Month: January 2018

Transforming a mobility bungalow

Early January, the Ray Collins Charitable Trust were contacted by the Wantage Independent Advice Centre. They wanted to know if we could help a mother and son struggling to take advantage of a mobility bungalow that had been allocated to them.

Trustees assessed the application and voted unanimously to help out. We set aside £1600 to redecorate the bungalow and purchase necessary appliances.

Several weeks earlier, the son had slipped into a diabetic coma which starved his brain of oxygen and left him brain damaged. He has also had other medical issues, resulting in a tracheotomy which has left him prone to infections.

A long road to recovery awaits this determined 47 year old man, learning to walk and talk again. With very little in funds and little support, there was no way for them to carry out the work required on the property.

Trustees Ray and Phil joined several volunteers for an amazing week transforming an empty shell of a bungalow into a warm, clean, fresh family home.

A lovely lady and her son now have a beautiful home to aid the sons recovery and help her care for him. Hopefully all our efforts will have a positive effect on his health and recovery.

Rolling up our sleeves

Every room has had walls, ceilings, doors and woodwork painted, new flooring carpets & tiles, an amazing New York Skyline hung in the son’s bedroom and a brand new 60cm electric cooker, large fridge freezer and washer dryer installed in the kitchen.

We used water based satinwood paint to keep the paint fumes to a minimum, as the son has breathing difficulties and we didn’t want to cause any issues for him.

After the last brushstrokes and the last carpet fitted, we cleaned the house throughout with an antibacterial spray on windows, kitchen cupboards, window sills, plug sockets, and flooring and steam mopped the hallway, bathroom and kitchen flooring.

A massive thank you to Alan and Maggie Hale who started a week before, filling and sanding all the walls and woodwork and then painting all the ceilings. For a couple of pensioners they worked tirelessly with great fun, energy and enthusiasm. We can’t thank them enough.

Ray Collins, Phil Tynan of Phil’s Home Improvements, Lyndsey Champ and Crystal Hutchins joined Alan and Maggie to magnolia every room and paint all the doors and woodwork.

The mural was put up: a tricky operation made look easy by Phil. Lyndsey joined the gang again on Friday, with second and third coats added to the walls. And carpets and tiles were starting to be laid in the hall.

The final day was mainly snagging, cleaning and tidying up, as the usual suspects were joined by friend of the Trust Karen Goodchild.

Specials thanks to Andrew Ledbury, owner of Peter B Ledbury Ltd, LJ & CA Cannings and Phil Tynan of Phil’s Home Improvements.

Chris Roche, owner of Blind Interiors, very kindly donated and fitted new blinds in the kitchen and bathroom.

And with that, the keys went back to the family for them to enjoy their new home.

“I really enjoy these projects”, said Ray Collins. “Everyone benefits from them. Strangers come together and become friends through hard work, fun and banter – whilst helping amazing people who end up with an amazing home. Win! Win! Win! Roll on the next one.”

Our Christmas Dinner 2017

Christmas Day is a time for family, fun and indulgence. But for many living in isolation it’s just another day!

Well, it used to be, but not for those who live in and around Wantage. Thanks to The Ray Collins Charitable Trust, over fifty local people living in isolation spent Christmas Day together with over twenty volunteers from the Trust and Grove RFC.

After the very sad closure of the Wantage Health and Wellbeing Centre last September, Ray Collins moved the Christmas Day Dinner to Grove RFC.

All the guests were picked up between 10-11am by the Trust’s volunteer drivers and dropped off at Grove RFC. On arrival everyone was seated and volunteers brought them their beverage of choice.

A special thanks to the Harvey family, Mrs Austen and trustee Mel Breakspear who sat and chatted with our dinner guests to ease a few nerves.

At 12pm dinner was served:
– Homemade Tomato and Red Pepper soup
– Turkey and Beef Dinner with all the trimmings
– Xmas pudding or choice of sponge & custard
– Cheese & Crackers
– Tea, coffee, soft drinks and sherry

All the Grove RFC ladies who volunteered to serve our guests were fantastic, friendly and engaging. Nothing was too much trouble. Everyone went home stuffed full, happy and with huge beaming smiles.

As an added treat, all the dinner guests left with a box of chocolates kindly donated by Ultra Home Services.

After the meal Ray explained to the guests how over five cold weekends more than thirty volunteers collected 4000 items! These 22 trolley loads of goodies were donated by Waitrose customers, to make the hampers all the Trust’s Christmas dinner guests received.

Another thirty volunteers counted and sorted all the items and made the hampers: 127 in total.

Most went to individuals via the local Police team, The October Club and the dinner guests. But for the first time, twenty-five hampers went to local families.

All the guests enjoyed great food, great service, great company and a great big hamper to take home.

Musicians from the Wantage Silver Band popped along to play carols, which just added more Christmas magic to what was a perfect day.

Grove RFC players past and present turned up and carried hampers to the cars for our guests.

Afterwards, Ray Collins said, “What a totally inspiring Xmas Day we have all had at Grove Rugby Club today. This is our fourth Christmas Dinner for this amazing group of people. Thanks to Chris McCarthy, chairman of the club, and deputy Mayor Roger Williams, and all the members at the club for not only allowing us to use their club but for paying for the food and drinks along with Grove Tesco’s enabling us to keep this meal free to all the guests.”

“Everyone at The club went above and beyond today. Phil Connolly and his team of cooks worked tirelessly to produce a magnificent four course dinner.”

Testimonials from our dinner guests

“Best Christmas Dinner I’ve ever had” ~ Darren

“Delicious food and such lovely friendly people. Thank you very much, Mr Collins and all your team” ~ Iris

“I’m so full I won’t be able to move for a week. Absolutely loved the whole day. Thank you everyone involved” ~ Elizabeth.

“I’ve had a lovely day, a lovely meal and a good talk with some lovely ladies. It’s certainly better than sitting at home alone.” ~ Harry

Thank you

“It’s always a bit daunting moving venues, especially one that has served us so well. But going to Grove Rugby Club has been one of the best decisions we have ever made. I can’t wait until Easter now!” said Ray.

A huge thank you to all the wonderful drivers Will Harvey, Sarah Crayford, Giles Bedford, Roddy Bedford, John Durban, Russell Stock, Mrs Stock, Paul Belcher, Emma Ralson, Les & Jan Bury and Barry Steers for all their hard work.

A massive thank you to Day and Night Assistance, Tesco Grove, Grove RFC, Waitrose Wantage, Peter B Ledbury Ltd, Costcutter Rowes, Acorn Timber, PR Building Services, Progressive Physiotherapy and Challow & Childrey Cricket club, and all our wonderful volunteers who made this year’s dinner and hamper appeal another huge success.

Between all the individual hampers, family hampers and the dinner, nearly 300 local people’s Christmas has been significantly improved. And if that isn’t a merry Christmas, I don’t know what is!

We are here to make a real difference in our community and with your continued support we definitely do.

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