Guest Blog by Poorvi Srivastava: Spotlight on Homelessness Resources

Poorvi has been volunteering her time with us since September 2022, and she has created this guest blog to highlight resources tackling homelessness. Many thanks to Poorvi for her much-appreciated contributions to the work of Community Action: MK!

With the winter and colder days fast approaching and the overall concerns around the Cost of Living crisis, it’s always a time when we think more about the needs of the most vulnerable people in our communities, including those that are homeless.

The cause for homelessness is commonly misunderstood as laziness. Contrary to belief, there are many socioeconomic factors that play a role in homelessness. Lack of affordable housing, rising unemployment, mental or physical health problems are just a few of the many reasons causing homelessness. People who leave prison, care or the armed forces may not have a support system and may be unable to provide for themselves. 

It can be a huge struggle to get out of homeless as people search for employment. They have no home address to fill in, no phone number to give and sometimes may not have adequate qualifications. All of these problems can be difficult to deal with, especially without a warm, safe environment to go to every night. People sleeping on the street are almost 17 times more likely to have been victims of violence. 

However there are many outlets all over Milton Keynes that anybody can be a part of to help the community and people that are struggling, particularly with the coldest months of the year looming. 

Winter Nights Shelter MK is a year- round charity that provides services, hot meals and food supplies that can be taken away. They also have clothing, sleeping supplies and toiletries available. If you are interested in volunteering more information can be found on the website here. 

Depaul’s is another great charity that improves access to education, training and employment opportunities for those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. More information can be found here

Keeping Kids Off The Streets (KKOTS) is a non-profit organisation, every Friday they cook over 700 meals for the homeless and struggling families, they also host community events, more information can be found here

MK food bank is a great way to indirectly have a huge impact on people’s lives so any donations or volunteers would be amazing for the community!

Homelessnes has so many different forms – it’s not just those that are forced to live on the streets, but also individuals and families that are living in temporary accommodation such motels or B&Bs and those that are sofa-surfing, or the Refugees that had to flee from places affected by war or other political/ economical upheavals. According to Shelter, the national housing and homelessness charity, there are currently over 115,000 children who are homeless in the UK and the cost of living crisis is posing a great risk of even more individuals and families becoming homeless in the coming months. There are a number of national and local organisations that campaign for and provide advice, support and volunteering opportunities to support individuals and families that are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Shelter, mentioned above, is one of them. In Milton Keynes, MK Homelessness Partnership is coordinating the work and related to supporting the local homelessness community and you can find out more about their work here. You can also access useful signposting information on our website here.

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Volunteer Opportunity of the Week: Al’s Pals

Al’s Pals are a local cancer support charity, who are recruiting volunteers. Read on for more about this impactful charity, and how you can support their work:

The Story Behind Al’s Pals

“ Al’s Pals is named after Alan Dumbell, who received cancer treatment at Milton Keynes University Hospital. Alan noticed that throughout his treatment, although he was surrounded by his loving family, he still felt very lonely and lost at times, and he often discussed having a ‘buddy’ to support and help him where he felt things were missing. It was his legacy to have a cancer buddy scheme like this and with the passion of his daughter, Al’s Pals was born.”

Volunteer Role Description

Becoming an Al’s Pals volunteer entails supporting those affected by cancer, this can change over time, but activities can include:

  • Accompanying a person to their hospital appointments
  • Providing a friendly person to chat to 
  • Signposting to services
  • Follow up phone calls
  • Manning the Al’s Pals stand in the Cancer Centre, MK Hospital

DBS checks and an induction will be arranged by Al’s Pals.

More information about the role can be found here, as well as how to apply.

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Volunteer Opportunity of the Week: Harry’s Rainbow

Harry’s Rainbow, a charity which supports bereaved children and their families in Milton Keynes, and surrounding areas, are looking for volunteers to help at their Christmas celebration on Saturday 26th November 12-5pm.

“This is an event for our families to have some fun and be supported through what can be a hard time of the year.”

They have lots of festive fun planned, and would like volunteers to help with craft activities, which include making reindeer food and  creating Christmas tree decorations. Volunteers are also needed to assist with serving teas and coffees, helping Santa in his grotto, and welcoming families in the reception area.

If you feel you can support this special event, then please do get in touch with Rachel, Family Liaison Officer, by:

 email rachel@harrysrainbow.co.uk or call 01908 061676.


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Creating the Community Action: MK Five Year Plan 2023-28

We’re currently collating feedback to inform our next Five Year Plan (2023-28), and we need the voices of the Milton Keynes’ Voluntary and Community Groups and Organisations.

We’re focusing on how Community Action: MK can best support MK groups to:

  • Access funding and other opportunities for growth and collaboration
  • Develop and maintain a thriving volunteer community
  • Help position the VCSE in Milton Keynes as a strategic partner within the local decision and policy making in the City

With this in mind, we’re posing two questions for consideration:

  1. What should our priorities in the above areas be? Are there any gaps we have missed?
  2. How can CA: MK share the impact of Milton Keynes’ Voluntary and Community Groups and Organisations?

You can answer these questions via this Google Jamboard, a virtual flip chart, where you can add ‘sticky notes’ using the menu found on the left hand side of the page.

Sharing your thoughts will take around 5 minutes, and your opinions will be anonymous.

The Jamboard will be open until the first week of December. You can also read our current Five Year plan here, and the responses to the two questions gathered during our October 2022 AGM here.

Many thanks for taking the time to complete the board, your insights will be invaluable in ensuring we can continue to strengthen groups, communities and the VCSE sector in Milton Keynes.
 If you would like to discuss any of the topics in more detail, please email support@communityactionmk.org to arrange a support session with a member of the team.

Blog Post Mobilising Communities Shaping Decision Making and Policy Strengthening Groups Volunteering

Volunteer Opportunity of the Week: Knife Angel Volunteer Marshals

The National Monument against Violence & Aggression (Knife Angel) is being hosted in Milton Keynes this December and January at MK Dons Stadium. Thames Valley police are seeking volunteer marshals to provide information and answer questions from the large footfall the monument is likely to attract. You can read more about the creation of the Knife Angel here. 

Can you give a few hours of your time to stand with the Angel and promote the anti-violence message? It could act as a team-building day for a workforce, or for a charity to share its own anti-violence message. A one-hour online training session and briefing pack will be provided to those who volunteer.

Marshalls Dates and Times:

Times are available between 10am-2pm or 2pm-6pm daily, between 3rd December to 7th January.

All volunteers must be 18 years or over, unless accompanied by an appropriate adult registered and authorised to volunteer for this initiative.

Venue Location:

Gate 1, Stadium MK, Denbigh, Milton Keynes, MK1 1ST.

For travel information, visit: www.mkdons.com/club/visit-stadiummk

The recruitment deadline is this Friday 18th November.

For further information, please email : knifeangelvolunteers@thamesvalley.police.uk or haydn.lewis@thamesvalley.police.uk.

Image Credit: British Ironwork Centre

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Trustees’ Week 7-11 November

We’re in the midst of Trustees’ Week, an opportunity to highlight the vital role trustees play in  charities. This year’s theme is ‘making a difference in changing times’, a reflection of the uncertain and difficult landscape faced by the sector and society as a whole. It is also an opportunity to celebrate the achievements and impact of trustees;their voluntary commitment ensures charities and groups can continue to support communities in Milton Keynes and beyond.

You can read more about the Community Action: MK trustees here. Their dedication, knowledge of Milton Keynes communities and wealth of experience provides invaluable support for the work of Community Action: MK, we’d like to thank them for their year-round efforts, including appearances as Easter bunnies (!), representing Community Action: MK on national news, supporting events, and the behind-the-scenes diligence that ensures we can strengthen the Milton Keynes community and VCSE sector. 

Thinking of becoming a trustee?

If our trustees have inspired you, and you’re interested in finding a trustee role, you can join our community on the volunteering platform DoIt. life, where you can browse opportunities by searching for ‘trustee’. You can also book a support session with our Volunteering Coordinator, who will help you connect to a role, email support@communityactionmk.org if you’d like to find out more.

Becoming a trustee has many benefits, it can provide connections, it’s also a valuable CPD opportunity. Read more about the positive impact of becoming a trustee here. 

Are you looking for a trustee?

If you have vacant trustee roles and would like our support getting to word out, we can promote the opportunity across our social media channels, on our website and in the weekly newsletter which reaches 1300 inboxes. Email support@communityactionmk.org with the role description and contact details.

Getting on Board supports the diversification of boards, providing guidance and empowering individuals from all sectors of society in becoming a trustee. They also provide guidance for organisations in their commitment to recruiting a representative board.

Their Festival of Trusteeship offers a programme of online events this Trustees’ Week, with info and panel sessions demystifying trusteeship.

Are you already a trustee, looking for resources to help you in your role?

Trustees’ Week has compiled a comprehensive compendium of resources, including links to the Charity Commission’s 5-minute reads for potential and existing trustees.

The National Council for Voluntary Action (NCVO) offers a concise run-down of the legal duties of trustees, with the Resource Centre providing a checklist of the responsibilities of management committees.  You can also find further guidance in our Information Sheets. 

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Trustees’ Week: Milton Keynes City Discovery Centre are seeking a Trustee with Legal Experience

As part of Trustees’ Week, we’re highlighting trustee roles in Milton Keynes.

Milton Keynes City Discovery Centre (MKCDC) is a Registered Educational Charity with a Trading Arm, and is a company limited by guarantee.

