We’re sharing stories about amazing volunteers giving their time in Milton Keynes. This spotlight is on Paul Johnson, who is working tirelessly for the community of Netherfield.

Paul maintains the local shrubbery and bushes in Netherfield and has cut down over 30 tonnes of unwanted and dangerous shrubbery already. Paul started volunteering with the Local Conversation steering group and learned that overgrown shrubbery had been identified by local people as one of the biggest negative issue on the estate. Wheelchair users and parents with prams could not use some paths as they were blocked by overgrown bushes, overgrown landscaping was also making it difficult for children crossing the road to see oncoming traffic, and affecting drivers’ sightlines. The overgrown shrubbery was also attracting dumped rubbish and hypodermic needles.


Paul getting his hands dirty tidying up Netherfield’s Landscape. Photo credit: Local Conversations Steering Group in Netherfield.

Paul decided to take immediate action to solve the issue. Using the People’s Health Trust funding, equipment was bought and Paul liaised with the local Council to gain permission to start a volunteer landscaping team. Using the steering group’s Facebook page he responded directly to local landscaping needs and issues. He has transformed the look of the estate and made it a much safer and pleasant environment to live in. A landscaping course has now been run on the estate so that Paul and other volunteers have learnt how to use other landscaping tools and techniques so more people can get involved and make greater improvements going forward.

Paul has shown a huge initiative in direct response to an issue in his local community. He has taken an idea and made it a reality, putting in a huge amount of hard work and hours. Paul has worked tirelessly to make his community a better place to live and to make the differences his neighbours want to see. Paul is leading the way in community activity on the estate, inspiring others to see that they too have the power to change things they don’t like and make a positive difference. The training is the next step in expanding the volunteer team to make the initiative more sustainable by the community as a whole.

Interested in volunteering? Get involved with lots of roles available via Community Action: MK. Search our bank of MK Volunteering roles now to find your place and explore our new Volunteering Platform – Volunteer Connect.