“Each morning, there is a queue of 10-15 people waiting for crisis support, and within four hours 60 people have come through our doors. But our opening hours and our space are limited and not fit for purpose.” – Victoria Armstrong, founder and CEO of The Oasis Centre, has helped those who are facing homelessness, living in crisis situations, experiencing social isolation and who are under-skilled and out of work.
From a ‘run-down’ Methodist church they rent out each week, Oasis provides emergency food packs, free meals, structured support and emergency provisions, but the lack of space at the church meant that they couldn’t help everyone who visited them.
Back in 2015, housing and community services provider, One Manchester, and Manchester City Council began discussions around a potential partnership, which would enable the development of a brand new, purpose-built community centre for the Oasis charity, and 26 brand new Rent to Buy homes, all in the heart of Gorton.
Working together to raise the funds, agree on the land and create the design vision, this partnership used the site of a former bank, which had been vacant for 50 years, and neglected land on a prominent main road to create a development of affordable three-bedroom houses, while doubling the space the Oasis Centre had to offer, and tripling the opening hours.
This project has brought so many benefits to the local community, that its recently been recognised at the UK-wide Inside Housing Development awards, in the category of best partnership.
The category for this award called for an innovative partnership, which brought tangible outcomes that couldn’t have been possible without the collaboration.
Victoria said: “The building project between Oasis, One Manchester and Manchester City Council has restored derelict land, created new homes and provided much needed support for thousands of people.
“It’s a fantastic partnership model which could bring hope to other disadvantaged communities around the UK. It’s been a privilege to be part of such a great partnership.
Dave Power, chief executive of One Manchester, added: “The vision Oasis has to end the cycle of deprivation is something that we share in our values at One Manchester through our commitment to creating thriving and resilient communities.
“Working in partnership with Manchester City Council and the Oasis Charity allowed us to create a much-needed community space, while delivering affordable homes to local people.
“The project is a great example of how partnership working can bring fantastic benefits to a local community.”
The Oasis Centre is located in Wellington Street in Gorton, and provides support for everyone, in all stages in life. For more information see www.oasisgorton.org
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