MKCDC are based at the beautiful Scheduled Ancient Monument medieval site of Bradwell Abbey, with several medieval buildings in situ, and 13 acres of woodland and landscaping. Their site and business are a hidden gem within the modern city of Milton Keynes.

They have recently completed a conservation project, and as a result, are ready to action the parts of their Business Plan that will see the site developing into an operational heritage attraction. 

They are now looking for a new Trustee with legal experience, to start immediately once interviews and checks have taken place. The role is voluntary, but expenses are offered:

Trustee with Legal Experience

Reports to: The Board

Purpose of the role:

In partnership with the Director to advise on and ensure the legal compliance of the organisation

Advise on appropriate legal matters where necessary

Main duties:

Advise as necessary/appropriate on legal matters affecting the organisation

Communicate with relevant staff and other committee members so as to maintain a clear picture of the legal compliance of the organisation as and when necessary

With the Director, advise on appropriate organisation policy and procedure

Key qualities:

A knowledge of legal requirements for charities and trading bodies

Ability to communicate and advise on legal practice relating to charities and trading bodies

Any legal background considered, although property, and/or staff and/or contract experience is desirable.

Please contact the Director, Noël James, via email if you are interested: 

Director@mkcdc.org.uk, attaching CV and cover letter, or alternatively post to Dr. Noël James. MKCDC, Bradwell Abbey, Alston Drive, Milton Keynes,MK13 9AP.

Please call 07951 997334 if you would like to discuss before applying.

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Volunteer Opportunity of the Week: The Winter Night Shelter Milton Keynes

This week’s Volunteer Opportunity of the Week comes from The Winter Night Shelter Milton Keynes:

“Originally set up to help the homeless during the coldest months of the year, The Winter Night Shelter MK now operates all year round, due to the demand and increase in need for our services. We provide welfare support, enabling our guests to access drug and alcohol support services, obtain housing advice, move on to longer-term accommodation and to find work. We also provide overnight accommodation to homeless and vulnerable people who would otherwise be rough sleeping in Milton Keynes during the coldest months of the year (November–March).

We work in partnership with churches and community centres across the city who offer their facilities as an overnight venue and operate with teams of trained volunteers to provide beds and overnight supervision. This winter will be our 12th year of running our overnight accommodation.”


The Night Shelter will be hosted at the following venues on the following days:

Mon pm – Tue am: Loughton Baptist Church

Tue pm – Wed am: Newport Pagnell Baptist Church

Wed pm – Thu am: The Ridgeway Centre (Wolverton) & Shenley Christian Fellowship – alternative fortnights

Thu pm – Fri am: Stony Stratford Community Church & The Ridgeway Centre (Wolverton) – alternative fortnights

Fri pm – Sat am: St George’s Church (Wolverton) & MK Christian Foundation (Wolverton)

Sat pm – Sun am: Christ the Vine Community Church (Coffee Hall) & Church of the Holy Cross (Two Mile Ash)

Sun pm – Mon am: St Mary’s Church (Woburn) & Whaddon Way Church (Bletchley)

Opening the doors of The Winter Night Shelter to those who need a warm welcome would not be possible without the help of dedicated volunteers.

If you’d like to join the volunteer team, or would like to read further details of the varying roles, including welcoming guests, forming part of the Nightwatch, or preparing refreshments, click here:

Volunteer | Winter Night Shelter Milton Keynes (winternightsheltermk.org)

Images: The Winter Night Shelter

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Volunteer Opportunity of the Week: British Heart Foundation Shops and Stores 

This week’s guest blog comes from the British Heart Foundation Shops in Bletchley and Leighton Buzzard, who are looking for new volunteers to join the team:

British Heart Foundation Shops & Stores

In the UK, 1 in 4 of us die from heart and circulatory diseases – conditions like heart disease, stroke  and vascular dementia. The British Heart Foundation funds research to find ways to prevent, treat  and perhaps one day cure these conditions. This research is as urgent and vital as ever, but it is only  possible thanks to public donations and the time given by volunteers. Our shops are the face of  British Heart Foundation in the community, helping to raise funds and spread awareness of our  work.

The Role

Shop Volunteer 

Our shop volunteers are the first point of contact for customers when they enter our shops. You will provide invaluable help through the running of the shop, keeping it stocked and attractively displayed.  

You can get involved as much or as little as you like by sorting out stock; putting your own stamp on the shop  displays or getting trained to serve customers at the till. 

Being part of a huge retail team to raise funds is very motivating, you provide the best service possible for the local community and raise as much money as possible for the organisation. You even  get a 25% discount on donated goods. 

Say hello to the team 

Funding for researchers begins at your local charity shop. Now, more than ever, we are in urgent need of  public support to enable us to continue our life saving research and help the 7.4 million people in the UK living  with heart and circulatory diseases. This wouldn’t be possible without our fantastic volunteers. 

Our team is welcoming and friendly, and we love meeting people from all walks of life. Typical tasks include: 

• Serving customers & providing good all-round customer service 

• Promoting our campaigns to customers  

• Promoting instore sales 

• Working on window and shop displays 

• Keeping the shop tidy, clean and well organised 

• Interacting with the general public 

You get a lot from volunteering too: 

• A chance to work in a friendly team, to make new friends and meet a diverse group of people

• The opportunity to make an invaluable contribution to British Heart Foundation goal of beating heartbreak forever 

• The time to develop your confidence and interpersonal skills 

• The ability to gain valuable work experience to add onto your CV and to learn new skills

• Flexibility to fit with your lifestyle 

• The chance to gain valuable retail experience 

Here’s a little bit more about us:

The BHF is here to Beat Heartbreak Forever. We are working towards a world free from the fear of heart and  circulatory diseases. 

By 2030, we want to see advances across the spectrum of heart and circulatory diseases; we want to prevent  these conditions from developing and we want those with existing conditions to have better, longer lives.

To find out more…

Leighton Buzzard Store:

Contact name Claire or Kim

01525 214786

Email l31@bhf.org.uk

Bletchley Store:

Contact Name Jude

01908 374090

Email b11@bhf.org.uk

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Volunteer Opportunity of the Week: FoodCycle

This week’s guest blog comes from FoodCycle, a charity who tackle food waste and loneliness through community dining, providing opportunities for great food and conversation.

FoodCycle are looking to serve a weekly community meal at 12:30pm on Fridays at the Old Bath House in Wolverton

“We are currently recruiting for Project Leaders to organise and oversee the Food Surplus, Cooking and Hosting teams. Our Project Leaders supervise the team of volunteers for at least 1 session per month and benefit from training in Food Safety, Allergens and Safeguarding and we need to complete a DBS check. 

Alongside our Project Leaders, we will also need a team of volunteers to help with food collection, cooking and hosting. 

The Roles: 

Food Collection

Project Leader – required Thursday afternoons. We have weekly food collections arranged with various suppliers. As Surplus Food Coordinator you will organise a team of volunteers to pick up the food, ensure it is delivered to the venue, and weighed/recorded ready for the cooking team.

08:30 – 09:30 Friday

Volunteers – Do you hate food waste? So do we! Why not sign up to volunteer with us and become a food waste hero, collecting surplus fruit, veg, bread and other goodies from our many supporters across Milton Keynes? We have a few different collection routes and will contact you the day of your shift to confirm arrangements. You can start your route from home and head to our venue when your route is finished, or if we are lucky and your car is too full! Note: you will need a car for this collection route, and you will need to complete FoodCycle’s volunteer driver form.

Cooking Team 09:30 – 13:30

Project Leaders – You’ll be leading a team of volunteers to turn our haul of surplus food into a tasty community meal. You’ll work with your team to come up with a menu and prepare dinner for our guests. Think of yourself as head chef, FoodCycle style.

Volunteers – As part of the cooking team, you’ll be working with other volunteers to turn our haul of surplus food into a nutritious meal, which you will then get a chance to sit down and enjoy. Bring your best chopping skills and plenty of enthusiasm!

Hosting Team 11:30 – 14:30

Project Leaders – Our hosting volunteers are the friendly face of FoodCycle, As Hosting Project Leader, you will lead a team of volunteers in setting up the venue ready for the meal and welcoming our guests with a smile and a cup of tea! You will also organise/lead the serving of the meal and clearing away afterwards.

Volunteers – We need keen volunteers to help us set up the tables/get the hall ready for when our guests arrive, then to help us serve the meal and clear up afterwards! You will play a vital role in making our guests feel welcome and comfortable.

How to apply to be a Project Leader

We ask that this form is completed and submitted:  Food Cycle | Become a Project Leader we then make contact to discuss the role and start the Project Leader induction.

How to sign-up

Both Project Leaders and Volunteers will need to register for an account, here’s the link for this: https://volunteer.foodcycle.org.uk/ 

Once an account is activated, volunteers can access our volunteer portal (or for Project Leaders a Leader Portal).

Image: FoodCycle

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Volunteer Opportunity of the Week: Milton Keynes MS Society Group

Do you relish being organised? Are you reliable and efficient? The Milton Keynes MS Society are recruiting for a number of volunteer roles, where these qualities will shine. 

The Roles

Minutes Secretary– Great at the finer details? You’ll be taking minutes on monthly Zoom meetings, held on the second Wednesday of the month, 2.30-4pm.  

Bucket Collectors – Can you spare a couple of hours at the weekends to help raise funds? Collections have previously taken place in MK supermarkets or CMK.

