Easter 2023

This Easter we were delighted to host 50 local deserving residents.

Each enjoyed a fantastic Roast Beef dinner with all the trimmings, two cakes for dessert’s, tea, coffee, and non-alcoholic alternatives, plus they all took home two stunning cupcakes and two Easter eggs each. Five meals were delivered to guests unable to attend.

The guests were also treated to a wonderful music performance by Howard Hill playing some well know old tunes.

Fifteen lucky guests took home the wonderful table flower decorations.

All the guests were blown away when they found out the flower pots were painted and provided with the Easter cards handmade by the students at Millbrook Primary School.

On Good Friday fourteen volunteers delivered over 200 Easter eggs to local deserving families.

Fifteen volunteers turned up at the Down To Earth Cafe @ The Old Stables Stirling’s Close to set up for the elderly & vulnerable dinner guests.

A massive thank you for the beautiful flower decorations by Charlton Park Garden Centre Sarah Varney, flower pots painted and decorated by students from Millbrook Primary School, crockery and cutlery supplied by King Alfred’s Academy plus chocolate treats from Waitrose Wantage, and Easter eggs from Sainsbury’s Wantage.

Thank you also to Wates Construction for their Easter egg donations, wonderful cupcakes from Liane @L&S Cupcakes, and Kate owner of Down to Earth Cafe for allowing us to use her premises, a truly fantastic community effort for our lovely guests to enjoy a wonderful day.

It had been a long and tiring weekend but all the Trustees and volunteers were happy to have helped 275 people enjoy a fantastic Easter.

Character & Citizenship Award at MBK

We were delighted to be involved with the Character & Citizenship Award at MBK.
The first Character and Citizenship Award Ceremony took place at Millbrook last week, with children being the first pupils within the Vale Academy Trust to gain this prestigious accolade!
The Vale Academy Trust launched its Character and Citizenship Award scheme across its six primary schools last summer, with the support of community partners: the Ray Collins Charitable Trust, the Community of St Mary the Virgin, Thames Valley Police, Wantage Town Council and Williams Racing. The Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire, Mrs Marjorie Glasgow, B.E.M. is the scheme’s Patron.
To mark this special occasion, we invited Ray Collins from the Ray Collins Charitable Trust into the school to present the 15 pupils with their silver awards. Ray, a former King Alfred’s pupil, explained: “When our Trust was asked to be one of the partners of the Vale Academy Trust’s Citizen Awards, we were immensely proud to be involved.”
“Seeing first-hand the joy and pride on the pupils’ faces when receiving their awards was just wonderful and then hearing about what they had achieved in order to attain their awards was very uplifting. In line with what lies behind the award’s ethos, it was lovely to see that kindness, caring, helping, and encouraging others were at the heart of this.”
“I also heard about children being courageous and being encouraged to step out of their comfort zones by giving talks to classmates, fundraising, and joining clubs both in and outside of school. The self-confidence gained from these experiences will stay with them and benefit them throughout their lives. I look forward to presenting many more of these awards in the future!”
Our children were so excited to receive their awards and were delighted that Ray could be there to present them. Ray thoroughly endorsed the message that being kind and caring for your community is something that we value highly and is achievable by all. Our pupils were utterly inspired by his life story and came away ‘buzzing’ with enthusiasm!!!
Ray also stayed on to meet with some children who shared their citizenship award booklets with him & discussed how they found the scheme! Our children told Ray that they have loved working towards their character and citizenship targets, with Luke commenting, “it’s really great to see everything that we get the chance to do, and ticking off my targets makes me feel really proud.” And Lucas added, “I like it because it helps you remember all that you actually do at school!”
Ray then showed the children his charity’s “Queens Award for Voluntary Service” certificate from Queen Elizabeth II, presented to him in 2021 by the Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire. The award was presented for all their hard work and good deeds in the community and it’s signed by the Queen – it certainly inspired our pupils!

2022 – A round up our work!

Another year over, another year helping our community.

Together with our army of volunteers, we have achieved so much again this year spending over £55,000 helping our community.

