What’s been happening in Conniburrow? A BLC Update.

Big Local Conniburrow has had an exciting few weeks and we wanted to share with you what’s been happening!

BLC Fun Day

The Fun Day was a big hit, with hundreds of residents turning up to the big party-like atmosphere in the Friendship Park. There were food stalls, face-painting stalls, soft-play for the children and even and inflatable helter skelter! And a big hat’s off to one of Conniburrow residents for ‘Braving the Shave’ to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Research, with BLC’s Chair of the Partnership, Robbie Macpherson, kindly offering to yield the razor for her!

All the stalls and the entire event was made up of volunteers giving up their weekend to bring the local community together to enjoy the end of summer and promote the hard work of the Big Local Conniburrow!

Treasure Hunt

The Treasure Hunt took place in Great Linford Wood with a picnic lunch afterwards, with a good turn-out on the day and plenty of treasure to hunt down! There was even a story read to the children and families afterwards by our new Trainee Mobiliser!

This event was hosted by Sid Burgess, a local resident who really enjoys spending time at BLC and his input and ideas had really help make the events as successful as they are. If you are interested in getting involved at Big Local Conniburrow, then please contact us on support@communityactionmk.org or call 01908 661623

What else is BLC up to?

The Involvement and Social Task group are always hosting events, such as the most recent Cheese and Biscuit Quiz, led again by Sid Burgess, keen to always find different ways to bring the community together in different ways!

BLC also host weekly groups and clubs for local residents from Conniburrow and the surrounding area to attend! There is a Youth Social every Tuesday afternoon (16yrs+) and a coffee morning for every age on Friday mornings. They facilitate Yoga sessions on a Tuesday morning and yes, the Crafty Cuppa is back! Complete with an option of Breakfast at the Children’s Centre in Conniburrow every Thursday morning.

Conniburrow is also home to a well-kept, creatively planted Community Orchard.

Friends of Community Orchard project is managed by volunteers in collaboration with Big Local Conniburrow. We are always looking for volunteers to help maintain and plant the orchard. The Friends of the Orchard meet every Wednesday at 3:30pm to 5pm for Creative Gardening and on the third saturday of each month. (Please note these times may have changed. Contact us for more details).

If you are interested in any of these groups or getting involved in BLC or volunteering at one of their events or in the orchard, then please contact us at support@communityactionmk.org or call 01908 661623

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Volunteering Opportunity: Volunteers required for Quality Christmas Gift Wrapping in December 2019

It’s too early for Christmas, surely? Not for Nkiru Arts – they are thinking ahead and already looking to recruit volunteers for Christmas!

Nkiru Arts are currently recruiting unpaid volunteers for December up to Christmas Eve to be trained for quality Christmas Gift Wrapping to work a few occasional 3 / 4 hour shifts on the Charity Gift Wrapping Stall in INTU as part of the Christ The Cornerstone Christmas Appeal Christmas Gift Wrapping Stall.

The hours spent wrapping would be credited to Nkiru Arts Inclusive Organisation (not for profit)

You would report to and be under the guidance and Insurance of of Nkiru Arts.

Who are Nkiru Arts?

 Nkiru –  Means ‘the best is yet to come’.

Nkiru Arts is an Inclusive arts for health organisation based in Milton Keynes. They are a  small ‘Not for profit’ organisation and run entirely by volunteers – everyone gives their time freely and no wages are paid.

Focusing on all aspects of ‘The Arts’, embracing all forms of ‘The Arts’ to compliment people’s lives keeping people fit, active and portray disabilities in a positive light.

Nkiru runs community African & Dhol Drumming Groups for fun and do public performances. Sessions are totally inclusive and encourage a mix of abled and disabled. Arts workshops and all textile workshops are totally inclusive too. They aim to include all, regardless of any disability.

Nkiru Arts’ activities also provide supportive opportunities, training and work experience for volunteers.

The ideal candidate must:

  • be over 18 years of age
  • have a good rapport with customers
  • be able to take and organise orders
  • be nimble fingered
  • enjoy wrapping gifts
  • be able to work sitting or standing for 3 / 4 hour shift
  • be able to cope in busy periods.

Sales experience in shop environment ideal, but not essential as full training given, working as a team member and able to follow instructions essential.