Communications Volunteer – Do you love words? This role will involve writing newsletters and creating engaging content for social media.

Admin Volunteer – This role involves organising, facilitation, and general assistance. A great all-rounder would be ideal for this varied opportunity.

Volunteers do not need any knowledge of MS. Full training will be given.

If you’re interested in finding our more, or would like to apply please email Jo at miltonkeynessupport@mssociety.org.uk

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Volunteer Opportunity of the Week: Transition Town Milton Keynes

Today’s guest blog comes from Transition Town Milton Keynes, a group of local people concerned about the urgent need to address the climate and ecological crises. 

Who are Transition Town MK?

We are working together to improve the resilience of communities in Milton Keynes. We do this through practical actions that advocate for a low carbon lifestyle and social and economic justice. Our core group meets monthly to plan and manage activities. 

We a small yet successful group with big ideas, so we are looking for people to join our friendly team and to support or take on the following roles:- 

  • Event Organiser – coordinating the production of at least one TTMK event, following the outline decisions from TTMK’s monthly meeting. These events aim to educate, raise awareness, and help address climate change by encouraging and creating a more sustainable Milton Keynes. 
  • Newsletter Writer/Editor – on a rotating basis, create and curate the content for our monthly newsletter. 
  • Website Content Manager – helping to ensure TTMK’s website content is as relevant as possible to our key audiences, by identifying opportunities to improve the website and carrying out simple updating of the website using WordPress. 
  • Social Media Evangelist – creating engaging and interesting communications on TTMK’s social media channels. 
  • Project Organiser – turning our ideas for new projects into reality for at least one project, by working out a plan (with input from others), coordinating and organising activities, getting stuck in and making things happen. 
  • Fundraiser/Grant application writer – helping TTMK have a greater impact by finding fundraising opportunities or writing compelling applications for funding. 

All volunteers will be supported by a longer standing member of the TTMK Committee, with contact available by email, WhatsApp, Zoom or face to face if wanted. 

Please contact us at contact@transitiontownmk.org or attend our meeting on the first Wednesday of every month from 7pm, held at AIIMI Ltd, 100 Avebury Boulevard, Central Milton Keynes, MK9 1FH

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Community Action:MK AGM 2022 

Community Action:MK AGM 2022 

Moving Forward, Stronger Together

This year on 20th October, with lockdown restrictions lifted, we are back with our AGM (Annual General Meeting) in the community at Milton Keynes Christian Centre, Oldbrook, MK6 2TG from 9:30am to 12 midday. 

Our theme this year is ‘Moving Forward, Stronger Together’. There will be guest speakers, refreshments and a light breakfast.

We are delighted that Dr Rima Makarem, Chair of the Bedford, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care System will be joining us as our keynote speaker. Rima will be sharing the exciting plans and vision for the health and social care system in our region, and how it aims to embed the VCSE sector in its work.

We are honoured to be joined by Vice Lord-Lieutenant Alexander Boswell who will give our welcome address and some insights about the importance of the VCSE.   Vice Lord-Lieutenant Alexander Boswell has played an integral role championing the local Voluntary Sector in Buckinghamshire.  

This year’s AGM is a time to look back on what Community Action:MK has achieved from April 2021 to March 2022 and to let you know about our plans for the future. It is also a time to say hello to people we already know and to make new connections. With new challenges ahead we will need to continue to work together to strengthen groups and communities in Milton Keynes.  

In January 2020 we celebrated 40 years of Community Action:MK at MK Discovery Centre and shared our Annual Review Report for our work from April 2018 to March 2019 . This was to be our last in person AGM due to Covid 19 lockdown restrictions. The following two annual reviews were completed virtually. In January 2021 we held our first online virtual AGM with the theme of ‘Togetherness’ and reflected on our work from April 2019 to March 2020. 

In October last year we held our second online AGM with the theme being ‘Many Small Things Make A Big Difference’ and shared our Annual Review Report of our work from April 2020 to March 2021. Our guest speaker was Peta Wilkinson from The Voluntary Sector Alliance and local groups talked about the action they had taken during the lockdown, with many small actions making a big difference. 

We are looking forward to seeing you on 20th October! 

To attend, please book your place via Eventbrite (linked here).

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Volunteer Opportunity of the Week – Diabetes UK Milton Keynes

Who are Diabetes UK Milton Keynes?

Diabetes UK Milton Keynes aim to provide help and support to people living with or who are affected by diabetes in our area.

 Their  monthly peer support meetings provide a safe and friendly environment, and are usually held on the third Thursday of the month,  at Centrecom Meeting Place in the City Centre. Meetings start at 7pm and are usually finished by 9pm.

The Volunteer Opportunity 

Diabetes UK Milton Keynes are looking for a volunteer to help facilitate meetings by helping set out chairs and tables, plus making tea or coffee. and ideally help clear up after meeting.

This involves a volunteer commitment of approximately 3-3.5 hours per month.

If you’d like to find out more, please email: miltonkeynes.diabetesukgroup@gmail.com

@MKDiabetesUK Facebook Group.

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Volunteer Opportunity of the Week: Speaking English Classes by the New Life Church Milton Keynes

Help people improve their English language skills through conversation at the Ridgeway Centre, Wolverton. Every Wednesday morning.

The New Life Church Milton Keynes’ Speaking English Classes are looking for volunteers to help with these lively, interactive sessions.

A chance for those with English as a second language to gain confidence using role play scenarios in a welcoming, small group setting. The classes are free to attend, Wednesdays 9.30-11.30am:

The Ridgeway Centre

Featherstone Road

Milton Keynes

MK12 5TH

For more information and how to apply to be a volunteer: Speaking English classes | Events | Newlife Church MK (newlifechurchmiltonkeynes.org)

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Volunteer Opportunity of the Week: MK Therapy Centre

Who are MK Therapy Centre?

Established in May 1993, MK Therapy Centre is based at 4 Hollin Lane, Stacey Bushes.

They offer a range of alternative therapies primarily for people who have been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. However Children and Adults with other debilitating conditions can also access the therapies on offer.

Their aim is to help relieve the symptoms and ease the pain that some people experience with Multiple Sclerosis as well as certain other medical ailments such as M.E. Autism, Fibro-Myalgia, Cerebral Palsy, stroke, diabetes and oral cancer. 

MK Therapy Centre Facebook Group.

What Volunteer Roles are Available?

MK Therapy Centre are looking for volunteers who are able to distribute posters to businesses and Residential or Care Homes throughout Milton Keynes.  

The posters will be advertising a new Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) Clinic, a therapy particularly helpful for people suffering mental health issues after the Pandemic, as well as those with Long Covid.

MK Therapy Centre are holding an Open Day on Friday 30th September, 11am – 1.30pm. Pop in for a cuppa and find out more about what they do and the volunteer roles available.

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Volunteer Opportunity of the Week: Milton Keynes City Discovery Centre at Bradwell Abbey

MKCDC are in Search of Trustees

Milton Keynes City Discovery Centre (MKCDC) is a Registered Educational Charity with a Trading Arm, and is a company limited by guarantee.

MKCDC are based at the beautiful Scheduled Ancient Monument medieval site of Bradwell Abbey, with several medieval buildings in situ, and 13 acres of woodland and landscaping. Their site and business are a hidden gem within the modern city of Milton Keynes.

They have recently completed a conservation project, and as a result, are ready to action the parts of their Business Plan that will see the site developing into an operational heritage attraction. 

They are now looking for four new Trustees, to start immediately once interviews and checks have taken place.

Click here for the full role descriptions. All applications are welcome.

Positions are voluntary, but expenses are offered.

Please contact the Director, Noël James, via email if you are interested: 

Director@mkcdc.org.uk, attaching CV and cover letter, or alternatively post to Dr. Noël James. MKCDC, Bradwell Abbey, Alston Drive, Milton Keynes,

MK13 9AP.

Please call 07951 997334 if you would like to discuss before applying.

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Outreach Support: Xtra Special Families

Outreach Support: Xtra Special Families

Members of staff from our team at Community Action: MK recently attended an event set up by Xtra Special Families.

Read more: Outreach Support: Xtra Special Families

Xtra Special Families are a local Community Group, powered entirely by a small group of volunteers. They offer holiday sessions, full of fun with games, outdoor activities and guest entertainment. Each session is open to any family with a disabled child or child with additional needs and their siblings, living in Milton Keynes and surrounding areas.

Find out more about their events here or click here to find out more about volunteering with Xtra Special Families!

Through our Group Support Team, Community Action: MK have supported Xtra Special Families from the start – providing help with the initial stages of creating a Community Group including help writing governing documents, ensuring correct policies were in place and providing information of appropriate venues for their events.

With this support, Xtra Special Families were able to set up and offer their vital services to (NUMBER OF USERS) from Milton Keynes and the surrounding areas.

Now, through our Volunteer Coordinator and Growth and Development Staff, Community Action: MK continue to support Xtra Special Families as we attend events, promote their incredibly important work and help source new volunteers.

We are honoured to have had the opportunity to work with Xtra Special Families and highlight an example of the importance of working with local communities in Milton Keynes.

If you are interested in setting up a group in Milton Keynes or you would like some guidance on Governance, Volunteering or any other service for your group, please email support@communityactionmk.org.

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Volunteer Opportunity of the Week: MK Scouts

About MK Scouts

Milton Keynes Scouts are formed of a collective of groups from across MK. They deliver a programme for children into young adulthood, that helps members to explore their creativity, contribute to their community and experience adventures!

