Mother Teresa once said, “I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot. Together we can do great things.” That is certainly the case for the community of South Grimsby. We managed to steal a precious hour with Oasis Hub: South Grimsby leader Michelle Donner, moments after boxes upon boxes of donated food was being delivered to her team, ready to be packaged into food parcels. During the last year, our lives have changed in ways we never could have imagined. This is the story of how Michelle and her team have worked hard to transform a period of crisis into a place of hope and cohesion.
During the lockdown, many community organisations around the country were forced to close. However, because of their love and sheer determination for the community, Oasis Hub: South Grimsby remained open and continued to support locally. “The biggest thing is the building of a community during the lockdown,” says Michelle, “My community are now more aware of what’s going on around them, who is involved, and how can help. Compared to last March, we’ve doubled our following on Facebook based on community users and supporters of what we are doing here.”
During school closures, the Hub provided 52 food parcels a week, delivered straight to families’ doorsteps. These food parcels included four days’ worth of breakfast, lunch, and evening meal items. “Our first focus was food, but then we needed to think about how we can support the whole family.” The Hub started creating activity packs for children with Facebook live sessions to help the children get the most out of them. “It was all about giving them something when there was no one else around. We couldn’t physically have our volunteers in, but they remained active behind-the-scenes coming up with great ideas for the packs.”
During the summer holidays, Oasis Hub: South Grimsby ran free summer activity sessions for four weeks, giving young people and families a chance to reconnect with their peers and school environment in a covid-safe way. Feedback from the attendees only strengthened the need for the Hub, as confidence in parenting grew, feelings of isolation reduced, relationships stabilized and family time became a highlight of the summer.
I am forever grateful for your support to our family.
“When September hit, what we then found was that whilst the families didn’t need us in the same way they did over the summer months, the need for mental health support was vital” Michelle told us. The impact of Covid-19 and the lockdown had become very clear, and so the focus of part of the Hub’s offer switched to getting through the winter months. Michelle managed to successfully bid for funding that provided mental health support with the hope that people within the community could get direct access to mental health support instead of being on a two-year waiting list.
The Oasis model is about walking the path with our communities. It safe to say Oasis Hub: South Grimsby maintained this, even during the toughest times. Many families benefited from even the little things the mental health support provided, such as someone to talk to and ask them how their day has been.
“I go home every day feeling grateful for the job I have, and the impact the Hub is having on the community. Being able to make someone smile that day, to have the capacity to just listen to people and let them have a voice.” Pausing, it is clear in Michelle’s face how much this means to her. ”I am grateful for my knowledge of how to support others, grateful for the team around me, for all the volunteers and the staff at the Hub.
“We’ve seen some real positives out of the families that were struggling before lockdown, seeing the hard work they’ve put in regardless of the pandemic, getting to a better place today. People are so much more aware of what we can do for our community.”
We’re pleased to say that the Hub has seen a boost in interest from volunteers looking to join the team, and continues on from strength to strength. If you’d like to find out more about what they do, you can visit the Oasis Hub: South Grimsby website here.
Visit the Oasis Hub: South Grimsby website here.