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Making the difference 2012: Best business


Transforming lives: Jill Dunlop

Transforming lives: Jill Dunlop

Transforming lives: Jill Dunlop

Oasis Cafe is a little business but one giving back to a community in east Belfast which is affected by social deprivation in a big way.

Run by the community organisation, Oasis Caring in Action, the social enterprise provides not just coffee but life changing opportunities.

Based in the ground floor of the Oasis Centre in Castlereagh Street it aims to “Transform Lives, Transform Communities”.

Business Development Manager Jill Dunlop said the cafe provides an “excellent facility” to connect with the public, volunteers and partners.

Training opportunities are offered to volunteers who benefit from on the job experience and formal training opportunities.

And Jill explains this for many leads to paid employment within the catering businesses.

“It gives back by helping to empower the people who live within the community,” she said.

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Nominated by councillor Jim Rogers he said that although not large in size, Oasis Cafe has had a big impact on the community.

“The coffee shop is a great little business that does tremendous work in the community, employing people and giving many a chance to get back into the work environment.

“It is in an area that has suffered from social deprivation, high unemployment, but it helps people who may have been through tough times believe in themselves.”