The Volunteering Opportunities

With demand higher than ever for young people to join Squirrels, Cubs, Beavers, Scouts and Explorers- most groups across the city are running at full capacity and many young people are missing out on the chance to learn skills for life.

From parents helping at meetings, to a call out for Trustees – there’s a range of roles available to suit your needs, time and skills. Training is provided, as well as a warm welcome from the friendly network of volunteers.

MK Scouts welcome volunteers from all walks of life, as well as interest from employee volunteering initiatives.

For all the role descriptions, and how to apply, click here.

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Volunteer Opportunity of the Week: NSPCC’s Speak Out Stay Safe Programme

Help keep local children safe by volunteering for the NSPCC’s Speak out Stay safe Programme 

Speak out Stay safe is a safeguarding programme for children aged 5 to 11 years old and is available to all primary schools across Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes. 

It helps children, in an age-appropriate way, to understand: 

  • abuse in all its forms and how to recognise signs of abuse
  • that abuse is never a child’s fault and that they have the right to be safe
  • where to get help and the sources of help available to them, including our Childline service

Through virtual assemblies and face to face workshops, children can learn about the different types of abuse in an age-appropriate way, so they can get help if or when they need it. NSPCC staff and volunteers help them identify a trusted adult they can talk to if they’re ever worried about themselves or a friend. 

With the help of Childline’s mascot Buddy, Speak out Stay safe covers topics like bullying, neglect and sexual abuse – without using any scary words or adult language.

Last year, the NSPCC delivered 1,600 Speak out Stay safe online programmes to schools across the UK and now we are looking for volunteers to train for our face-to-face assemblies. 

If you are someone with experience of delivering programmes in an educational or safeguarding setting, with strong planning and organisational abilities, good communication and excellent people skills – we would love to hear from you.

We are particularly looking for those with the following qualities and experience:

  • Passionate about helping young people and children.
  • Great communication skills.
  • Empathetic and perceptive.
  • Sensitive and supportive.
  • Able to think on your feet.
  • Works well within a team.
  • Aged over 16.

Speak out Stay safe is an effective way to support a school’s safeguarding duties and links directly to the curriculum as well as helping reinforce key messages about abuse and neglect as part of a school’s teaching about relationships.

It can also support the Ofsted requirements for personal development as part of the September 2022 framework. Additionally, it can be used to complement the statutory guidance for the RSE curriculum – www.gov.uk/government/publications/relationships-education-relationships-and-sex-education-rse-and-health-education/relationships-education-primary

For further information about how your school can take part please contact laura.franklin@nspcc.org.uk 

Thanks to the NSPCC for writing this guest blog.

 Photography by Tom Hull. The children and adults pictured are models.

Blog Post Volunteering

Volunteer Opportunity of the Week: MK Libraries

Looking for a playful and enriching volunteer opportunity? Milton Keynes Libraries are currently recruiting for the following roles:

CENTRAL LIBRARY

– Code Club volunteers – helping with Code Club sessions

   (Mondays 3.30-5.30pm) 

WESTCROFT LIBRARY

– Lego Club volunteer – set up, engaging with children and tidying away

   (Thursdays 3.15-4.45pm)

WOLVERTON LIBRARY

– Lego club volunteer – set up, engaging with children and tidying away

   (Tuesdays 3.15-4.45pm)
For more information and how to apply: Volunteering with Milton Keynes libraries | Milton Keynes Council (milton-keynes.gov.uk)

Blog Post Volunteering

Guest Blog: The Vision for Volunteering

Our guest blog is written by the Vision for Volunteering, an exploration of how volunteering must adapt and evolve in the future:

Volunteering needs to embrace experimentation, actively encourage collaboration, and ensure that it is more diverse and inclusive, in order that the impact volunteers make across the country can continue to grow, according to the recently-launched Vision for Volunteering.

The Vision also urges organisations to recognise the power of volunteers and communities, and to ensure that everyone is able to engage with their community and build the future they want to see. This requires power to be devolved to individuals and communities, it argues. The Vision is set out in full at VisionForVolunteering.org.uk.

The Vision for Volunteering movement is led by NAVCA, NCVO, Volunteering Matters, the Association of Volunteer Managers and Sport England. It began the next stage of its conversation on what volunteering needs to look like and how this will make volunteers feel about their roles by 2032, when it launched at Volunteer Expo Live in Birmingham in May.

Ruth Leonard, chair of the Association of Volunteer Managers, told attendees at the launch event: “The Vision for Volunteering is, very deliberately, not a finalised action plan. Instead, this is the start of the next chapter in a conversation about what is needed to create that diverse, innovative, ambitious and person-centred future, by 2032. We’d love to hear your voice in that continuing dialogue – please go to the Vision for Volunteering website and sign up to hear more.

Blog Post Shaping Decision Making and Policy Volunteering

Volunteer Opportunity of the Week: Xtra Special Families

Who are Xtra Special Families?

Xtra Special Families are a small community group, who are powered entirely by a small group of volunteers. They offer fun holiday sessions to families living with disability or additional needs in Milton Keynes and surrounding areas. 

Xtra Special Families was formed in May 2014 to provide fun activities designed to develop and improve life skills for disabled children, whilst providing mutual support for their carers and families in Milton Keynes.
 
Since forming XSF has run 7 half day holiday sessions every year (except during the pandemic) aimed at the whole family, enabling children with special needs and their siblings to share positive experiences together.
 
Activities such as Reptile Roadshow, Music and Art Workshops, and Circus Skills are bought in, together with resources of the Play Association. In addition volunteers provided craft and play activities.
 
The small committee are nearly all parents themselves of children and young adults with disabilities and so bring a wealth of knowledge and awareness which helps XSF offer the best experience they can.

These Summer Holiday play sessions provide an engaging opportunity for families to experience a whole host of activities in a safe and inclusive environment.

The Volunteer Opportunity of the Week

On August 24th 1.30- 3.30pm, Supporting Xtra Special Families will be back at Broughton Fields Primary School with another fun-filled event. If you have just a few hours to spare to help facilitate the array of activities on offer, you’ll have the chance to meet the welcoming team at SXSF, as well as the wonderful families who attend the sessions.

If you’re able to support this invaluable work, get in touch via Facebook Messenger to find out more: Supporting Xtra Special Families | Facebook or email: sxsfenquiries@gmail.com

Blog Post Mobilising Communities Volunteering

Volunteer Opportunity of the Week: The Mead Centre

The Mead Centre is a project of Newport Pagnell United Reformed Church, a community building that is building community.

“The Mead centre is a welcoming space for individuals, clubs, families, businesses and other community groups to gather in. We are working hard to make the Mead Centre a place of community in which to meet, celebrate, learn, grow, share and make a difference, making it possible to transform lives and enrich society”

If you’d like to help realise this vision, the Mead Centre are looking for volunteers for a host of roles, including admin support, assisting with fundraising activities, and helping with activities. For all the opportunities, and how to apply, click here.

Blog Post Volunteering
people walking on brown concrete floor

The Wisdom Principle- Navigating BAME Generational Mental Wellbeing

The Wisdom Principle held their second event of the year on Saturday, 23rd July at Acorn House and what an event it was! The event looked at Generational BAME Mental Wellbeing and I had the pleasure of attending with two hats on. One as a volunteer on behalf of Community Action: MK and the other as an interested member of the BAME community with a strong interest in mental wellbeing.

Who are The Wisdom Principle and what do they do?

Blog Post Mobilising Communities

Free Fun this Summer!

Free and Fun Things to do this Summer Holiday

With the Summer holidays starting for many this week, we’ve gathered some links for free or lower-cost activities across Milton Keynes over the next 6 weeks. We can’t verify all the offers or deals, so please do check with the individual organisations, restaurants or supermarkets before you head out on your adventures.

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Coping with the Cost of Living

The increases in the cost of living are ever prevalent, but there are both local and national organisations that can provide help and support.

Cost of Living Payments

If you are claiming a low-income benefit and think that you are entitled to a Cost of Living Payment, you
don’t need to do anything. You’ll get the payments automatically. The first instalment of the £650 Cost of Living Payments will be paid automatically to eligible people, between 14 – 31 July. The remaining £324 will be paid in autumn. To find out more visit Cost of Living Payment .

Help for Households: a summary of government support.

General Articles

Cost of living: Why are things so hard for so many people? – BBC News

Citizens Advice Monthly Briefing on Cost of Living Crisis

The energy crisis: impact on charities | Harrison Clark Rickerbys (hcrlaw.com)

Guardian article – impact on single parents and their children 

ACEVO, the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations has compiled a range of links to reports, surveys and data sources to support civil society leaders to understand the impact of the Cost of Living crisis.

Keeping Warm

Good Law Project

Regularly publishing ‘Empowered’ articles on different themes related to the cost-of-living support available and consumer rights.

The first article examines energy bill support and discounts.

The second article explains how to claim the benefits you’re entitled to.

The third article helps with understanding the rules on energy disconnection and prepayment meters.

Do you have a combi boiler?

Changing your boiler settings, could potentially cut gas use by 6-8% without changing room temperature. Nesta have launched a prototype tool to help optimise their heating: https://www.nesta.org.uk/project/optimising-boilers-reduce-household-emissions/how-to-optimise-your-boiler/

Octopus Energy – Free electric blankets for our most vulnerable

Find out more and register your interest here.

Transition town Milton Keynes

Local community group promoting local action for low-carbon living. Their website offers a range of ideas related to improving energy efficiency of households that could help with reducing costs.

