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 their 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 their nomination and left speechless when they received news of the prestigious award. The award reflects the positive impact they have had on the local community, during COVID but mainly 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 elderely people shielding, £12,000 on emergency electrical appliances & furniture for families hit financially or because of domestic abuse.They 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, £2,131 on two Easter dinners and Christmas dinners for (70 each time) adults living in isolation and we 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 197 in total).
This award recognises the incredible efforts of all the volunteers who were out in all weathers shopping, delivering meals, delivering prescriptions, marshalling Flu Clinics before Christmas and every COVID vaccine clinic since January.
The Trust feels privileged to 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, volunteers give around 550 hours of their time a year for the trust, but between March 2020 and March 2021 this had risen to over 7,500 hours and is still rising.
Ray Collins, 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 and because of you over 2,500 people were kept safe and reassured with food, medication, emergency appliances, 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.”