A COMMUNITY activist has received an award for his commitment to the voluntary sector.

Over the last 40 years, Neil Collins has been a champion of the voluntary sector, serving on numerous committees and working to ensure social justice and equality in the borough.

Last Tuesday, Mr Collins received a London Compact award from National Compact Commissioner, Sir Bertie Massie, at an award ceremony at Sadler’s Wells Theatre in Clerkenwell.

The Compact is a set of agreed principles surrounding the relationship between Government and the voluntary sector and the awards recognise the contributions that individual community workers make locally and nationally.

Mr Collins was the long-time chairman of Voluntary Action Waltham Forest (VAWF) and was a founder member of the steering committee which set it up back in the early 1980s.

He remains a trustee and director of the VAWF board, imparting his knowledge and experience of the voluntary and community sector in Waltham Forest.

He is also a campaigner for health, well being and social care, particularly around the issue of health inequalities, and has worked on campaigns for a greener environment.

He said: “I am thrilled to win this award, it the first award I have won since I was at school.

“But it has made me aware that we have still got plenty of partnership work to make the Compact more of a reality than it is.

”We have to make sure voluntary and community groups work well together with statutory bodies such as the council, NHS and police.

“I believe that people must be involved in the decisions that affect them and you are more likely to get better decisions the closer it is to the people who are affected by it.”