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Christmas essentials at Oasis Youth Centre

Oasis Youth Centre is one of many projects working across the UK sharing a similar belief to BBC Children in Need; that all children and young people – no matter the challenges they face – should have the opportunity to reach their potential.

Christmas is a time which often amplifies these challenges, especially for children and young people affected by poverty. Thankfully, the team at Oasis Youth Centre are doing everything they can to be there to support their members throughout the festive season. Not just to help them enjoy it, but to provide the essentials and the support they need to get through it.

Christmas brings a mixed response from Oasis Members.

Bethany, Programme Manager, Oasis Youth Centre.

We caught up with Bethany, Programme Manager at Oasis Youth Centre, to find out more about the project’s work over the holiday season.

Bathay smiling

Bethany talked to us about how many of the families the project support are directly affected by poverty. Christmas can therefore seem very different to what many would normally expect; often without festive outings, presents, traditional Christmas dinner and even, in some cases, without heating in their home.

So, how are Oasis Youth Centre able to help? Well, this is where your donations to BBC Children in Need come in. Your support fully funds Bethany’s staff position as Programme Manager, in addition to part-funding Laura’s position as Youth Engagement Facilitator.

Together, they provide a host of outreach programmes and community engagement events, working alongside partners such as Children in Northern Ireland, ALMAC Group and others as part of the Community Intercultural Programme. Their efforts help to provide ‘holiday hunger’ programmes, which deliver food parcels to families during school holidays such as Christmas, and much, much more.

plates of fruit

Bethany explained “We support many families with additional food parcels for over the Christmas period. They usually look like ingredients for a traditional Christmas dinner, luxury items and treats like a family board game…We also try to have an annual free Christmas experience for primary school children and their families to avail of a Santa visit. This event is usually planned and delivered by young people who volunteer in our organisation.”

Initiatives like these don’t claim to solve the long-term issues for families affected by poverty, but they do provide a short-term solution and relief in what can be a very difficult period.

The New Year brings a fresh start and an opportunity for the project to reach more families. Oasis plan to deliver some new cooking programmes in 2022 to educate children and young people on making healthy, nutritious meals on a budget, encouraging independence, and helping to tackle food poverty. None of that would be possible without the generosity of the Great British Public.

I don’t think people quite realise the impact their donation has on the organisation who receives it

Bethany, Programme Manager, Oasis Youth Centre

Without the support of your donations many projects, including Oasis Youth Centre, would be unable to deliver the standard of work and reach the children and young people most in need of their support. That’s true all year round, but especially so at Christmas.

a lady wearing a mask

Bethany speaks for the team at Oasis Youth Centre when she says she feels fortunate to see first-hand the impact having programmes like these available to young people of all cultures and backgrounds has.

“For Oasis, it is creating a safe space for children and young people to come along and participate in opportunities that supports them to reach their potential. For members it is finding somewhere to belong and a place to call home.”

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