Five years before anything started, Vic had a dream of a building pumping out God's unconditional love, care and support for all the people of East Manchester. She saw lives being transformed and the city changing.
Three asylum seekers came into church one Sunday morning - tired, cold and in need of urgent help. That week, we opened up the church to give them some time and give them the help they needed. Vic felt God say, 'From a small seed a big tree can grow!'
We started seeing more and more people coming in who needed our support. It wasn't easy getting to know our community; it took love, dedication and a great deal of faith. We started doing hot meals - for some, the only one they'd get all week.
As more and more people came for support and a place to hang out, we knew it was time to get professional (well, kind of!) with a name and a logo.
We started gaining momentum and recognition in the area, with our regular clients realising that The Oasis Centre was more than a short term project - we were here to stay. As trust grew, people started to tell us what would make a difference to their daily lives.
With the Day Centre growing and problems becoming clearer, we realised that we needed to provide an environment set apart from the hustle and bustle of the everyday. Starting with an Alpha Course, we formed a discussion group where we could eat together and talk about issues that we were facing in our lives. That course became today's 'Issues of Life' course.
We took a big leap of faith and a great step forward by moving our Day Centre to Collier House in the heart of Gorton. Oasis began to reach new people, make new friends and welcome new volunteers dedicated to the work of the Centre.
With many people coming from different countries and cultures, it became more important to understand each other and to dispel certain myths and fears. We started our 'Oasis Awareness Weeks' focussing on third world countries, showing the benefits of living in England and helping us recognise our prejudices.
The Oasis team were becoming more aware of cases of women in the Centre who had suffered abuse, neglect and tragedy. We wanted to find an answer to these women who had become victims of their circumstances because we knew that they had so much to give to their communities.
As the months and years went by, we became ever more dedicated to seeing the work of Oasis deepen, develop and grow to a place where lives can be changed and challenged for a better future for individuals, families and the wider community.
Helping more people, we became increasingly aware of the 'third generation benefit' lifestyle which destroys lives and suffocates people's dreams of a brighter future. Our 'Getting Work-Ready' scheme is designed to set people free of the benefit trap and be who they were always meant to be.
To find out more about what a typical year at the Oasis Centre is like in the present, please click here.