About Us

A Christian holiday centre for young people.

The Oakes exists to share the Christian message with children and young people through amazing residential camps.

We want to be known for running great gospel-focused camps. We want to inspire, equip and send out leaders to share the gospel with children and young people. We want to encourage, work with and plant other gospel-focused residential ministries in the UK and overseas.

A short history

The Oakes Holiday Centre was founded by Dan and Billie Thaw in the late nineties. Their observation that the majority of young people in Britain know little about the Christian faith and its significance prompted them to search for a place where these young people could hear about Jesus in a fun and welcoming environment.

In 1996, Dan and Billie discovered The Oakes, a Georgian manor house set in beautiful parkland in south Sheffield, UK. A charitable trust was established to buy the property in 1998 and an extensive programme of renovation began. This was funded by donations and carried out almost exclusively by volunteers. The centre opened on July 1, 2000.

Each year since, we’ve continued to improve our facilities and selection of activities. In 2001 we dug out the cellar to be used as a social space. In 2005 we turned our “swamp” back into a pond which we now use for rafting. In 2010 we added an extension providing en-suite accommodation for group leaders.

Another exciting development over recent years has been the increased number of schools wanting to use us for their residential.

We are excited to see what the future has in store!