All training provided and must reach level required, must attend a 2 hour training session.

Choice of morning , afternoon, evening or weekend shift to suit.

Please contact Annie Beddoenkiruarts@btinternet.com

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Netherfield: An Update.

There’s been a lot happening in Milton Keynes this summer, but we at Community Action: MK have been working with the local residents on Netherfield Local Conversation, to engage and entice the local community to get involved with what’s happening in Netherfield.

Let’s catch up on what’s been going on!

The Community Garden

The Community Garden in Netherfield is blooming, with more volunteers from all different walks of life and all ages, working together and involving themselves to make the garden a clean, calm and colourful place to be.

This picture demonstrates the wonderful level of community engagement. These planters have been adorned with plaques made and vibrantly decorated by the local children, making the planters more attractive to look at and it will give the children pride to see their work displayed so publicly in the garden.

The garden has now also acquired a sign for recognition of where the garden is and now the locals of Netherfield know where to go if they want to do a spot of gardening or enjoy the beautiful flowers and plants planted and maintained by their own local residents.

From old to young, so many residents have dedicated their time and effort to the garden and have enjoyed doing so. If you want to get involved in helping out the local community in Netherfield, whether you are a resident, group of employees or gardening enthusiast or just keen on helping a community in any capacity, then email support@communityactionmk.org or call 01908 661623.

Love Rocks

MK Play Association liaised and worked with the NLC Steering Group to put together a crafts event for children to celebrate all things rock!

The event took place in the ever growing and beautifully maintained Community Garden in the summer holidays in Netherfield.

The children enjoyed a sunny afternoon of painting and getting creative with rocks of all different shapes and sizes; painting the rocks, making a variety of creatures and animals and getting messy creating their own pictures to take home.

If you would like to get involved in volunteering down at Netherfield to support them and engage with the key issues prioritised by the local residents, then as mentioned above, contact us here at support@communityactionmk.org or call 01908 661623.

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Jobs in the sector: Homeless Shelter Support Worker

The Bus Shelter MK is a much loved local charity which provides a temporary home – and much, much more – for people who would otherwise be sleeping on the streets.

We provide accommodation on a converted double decker bus and reclaimed building site units based on a former car park in central Milton Keynes.

Since we opened in March 2018 we have accommodated 43 people and advised more than 100 others.  Ages of our guests has ranged from 19 to 73 and the average stay is three to four months. 

We are now seeking an additional team member to assist our Shelter Manager in supporting our guests and also ensuring the site remains a pleasant environment both physically and in atmosphere.

The personal qualities of the successful candidate will be more important than formal qualifications, but if you have experience in working with homeless people or expertise in benefits or housing that would be preferred. The duties will be varied and it is likely that no two days will be the same.

What will you need to be?

  • Confident and able to make sensible decisions in unexpected situations.
  • Kind and caring but not a pushover! You will often be working alongside volunteers so will need to understand how that creates a different dynamic than when working with fellow staff members or service users.
  • Computer literate and able to research and understand various regulations and guidelines.
  • Presentable and able to communicate with all types of people as you will be representing the charity to visitors and external organisations in the course of your duties.

Pay and conditions

The role is for 20 hours per week but full time or job share considered for the right applicant.

There will be a lot of evening and weekend working but not overnights. There will also be some lone working.

The role is permanent and the salary offered will depend on your skills and experience.

Holidays offered will be 36 days (including bank holidays).

Our Service Users

Our guests are people who would otherwise be sleeping on the streets and who need a helping hand to return to mainstream life.  Often the role will involve convincing guests their lives can improve and helping them unravel the red tape and hurdles that make it so difficult for them to move on.  At any one time, 50% of our usual guest cohort of eight will be working. We do not accept guests with drug or alcohol addictions as we do not have the facilities to help them. 

Former guests have described being on the bus as “five star homelessness” and attested to the kindness of staff and volunteers as changing their lives.

Why not join us as we provide hope and a route out of homelessness?

To apply please send a CV and a covering letter to: info@thebussheltermk.org  

Please put Support Worker Application in the subject line. The successful candidate will require an Enhanced DBS Check in line with our safeguarding policy.

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9th September: Weekly Bulletin for the Voluntary and Community Sector in Milton Keynes

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9th September 2019

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Our Autumn Networking event has been confirmed for Tuesday 8th October 2019.