SuperHomes scheme and newsletters: practical advice on keeping homes well-insulated and warm. 

Better Housing and Better Health

Offer impartial advice on reducing heating bills and keeping warm.

Martin Lewis Money Saving Expert

Champion of consumer rights, his website provides a wealth of information on coping strategies and ways to reduce household bills.

National Energy Foundation, Warm Home Discount

Those who need it most can get £140 (inclusive of VAT) off their electricity bill in the winter (September – March). NEF also issues Emergency Energy Cards.

Citizens Advice Bureau

A round up of advice, including Winter Fuel Payments, Cold Weather Payments and links to energy suppliers who offer grants to their customers. CAB also provides links to support if you’re struggling with living costs.

Superhomes

Advice on reducing domestic energy use, sign up to their newsletter for tips.

Money Advice, Budgeting and Funding

MK Money Lifeline

Offering free confidential money advice and resources to anyone in the Milton Keynes area. Their services are provided by a team of trained volunteers who give advice in accordance with the training provided by Community Money Advice.

Milton Keynes Council 

Extra financial help, including assistance with rent, council tax relief, and local welfare provision.

Household support fund | Milton Keynes Council (milton-keynes.gov.uk)

Funding from the Council to help residents who are in financial difficulties and struggling to meet the cost of essential items including:

  • Food
  • Energy and water bills
  • Repair or purchase of essential household appliances
  • Servicing and repair of heating systems
  • School uniform or other essential clothing
  • Other essential living costs

Turn2Us

A national charity who offers assistance to those struggling financially.

Data Poverty: The Good Things Foundation

Supporting people with data connectivity.

Housing and Homelessness

Housing solutions and homelessness advice | Milton Keynes Council (milton-keynes.gov.uk)

Shelter

A national charity that helps people struggling with bad housing or homelessness, or the costs of housing, through  advice, support and legal services. They have a comprehensive resource bank on their website and a free emergency helpline, open Monday to Friday, 8am – 8pm and 9am – 5pm on weekends and bank holidays: 0808 800 4444. 

Winter Night Shelter

WNS support rough sleepers; people in emergency/temporary housing; people in need of support with tenancies and those at risk of homelessness.

Food and Cooking on a Budget

MK Melting Pot

MK Melting Pot aims to help young people, vulnerable families and individuals overcome hunger and integrate, empowering people from diverse cultures with new skills to overcome hardship. Some of their services include: Food Donations, Online Cooking, Employability & Training, Money Management and a Children Club. Contact details: phone – 01908 585537 email – mkmeltingpot@hotmail.com

MK Food Bank

The Food Bank Helpline: 0300 303 4933 or text HELP 07874 964505 open between 9:00am – 3:00pm, Monday – Friday. You can leave a message outside of these times.

FoodCycle

Beginning on the 4 November at the Old Bath House in Wolverton, a chance to enjoy a free, vegetarian 3 course meal in welcoming environment. No vouchers or referrals needed.

Trussell Trust

A charity that connects people to food banks and also offers an advice line

DREAMSAI – Food charity and Shri Shirdi Saibaba Temple Milton Keynes

Cooking Good – Healthy, Community Cooking (cooking-good.co.uk)

Healthy, low-cost meal suggestions and recipes.

Reducing Fuel Use

MK Connect

Innovative and responsive public transport.

MK Connect: Demand-responsive transport in Milton Keynes. – Via Transportation (ridewithvia.com)

Improving your cycling skills

Training courses – Milton Keynes (getaroundmk.org.uk)

Period Poverty

Girl Pack MK  – Girl Pack is for anyone who is in need of sanitary towels and underwear just so they can go to school or work (not means tested). Available in schools, community/children’s and family centres and local council offices all over MK. A list of venues can be found on their Facebook page.

Shopping

Charity shops are good places to find a bargain and a wide variety of stock. With the cost of living crisis leaving the people with less disposable income, second-hand shopping might be a good money-saving option. Just type in ‘charity shops near me’ into your search engine to find your local charity shops.

To see other vital services available in Milton Keynes, please visit our Signposting Channels page: communityactionmk.org/signposting-channels

Blog Post Strengthening Groups

Milton Keynes Libraries: Volunteer Opportunity of the Week

There are a range of ways to get involved with your local library, from shelving books to building Lego towers with young visitors. Currently Milton Keynes Libraries are searching for Code Club volunteers, and an IT Buddy based at Central Library.

What is Code Club?

Read more: Milton Keynes Libraries: Volunteer Opportunity of the Week
Blog Post Volunteering

Volunteer Opportunity of the Week: Repair Café

Today’s volunteer opportunity comes from the Repair Café, a local community initiative that promotes repair as an alternative to throwing things out.The café is held at The Old Bath House Community Centre. 205 Stratford Road, Wolverton MK12 5RL, on the second Saturday of the month.

Blog Post Mobilising Communities Strengthening Groups Volunteering

Mental Health Alliance

Mental Health Alliance:

Community Action: MK facilitates the Milton Keynes Mental Health Alliance. The Alliance is made up of voluntary and community sector groups that play a part in improving the mental health of the people they work with. A huge variety of groups, large and small, are involved with the Alliance, covering a range of activities and services. Not all of the member groups work on mental health issues directly, but may instead support activities that improve health and wellbeing more generally.

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Volunteer for SMART in Milton Keynes!

About SMART

Our vision is to transform our communities so that every person has the opportunity to achieve their fullest potential, participate in and contribute to all aspects of life. We do this by providing safe spaces to work with vulnerable people, empowering them to make positive changes and take control of their lives.

We help adults and young people, families and individuals with complex needs. Our dedicated teams work alongside people affected by drug and alcohol use, and those who find themselves homeless.

Together we help people reach and maintain positive change for the long term.

SMART Allotment Volunteer:

Do you like being outdoors? do you enjoy gardening? If so this is the perfect opportunity for you!

Norman Russell House is a 13-bed service run by SMART CJS and funded by Milton Keynes Council, with referrals accepted directly from them. The project is a supported accommodation facility with 10 bedrooms and 3 move-on flats for people who have previously faced homelessness.

When in SMART’s care practical living skills are taught (like washing, laundry, cooking and budgeting) as well as assistance given with applications and forms for benefits, training, education and employment. Whilst at Norman Russell House, residents also have access to health and mental health care as well as drugs and alcohol support services from community partners to ensure that their recovery and progress is maintained.

We all know the positive benefits of working outdoors has been recognised as a major contributor that promotes positive  mental health and wellbeing.

Our exciting allotment project  at Bradwell  Abbey  aims to engage our residents  at  Norman Russell House with the opportunity to learn about plants and how to grow your own produce.

The idea is they spend 1.5 hours on our allotment space and then half an hour in the communal gardens to give something back to the community. This will be every Wednesday from 2pm.

Interested please email: 

Manpreet.Roopra@smartcjs.org.uk 

SMART Activities Volunteer:

Main purpose of the role: To help residents with engaging in activities that will help improve their wellbeing and mental health. This will also support them in learning essential life skills for when they move into independent accommodation, social skills and re engaging with the local community

To support our activities coordinator with creating or carrying out activities either in the 

property at Norman Russell house or where the activity will be. This could include things such

as cooking, going to the gym, running, playing board games, quiz night, walking, day trips,

gardening and other activities. 

Interested please email: 

Manpreet.Roopra@smartcjs.org.uk 

Find out more about SMART CJS here: http://www.smartcjs.org.uk/

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Alzheimer’s Society are hiring!

Alzheimer’s Society MK is looking for a Dementia Support Worker

Salary: £12,217.80 – £12,961.80 actual per annum (depending on skills and experience)
Contract Type: Permanent
Location: Milton Keynes
Working Hours: 21 per week
Closing Date: 07 March 2022
Interview Date: To be confirmed (interviews will be conducted through Zoom or Teams)
Contact: Sam Marshall – sam.marshall@alzheimers.org.uk / 07484097048

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We are hiring!

Are you looking for a new challenge and are passionate about the work of the not-for-profit sector? Do you want a role that supports a busy team as well as volunteers, voluntary groups and communities to do great things? If so, then we have multiple vacancies on offer for you. Read on to find out more …

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We’re hiring!

Senior Development Officer – Volunteering and Outreach

Salary: £29,577 per annum 

Hours of Work: 37hrs per week (usually Monday to Friday during business hours, though there is a requirement to work outside of regular business hours occasionally). 

Term of contract: Permanent 

Deadline for Applications: 19th January 2022, 4pm

Interview date: Thursday 27th January 2022

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Children’s Grief Awareness Week

Guest Blog – Harry’s Rainbow sharing more about Children’s Grief Awareness Week (18th -25th November)

We have been joined by Harry’s Rainbow a local charity that supports children and young adults bereaved of a parent or sibling. Here they share their work, insights into the upcoming Grief Awareness Week & how you can stay up to date with them – Thank you to Harry’s Rainbow for sharing with us.

We have just celebrated our 10th birthday and in this time we have supported over 480 children. Along with offering direct support through our Rainbow groups, we are keen to raise awareness of the experience that our families have. One way of doing this is through supporting campaigns like Children’s Grief Awareness Week.

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MK ACT are hiring!

Children and Young People’s Support Worker

37.5 hours per week, £25,252 per annum

Starting rate: £24,252 and after 6 months will rise to £24,752 following successful completion of probationary period.  After 12 months’ salary will be increased to £25,252

Work Pattern: Full-time, within office hours (some flexibility)

Based at MK-Act Office within their refuge provision.

