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Supporting the most vulnerable people in the world is core to Oasis’ mission. And we believe that everyone needs healthy community to thrive. So what happens when your community is torn apart? What happens when you find yourself thousands of miles from home, unable to return?
Almost a year ago, a family of refugees was welcomed into the community Hub at Oasis Church Waterloo, under a project called Harvest for Hope.
Since then, support for the family has made a life-changing difference. Oasis Debt Advice have provided financial help in the midst of the roll-out of Universal Credit. There were opportunities to learn English via our community English as a Second Language Course; housing was secured with help from individuals across Oasis Church Waterloo and other local churches; and a team of Oasis volunteers have befriended and supported the family as they have adjusted to a new life in England. The diverse programmes at the community Hub have perfectly matched the complex needs of the resettled family.
Today, the children have settled in to life in the UK and are active students in their local school. The adults are learning English, studying and working within areas of their training, and the family are integrated members of their local Oasis community. Considering the significant concerns around the family’s emotional and mental wellbeing as a result of their experiences, and the limited English they had on arrival, they have shown incredible resolve and resilience.
That's not the end of the story. Oasis is now planning for similar projects around the country in at least five other communities we work in, as part of the Home Office’s community sponsorship scheme. This will require support from all over the Oasis family, but the inspiring precedent set in Waterloo has built confidence.
Clare Wilson, who’s been at the helm of these projects, says: “This hasn’t been a case of a saviour complex. It’s about meeting people where they are, building community and becoming true friends. The family have brought much love (and amazing food!). So often, refugee sponsorship is viewed as a one-way street. But we have learned a lot, and are better people for having the family as part of our community.”