This week an important part of my life came to an end when it was announced that the first leisure centre I worked in, The Oasis will not be re-opening when England’s second lockdown comes to an end on December 2nd 2020. The leisure industry has been heavily affected by the economic impact of the Covid-19 crisis along with the hospitality and tourism industries. Sadly, many more businesses will find themselves in a position where they simply are unable to survive.
The Oasis will always have a special place for me, not just because it was my first job after leaving school, but for the many fantastic memories I have working there. What started off as a weekend job in the café while I was in college became my second home for my teenage years and start of my 20’s. I started working at The Oasis in September 2000 when I was 16 and left in October 2005 when I was 21. In that time, I worked as a Catering Assistant, General Assistant, (Cleaner) and Activities Assistant, (Lifeguard). All three of those roles helped shape me into who I am today, and all three roles had their own challenges. While all three of the roles were fun, I would say that the most fun was my Lifeguard role as it was the role that shaped me the most while working there. It did not matter which shift you were assigned too we were all one family, from staff nights out in Swindon to weekend’s away to Newquay we all had fun. If you worked a shift with out one person taking the micky out of you, you would have thought you had upset somebody.
Reading the previous paragraph, you might be asking yourself why I left if I liked working at The Oasis so much? The reason is simply that there were no hours in the gym available for me to work when I qualified as a Fitness Instructor. Some of the Fitness Instructors also worked as Lifeguards so I was able to develop positive working relationships with all of them, most of which have moved on to other careers.
Although I left The Oasis fifteen years ago, some of the people I worked with are still working there. I wish all of them well and am thankful for the memories shared. Working at The Oasis gave me the confidence to move to York in 2005 and to realise my ambition of traveling Japan in 2007. It helped me to begin developing coping strategies for my depression and anxiety which have certainly been tested many times. I also fondly remember the many pranks played on me on my last day working at The Oasis which started as soon as I arrived and did not stop till I left for the last time.