Cherry Willingham’s very own Oasis

The Oasis is a safe, calm environment for people to embark on a holistic journey located at Cherry Willingham. A social and therapeutic garden, it is using the process of using plants and gardening itself to improve the physical and mental health of the community.

This two-acre plot boasts an office and craft van, a roundhouse, allotment beds, herb beds, chickens, guinea pigs, big grassland areas and plenty of produce to sell. A recent addition to the site has been their pick-your-own days which have been very popular.

At its heart, The Oasis is all based around therapy, and is a place to receive the help you require in a setting that is peaceful, restorative and utilises therapeutic horticulture. In an urbanized and technologically driven world, reconnecting with nature and the earth has a huge positive impact on mental health. Studies have shown that spending time outside in green spaces helps people destress, relax, and help feel more at one with the world. “Just connecting with the earth helps so much.” explains Becky Bee, The Oasis Manager. “When you’re outside, breathing the fresh air, hearing the bird singing, you’re in your own little world. Even if you’re not a gardener, and we have a lot of volunteers who aren’t, just being in the environment, and feeling the tranquility of everything helps. It gives you a break from reality almost, but teaches that there is a better reality out there.”

Although this sanctuary is charity-based and works in partnership with YMCA Lincolnshire, it relies on fundraising to ensure it can continue to provide support for the community. Becky explains “We have to have money coming in to be able to offer classes and the space for therapy, so we need fundraising and schools and groups coming for visits as a form of income that will keep everything ticking over and moving forward!”

Part of the current fundraising plans is to transform the main static caravan into a fully functioning kitchen. “Planting food, watching it grow, harvesting and cooking it is very important to us here. So many children out there have no idea how food grows or what to do with it, and in today’s market with the cost of living, both children and adults that can be educated on how to cook and provide food at a sensible price which is very important.” says Becky.

Becky is always trying to evolve The Oasis, and future plans also include bringing in lambs for visitors to walk, developing a sensory garden, as well as bringing bees in which not only offers something new from the beekeeping side, but it is also another form of income for the charity through the sale of honey.

The backbone of The Oasis is the volunteer team. They help develop the garden and work side by side with visitors, and although most are retired there are also ‘twilight volunteers’ who come in after work and volunteer their time a couple of evenings to ensure the future of this sanctuary. 

Visits can be booked for anyone who thinks this site will be beneficial, as a place for therapists to meet their clients, for groups such as Brownies, Scouts or primary school classes to visit and see what’s happening, taste different foods, see how things are grown, undertake nature searches and other activities, or even workplaces to visit and volunteer their time as a fulfilling team building activity. 

If you think you could help out at The Oasis, whether it be from a gardening side or through fundraising ideas or help with grant applications, or if you would like to book the space to use, you can get in touch via Facebook via Worth Unlimited – The Oasis, call Becky on 07988 533676 or send her an email at becky.bee@worthunlimited.co.uk