Exceptional Education at the Heart of the Community

Dedicated volunteer appointed as Community Liaison Officer at Oasis Academy Skinner Street

Dedicated volunteer appointed as Community Liaison Officer at Oasis Academy Skinner Street

A Gillingham primary school is delighted to welcome a new Community Liaison Officer who has a long-standing relationship with the academy, firstly as a parent volunteer and then as an apprentice in Early Years Foundational Stage (EYFS).

Debbie Hobbs officially took up the post of Community Liaison Officer at Oasis Academy Skinner Street in January, however, due to COVID-19 restrictions, has not yet been able to hold any in-person sessions within the Hub. Despite this, Debbie has already built strong relationships with families of the school by offering surplus foods and grant applications for household essentials to those who need them.

Debbie moved to Gillingham as a teenager, and went on to raise her 5 children, one of whom has autism and one ADHD, in the local area. Being a full-time mum led Debbie to volunteer at Oasis, helping the academy to reach its aim of becoming a true learning Hub for the community they serve, and making a real difference to the lives of young people and their families.

Debbie is an involved member of the Gillingham community, and alongside her new post and managing her role as “mum”, she takes great pleasure in watching live musical performances and making memories with her family.

Debbie Hobbs, Community Liaison Officer at Oasis Academy Skinner Street commented saying; “I am excited to be able to work with families and offer support sessions within the Hub which I know will bring the community together.”

Speaking on her aims for the future of the Hub, Debbie says “I would like the Hub to help develop a stronger community network, and to support not only families in need, but also the older generation who may not have any support. The idea that attending a coffee session and being able to interact with others in the area, can help individuals to ease their loneliness especially since the pandemic, is wonderful. People are now more vulnerable to mental health issues too, so knowing the Hub is there to support our community is of great importance to me.”

Debbie looks forward to hosting a variety of sessions including ‘stay and play’ and a ‘chill and chatter’ session where the community comes together for a coffee and a chat. Debbie also has plans to establish a food pantry within the Hub which will enable families to access food and household provisions. The food pantry plans to operate via a monthly subscription service and will allow patrons to visit on a weekly basis and obtain any items they require.

Victoria Richmond, Principal at Oasis Academy Skinner Street, added; “I am most excited about Debbie having grown within the Skinner Street family. She has a clear vision on how best to support those in need and is really dedicated to making the changes in the community which she knows so well.

"Everyone who works with Debbie is impressed by how she embodies the Oasis ethos and lives the habits. She is a true asset to the academy and our community, and I am excited to work with her as part of the OASS family.”

Daniel Marsh