It will be held at the Meeting Place as part of The Festival for Creative Urban Living .

Watch this space for more details!

We look forward to seeing you there!

Let’s Talk Good Finance MK

This afternoon session is designed for charities, social enterprises, community businesses and local groups in Milton Keynes interested in social investment. The event is organised by Community Action: MK in collaboration with NAVCA and the Good Finance teams.

Date: Thursday 17th October

Time: 1.30 – 4.30pm (3:50 – 4.30pm: networking)

Venue: Herons Lodge, Bradwell Rd, Great Holm, Milton Keynes MK8 9AA

To find out more about social investment and to book your free place, follow this link. The programme of the event can be found here.

The Open University: Virtual Internship Programme

A virtual internship is a remote working arrangement that provides employers access to many more students who have the skills needed for their organisation. It also provides employers access to a wider talent pool that extends far beyond their local area. 

More information can be found here or alternatively, visit the OU’s website to discover more about what their virtual internships have to offer for both individuals and businesses alike.

Beds, Luton and Milton Keynes Disability Physical Activity and Sport Summit 2019

The Summit is designed to bring partners together who are influencing physical activity for disabled people across our area. The event will focus on insight, workforce, sharing of good practice and provide an opportunity for organisations to network. Please follow this link to find out more.

Meet Peta Drop In

Cyber Security Workshops

We are helping the Thames Valley Police deliver two workshops dedicated to Cyber Security for voluntary and community groups.

The TVP Cyber Security Advisor will be providing two short Cyber Protect awareness sessions for Community Action MK in order to empower their own local voluntary and community sector groups to speak with confidence within their communities of the current cyber threats that they may experience.

Tuesday 8th October: 11am – 1pm

Thursday 24th October 11am – 1pm

Venue: Grant Thornton, 199 Avebury Blvd, Milton Keynes MK9 1AU

Click the link to find out more and to book your place.

Fareshare Warehouse Opening!

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Milton Keynes Council Open Consultations

Other useful links:

Second redesign workshop of the CNWL – Milton Keynes Adult Mental Health Community Services Model

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You are invited to join us for our second redesign workshop of the CNWL – Milton Keynes Adult Mental Health Community Services Model. Wednesday 25th September 2019.
Ridgeway Centre, Wolverton Mill, Milton Keynes MK12 5TH.
Booking is essential.
Please email n.ranautta@nhs.net by 13th September 2019 to reserve your place.

Charity Risk Barometer 2019


Please follow this link to access some guidance and resources shared by Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) to help organisations prepare for Brexit. Acas provides free and impartial information and advice to employers and employees on all aspects of workplace relations and employment law.

Exploring volunteers’ attitudes to health and safety in the charity sector

Ecclesiastical are partnering with leading researchers at the Health and Safety Executive’s Science and Research Centre to develop practical advice for charities.

Volunteers are an integral part of the charity sector. With so much reliance on the work they do, it is important that charities understand the needs of managing such a diverse group of people. 

The HSE are looking for participants to be part of this pioneering research through either, attendance at one of the planned regional workshops, or via a short telephone interview.

Recognising that participants would be giving freely of their time, Ecclesiastical will make a donation of £100 to a registered charity of their choice as a thank you for taking part.

For more information and to find out how to get involved, follow this link.

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Communities Week 2019!

9th – 13th September

It’s #CommunitesWeek ! A week organised by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and the community sector to celebrate communities, business and partners who are working with communities and improving neighbourhoods across the country.

If you’re a community organisation, community business, council or work with communities,get involved online: follow and use #CommunitiesWeek

Suicide Prevention Training

Take this 20 minute online training session to learn how to potentially save a life. Click the image below to take you to the website.

Deaf Awareness Training

Dyslexia Training Workshops


CMK Litter Picking

South Row:
On Saturday 14th September Central Milton Keynes Town Council is holding its first litter pick along South Row. We hope that this will be the first of a number of litter picks across CMK. The event will take place between 10am-12 noon and we invite residents to come along and get involved. We will meet next to Beefeater Barn, Secklow Gate West.

North Row:
On Saturday 21st September Central Milton Keynes Town Council is holding another litter pick between the North 9th and 10th Street flats . The event will take place between 10am – 12 noon and we invite residents to come along and get involved. We will meet next to Centrecom, North Row.

