WE wanted to put the heart back into the community.
The words of Steve Williams, manager at the Oasis Community Centre which is thriving again after years of decline.
The centre in Kilton was reopened last July and is now open seven days a week, with different groups using it every day.
Standing in its own grounds on Longfellow Drive, it used to be a youth centre but had fallen into dereliction.
Steve said: “When we were offered the lease the building was in such a state we were told it would take someone who could ‘dream a dream’.”
“We wanted it to be a facility for all ages, rather than just young people, so we have everyone using it.”
“A lot of the activities are free and we are running lots of courses.”
He said they wanted to put Kilton back on the map. “It’s not had any funding from anywhere for a lot of years and there were no other buildings serving children and young people.”
Oasis is registered as a UK online centre as part of the Government’s initiative to get everyone using computers. Free courses are taught by volunteers.
Jean Joseph, 64, of Garside Street, has just received a certificate for completing a computer course.
She said: “I wanted to challenge myself. I have found it interesting and it’s the way forward.”
“It makes a difference and I would like to carry on learning more.”
Annie Smith, 64, of Retford, was also enthusiastic.
She said: “I’d had a computer for some time and a note book but I didn’t even know what all the keys on the keyboard meant.”
“It really makes a difference having a person here who can answer questions.”
“I used to hate computers because I would spend hours trying to work something out by myself and getting absolutely nowhere.”
Anthony Wilson, 67, of Larwood, said he would recommend the course. “It’s really enjoyable and the time goes so quickly,” he said.
Oasis also has a parent and toddler group every Tuesday morning, which is so popular it attracts people from Retford as well.
Grandmother Pearl Thompson goes along with her daughter Rosanna Webb and grandson James, eight months.
She said: “It’s a beautiful facility, the atmosphere is lovely and all the equipment is so good. We can go outside on fine days as well.”
It is run by Annette Williams and Caroline McGrath and costs £1 per family.
Annette said: “It was a bit quiet when we first started but it’s started to build up now.
Mum Ann Pullin, of Carlton, takes her son Niall, 20 months. “We enjoy coming here, and we get a drink and some toast in with the price,” she said.
Volunteer co-manager at the centre is Paul Wrobel. He said there was also a group for dementia sufferers, and a Thursday lunchtime group for older people.
“We have a Friday evening children’s youth club for five to 11-year-olds and outside we have a playground, sensory garden and roses from Kew Gardens,” he said.
For more information call Steve on 07882 797104.