Oasis Domestic Abuse (Oasis), a Kent based charity that has been supporting domestic abuse victims for more than 25 years, has received a social investment loan of £4.1 million from Social and Sustainable Capital (SASC).
The loan from SASC’s Social and Sustainable Housing fund (SASH) will fund the purchase of 22 properties, providing 32 bed spaces for women, men and their families escaping domestic abuse. Oasis will buy 12 properties in Thanet, and another 10 properties in Medway, adding to their current portfolio of 20 managed properties.
The properties will vary in size and enable Oasis to accommodate people who are single through to those with larger families, who are referred to the charity through different routes including the police, local authorities and self-referral. In 2020/21 Oasis supported nearly 800 people across Kent and Medway, including 622 adults and 163 children.
As a leader of domestic abuse service development and impact measurement in Kent and Medway, Oasis has more than 15 grants and contracts, and works with commissioning authorities in both areas. As well as refuge and safe accommodation services, they provide group programmes, counselling, mentoring, and training for professionals.
The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 brings a statutory duty on local authorities to provide safe accommodation to victims and children, along with other new duties that will see an expansion of the services currently provided by Oasis.
In April 2021, Oasis merged with sister organisation, Choices DA Services who they had previously worked in collaboration with, and who shared similar objectives, a shared ethos and a proven synergy. As a result of the merger, Medway and North Kent services are now under the remit of Oasis.
Domestic abuse is often a hidden crime that is not reported to the police; however, the latest Office for National Statistics[i] show that 5.7% of adults aged 16 to 59 years experienced domestic abuse in the year ending March 2022.
Deborah Cartwright CEO at Oasis said, “Oasis makes an everyday difference to the lives of those affected by domestic abuse. We provide safe places for people to escape to and to start to rebuild their lives, where they are supported by us on every step of their journey.
“This is the first time we have taken on social investment. The loan will enable us to have more control over our properties, including where they are located and how they are refurbished, and grow our portfolio in a balanced way combining leased and owned properties.”
Ben Rick, Co-Founder and CEO of SASC said, “We are really pleased to support Oasis – they are committed to ensuring that all people affected by domestic abuse can access the support they need. The loan will enable the charity to take a significant step forward into property ownership, rather than relying on landlords, enabling them to help more people and grow the organisation in a sustainable way.”
This investment makes Oasis the 17th organisation to receive funding from SASH.
As of September 2022, SASH was fully committed, having allocated £64.5m of invested capital to charities across the UK. The successor fund, SASH II, launches this autumn, to provide a continuity of funding to frontline providers.
The fund will support charitable organisations that deliver a combination of support and housing move from renting existing housing stock to owning it. SASH II is open for fundraising and targeting £125m.
For more information on Oasis visit: www.oasisdaservice.org
Featured Photo: Oasis CEO Deborah Cartwright