MK ACT have an exciting opportunity to work with their organisation to support the Children and Young People (CYP), whose families have come into the Refuge.  As a CYP support worker, your job is to promote the well-being of children in the refuge, provide assessments, identify their needs and any risk posed to them. Support will be identified using a support plan and key working. You will contribute to group-work and therapeutic interventions. MK ACT are looking for an individual who is committed in supporting those affected by Domestic Violence and to join their strong, caring and hardworking team.

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Milton Keynes Homelessness Partnership Research Highlights the Local Impact of Covid-19 on the Homeless Sector

A bit more from MKHP regarding the report and the work they have been doing.

As the homelessness sector continues to navigate through the challenges presented by the pandemic, the Milton Keynes Homelessness Partnership (MKHP) publishes its inaugural research report. It puts a spotlight on the real impact of COVID-19 across the sector and on people who are homeless or are at risk of homelessness across Milton Keynes.


For the first time, the voices of Milton Keynes’ organisations across the voluntary and statutory sector, together with business speak out, highlighting their concerns and trepidation for the future whilst at the same time harnessing an abundance of optimism on what could be achieved if lessons from the pandemic are learned and acted upon. Carried out in March and April 2021, a series of in-depth and compelling interviews across the network tested the mood of the sector. The research began to get under the skin of the historical battle in Milton Keynes around homelessness. As relevant now as at the beginning of lockdown, the research compares Milton Keynes to the national picture uncovering unique local issues but also sharing national concerns around welfare payments, eviction bans, and more people beginning to present as homeless.

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Guest Blog – Children Heard and Seen

Thank you to Children Head and Seen for joining us and sharing this blog. Children Heard and Seen are a charity based in Oxford who support children affected by parental imprisonment. They are a vital charity that offers much needed help, activities and community to families who are often ignored and forgotten. Please take a read and find out more about their work, impact and the experiences of the children. Children Heard and Seen work across MK so do reach out to find out more.

A bit about our ‘WHY’…

Estimates suggest 312,000 children are affected by parental imprisonment in the UK. There is no government funded support for these children and no mechanism to identify them. Children are separated from their parent, often in traumatic circumstances, and left to cope with no professional support. Older children are often left to care for younger children, unidentified and alone.

“Before accessing the support from Children Heard and Seen our family wasn’t supported by anything or anyone”

“I was really shocked. I thought before court or after court I’d get a phone call from someone. I don’t know. Maybe someone from social services, not to judge or interfere with our family life, but to be there to offer support. I was really shocked because there’s nothing. Absolutely nothing. You’re just left to deal with it.”

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Guest Blog – Depaul MK

This week we have been joined by Megan from Depaul UK, MK to share the work of the organisation which is working to prevent youth homelessness across MK. We love hearing about the work of the voluntary and community sector if you or your group would like to blog with us just email – support@communityactionmk.org. Now to hear from Depaul UK, thank you for sharing with us.

Depaul logo
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woman with a laptop talking to two other women, who are facing her

AVMKSAASS are hiring!

Aylesbury Vale and Milton Keynes Sexual Assault and Abuse Support Service (AVMKSAASS) provides support, information, advice and guidance to anyone in our area affected by sexual assault and abuse, including non-recent and childhood sexual abuse.

We are currently looking to recruit a Helpline Advisor and an Advocacy Coordinator to join our growing team.

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Mental health awareness banner

Mental Health Awareness Week 2021

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week: 10th – 16th May 2021. The theme for this year is #ConnectWithNature. So we wanted to collate a list of all the great resources and tips that are coming out to raise awareness and support Mental Health, along with a few insights into what makes our own team smile at the moment! Keep your eyes peeled …

Mental Health Awareness Week Header
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Volunteers Week 2021

Join us this year for Volunteers Week on 1st – 7th June. We all know how vital volunteers are, particularly throughout this pandemic. This is the week that we nationally take time to pause and thank volunteers for all the hard work they have done, and continue to do! 

For Volunteers Week, this year’s theme is ‘A time to say thanks’. We want to take this time to share and show the work that volunteers have contributed – you could send us information about how you have volunteered, share an image of how a volunteer has helped you or  tell us what your volunteers have been doing

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Employment opportunities

Partnership Lead – BLMK Communities Together Programme

An exciting opportunity has arisen for a Partnership Lead. This critical role will lead the
development of the Communities Together Programme for the Voluntary, Community and
Social Enterprise (VCSE) across Bedfordshire, Luton, and Milton Keynes (BLMK). Your role will
maximise the impact of the (VCSE) and ensure the sector is an equal partner which
positively contributes towards the delivery of the strategic priorities of BLMK.

So if you have experience in this field, are passionate about developing a culture that promotes equality,
equity and values diversity, if you work in a collaborative way and have experience of managing organisational change, we’d love to hear from you.

Click here for more information and to apply

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Winter Night Shelter MK is looking for volunteers – can you help?

Covid-19 has affected the voluntary and community sector in numerous ways, one impact on the Winter Night Shelter Milton Keynes is that their services are going from being seasonal (winter) to all year round. This is to ensure the support is available for the increasing numbers of vulnerable people. Read on to hear from the WNSMK about their work, the impact of Covid-19, their volunteers and how you can get involved. Thank you Winter Night Shelter Milton Keynes for sharing this with us and all the amazing work you do! To apply for a role this spring/summer please complete this application form: WNSMK volunteer application form (spring/summer 2021)

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Volunteers needed – Stepping Stones Project

Could you support children and young people with their mental health?

Stepping Stones is a brand-new project that was developed, and will be delivered, collaboratively with the Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group and Service Six addressing the need to support children and young people transitioning from long-term inpatient mental health units back into the wider community. Volunteering Matters are looking for volunteers to support this project that starts in April 2021.

The key purpose of the volunteering role

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Inclusive Communications Session from Sensory Advice Resource Centre

SARC are running a training and awareness session on inclusive communications for people with sight and hearing loss.

Image caption: Sensory Advice Resource Centre logo

This FREE training and awareness raising session will be focused on sharing practical tools that can allow your organisations to be more inclusive of those with sight and hearing loss. It is vital that we are all learning how to do better and be more inclusive so that everyone can access the amazing services that are on offer across MK. The session will touch on the lived experiences of SARC’s service users and the ways that organisations can adapt. 

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Sign Up Now – Our New Volunteering Platform

In 2021 we’ve been making some changes and hoping to improve our volunteering platform to suit the evolving needs that we have come across throughout the pandemic and adjust and adapt as we move into this New Year. 

With this in mind we have transitioned to and created a Community Action: MK, Doit.Org site. We feel that this platform will better suit the needs of groups and volunteers as we move forwards. We’d like to encourage organisations to create their profile page and begin uploading volunteering opportunities so that volunteers can see the variety of opportunities available in MK. More details below including, videos guiding you through the platform and ways to access support.

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Join the virtual ‘Town Hall’ to discuss setting up a BAME infrastructure group in MK

This event on 18th January is a space for those from a BAME background who would like to share their insights, experiences and be involved in or share their views on the creation of a dedicated space / group committed to supporting and raising awareness for issues facing BAME communities. If you are interested in attending the virtual town hall event you should register by emailing info@mkcommunityfoundation.co.uk Please remember to include your name, the organisation you are part of, if applicable and preferred breakout sessions, listed below (Register by 14th January)

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Trustees wanted – The Denbigh Alliance

The Denbigh Alliance in Milton Keynes seeks two non-executives/directors with demonstrated experience in change management, corporate governance or human resources to join its board. Board meetings are held in Milton Keynes when safe to do so.

The Academy Ambassadors programme brings the expertise of the business world onto boards at multi-academy trusts (MATs) throughout the country to raise standards of education and improve the life chances of young people, which is critical to our social and economic success.

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MK Homelessness Partnership – Support our research!

Image caption: MK Homelessness Partnership logo

Support the MK Homelessness Partnership in their research in shaping the future of volunteering in the homeless sector …

We want to hear the views of both organisations and their volunteers on whether providing mental health and wellbeing support for volunteers working with homeless people during the COVID-19 pandemic (in a confidential and safe environment) can improve the volunteer experience for both the volunteers and the organisation. Volunteering in the homeless sector has undoubtedly changed since the start of the pandemic. Never more so has there been a need to harness the power of volunteers to help organisations support vulnerable people – without them it would not be possible. Covid-19 has put additional stress on all of us and whilst volunteers are focussed on the wellbeing of the people they support, in order to provide that support they must look after their own mental health and wellbeing.

Are you a volunteer? How important is it for organisations to support the mental health and wellbeing of volunteers during the pandemic?

Please share with us your thoughts by joining our online volunteer forum on Wednesday 13th January 11.30am – 1:00pm. You will be joined by other organisations to prompt discussions around the benefit/s (if any) in providing access to a confidential and impartial outlet to support volunteer mental health and wellbeing, and the impact it could have on their organisation and the recruitment of volunteers.Please reserve your place through EventBrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/shaping-the-future-of-volunteering-in-the-homeless-sector-volunteers-only-tickets-133059710175 

Please sign up by end of the day Friday 8th January 2021.

Are you an organisation that works with volunteers? How important is it for organisations to support the mental health and wellbeing of volunteers during the pandemic?

