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Debbie had never been one to complain. “If something’s wrong, change it”, she had always said to herself. “If you can’t, then learn to live with it.” But even she had to admit that, in the last few years, life had become particularly difficult.”
“When my youngest daughter started school, I had all this time on my hands and didn’t know what to do with it. But with chronic pain and health issues, even everyday things were a struggle. The more time I had on my hands, the lonelier I got and little by little, I was sinking into a dangerous depression. Everything changed however, when I decided to volunteer at a local charity shop run by the Oasis Hub near where I live in Lawrence Weston.”
“At first I thought the Oasis CraftSpace community shop would just get me out the house a bit and help out in the community. However, when I started to get to know people there I realised that there was a chance to get involved in something much bigger. Before I knew it I was organising events, helping at the local school and even learning to write fundraising bids! Most importantly however, I have made loads of new friends. I can honestly say that getting involved with the Hub has given me a new lease of life.”
Oasis CraftSpace opened in July 2016 with a goal to empower local residents by providing voluntary and paid roles, enabling them to develop new skills, leadership and positive life experiences. CraftSpace incorporates a shop, together with a craft workshop where we run weekly workshops teaching new art and textile skills to local residents. Items made - including cushions, decorations and cards – are sold in the shop and in museums across Bristol. The shop is open daily and is run by volunteers.
Projects like CraftSpace bring a wide variety of benefits to the communities we work in. They help to develop a vibrant sense of community, ownership and empowerment and they reduce loneliness among those who would otherwise be vulnerable to isolation. They develop practical skills – in this case, craft and commercial skills – that can increase levels of opportunity and employability. And because CraftSpace is a social enterprise, it is already generating profits which can support other important work in the North Bristol Hub.