We thought it would be nice to hear from some former Community Action: MK staff about what they are doing now. We recently caught up with Kat, Jo and Andy, all ex-community mobilisers who told us about how the experience of working for Community Action: MK had inspired them.


Kat Newman

I am a Programme Manager for the National Citizen Service. I manage the delivery of the NCS programme in East Berkshire and Buckinghamshire for The Challenge which is the UK’s leading social integration charity. It’s the perfect job for me as not only do I get to work with fantastic young people and watch them grow and develop but I also get to work with local charities, social enterprises and businesses and bring them all together to create lasting change in their local communities.  

Community Action: MK taught me to put relationships first always – be it with colleagues, community members or stakeholders. It taught me, thanks to Angus Forsythe, that ‘if it isn’t local, it isn’t real’. It taught me that real sustainable change in our most socially deprived communities isn’t about throwing money at the problem or fixing the superficial issues, it’s about giving the community the skills, knowledge and resources to create change for themselves. Ultimately, I now know that the people best placed to make a change in a community are the people who live in the community themselves – no one knows what they want or need better than they do. People don’t want others to come in and fix things for them, they want to learn how to fix things for themselves. That’s the key to sustainable, long lasting and transformational change.

Your favourite inspirational quote:

I love Rudyard Kipling’s ‘If’, or the poem ‘Invictus’ by William Ernest Henley. Triumph over adversity seems to be the common connecting theme.



Joanna Bevan

Happy to be in North London working on my social enterprise Speak Street, a pop up language cafe, I am an Untld award winner and School for Social Entrepreneurs fellow, (Speak Street is based on Permaculture) I’ll be speaking at the International Permaculture Conference on it this Autumn. I also work part time co-ordinating volunteering in Islington as well as volunteering for The Kindness Offensive, (Be Kind, Think Free)

What did I learn from my time at CA:MK? Not to judge a book by it’s cover, people have hidden depths and can constantly surprise you. It is an everyday joy to up-tap the potential of skills and knowledge on your doorstep. I also learned that local resolve and community spirit cannot transform society alone, national/international/local government,  popular media, inequality and poverty are the key influencers in how things play out on the ground. Failure to recognise and tackle this is the biggest threat to positive community development.

Your favourite inspirational quote:

March on, tarry not, to go forward is to move towards perfection! – Khalil Gibran



Andy MacDermott

I’m nurturing a love for all things Pottery.

I discovered a love & passion for pottery in November 2011 after plucking up the courage to try an evening class.  I was hooked from the start! I spent 2012 developing my style and practicing at evening classes and various pottery workshops, as a hobby initially.  In March 2013 I took a brave decision and started working for myself.

Since then I’ve been holding stalls showcasing/selling my pottery at handmade craft and vintage fairs across the UK and I sell my work in eleven Art Galleries up and down the country from Cornwall to the Lake District. I have a small studio space in my converted garage at home with my workspace and two kilns.  It’s my oasis, place to escape to and my creative world.

Most of my days though are spent delivering pottery workshops in communities across Milton Keynes from school groups during curriculum time to After School Clubs for parents and their children.  I work with Mencap, Re:Think and assisted Living facilities to deliver pottery workshops to their service users.  I teach beginners pottery for adults at Milton Keynes Arts Centre (which is the very class I learnt pottery myself!).  I also teach Saturday morning children’s pottery there too.

Working for Community Action: MK helped me develop my skills in communicating and listening to those often living in difficult and challenging circumstances.  It gave me the skills to help people in communities identify their own interests, skills and passions and help them light a spark in their life journey.  I will always value the care and passion of my colleagues with the fundamental desire to help people help themselves through the delivery of community activity to give people a sense of purpose and self-worth.

Your favourite inspirational quote:

“Be somebody who makes everyone feel like a somebody”

“Be kind to all people as you have no idea of the troubles they carry”

“Instead of wondering when your next holiday is, maybe you could set up a life you don’t need to escape from”