  • St George’s Day Market
  • Easter Lunch for over 65s
  • 500 Easter Eggs for 97 families and 50 over 65s
  • Wantage Carnival
  • Family Coach trip Cotswold Wildlife Pk
  • Family Coach Trip to Southsea
  • Numerous household goods to needy residents
  • Safety Bed for a 10yr old boy with autism
  • Wantage Food & Drink Festival
  • Marshaling all Newbury St Practices Covid and Flu clinics
  • Setup Energy Support Fund
  • Marshaled Dickensian Evening
  • Christmas Day Dinner
  • 150 Christmas Hampers

All the Trustees would like to thank everyone who has contributed to us this year either with their valuable time or money. We can only do what we do with your support.

On New Year’s Eve, the whole world celebrates the fact that a date changes.

Let us celebrate the dates on which we change the world.

We look forward to working alongside our wonderful volunteers, supporters, and sponsors again next year enabling us to keep helping our community in 2023 as we continue making a real difference in our community.

Peace, love, and good health to you all.


Christmas 2022

For Christmas this year, we hosted our annual TRCCT Christmas Day Dinner at Down to Earth Cafe space in Wantage. Our guests had a fantastic time, and I think you’ll agree the pictures speak for themselves. As always we were delighted to be able to put on such a great event, with thanks for the ongoing support and donations received throughout the year.

We have lots of people to thank for all of their hard work….

Massive thank you to Phil & Hazel, Sarah & Julie at Charlton Park Garden Centre for the amazing Christmas table decorations. The guests absolutely loved them.

Thank you so much to Louise, Brett, Phillip, Viv, Will, Jo (her daughter & Friend) Hugh, Allyson, Lisa, and Tom for such a superb effort in just over an hour, to set up and get the space ready for Christmas! This included laying the tables, setting up the chair covers and bows, and setting up the free prize draw prizes ready to surprise our guests.

Thank you, King Alfred’s School, for loaning us the crockery and cutlery.

Thank you, Carl, for collecting our wonderful table decorations from Charlton Park Garden Centre.

A massive thank you to Melanie Breakspear, Castel Fairlie, Di Slatter, Kate Farrington, and Rob White for prepping and cooking a beautiful meal.

Thank you to Carl Nennstiel Giles Roddy Bedford, Phil, Mandy, Will Harvey (minibus) John Durban, Jasyn and Geoff Corker for driving.

Thanks to Jim Mitchell for the Christmas sing-along. Amazing work by Jo, Chloe, Livvy, Zachary, Will Harvey, Gareth, Hugh, Phil, Viv, Jason for all their hard work during the day and clearing up at the end.

Thank you also to the Oxford Mail for our feature in the local news! Details below:


and finally…. thanks to anybody we haven’t mentioned above, who has provided their time in planning, preparation, or organisation for the delay, and to those who work tirelessly with us throughout the year, without you – events like this wouldn’t be possible.

What an amazing team and community effort this has been again this year!

South Sea Day Trip 2022

Fantastic Day Trip to Southsea today with 12 families including 33 children.

The Trust paid for the coach and lunch including the driver. A great day was had by all!

A huge thank you to everyone who continues to support us. Your generosity enables us to keep making a real difference in our community, especially in these financially challenging times.

The Ray Collins Charitable Trust honoured by Her Majesty the Queen

The Ray Collins Charitable Trust honoured by Her Majesty the Queen

The Ray Collins Charitable Trust has been awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service – the “MBE of the Voluntary Groups” – the highest award in the voluntary sector in the UK. The award aims to recognise outstanding work by volunteer groups that benefit their local communities.

In addition to the award the Trust have also received special recognition for our exceptional COVID response over the last fifteen months.  The Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire will present the Trust with a Certificate from Her Majesty the Queen along with a Crystal dome, with the extra engraving ‘with special recognition- COVID 19’ and specially commissioned pin badges. Two representatives of the Trust will also be invited to a Royal Garden Party in 2022.

Only registered as a Charitable Trust five and a half years ago, the Trustees were surprised by our nomination and left speechless when we received the news, we had been awarded such a prestigious award. The award reflects the positive impact we have had on our local community, especially during COVID, and through our normal charity activities; such as The Wantage Carnival, Christmas and Easter Day dinners for elderly and vulnerable adults, day trips for those living in isolation and disadvantaged families, supplying emergency appliances to those in need, supporting seriously ill and or seriously injured people of all ages.

