Grants from the Community Foundation for Surrey’s funds including the Elmbridge Community Fund have supported Oasis to enhance their outreach service, train a second facilitator in the Freedom Programme, a nationally acclaimed programme supporting female victims of Domestic violence and buy equipment for the Charity’s new, larger premises.
Oasis Children’s Charity provides essential support to children in need and their families across Elmbridge. Helping on average 250 vulnerable families a year, Oasis works closely with the family unit as a whole together with schools, GP’s and Social Services with the aim of keeping vulnerable children out of the social care system and with their own families.
Elmbridge has one of the highest rate of abuse in the country – statistically 1 in 3 women here in Elmbridge will be a victim of domestic violence
The following story is an example of the complexity of cases we handle and how effective we are at responding to the needs of an individual.
Kate’s story: Finding my voice.
I was brought up in a secure and reputable family, I received the very best of private education in Surrey and went on to gain 3 qualifications from English Universities. By my early 30’s, my CV and my attitude to work was outstanding, I got every job I ever went for, owned my own house and I had a huge group of friends – I was every parents success story.
In Easter 2007, I met the man of my dreams, he was driven, self-assured and financially secure. I was sure he loved me. We made plans, got engaged. I thought ‘this is it now I have it all!’
The cracks only really started to show when we began to disagree – the small things at first – about decorating or me doing something without his permission. He was now in charge of all the finances, he owned the house and I had to ask for money for anything that I needed as all my money was to go on groceries.
Whenever I thought I was getting anything right, he moved the goalposts and criticised me for not knowing. I became terrified, confused and I was very much alone in the world.
None of us know what life’s cards will deal us or what we will have to face or learn along the way. But what is absolutely crucial is that there is someone who understands and that there is help available when we need it.
After our baby was born his behaviour became even more frightening. His temper would fly if my son didn’t finish his bottle, he kicked my dog across the kitchen and he shook our son because he wouldn’t settle one morning. Not long after that, he raped me.
I was utterly terrified and thought I had no way out. I firmly believe that if my mother hadn’t come to collect my son and me before he returned from London that weekend he would have killed me.
Social Services simply didn’t have the resources to help us – Amazingly the Oasis Charity did. They arranged for me to receive specialist counselling and gave me the courage to face my son’s dad, attend mediation, set boundaries with him and even represent myself in court.
As humans we need to relate to each other to survive, to learn and to face things together, and we should never need to be alone in finding our voices. Without Oasis I would not have found mine and for that I will be forever grateful.