Worksop community centre set to mark milestone tenth anniversary
It started life as a derelict building with no roof or windows and over the past 10 years has been transformed into the heart and hub of the community – and a lifeline to many.
And as the Oasis Community Church, Centre and Gardens turns a decade old, a series of free events for all the community to enjoy are set to take place to mark the milestone occasion.
The rags to riches story of the venue in Kilton, currently home to more than 30 projects, is one founder, centre manager and church pastor Steve Williams is particularly proud of.
He said: “It was a dream of ours to create a heart of the community in the heart of the community.
"When we first saw the derelict youth club building with no windows or roof surrounded by two acres of overgrown gardens we didn’t expect that we could bring it back to life and transform it into something like this.
"It was a big challenge and we had about two years raising money and restoring the building before we opened.
"It’s been an amazing journey and the centre has won lots of awards, particularly over the last few years that you wouldn’t expect a project of our size to even be considered for, we really are punching above our weight.
"We have recently won the best local community project in the Social Prescribing Award UK and we also won The Centre for Social Justice Award for a community project making a difference, as part of this we were awarded £10,000.”
Over the decade the charity has raised just under £1million to help the community and has now raised enough cash to buy the building and gardens from the council ensuring its long term future.
The centre that aims to reduce isolation, to improve health and wellbeing and increase the life opportunities and chances for all people in the area, has also been awarded the prestigious Green Flag Award for community excellence six times and featured on Gardeners World.
The stunning gardens have been lovingly restored and boast a sports space, play park, inclusive play area, gazebo and sensory garden, rose garden, herb garden, wildlife area and dome greenhouse.
Steve said: "To think when we first took the site there were no trees, no fences and it was just overgrown grass and now we have 500 trees, shrubs and have featured on Gardeners World is quite something. This is all down to our amazing volunteers and the community.”
The centre hosts church meetings, parent and toddler groups, arts and crafts groups, youth clubs, over 60s groups and has recently launched a memory cafe and a new project to help men in crisis.
Steve said: "We have over 30 different projects running at the centre now working with all ages from babies through to elderly people.
"There are projects for volunteers to get involved with from gardening, childrens and youth work, elderly people with different needs, catering, hospitality, administration, publicity, and many other projects."
The aim of the centre is to lift the community by offering social and community events and activities, educational opportunities, sports and arts opportunities and giving the community a new pride.
Speaking about the scheme The Centre for Social Justice, Steve said: "This charity represents the very best of localism and the power of community spirit.
"They deal with some of the most complex issues in their area, identifying where need is most acute and being creative enough to come up with the solutions.
"Oasis has developed itself intentionally to be responsive to the needs of local people and to fully support everyone who comes through their door, with no thresholds or cut-offs.”
Steve said: “I’m really proud of everyone involved and the whole community without them this kind of project wouldn't survive.
"When people come here they feel like they belong, there’s a real sense of family here and we are excited for people to come along and join in the birthday celebrations and find out more about our rags to riches story.
"After lockdown it will be so nice to get people together and socialise and celebrate.”
Tenth anniversary events
Thursday September 16 - 2-4pm – great tea party - For over 50s - Come and celebrate a tea party with all the china and high tea quality refreshments. People will need to book their place with the centre for this event.
Friday September 17 - 6-8pm Oasis Kids - pirates and puppets celebration for children five to 11 years. Fun games, quizzes, stories and songs Oasis style.
Saturday September 18 - 11am - 3pm - craft and community fair.
Wednesday September 22 - 6pm Oasis night of honour - Celebrating unsung local heroes, covid heroes and Oasis champions.
Friday September 24- 6-8pm - children's Disney party night - For kids 5 to 11years. Come in disney costumes.
Saturday September 25 - 11am - 4pm - military and veterans family fun day - Come and support the veterans and military associations and charities and the amazing Bassetlaw veterans.
Tuesday September 28, Wednesday September 29 and Thursday September 30 – 6-7.30pm - Oasis Mission Night - telling the story.
Friday October 1 – 6-8pm - Oasis big birthday family fun night for all the family.
Sunday October 3 – 11am-12.30pm - Oasis Church Thanksgiving Celebration.
Sunday October 3 - 1-2.30pm - Oasis big birthday lunch
All are welcome and all birthday events are free.
For more information www.oasiscommunitycentre.org