The Trust continues to work with over 60 local organisations, businesses, schools, County, District, Town and Parish councils, charities, churches and registered community groups and has 170 volunteers who signed up and rose to the ever-changing challenges and dangers of Covid in our community.

During the last fifteen months the Trust raised £135,000, spending over £40,000 on shopping for families, supplying 1000 meals on wheels and 500 slices of cake for elderly people shielding, £12,000 on emergency electrical appliances & furniture for families hit financially or because of domestic abuse. We also donated £7,000 worth of goods and treats to all the local care homes, £1,700 on chocolate hampers for 60 local young carers, at Christmas spent £7,000 on hampers, £2131 on two Easter dinners and Christmas dinners for (70 each time) adults living in isolation and supplied 169 laptops to 7 local primary schools and King Alfred’s Academy costing £30,000 (a further 28 were supplied by a sponsor, £5,000 paid directly to King Alfred’s).

This award recognises the incredible efforts of all our volunteers who were out in all weathers shopping, delivering meals, delivering prescriptions, marshalling Flu Clinics before Christmas and every COVID vaccine clinic since January. We have played a small part in the delivery of over 20,000 vaccination jabs by the awesome clinicians at Newbury St and Church St practices at Mably Way Health Centre.  Usually, our volunteers give around 550 hours of their time a year for the trust, between March 2020- March 2021 this had risen to over 7500 hours and is still rising.

Ray Collins the Chair of the Trustees said “This a huge honour for everyone involved with charity, to receive national recognition from Her Majesty the Queen for our local charity highlights the variety and breadth of the incredible work we have done in our community over five years, hopefully this award will enable us to grow and help even more local people in ways we could never have imagined.

A massive thank you to all our volunteers including the COVID response management group who all volunteered and to my Trustees who are also all volunteers. Unity of passion and compassion is a rare gift, but it shines through in all our volunteers. They do their job with both, and that makes them genuine and dedicated volunteers, the best of the best. Our volunteers went above and beyond time and again.

Thank you all so very much for your tireless support, because of you over 2,500 people were kept safe and reassured with food, medication, kindness and compassion.

We are making a real difference in our community by encouraging local people to help local people, it doesn’t get any better than that”

Kind Regards

Ray Collins

Ray Collins BCA


June 2021.

Registered charity number 1173358.

Christmas Hampers 2019

As part of our continued efforts to provide support within the local community, we kicked off Christmas with our annual collections for the Ray Collins Charitable Trust hampers. We were overwhelmed, again, with the generosity from all of the local businesses and the wider community who helped, collected and donated items into our trolleys that were located in Sainsburys, Wantage.

We started our collections back in November and by the middle of December we had nearly all of the items that we required to pack our hampers. The Challow & Childrey Cricket Club kindly allowed us to store and pack the hampers, where we counted and packed everything from Rice and Pasta to Chocolate and Coffee! Any items that we hadn’t managed to collect, the trust were able to purchase as a result of our other fundraising events across the year.

With the help from our fantastic supporters, volunteers and the local police force, we were able to deliver hampers to our local residents in time for Christmas!!

Thank you to everyone who was able to contribute, together we are “Making a real difference in our community!”

Our biggest donation to date!

After weeks of keeping a huge secret The Ray Collins Charitable Trust finally announced their biggest donation to date. On Thursday 4th October months of hard work, meetings, application forms, emails and phone calls came to fruition.

Trustees secured an amazing £45,000 for a brand new Fiat Ducato 17 seat specially adapted minibus with wheelchair lift and 4 removal seats and wheelchair fixings for the 108 students at Fitzwaryn School so the extra curricular activities such as day trips, swimming and horse riding can be more inclusive for all the students.Last April while delivering Easter eggs to the students at Fitzwaryn school Ray was talking to Mike Charlton who mentioned the school needed help to raise around £10,000 for a deposit for a new minibus it would then take a couple of years for the rest to be raised through another organisation. Mike also mentioned about a new business enterprise cafe area for the 6th form students to help them learn a variety life skills in catering and dealing with the public to  better equip the students for future employment. The students would plan the menus, shop for the ingredients, prepare and cook the meals and then sell them and serve in the cafe.

