What do you get if you combine a vacant school caretaker’s bungalow, a housing association, generous local companies and some incredibly determined individuals intent on making a difference?  You get Worcestershire’s version of ‘DIY SOS’ but without the BBC or the lovely Nick Knowles!

In 2017 Fortis Living, the driving force behind this project, and Oasis Academy, the primary school with the vacant property had an ambition to turn this bungalow into a community hub for everyone. They wanted to provide a space which would provide advice services, toddler mornings and education sessions. In addition, rooms would be available for other local community groups and businesses to hire.

Now in 2018 the project is completed and Fortis Living and the Oasis Academy now have a fantastic ‘Hub’ on the site of the former caretakers bungalow.

The centre was opened on 24th January 2018 at a special event for the local community, with approximately eighty people in attendance including people from Fortis, academy parents, local councillors and more. Cutting the ribbon was The Mayor of Worcester, Steve Mackay accompanied by Emily Hobson, Principal of Oasis Academy.

Adam Rudge, Operations Manager at Fortis Living said, “We are absolutely delighted to have been able to work with the school on this fabulous facility.  It looks set to have a really positive impact on local residents and, as a project, it has served as a thoroughly rewarding example of people coming together to serve their communities. We are justifiably proud that it has now come to fruition; it is testimony to the hard work and dedication of our staff, suppliers and contractors and we would like to say a very big thank you for everyone involved in making it happen.”

Emily Hobson, Principal of Oasis Academy Warndon said, “Today is a fantastic celebration! We feel incredibly lucky to have been Fortis’ focus for Communities Week and would like to say a big thank you to Fortis Living and all of their partners who have so generously facilitated our new Hub.

The Oasis Hub vision is so much further ahead as a result. This means we can work with the other two hubs in our region and the Oasis Charity nationally, to fulfil the Oasis Warndon vision and bring exceptional support services and opportunities crucial to this community. We cannot wait to see the Hub busy with people.”

The majority of the work was carried out within Fortis Living’s annual Community Week in late September.  This is a fantastic project where Fortis Living staff get involved in a host of community improving projects including garden tidy-ups, room makeovers, tea and chat for socially isolated residents, a tea dance, an estate touring pop-up shop.  Staff have also done fundraising and event rowed the River Severn in the past.  A trying inspiring effort by everyone.

When asked if AKW would be part of the project we agreed without hesitation, donating the fully accessible sanitaryware.  Kyle Knights, one of AKW’s Regional Sales Directors said, “we had no hesitation in getting involved with this project which is right on our doorstep in Worcestershire.  As with other similar projects AKW regularly get involved with, such as the ‘real’ BBC DIY SOS, we get an immense sense of pride and satisfaction from seeing the positive outcome that can be achieved by bringing the community together for projects like these.  We wish the Hub every success for the future.”

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