Equipment and disposable gloves will be provided. If you would like to join our litter pick in your area simply turn up on the day. If you need any more information, just contact: sue.nelson@cmktowncouncil.gov.uk or leave a message at 01908 661623.

Bikeability Cycle Training

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Volunteering Opportunity of the Week: Driver – Barnado’s Young People

Barnardos runs a service that allows parents and children who cannot live together to meet in a supervised setting. The young people sometimes need transport to enable them to attend these meetings. It needs to gather a small team of drivers that can be called upon to assist when the need arises.

Purpose of opportunity:

  • To safely drive young people with carer or chaperone to meetings
  • Additional gardening/maintenance role if desired.

Key activities:

  • Picking up young people with carer to bring to contact centre
  • Return them afterwards
  • We have other practical tasks available to fill the time in between- but not compulsory.

Attitude/skills/knowledge required:

Training, support or other benefits available:

  • Core volunteer training – safeguarding, EDI and confidentiality
  • Supervision
  • Experience working with a national Children’s charity

See our SimplyConnect details for this volunteering role or visit Barnado’s website directly.

Volunteers Needed: Gardening session in Centre MK

Volunteers Needed: Victims First Emotional Support Volunteer

Victims First Emotional Support Volunteer provides free emotional and practical support to all victims of crime, witnesses of crime and family members of victims. The service is available across Berks, Bucks and Oxfordshire. They can provide help regardless of whether or not the crime has been reported to the police.

What does it involve?

  • Providing practical and emotional support to victims of crime in the Thames Valley area
  • Working to empower victims and to track and map progress by using an evidence-based outcomes tool
  • Ensuring fairness, impartiality and equality in supporting victims
  • Keeping a secure record of contact with victims and reporting to the Caseworker appropriately and in line with data protection requirements
  • Working alongside a Caseworker to ensure the delivery of a high-quality service
  • Committing to attending training, supervision, reflective practice and support sessions

Click here to find out more about this role. Victims First are in desperate need of volunteers to help empower their service users, through their access to improved services and support networks.

Visit their website for more information about what they do.

Jobs in the Voluntary Sector: Community Inclusion Project Manager – The Stables

The Community Inclusion Project Manager will play a pivotal role in creating new connections between The Stables, IF: Milton Keynes International Festival and D/deaf and disabled people. He/she will be responsible for creating connections within Milton Keynes and ensuring that The Stables and the Festival are appropriately prepared for these new partnerships.

This role will support the delivery of a new project funded by MK Community Foundation which includes an extensive programme focussing on and enhancing the organisation’s approach to working with D/deaf and disabled people as participants, audience members and performers.

Click here for a more detailed role description can be found here

For more information click here, or see The Stables website for full details.

Jobs in the Voluntary Sector: Locality Project Worker – Barnado’s Young People

Barnardo’s Young People is seeking a Locality Project Worker for Milton Keynes and Bedford Borough Council.  They are looking for a flexible person willing to help develop existing services in both Milton Keynes and Bedford Borough Council.

Services include:

  • independent return interviews to support looked after children
  • independent visiting carried out by volunteers
  • advocacy
  • short breaks
  • supervised contact.

This is a zero hours contract based in Dunstable (covering Milton Keynes and some areas of Bedfordshire) with a salary of £9.50 per hour.

Deadline 29 September. Click here for more information

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Winifred Tumim Fund 2019

National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) has launched the Winifred Tumim Memorial Fund 2019, awarding a grant of £1,000 for work which supports innovation in good charity governance such as:

  • trialling and testing a new approach
  • developing a tool for NCVO which can be used to support good governance
  • undertaking some thought leadership work.

Entries can be from organisations or individuals.

Deadline: 28 October. Click here.

Magic Little Grants 2019

Magic Little Grants 2019 from Localgiving is now open for £500 grants to charities and community groups that encourage people to be physically active.

Successful projects will support and inspire people to participate in sports or exercise with the primary aim of improving the physical health of participants.

Applicants must either be in their first year of operation or have an annual income under £250,000.

Deadline 30 November. Click here.

