Have you heard of Wandsworth Oasis? We are a local charity raising money for people living with HIV, largely through our nine charity shops in and around Wandsworth. Gill Perkins, our CEO, is writing a monthly blog for Tooting Daily PRSS. In this first edition we give an intro to the charity (and what to look forward to in the coming months)...

We’re delighted to be writing a regular blog for the wonderful Tooting Daily PRSS! Tooting is home to three of our charity shops and we are proud of our long association with the area. You can find us on Trinity Road, close to Tooting Bec; at Amen Corner; and at Furzedown on Mitcham Lane (as well as elsewhere in South West London!). Over the coming months we’ll be talking about our passion for re-use and recycling; what’s on at Oasis; stories from our beneficiaries; a day in a life of a charity shop; and sharing with you some of the amazing items you can get in our shops.

Wandsworth Oasis (registered charity no 1126061) raises money for local HIV support and prevention projects. We were set up 30 years ago in the midst of the AIDS pandemic, originally as a drop-in centre for people affected by AIDS – a refuge and support mechanism for friends, family and loved ones of those who were dying of the disease as well as those who were well enough to be in the community. That’s why we are called Wandsworth Oasis – the 1980s were dark days and our drop-in was an oasis in the midst of a desert of stigma and misunderstanding. The drop-in, located in the Salvation Army Hall in Wandsworth, was funded by our first charity shop on Battersea Park Road.

Our ethos has always been Everyone Is Welcome. We are passionate about second chances, acceptance and fighting stigma. We demonstrate this through our charity shop volunteer programme and through our slightly mad community events which aim to raise awareness about HIV to a wide range of friends and supporters. We are always looking for three things – volunteers, customers and good quality stuff to sell!

We no longer have the drop-in – as the sector professionalised, it seemed better to focus on what we are good at which is raising money to support other charitable projects. But as we were also quite good at the drop-in, you never know...perhaps at some point we will go full circle…watch this space!

Ashley Jordan from One Stop Organisers is a professional clutter clearer and a big fan of what we do! Here’s what she has to say about working with us.

“I was clutter clearing for about 10 years before I was introduced to Wandsworth Oasis. Their professional organisation has made a massive difference to the efficiency of what I can offer my clients, which makes everyone happy.

“There are a number of ways in which they help. They have a fantastic and well organised collection service, who come when they say they will, at a time that they say they will, and often at short notice. They are happy to accept a large amount in one go.And they’ll take some things others won’t – check with them before you bring a lot of stuff though! They sell things through the right medium to get money for the charity, be it ebay or a car boot sale, which means they will take some weird and wonderful items!”

Thanks Ashley!