Day centre given a fresh new look

Herald Series: Volunteers outside the day centre with, front left to right, Ray Collins, Josh Hastings, 12, and centre client Harry Camm, 91 Buy this photo » Volunteers outside the day centre with, front left to right, Ray Collins, Josh Hastings, 12, and centre client Harry Camm, 91

ARMED with a paint roller and overalls, Wantage’s charity champ Ray Collins has been splashing the cash raised in a major summer fundraiser.

Ray’s Decathlon Fun Day, which closed off the town’s Market Place for a day of activities on July 1, raised £28,000.

Helped by more than 100 volunteers, Mr Collins has spent about £11,000 redecorating Wantage Day Centre over the last four days. The Stirlings Close elderly social club now has new wallpaper, carpets, curtains, and garden features.

Mr Collins, 43, of Springfield Road, said: “They have done their bit for the community so it’s nice to do something for them now.

“They all enjoy the place and for a lot of them it’s the only time they get out the house.

“Places like this have to stay open so they have to stay modern and up to date.”

He added: “I have been staggered with the turnout of people coming to help.

“It’s all ages, all types of people mucking in.

“I am always amazed at how many people do support me and these local charities.”

The team of volunteers on Saturday included 25 youngsters from King Alfred’s Academy in the town.

Headteacher Simon Spiers said: “This seemed an absolutely wonderful cause for our students to be involved in.

“They were incredibly keen to be involved which was heartwarming.”

Mr Collins added: “It’s really nice to see the kids get involved. They were really enthusiastic and they really wanted to help.”

Mr Collins also hopes to fit better insulation to save the centre money on energy bills.

The day centre has about 100 visitors, aged up to 98, a week.

Centre visitor Harry Camm, 91, of Foliat Drive, said: “It’s going to look great.”

Mr Collins has been raising money for good causes with gruelling endurance challenges for the last six years.

He has walked more than 80 miles and worked out on gym machines for 24 hours straight.

And he told The Oxford Mail he was already planning his next event.

He said: “It’s going to be even bigger than what we did this year. It will be a massive town event.”

Jane Doyle, day centre manager, said the work had brightened up the centre.

She said: “It’s been absolutely fantastic. “It has transformed our centre so we are now looking forward to getting back in for a better environment.”

She added: “The centre means so much to them. They are just so pleased with anything and they are very grateful to Ray.”

Companies who donated goods and services to help the work include Johnstones Trade Paint, Acorn Timber, GreenThumb, Sovereign Vale, curtain firm Drapes, Rixonway Kitchens, Ledbury’s, and Station Flooring.

Wantage Independent Advice Centre and King Alfred’s Scout group are among the other organisations to benefit from the summer fundraiser.

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