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Oasis Caring in Action and Boots the Chemist

It's Time for the Girls

Oasis Caring in Action is a community based charity working within East Belfast and Antrim. It aims to ‘Transform Lives, Transform Communities’ through the provision of childcare, befriending services and community courses. The charity has a desire to see the people in those areas empowered through support, training and resources.

Oasis has been involved with the BCPP programme for many years with several previous successful projects which strengthened relationships between the Pharmacist, the project participants and the various community support organisations. This Level 2 application for £10,000 of BCPP funding focused on working with women experiencing social isolation, mental health issues, anxiety or depression. It planned to address issues such as loneliness, depression, debt, alcohol and the demands of marginalised at risk teenagers. The aim was that the women would have a greater understanding of health and wellbeing and a more positive attitude towards their own health and that of their families.

Hopefully the group would also recognise the impact of stress on their health and wellbeing and identify ways to reduce any stress. ‘It’s Time for the Girls’ programme included six sessions delivered by external organisations as well as those delivered by the Pharmacist, Roisin Campbell, Boots the Chemist. Christians Against Poverty, Antrim worked with the ladies on the issue of debt management offering helpful money saving tips and discussing poverty. As well as introducing nature walks for exercise, the Chest, Heart and Stroke Association came in and provided advice on keeping your heart healthy alongside a practical demonstration of exercises set to music which the women really enjoyed.

Janette Rankin, Flourish NI, ran some really creative craft sessions with the women and gave an overview of the work the organisation did with women in Northern Ireland who had been trafficked. The women were so moved by this story that they decided to start putting away £1 a week each and presented £250 to Janette for the organisation. Women supporting women – the ethos of this particular programme.

Jennifer Todd, Centre Manager of Oasis, told us ‘We recognise that social support networks are a significant determinant of health. Research recognises that support from families, friends and communities promote better health and the links that connect people within communities can provide a source of resilience.’ One of the ladies attending the group said she really enjoyed meeting new people. She had been dealing with depression for four years and the women really helped her get through her difficult days. The informative talks from the host of organisations who could help, along with the company and support of the group members, meant the project was a lifeline for her.

Roisin Campbell, Pharmacist, told us ‘Through the BCPP programme I have had the opportunity to engage with members of the group on a one to one basis and through group sessions and offer advice on diet, exercise and general health and well-being. The women were really engaged in the sessions and I feel this provided them with the ability to make more informed choices for improved health and well-being. I greatly enjoyed meeting the group on a weekly basis and witnessing the friendship and support that the women offered each other.’


The BCPP programme has been an amazing success in Antrim. Many of our women are isolated and suffer from anxiety and depression. Over the year, I have seen these women blossom into more confident women who have formed their own support network, taken valuable advice from Roisin, the Pharmacist and generally improved their own mental and physical health.

Jennifer Todd, Manager, Oasis

The ladies’ group has been a lifesaver for me. I was isolated at home as the carer for my partner and daughter. Roisin’s advice helped a lot and I had started taking calcium and vitamin D3 before I broke my wrist thankfully… I feel that really helped in a quicker recovery. Going to the group helps me with fitness as I have a brisk walk on the way. I have gained so many friendships through our group and we are like a little community. I so look forward to our Thursdays.

Project Participant