I recently visited Oasis and I was struck by the commitment of Caroline and the team to helping some of the more vulnerable families in the Cobham area. Oasis provide a long term network which supports these families. I’m delighted that we have an active local organisation servicing Cobham.
Dominic Raab MP, Member of Parliament for Esher and Walton
The Envisage Report and Action Plan was published in 2009, having been informed by the results of the extensive survey of the opinions of the seven thousand householders in Cobham, Downside, Oxshott and Stoke D’Abernon, undertaken by a wide group of local volunteers. Among many other things, the survey revealed a strong and growing concern that the sense of community was weakening and that insufficient care was being shown for those disaffected and struggling young people, young parents and families living in the area. The inspiring work of Oasis in addressing these problems is invaluable, has the full support of Envisage and deserves all the encouragement and support which our local community can give it.
Nick Driver – Chairman, Envisage

Love of Learning has been working alongside the families at Oasis for several years. It is always a pleasure to come to this thriving, welcoming and professional centre. Caroline, the centre manager, is an inspiration. She leads a team of dedicated and charming staff who are all totally committed to their work alongside the families. A unique and very special atmosphere is created by Caroline and the staff who are consistently full of enthusiasm and kindness.”

“Surrey Police have been working with The OASIS Childcare centre for the past few years and in that time have been able to improve the lives of local residents by providing information and support to its users. We see the centre as a safe and secure place to communicate with local people. The centre provides and incredible amount of support and services to all of its users and the workers are professional and dedicated. We will continue to work with Oasis and know that we can help many more people with this valuable engagement opportunity that we have.”

Police Sergeant Mark Bracknell

“Oasis carries out vital work in our community with families, most especially those living in difficult circumstances. The support, advice and encouragement they provide helps with essential development for pre-school children and parenting and life skills for adults. Oasis helps people cope with difficult issues such as domestic violence and alcohol and drug dependency. Oasis makes a real difference to people’s lives and we are delighted to support them.”

Revd Robert Jenkins. Rector of St Andrew’s Church, Cobham and Chair of Cobham Combined Charities

From my perspective as Headteacher at the local Primary School, the impact of Oasis and in particular, the work of Caroline, is invaluable. The need for specialised support for families in Cobham was first recognised in 1996; Caroline Edwards has been in post ever since.

There is tremendous collegiality within the community’s children’s agencies, a common desire to work tirelessly, especially for the under-privileged. St Andrew’s School, the Cobham Children’s Centre and Oasis work very closely; the unity of purpose, the depth of local knowledge and the collective understanding of best approaches enables support mechanisms to be put in place in the most difficult of settings.

Caroline’s work is often expansive and visionary, supporting the community in its widest sense. It is equally often detailed and focused on the needs of an individual or a family.

Her close work with, and on behalf of many vulnerable families in Cobham, has led to formal support from authorities and informal help when that is more appropriate. She is indefatigable in pursuing unjust cases and never shuns her responsibility to see a situation through to its conclusion.

Jo Gibb, Pastoral Care Manager at St Andrew’s School, has reason to work frequently with Caroline. She has provided the following bullet-point list of activities and qualities that define in part the role Caroline undertakes:

  • takes over 90 families on holiday, every summer, for a week
  • arranges for many families to attend Father Christmas workshops and grottos before Christmas
  • buys food and makes hampers for families at Christmas
  • runs a crèche for people attending Parent Puzzle
  • runs sessions for young mothers, supporting them with their babies
  • runs finance sessions for young parents and seeks creative approaches to difficult financial situations for them
  • campaigns tirelessly for funding for Oasis

Caroline’s qualities

  • is always available for parents to ring, always ready to help
  • encourages people to be responsible for themselves
  • is always very positive and encourages others to look at their own achievements and success
  • makes us (St Andrew’s School) aware of vulnerable parents and children.

On Caroline, parents have commented:

  • “I don’t know what I’d do without Caroline and her team. I wouldn’t be here now.”
  • “We know we can just drop in or phone and she will give us help to sort our whatever we need.”
  • “She helped me and my child, and I didn’t feel she was passing judgement.”
  • “She knows who to contact.”
  • “You can trust her with your life and know she will get you help and support.”

Jo Gibb herself has talked of Caroline’s invaluable links with very many agencies. She states that it’s a privilege to know and work with her, and that she states things as they are, expecting answers and outcomes.

It has been my privilege too, to work alongside Caroline, albeit for a shorter period of about 1½ years so far. I agree wholeheartedly with all the comments Mrs Gibb’s analysis, and trust Caroline Edward’s outstanding work with the Oasis Team will be enabled to go from strength to strength through sustained financial support. Value for money would never be an issue! Andrew Tulloch, Headteacher, St Andrew’s School

St Mary’s support for Oasis Childcare Centre grew out of congregational discussions following the riots in the summer of 2011. We were aware that the reasons for the rioting were complex and were not confined to the areas in which the rioting took place. We did not feel that we could engage successfully with the geographical areas in which there was rioting. However we did want to engage locally in addressing some of the issues which may have contributed to the riots. We do not have the skills or experience in the congregation to do this ourselves and so looked around for a project working to improve the lives of local young people. We were particularly impressed by the range and quality of work undertaken by Oasis. So far we have been able to offer some financial support over a 5 year period and we have identified some volunteers to work with the project.

“Oasis believes every child has a right to security, love and a stable environment in which they can develop to their full potential.’ (From Oasis’website). Christians believe that we are called to love one another and to enable one another to develop into the people God created us to be. It is clear to me and the congregation at St Mary’s that supporting the work of Oasis is one of the ways in which we at St Mary’s fulfil our calling in the local community.”

Revd Diana Thornton, Associate Rector, St Mary’s Church, Stoke D’Abernon

“The Credit Union exists to support people with limited funds. We do this by encouraging them to save, no matter how small the amount. We visit once a week on Thursdays for an hour. This ensures that money deposited stays there for the week by which time we aim to collect a further deposit. We also offer loans at rates that are much cheaper than any alternative available. To my mind this complements very well the support offered to single parents and unemployed by Oasis and is a natural extension to the activities offered by Oasis. Elmbridge Credit Union has operated successfully at Oasis for some ten years. It has been a privilege and a pleasure to see how Oasis fills a vital need in the lives of so many people. “

Michael Levitton, Chief Executive, Elmbridge Credit Union