On Tuesday, we paused the campaign for the Party’s social action day, which allowed us to get involved with a good local charity. We were very glad to join the Oasis Project with Pastor John Richards.

The Lane End Oasis Centre is a good news story which is set to roll out to other communities in Wycombe. The project began when a youth group became difficult to manage and it was decided to teach young people practical skills with a view to getting them into further training and employment. It now serves everyone around Lane End — an area which has had its difficulties — irrespective of age, ethnicity, beliefs, disability, gender, marital status or sexual orientation.

The project is an inspiration, with local partners providing the use of facilities and directly supporting a range of courses, including plumbing, painting, car mechanics, literacy and garden maintenance:

The garden maintenance course is linked to St Katherine’s at Parmoor, a retreat run by the Sue Ryder Fellowship, where young people have been restoring a rose garden as a sensory experience for the blind.

The Project recently began debt counselling and is now working to extend its courses to include electrical, cooking and housekeeping courses. It is also extending its scope into High Wycombe in Micklefield, Disraeli and Castlefield.

Wycombe Conservatives and I are most grateful to Pastor John, the Oasis Project and St Katherine’s for the opportunity to contribute to the project and learn more about it. I don’t doubt that the Big Society can work — the proof is in Lane End and is spreading across Wycombe.

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