The Oasis Community Gardens is now a beautiful location in the heart of a disadvantaged housing estate. Many projects are working together on the site which also includes Community Centre with activities and projects for all ages. Steve Williams, Centre Director and Manager, describes their achievements - of which they are justly proud.
“We took over a derelict youth club and abandoned 2 acre site on a long lease 12 years. We set about working with the community to plan the gardens and raise the money to landscape the site as a park, community garden and community green space bringing the local disadvantaged community together.
"OASIS Community Centre & Gardens opened in 2011 with lots of hopes and dreams for the future. We had no idea it would grow to become a Centre and Hub with over 10,000 visitors annually. The Oasis has become a wonderful community resource with over 30 projects for people of all ages, needs and interests. It is also an important community garden with over 30 areas and gardening, horticultural and nature-based projects which make a big impact on many people’s lives.
"Oasis has a Geodesic Dome Greenhouse; Pre School Play Village; Liquorice Garden; Wildlife Wonderland; Wonderland Rockery; Herb Bed; Cut Flower Circle; Wild Flower Area; Topiary Tales; Rainbow Chickens; Gazebo; Sunshine Sensory Space; Large Polytunnel; Small Polytunnel; Oasis Orchard; Nature Cabin; Compost Corner; Soft Fruit gardens; Strawberry Patch; Raised Veg beds; Specialist Flower beds; Herb Garden; Shipmates Play Park; Inclusive Play area; Perennial Flower Beds; Iris Bed; Rhubarb Patch; Recycling Area; Gala/Play Circle; Gardener’s Cabin; Tool Store; Café area. All areas are well used to showcase different plants, different kinds of gardening and are available for different aspects of gardening projects, horticultural education, community care, therapeutic work, play and community events.
"our therapeutic gardening projects include OASIS Lifeline projects - ‘Gardening for Life’, ‘Flowers for Life’, ‘Cacti for Life’, ‘Seeds for Life’, ‘Food for Life. ‘Woodcraft for Life’ and ‘Arts for Life’. These Gardening and skills sessions, workshops and courses are open to people who are unemployed, special needs, disabilities, mental health issues, elderly people and young people in need. We use the power of gardening/nature to help people have access to opportunities and experiences that support their health and wellbeing.
"Oasis Community Gardens has appeared on ‘Gardener’s World’ (2019) and won several awards over the years including:
Cultivation Street Awards 2020 – Best Community Garden in Midlands & Best Gardens for Better Health UK & 2nd place - UK Best Community Gardens
UK Social Prescribing Awards - Best Local Social Prescribing Project UK (2020 & 2021)
Green Flag Award (5 years running)
RHS Britain in Bloom – ‘Its Your Neighbourhood awards’ (Several years).
"We hold many events at the OASIS Community Gardens including ‘Oasis Four Seasons’ Celebrations: Spring Festival, Easter Family Fun, Summer Festival, Autumn Family Fun, Fireworks Extravagaza and of course, Christmas.”
Finally, what do you value about being a member of SF&G?
“We have been a member from very early on. Our very first event at the Centre was a regional gathering for FCFCG members - before any trees or plants were even planted. We are ten years old now and the Federation, (now Social Farms &Gardens), have been a support to us all the way through when we have had different needs, events, questions and enquiries. Through the years the team at SF&G have always given us wonderful support and encouragement to continue when there were few community gardens and the value of therapeutic gardening was not so recognised.”
Feel Good Gardens values local food and community, getting outdoors, enjoying the seasons, understanding more about nature, and welcoming everybody to site regardless of age, gender, race or disability.
Scotswood Garden works with nature to create a great place for people and wildlife to enjoy. The garden is about community, whether in Scotswood and Benwell or the wider area, and they welcome people of all ages and backgrounds to get involved in the work.