GALLERY: Oasis Centre in Wisbech throws party to celebrate milestone
- Credit: Archant
The community turned out in force on Friday to celebrate a landmark birthday at The Oasis Centre.
The centre, in St Michael’s Avenue, Wisbech, has been owned and run by the Wisbech Community Development Trust for 10 years. It is managed by Chris Stevens and her friendly small team of staff.
To mark the occasion. a packed afternoon line-up was organised to give a taste of the broad range of activities on offer at the centre.
There was a tea dance for the over-60s, games, competitions, karaoke and even taster karate and zumba sessions. Crafts from Oasis regulars were on display and North East Cambs MP Steve Barclay was on hand for the cake cutting ceremony.
Addressing the gathering, he said: “Quite a few people in this room will remember 10 years ago and all the work done to secure the centre’s future.
“What makes this place work is the staff. Chris and her team create a warm atmosphere, which is so welcoming.
“It’s not easy to keep going without core funding. We can be very proud of this centre. For example, there are many wonderful crafts here.
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“Today is a chance to celebrate 10 years and thank Chris and her team.”
One quick glance at the noticeboard and you can see the centre’s diverse appeal. They run a community cafe, a bingo, an over 55s group, a crafts group and confidence workshops, which are a source of great pride to those involved.
One resident, Terry Robinson, said: “I am here on Thursday afternoons for the over 55s club where we play cards and dominoes and I volunteer for Age UK on Friday mornings.
“This place is very important for the community.”
Another resident, Vanessa Smithers, added: “We come here (with her husband) for the community meetings with the police, council and fire service.
“They give members of the public a chance to raise any concerns.”
Reflecting on the centre’s role of the community, Mrs Stevens said: “We try and cater for all age groups. Lots of people come to the confidence course. Often, they can’t read for write. But they get the confidence to speak up and we can get government grants to teach them.
“Because of that, one woman was able to read a book to her granddaughter for the first time.
“All charities are struggling and we don’t have core funding so our income comes from hiring out the facilities.
“Some charities have fallen by the wayside but we are doing ok. Hopefully we’ll be around for a long time to come.
“We couldn’t have done it without the support of the partner organisations, various groups, residents, trustees and volunteers.”