AN ELECTRICALS shop manager who has raised more than £100,000 for charity over the past decade has finally won his own official charity status.

More than 18 months after he set up The Ray Collins Charitable Trust, the charity champion has been officially recognised by The Charity Commission.

Now he hopes that all-important registration number – 1173358 – will help raise him and his trustees thousands more.

Mr Collins said the group spent so long struggling to get the official status because they had wanted to help too many people.

He joked: "The harder the challenge – the sweeter the achievement.

"Initially we were too broad in our objectives and, in wanting to help other registered charities, we were being classed as fundraisers not a charity: to be a charity you have to show your fundraising benefits a specified section of the general public.

"The trustees remedied this by narrowing our objectives, tightening up our policies and criteria and confirming we would only help non-registered groups who are in line with our criteria."

The trust re-wrote its objectives to say it would help 'in the relief of poverty, loneliness, ill-health, and people suffering serious injury caused through no fault of their own within a five-mile radius of Wantage, and to further such charitable purposes as are exclusively charitable according to the laws of England and Wales as the trustees may from time to time determine'.

And, after months of bureaucracy, The Ray Collins Charitable Trust received official confirmation of its charitable status on Monday, June 12.

If its new mission statement sounds complicated, Mr Collins said essentially the trust will be carrying on doing exactly what it has been doing: organising events such as the Wantage Carnival, a charity bingo night, quiz evenings and the annual moonlight walk.

He added: "The trust has been together now for 18 months and we have all thoroughly enjoyed helping and meeting some truly inspirational and wonderful people.

"We have also enjoyed bringing the community together on several occasions through our fundraising events such as the carnival which have all been a huge success and great fun."

The good news comes after this year's Wantage Carnival – held earlier this month – was the most successful so far, with more than 5,000 people piling into the market place, 4,000 pints poured and thousands of pounds raised for good causes.

As well as being a vindication of the group's hard, honest work over 18 months, the official status could also be a major help in trying to raise money.

Mr Collins, who manages Peter Ledbury electricals in Grove Street, Wantage, previously said that the hold-up in getting a charity number was making it difficult for the trust to build relationships with some organisations.

He said: "Now we are registered it provides transparency and accountability to all we do. It also validates our organisation and gives confidence to all our supporters and donors that we are a legitimate charity."

As an added bonus, the trust can also now apply for Gift Aid and have its own web page.

Mr Collins, who lives in Springfield Road, added: "We all hope the whole community will continue to support us as much as before if not more so as their are so many local people needing us and potentially many more will after the next round if social care cuts.

"We are determined to carry on with our Christmas Day and Easter dinners and day trips all for elderly lonely and vulnerable people, plus our Christmas hamper appeal and much more.

"every week we hear of local individuals who may need our help."

Application forms for help from the trust can be downloaded from

If anyone would like to volunteer for the group they are asked to email

Mr Collins added: "Together we can continue making a real difference in our community."