TWO charities have teamed up to help raise funds to support the Wantage community during the cost-of-living crisis.

The Ray Collins Charitable Trust (TRCCT), a charity which helps local people in a variety of ways, and the Vale Community Impact (VCI), a charitable advice service, have partnered up to create the ‘Wantage & Grove Energy Support Fund’.

Their aim is to supply up to £200 worth of energy vouchers accepted by all the energy supplies and special vouchers for households on key meters.

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Ray Collins, who founded TRCCT alongside seven friends in 2016, said: “With the cost of living crisis causing energy bills and food prices to spiral out of control, we are extremely concerned about local residents not having enough funds to heat their homes, buy food and falling into debt and possibly causing physical and mental well-being issues.

“We know families will be suffering, parents despairing that their children will be going to school hungry, parents themselves going without food so children can eat and residents over 65s will go without eating and heating as they are extremely worried they will be in debt.”

Herald Series:

Mr Collins decided to team up with the Vale Community Impact (VCI), formerly the Wantage Advice Centre, to launch an appeal for funds to create the vouchers.

The VCI will then handle all applications from residents needing the vouchers and will help applicants fill out the forms. There will be a ‘strict and robust’ criteria to make sure only those that need help the most receive it.

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Applications could take up to two weeks to process.

TRCCT has already set aside £20,000 for the initiative and The Ruby & Will George Trust, a grant service, have donated £10,000 along with £1,750 from Crown Packaging, a production company in Downsview Road.

With these funds, the vouchers can help 160 households, but the charities hope to help many more.

Herald Series: Ray Collins, founder of TRCCTRay Collins, founder of TRCCT (Image: n/a)

“This is a huge commitment for us,” said Mr Collins. “Sadly, it is now unlikely we can offer Christmas hampers this year plus other activities we had planned but we feel we cannot wait and must act now because of the seriousness of the energy increases that have heaped more misery on hundreds of households in our community.

“We are asking our amazing community to come together and support each other once again by donating if you can so we can support as many households as possible.

“If we join together, if we work together, if we give together, we will get through this together.”

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This story was written by Gee Harland. She joined the team in 2022 as a senior multimedia reporter.

Gee covers Wallingford, Wantage and Didcot.

Get in touch with her by emailing:

Follow her on Twitter @Geeharland

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