Please share with us your thoughts by joining our online volunteer forum on Wednesday 20th January 11.30am – 1:00pm. You will be joined by other organisations to prompt discussions around the benefit/s (if any) in providing access to a confidential and impartial outlet to support volunteer mental health and wellbeing, and the impact it could have on their organisation and the recruitment of volunteers.Please reserve your place through EventBrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/shaping-the-future-of-volunteering-in-the-homeless-sector-organisations-tickets-133060253801 

Please sign up by end of the day Friday 15th January 2021.

Once confirmed we will send you a Zoom link to access the meeting. This link will be sent the day before the forum is being held. Only those who are on our attendance list or MKHP guests will be sent a link and admitted on to the call. If your Representative changes for this forum please let us know so we can transfer access.

If you have any questions, please contact me on kate.mundle@mkhp.co.uk or telephone 01908 38236

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MK-ACT are hiring!

Housing IDVA

Closing date: 8th January

We have an exciting opportunity to work for our organisation in partnership with Milton Keynes Council (MKC) providing a high quality service as a Housing IDVA to support those who experience Domestic Abuse (DA).

Providing targeted independent domestic violence advocacy and support for people who approach The Homelessness Prevention Team for help which is as a result of DA or where DA is a contributory factor. Part of your role will also to be to increase the capacity and skills of Housing staff at MKC to identify DA, understand associated risks, and improve their responses to disclosure. Part of your work is to empower our clients, keeping the safety of them and their children central to their interventions. We are looking for an individual who is committed to working in a multi-agency setting, which is fast paced. You will be joining our
caring, strong and hardworking team.

This post is a fixed term for 1 year, with the possibility of it being extended dependent on funding.

MK-ACT is an equal opportunities employer committed to quality, equality and diversity and
welcomes applications from all sections of the community. This post is subject to safer recruitment
procedures and regulations and an enhanced DBS check and is open to female applicants only
under Schedule 9 (Part 1) of the Equality act 2010.

Salary scale (F MKC) : £ 25, 991
Hours:  37.5 hours per week (secondment considered)
Work Pattern: Office hours Monday – Friday

You will be based at MKC, Civic Offices within Milton Keynes, but you will have some meetings within MK-Act offices working in close contact with the MK-Act teams. As a Housing IDVA you will have an in-depth working knowledge of DA and experience of working with victims of DA in relation to their housing. Our ideal candidate will be specialising in working with clients for whom housing and risk of tenancy breakdown is a factor. You will be able to work on their own initiative but also seeking support from the team when required.

Closing date: Friday 8th January 2021, 5pm

For an application pack please contact: sue.burke@mk-act.org

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Volunteer recruitment and management in the age of COVID

FREE Zoom training
26th January 2021, 10am – 12pm

A well thought out volunteering programme has always been necessary for effective
volunteer recruitment and management. But it may be difficult to know where to start if
you are new to volunteer management or want to refresh your approach – and the current
coronavirus pandemic brings an additional set of challenges.

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November Networking – How did it go?

We virtually got together with some of the amazing organisations across MK at the end of November. The space was there to hear from groups, share some of the work and signposting documents we have been working on and just generally touch base to see how things are going and what we can do. 

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Supporting Young People’s Mental Health

YiS are offering a FREE mental health and wellbeing session for those supporting young people’s mental health.

About this Event

Community Action: MK are delighted to be able to facilitate this FREE offer from YiS Young People’s Mental Health, of a mental health and wellbeing session for those that are working to support the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people.

This session is aimed mainly at volunteers who support young people, but can include parents/ carers and young people themselves.

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SaferMK Partnership – Meet our VCSE Board Representatives

We are delighted to introduce you to the two VCSE representatives on the SaferMK Partnership Board – Maralyn Smith and Simon Green. Read on to find out a bit more about them, where they have come from and why they want to make a difference and contribute to the communities of Milton Keynes through the SaferMK Partnership.

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Community Led Initiatives – Become a mentor…

We’d like to say thank you to Community Led Initiatives for this guest blog sharing information about their volunteer mentor role, how you can apply and what the roles is about. We have seen a huge increase in volunteering throughout Covid-19 and this is an 1 example of a great way to get involved in a local group and support them in a more permanent way as they continue to help communities and individuals across MK.

Not sure where to volunteer next or what you could do now? Become a mentor, change a life.

Community Led Initiatives (CLI) are recruiting volunteer mentors for their SAMAS project. You will be supporting people in recovery from substance misuse and gambling addiction. This role requires 2 day’s training via zoom. 

A bit about Community Led Initiatives – 

Blog Post Volunteering

Learning, Awareness and Anti-Racism at CA:MK

Our Learning Journey: 2020

Here at Community Action MK we have been taking some time to share and learn as a team, what it means to be an organisation committed to social and racial justice.  As part of Black History Month we made time to discuss how important it is that we move forward with a genuine desire to change the systems that affect Black individuals and communities. It has been important for us to look at issues and account for the range of views and perspectives that people have. We are a community focused organisation, and to allow us to support the community, we have to create a safe, open space where people can learn and share. Whilst recognising and embracing that discussions will continue to, and have, made us feel uncomfortable, they have also positively challenged us to unpack issues and learn. We hope this experience will help us support groups to think about how to explore and act on diversity and inclusion issues for their organisations, and lead the sector to be more antiracist, what better place to start than with our own team.

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Volunteer Drop-In

We are taking our volunteer drop-in online! A chance to talk through and learn more about what volunteering roles are out there for you!

We are bringing our volunteer drop-in back for 2 dates this December to enable us to talk to you through virtual means about all your volunteering queries. We can hopefully help you to locate a role through our database and what organisations and local groups send to us through our internal communications.

There are 2 dates available with 4 x 30 minute times slots and you will be able to chat to one of our friendly team members. First come, first serve!

Date: 8th & 15th December 2020

Time: 11am – 1pm

Where: Google Meet

You will receive joining instructions separately.

Register for a time slot here: https://volunteerdrop-in.eventbrite.co.uk

Our team aim to cover all bases within the time slot, but if you have any questions prior to the session or would like any more information, please contact us using the details below.

Email: support@communityactionmk.org

Telephone: 01908 661623

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MK Play Association need Trustees!

Are you an effective trustee? Can you help one of MK’s oldest independent charities?

Milton Keynes Play Association Logo


MKPA would like to meet you

By stepping into this role, you will be helping to ensure MKPA’s ongoing sustainability, and therefore allow MKPA to continue to provide support to other local community groups, organisations and families in and around Milton Keynes.

Whilst, not a ‘frontline’ charity, MKPA is a vital part of the community by providing affordable resources and services to local children, families, carers, nurseries, schools in addition to other local community groups such as Guides and Scout , youth clubs and SEND support groups and in 2021 will celebrate it’s 50th year of operation.

What’s in it for you?

This volunteer role, although challenging, would be highly rewarding to see MKPA through this difficult period and into it’s next phase. It gives the volunteer the opportunity to share their business expertise and enable positive change.

In addition, to the benefit the local community would derive from MKPA’s sustainability, you would be instrumental in securing a future for our small, dedicated staff team.

Interested?

MKPA are eager to find experienced individuals to join the Executive Team and make a positive impact in enabling the charity to further develop it’s vision of a world where children find themselves through play by ‘Making Play Happen and Making Play Matter’.

As a member of the Executive Team, you will have joint responsibility for steering MKPA’s business strategy and policies, thereby ensuring its future sustainability (full role responsibilities available on request).

We are looking for people who can offer experience in any of the following areas:

  • Governance
  • Business Planning/Strategy
  • Business Development
  • Marketing
  • Fundraising

You are somebody who likes to get stuck in, values learning through play in childhood development and has a passion for people and the local community.

In conjunction with your fellow board members, you must be able to assess the immediate needs of the organisation and implement changes to make a rapid and positive impact, taking into account the operational challenges of supporting a medium sized charity.

Want to find out more?

If you are interested in applying for a Trustee role or would like to find out more, please contact Sarah Keen via email sarah@mkpa.co.uk or call on 01908 263033.

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Funding Spotlight

This month, Community Action: MK were lucky enough to be able to host an online information session centred around funding. This came out as an area of interest and need from a group survey we ran, as well as our Collaborative Action Groups. Below is a round up of the session with some useful links for your interest.

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“Our experience of becoming volunteer hosts…”

This week we have been lucky enough to hear from a volunteer at Sanctuary Hosting. Sanctuary Hosting is a charity that support refugees, migrants and asylum seekers who need somewhere to stay. The idea was birthed from an Oxford Refugees Welcome demonstration in 2015 and a brilliant response to the idea of opening up your home to help someone in need [Read more about their story here]. Below we hear from one volunteer family in MK as they share openly and honestly about their journey and experience of hosting… Take a look and why not think about hosting yourself? Email: info@sanctuaryhosting.org with any questions.

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Mental Health

We are encouraged to always try and talk about our mental health. But with so many different aspects impacting our mental health, especially during the global pandemic we all find ourselves in, information about mental health can become quite overwhelming. Our wonderful colleague, Sue, has put together a simplified summary of different parts of our mental health and how we’ve recognised it as an organisation, as well as some useful signposts for your interest.

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Collaborative Action Groups: What have we learned and where are we heading?

The Collaborative Action Groups we are facilitating are still going steady, despite the ever-changing environment we find ourselves in. We are making the most of new, virtual ways of working and trying to develop more opportunities to communicate, and engage with groups and communities to support connections and joint work across MK where possible.

