We wanted to share with you how our first online AGM went and the remarkable stories and happenings that we heard about from some wonderful VCSE groups in Milton Keynes!

Image caption: A screenshot of our virtual AGM 2021 on Zoom

Our first online AGM – done! There were a few hiccups along the way, but nothing major and we hope all those who joined up found it beneficial and enjoyed themselves. 2021 is set to be another year of firsts! 

We wanted to take this opportunity to share some of the amazing work groups have been doing throughout the pandemic. Hopefully you will have seen our ‘Celebrating the Sector’ Blog which collected together a variety of stories from across MK’s voluntary and community sector. It is full of innovation, adaptation and community spirit, so if you haven’t had a chance to look yet, take a look here: https://communityactionmk.org/2020/12/17/celebrating-the-sector-nevermoreneeded/ 

We wanted to take some time to share some videos that groups recorded for our AGM, they’re such a wonderful visual insight into the continued efforts of so many. The theme of our AGM was ‘Togetherness’ so we asked groups to shed some light on what togetherness meant for them, for their group and how they have been managing the pandemic.

We asked groups to touch on the following:

  • How your group has been responding to the pandemic? 
  • How do you think your work will continue?
  • What does bringing together a group look like in a challenging environment, how have you adapted?
  • What does togetherness mean to you… and your group. 

Thank you to all of the groups that sent their videos to us. If you would like to record a video and send it our way, then we would love to see it! 

Annie from Nkiru Arts – an inclusive arts and health organisation, run entirely by volunteers. The group aims to portray disabilities in a positive light through regular music and arts sessions and workshops. You may have come across the groups drumming as they normally perform regularly. 

Nkiru Arts Video – https://youtu.be/idHVpwj_o1A

Judith from Stony in Bloom – a community group based in Stony Stratford, who work closely with York house. They have been growing vegetables to share with residents throughout the pandemic and keeping the area bright by maintaining flower beds, containers and hanging baskets. 

Stony In Bloom Video – https://youtu.be/0hD9AfiDpek 

Paul from St. Mark’s Meals – a local charity that is supporting children to access food and ensure no child goes hungry. Working across a network of schools in MK.

St. Marks Meals Video – https://youtu.be/m5Up-9mKXVI 

Helen Innes, project coordinator at  Food Connect for MK Community Fridge. Who have been redistributing potential food waste to ensure those who need access, can access it. 

Food Connect / MK Community Fridge Video – https://youtu.be/cZk6ynkQkFE 

Sarah Tibble from Middleton Neighborhood Support Group – a mutual aid group that set up in the estate of Middleton to provide support and help for neighbours throughout the pandemic. 

Middleton Neighborhood Support Group Video – https://youtu.be/gsPOYcXbOXk 

James Gregory from All People Active – All people active have been working with women, families and young people throughout the pandemic. They were able to adapt and smaller run sessions so they could still reach their participants, who greatly appreciated this.  

All People Active Video – https://youtu.be/2jw9dVgZsGE

Image caption: 4 hands interlocking at the wrists

Thank you again to all of these groups – it was fantastic to hear about the work you have been doing and the key issues you have continued to push and advocate for. The work you are doing is breaking down barriers and allowing people to reach vital services as well as getting the support that we all need. The support groups and ability to be outside, talk to others, access food, know that your neighbours care are fundamental things that we have never needed more, or appreciated as much as we do now.