The Festival of Creative Urban Living : 26 September – 13 October 2019

You’ll find MK’s first ever free ‘A Festival of Creative Urban Living’ from 26 September – 13 October on Midsummer Boulevard in Central Milton Keynes.

The main theme is ‘The Built, The Unbuilt and The Unbuildable’, looking at art, design and architecture in urban environments.

The Festival brings together artists, residents, architects, designers, urban planners, thinkers, creatives and many others for a FREE programme of exhibitions, discussions, events, creative workshops, performances and much more.

It has been commissioned by MK Council, funded by Arts Council England, and is programmed and curated by experimental architectural practice raumlaborberlin.

To find out more about what’s on during the festival and a programme of events, then please click here for more information.

‘Secklow Hundred Mound – Milton Keynes’ ancestral meeting place’
– an illustrated talk by Martin Petchey, Archaeologist.

Thursday 19th September 2019 at 6.15pm – 7.15pm

Milton Keynes Central Library

The Secklow Mound – Central Milton Keynes. Behind the Central Library lies a Scheduled Ancient Monument of national importance known as Secklow Mound, named after an Anglo-Saxon administrative area called the Secklow Hundred. The Mound was a meeting place and historical research in the 1970s confirmed the precise location of the Mound to be at the edge of todays City Centre. In 1978 the mound was reconstructed and landscaped protecting the significant archaeological remains.

Please follow this link to book your free tickets.


SATURDAY 14TH SEPTEMBER 2019: 11am – 5pm

Each September the picturesque MK Village Pavilion in Middleton comes alive with the exciting vibe of the local food and drink scene. With all the stallholders coming from within a 20 mile radius of the venue, the event showcases the best of local food and drink and brings together street food vendors, artisan producers, farmers market stallholders and chefs for a one day, one location, not-to-be-missed food and drink shopping experience. Please follow this link to find out more.

Community Fridge Tea Dance

Thursday 19th Sept 1230 – 3pm

Get on your dancing shoes for an afternoon get-together of vintage music and dancing!

The community fridge pop-up cafe team will be sharing an afternoon tea of sandwiches, cakes and homemade jam until 2pm accompanied by music from bygone decades and dancing until 3pm. No charge for food or entertainment. 

Donations are welcome and there will be ‘guess the weight of the cake’ competition and homemade jam to fundraise for the project.

ROCLA Art Trail Walk

15th September 2019

A guided walk round the ROCLA Art Trail in the Redhouse Park area, Milton Keynes. A variety of newly commissioned artworks & sculptures of various types reflecting nature, magic and location have are due to be installed in 2018. Each commission will have a plaque that will contain a QR code. – Meet some of the artists on the day.


18th – 22nd September

A fabulous festival of books, words, writers and ideas that celebrates everything literary, bookish or wordy.

The Lit Fest Steering Group brings together arts and education professionals and enthusiasts who share a love of books, words, writing, speaking and thinking.  We are a small team with big ambitions, and we are especially grateful to our wonderful volunteers who help us get the show on the road. 

A programme of events and ticket information can be found here.

Follow this link to find out more about MK Lit Fest.

The big population health conversation

This free-to-attend virtual conference focuses beyond health and social care to areas where there is untapped potential for local and national action to support healthier lives.

We will explore how a wide range of organisations – across local government, the voluntary sector, the private sector and local communities – have it within their power to improve people’s health.

To find out more and book your place, click here.

Transparency and Trust: Trustee Conference 19th September 2019

2:00pm – 5:15pm

Looking at why transparency and trust are critical to a charity’s success, this half-day conference in Aylesbury will give you expert input and practical ideas to strengthen your organisation.

You will learn how to boost trust levels through governance, board diversity and accountability, as well as participate in one of our expert-led interactive breakout sessions. If you are a trustee or committee member of a charity, voluntary or community group or a board member of a social enterprise, this conference will provide you with clear, take-away actions to apply to your organisation.

Click here for more information and to book onto the conference.

Do you have news to share?

If you work or volunteering for a local group or organisation in Milton Keynes or have an interesting project going in your community and have news to share, please feel free to get in touch with us. You can e-mail your updates to support@communityactionmk.org

Are you following us on social media?

