two other people with inspiring stories, whose lives had been touched and transformed by Oasis in the last 13 years.

During the evening, a fund raising appeal was launched for the New Oasis Centre which will be a purpose built facility, open 24/7 for the people of Gorton. Manchester City Council has given them a piece of land for the sum of £1 on which they hope to build the new complex for approx. £1.2 million .They have been given until 2018 to raise this money and hope to raise £100,000 by the end of 2015! We had the feeling that many of our fellow diners were digging deep and pledging funds to make this achievable!

On behalf of fellow worshippers at St Mary’s we confirmed that we would continue to support the charity in any way we could. Your regular donations of food and clothing/household goods are invaluable to them and indeed St Mary’s got a special mention of thanks from Victoria during her presentation, so please be reassured that everything you do for them however small is valued beyond words!

The Oasis Centre has an exciting chapter ahead and I hope that through our joint continued generosity we can see them thrive and excel in transforming people’s lives for the better.

Hellie Jabr