Ray asked if a new minibus was purchased as well as being used by the students could it potentially be used to pick up local people living in isolation so the students and local people could both benefit and learn from each other, exchanging recipes, cooking tips, culinary knowledge and even just a good chat about life over a delicious meal. Being collected by the minibus would help continue the Trusts work in the community trying to break down the cycle of loneliness that so many people find themselves stuck in, many of those living in isolation have similar mobility issues as the students so a wheelchair lift and secure wheelchair fixings would be perfect for both groups.

With the budget cuts in social care letting communities like Wantage down and the closing of Day centres and the reduction of services available, the people of Wantage will always find away to look after each other, Ray went away with the task of finding the money, a huge challenge but Ray loves a challenge!

A few weeks later Chris Medlock (VINCI) a friend of Rays mentioned the firm he worked for were looking for a local project that benefited the community. Ray straight away mentioned the minibus idea and Chris thought this would work really well. An application form was sent in. Shortly after another of Rays friends Pete Yearling (St James Place ) popped in to see him as Rays Charity had been a registered charity for a year. Pete mentioned his firm would like to help a local project especially involving children again Ray explained his idea of the minibus helping young and old. A meeting was arranged for Ray and Pete to go to St James Place Head Office quite a daunting Place with so many Ferrari’s, Bentley’s and Aston Martins in the car park Ray was well out of his comfort zone. Ray gave a presentation to the community funds manager and left feeling it went well.

A few weeks later Ray was contacted by Chris Medlock and his firm the Vinci Foundation had awarded the project £12,000 which was fantastic news, shortly after this Pete Yearling contacted Ray and confirmed that St James Place in connection with Sunshine Coaches/ The Variety Club had awarded the project £29,000 which left a shortfall of £4,000. Ray was gobsmacked by the news and arranged a meeting with his trustees who all agreed this was a unique opportunity to help dozens if not hundreds of local people over the next ten years or more, the Trustees unanimously voted to contribute the extra £4,000 so the bus could be ordered, specialised equipment fitted, sign written and delivered by the beginning of October. Ray had achieved in a couple of months what the school thought would take two years to get,  if at all and the minibus would be delivered in a few weeks time.

The unveiling was kept a secret from all the students, families, teachers only three people at Fitzwaryn knew, sixth formers, parents, sponsors and the Mayor were all invited along to a fake press launch to kick start the fundraising appeal. As Ray spoke to the crowd the minibus pulled in to the school and the keys were handed over to the Head to huge cheers and lots of emotion. To say they were surprised would be an understatement.

“A chance conversation with Mike whilst delivering Easter eggs, a chance conversation with Chris and then Pete and in just over three months we had £45,000 to buy a new minibus is just completely unbelievable. Obviously a lot of work went on behind the scenes as well and I am so grateful to Chris, Colleen and Pete for all their efforts to make this possible, we certainly couldn’t have done this so quickly without them.

We wanted to surprise the students so we kept the news a secret until today which hasn’t been easy for me as I’ve wanted to scream it from the rooftops every day. This is by far the largest donation myself or the charity have ever made and for it to be helping such a rewarding group of very special local young people and to hopefully benefit those living in isolation is truly amazing. The students at Fitzwaryn are an inspiring group of young people full of talents, kindness and compassion for each other and everyone they meet.The minibus will enable the school and the students to reach out in to the community like never before and this pioneering project could become a template for other schools. The Trust receives a lot of support from the Town Council and it’s always nice to have the Mayor present at our events and presentations.

So often timing or just pure luck plays a huge part in our lives. Personally, I believe you make your own luck, with ordinary talent and extraordinary perseverance anything is possible. And that timing is everything, and you have to stay the course, believe in yourself and just keep working harder and know that, when your time comes, that it will be all the sweeter.

Today has been quite simply the sweetest and proudest day of my life! And if you were in any doubt, this is what ‘Making a real difference in our community’ is all about.”

Ray Collins

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