Stay up to date using your favourite social media channel and help us spread the word about the amazing voluntary and community action in Milton Keynes! #lovemk #volunteermk 

Here is where you can find us:

Twitter: twitter.com/ComActMK

Facebook: www.facebook.com/CommunityActionMK/

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/company/community-action-mk

Instagram: instagram.com/comactmk

YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/CommunityActionMK

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Jobs in the Sector: Community Inclusion Project Manager – The Stables

The Community Inclusion Project Manager will play a pivotal role in creating new connections between The Stables, IF: Milton Keynes International Festival and D/deaf and disabled people. He/she will be responsible for creating connections within Milton Keynes and ensuring that The Stables and the Festival are appropriately prepared for these new partnerships.

This role will support the delivery of a new project funded by MK Community Foundation which includes an extensive programme focussing on and enhancing the organisation’s approach to working with D/deaf and disabled people as participants, audience members and performers.

The successful candidate will need to:

  • demonstrate an ability to work with a good degree of independence and responsibility whilst maintaining ongoing communication to keep in touch with the team.
  • an understanding of accessible arts, inclusion, working with disabled people, project management and ways to engage a wide range of people is central to the role.
  • Communication skills are key, along with an ability to maintain the big picture as well as retaining high levels of attention to detail.
  • require a flexible yet methodical approach with a ‘can do’ attitude.
  • the ability to absorb information quickly, integrate into an existing team and organisational culture, and work with established systems and processes to ensure a joined-up approach is essential.
  • it will be important to build relationships with local networks, so a good knowledge of / connection with the Milton Keynes area is desirable.

A more detailed role description can be found here

Who are The Stables?

The Stables in Milton Keynes is one of the UK’s leading music organisations, presenting over 400 concerts across all music genres, and delivering 250 learning and participation projects per annum, including the National Youth Music Camps.

It also produces IF: Milton Keynes International Festival, a biennial multi-artform festival which engages people with extraordinary events in unusual spaces and in unexpected ways. Part of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio, The Stables is preparing for its 50th birthday celebrations in 2020 by looking to expand the impact of its work locally, regionally and nationally.

Salary: Up to £20,000 depending on experience and availability

Contract: Freelance, temporary

Term: 1 year  

Based: The Stables, Wavendon

Please submit your CV and up to 2-pages of A4 outlining your suitability for the role. Your submission should set out how you would seek to tackle the project and how much time you would commit to ensuring its success.

Alternative formats to written applications are accepted as a reasonable adjustment.

Application Deadline: Monday 23 September, midday (12 noon)

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News: Congratulations! YMCA Milton Keynes secures £498,849 grant from the National Lottery!

“We will use this grant over a 3-year period to fund staff and services to improve the well-being of our residents, including 3 personal development coaches and a significant resident activities budget to help their young people belong, contribute and thrive.”

Youth social housing provider and independent homeless charity, YMCA Milton Keynes, is celebrating today after being awarded £498,849 in National Lottery funding to support its work with local young people. The charity will use the cash over a 3-year period to fund staff and services to improve the well-being of its residents, including 3 personal development coaches and a significant resident activities budget to help their young people belong, contribute and thrive.

YMCA Milton Keynes has helped over 10,000 young people since it opened its doors in 1981. The charity’s current site is cramped and no longer fit for purpose, so it has embarked on an ambitious journey to build a new £19M campus to provide supported housing to young people in Milton Keynes. YMCA Milton Keynes’ new campus, which is due to open early in the new year, will give 199 young people access to affordable accommodation, a dedicated pathway of support, including training and employment opportunities, well-being services and a number of social enterprises, including a café and a nursery that will provide its residents with work experience and employment opportunities.

The National Lottery grant will focus on supporting 225 young people over a 3-year period with mental and physical health, employment, education and training giving them access to a sustainable future.

Each outcome will be tracked through monitoring mechanisms and short and long-term outcomes. This will show how the services delivered contribute to a chain of results leading to the intended outcomes.

Simon Green, CEO of YMCA Milton Keynes, says:

“We’re delighted that The National Lottery Community Fund has recognised our work in this way. Now, thanks to National Lottery players we will be able to press on with our plans to broaden the range of support and opportunities available to young people here in Milton Keynes. This grant is vital as it enables us to deliver the dedicated support, activities and training needed to enable our young people to achieve their full potential.”

Find out more about YMCA Milton Keynes by following this link

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