For young mothers and socially isolated women living in the northern Queensland mining town of Moranbah, the Oasis Life Lounge offers much needed social activities, health support, life skills training and emergency food relief, courtesy of the SecondBite-facilitated community connect program with Coles Moranbah.
The Lounge has been open for more than four years and centre coordinator Annette Attard says it is a safe and inviting place for local women and children, and even some single dads as well.
“We’ve been involved with SecondBite’s food collection program with Coles since opening four years ago, and it has been a great addition to the many services we provide our community. We use the food collected in emergency relief hampers for anyone who is struggling. That might be single mums, families, people on pensions and those suffering health conditions or living with disabilities.”
“We also send fruit to the local schools for children at risk of not being provided with adequate breakfasts or lunches.”
“Beyond food relief, we’re also focused on helping our community to be as self-sufficient as they can be, so we offer help with budgeting and financial guidance with a financial counsellor where needed and in some instances provide financial support for pensioners who are struggling with medical expenses.”
Other activities the Lounge offers include a regular social morning tea, lactation consultant for new mums, referral to other agencies, a toddler play area, school holiday activities, cooking classes, car care tips, craft group, sewing group and a veggie garden.
The Oasis Life Lounge acts as a safe space for local women who are living in the remote town, with many of them not having family support to rely on. The volunteer team at the centre often notice that the stress and pressure many women feel when they first arrive often reduces once the women get involved with the Lounge’s many activities. Their feelings of isolation and loneliness decrease, which in turn leads to improved mental health and feelings of wellbeing.
Annette says the mums, dads, families and many single people who come to the centre feel a sense of belonging, allowing them to cope better with life circumstances, enjoy more settled children and contribute to the community in myriad social, school and sporting activities.