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Inclusion not Exceptionalism

This is a blog from Dumi Senda – thank you for sharing this with us. More information about how to get in touch with Dumi is at the bottom of this blog. #Blacklivesmatter

Inclusion not Exceptionalism: How to effectively support (your) Black+ colleagues in the workplace.

Conflict can be an opportunity for change, if it is embraced for what it can help us to become more aware of. It becomes a problem when we ignore the lessons it throws up for us. The currently resurgent (not new) racial tensions, however tragic the events that triggered them, can be a window of opportunity to move the needle in the right direction on racial equality and inclusion.

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Collaborative Action Groups: The Story So Far…

We started our new Collaborative Action Groups project a few weeks ago, which has been made possible thanks to the funding from MK Community Foundation and their Covid-19 MK Emergency Response Fund.

The project follows our own Covid-19 emergency response programme, which we have been working on since the start of the pandemic, which includes supporting our local VCSE groups with funding, governance and other needs to help them adapt to the new reality of working, and coordinating a bank of volunteers to support them deliver their services during these challenging times. Creating a network of Collaborative Actions Groups across the city is the approach we wanted to take following our
conversations with the local groups over the past few months as well as the findings from our Covid-19 survey, in which many of the groups have told us about the urgent need to create better ways of accessing and sharing information about the local needs and the issues being experienced by the most vulnerable people in our community.

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COVID-19: Autism and learning disabilities

People with learning disabilities and autistic people enjoy the same human rights as the rest of the population. Families and communities play an important role in promoting and upholding these rights, so that autistic people and people with learning disabilities can enjoy lives that are rich, fulfilling and fully included in society.

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Making Carers Visible

Caring can be rewarding but also challenging, and many carers are currently dealing with more challenges than ever before. It is important that carers know how to look after their own health and wellbeing, and that we all recognise the contribution that carers make.

This Carers Week, we’re recognising that now, more than ever before, it’s time for us to come together and help Make Caring Visible.

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The impact of COVID-19 on people with visual impairments

The coronavirus pandemic has caused daily difficulties for everyone. But what if you are visually impaired? We hear from local organisation, Bucks Vision, which supports people with visual impairment and share some resources for those with visual impairments as well as funding opportunities for people and organisations in this area.

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Case studies: The amazing work of local MK volunteers

Throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, we have witnessed the coming together of communities and an outpouring of willingness to volunteer. We have matched 218 people to various roles across MK.

This Volunteers Week, we are highlighting a few case studies of organisations who have been working with volunteers through this trying time.

Blog Post Volunteering

BLC’s Response to the Covid 19 crisis

Before CV19, we had talked about opening the Hub longer and on more days – for the Fridge and for social/learning events and activities. We could/did not quite manage it. 

In the most trying of circumstances, with the help of committed volunteers, some from Conniburrow and some from nearby communities, Big Local Conniburrow (BLC) has responded to the crisis in the following ways:

Blog Post Mobilising Communities

Volunteering: What’s it like?

Volunteering is a great way to give back. The act of volunteering itself reaches not only the organisation and their beneficiaries, but creates a domino effect of reaching people who hear about acts of volunteering, regarding their kindness as emotionally uplifting; it reaches those near and dear to those in need; and it reaches YOU.

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Help us ask the Government for urgent help

In light of the huge impact that the Covid-19 pandemic is posing now and in the future for the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector (VCSE) in Milton Keynes and across the UK, we want you to join us in writing to the Chancellor to speed up and improve the Government’s financial support for the charity sector. 

Blog Post Shaping Decision Making and Policy

Covid 19: Asylum seekers, refugees and migrants

The UK’s social distancing measures in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic have caused unprecedented changes to individual and social lives. The lives of asylum seekers, refugees and migrants have been impacted in specific ways that often cause people to lose their homes, live in cramped spaces, lose access to education and support and are alone in a new country. Additionally, homes for hosting are difficult to find as residents self-isolate.

Blog Post Mobilising Communities

We want to help you look after you and your team! Local and national mental health services

There is a lot of information out there at the moment about mental health and a mass of other things. We know this and we understand this. We know you may be feeling overwhelmed at the news, the statistics and the uncertainty. There are a lot of things to be thinking about or to try not to think about.

Blog Post Strengthening Groups

Resources and support for groups during Covid-19

Community Action: MK toolkit

We know there is a lot of information to process, some factual and some hearsay. We have been working on a toolkit to help groups get through this difficult time. This pack aims to filter out the confusing messages and provide straightforward and practical advice for you and your group. (Links below) 

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Thursday 23rd April 1-2-1 Information Session for Groups: BBC Children In Need Funding

We are delighted to be working with the regional grants officer at BBC Children in Need for South, who will be coming to Milton Keynes on Thursday 23rd April to meet with charities and community groups that might be interested in applying for  a BBC Children In Need grant.

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Board Members Wanted: Equality Council UK

Equality Council UK are SEEKING NEW BOARD MEMBERS.

In light to some retirements, ECUK is seeking members to serve on its Board, in particular the Milton Keynes area, but regional representation may be sought in the near future.

ECUK is a charity run by voluntary members.

We are looking for interested individuals who have the enthusiasm and drive to forward the equality agenda . If you feel your interest and skills can support our charity, then we would like to hear from you. We are seeking skills in the following areas:

  • Funding raising through an application/tendering process
  • Recruitment and membership – diversifying the database and connections
  • Marketing, Networking and Business Development
  • Equality Standards, Training and Development
  • Events Management: Equality Awards and Promotional Events
  • Web Maintenance and Information Technology

You would need to be committed and determined to make a difference.

There will be approximately 7 meetings during 2020 including the AGM. Facilities will be made available for members to attend meetings remotely via video/teleconferencing.

Please forward your recent CV together with a covering letter outlining your interest in Equality and Diversity as well as what you can bring to the Board. Please send your particulars to:

Navritaa@equalitycounciluk.org

Visit our website: https://www.equalitycounciluk.org/

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Volunteers Needed: Reading Helpers – Coram Beanstalk

Could you spare a few hours each week at a local primary school to share your love of reading with children in Milton Keynes?

Coram Beanstalk is a national reading charity that transforms children’s life chances by recruiting, training and supporting volunteers to work directly with children aged 5-11 who need support in their reading ability and confidence.

The charity currently needs new volunteers who can help engage children in books and stories, bringing the fun and magic back into reading with children whose reading confidence and enjoyment may have been lost or may need a boost.

As a reading helper you will support three primary school children twice a week for 30 minutes sessions for at least one academic year. The children you will be working with will need help for a variety of reasons but your focus will be on making reading fun and helping them feel more positive around books.

Very importantly, sessions are meant to be fun and enjoyable. By having this one-on-one time with each child the reading helper can help to develop the child’s reading skills and wider language acquisition in a fun and engaging way.

All volunteers receive professional training by Coram Beanstalk and ongoing support to ensure that they are best able to have the biggest impact possible through their sessions.

If you would like to become a reading helper in Milton Keynes, please visit the website at www.corambeanstalk.org.uk or call Coram Beanstalk on 020 7729 4087.

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Broughton and Brooklands Community Connectors: Community Awards Evening

Broughton and Brooklands Community Connectors Committee

On Friday evening, Peter, the Chairperson of the Connectors, celebrated the great work that has happened over the last four years by hosting a Community Awards evening to recognise and reward the nominees of the area.

The committee themselves – of Broughton & Brooklands Community Connectors – received an award for their hard work and dedication towards supporting and overseeing the other groups in the Broughton and Brooklands area. The awards were given by Milton Keynes Mayor, Sam Crooks, who came along by special invitation to present the awards to the deserving groups of Brooklands and Broughton.

One of the other groups to be awarded for their wonderful exemplary work was Supporting Xtra Special Families, who offer support to families living with disability or additional needs in Milton Keynes and the surrounding areas.

Supporting Xtra Special Families Committee

Our very own Community Action: MK employee also won an award for supporting both groups over their lifetime, and was thrilled to see them awarded for all their hard work and commitment.

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Become a trustee in Milton Keynes!

Trustees play a vital role, volunteering their time and working together to make important decisions about the charity’s work.

Milton Keynes has some amazing charities who are looking for new trustees. This could be your chance to make a difference in a charity, imparting your knowledge and experience and also learning new skills!

Milton Keynes Play Association: Trustee

Image result for mk play association

Time to make a difference? Time to feel needed? Time to do your bit for your community?

MKPA’s team would love to hear from you if you are interested in joining us as a trustee and can spare a few hours or even a day a week. We need even more energy flowing through MKPA to make a bigger success of our exciting plans.

You might want to consider helping as a trustee and sit on the management board, contributing to the oversight of our child-centred organisation your skills and knowledge about business finance, fundraising or marketing.
We are looking forward to welcoming you. Please email sarah@mkpa.co.uk

MKPA – Trustee Roles & Responsibilities

MKPA – Trustee Application Form

Buckingham Canal Society: Trustee/secretary

Image result for buckingham canal society

Do you have an interest in canals and being part of a forward looking charity?

Buckingham Canal Society are lookind for a trustee/secretary to work as part of a team with the carrying out the following duties:

  • Plan and prepare agendas for committee meetings.
  • Ensure that committee and the AGM are run according to the constitution and Charity Commission Requirement’s
  • Dealing with correspondence as agreed at committee meetings.

Arts Gateway-MK: Trustees/Directors

Image result for Arts Gateway-MK:

Have a passion for the arts? Looking for a new interest and have time on your hands? Creative thinker with a background in business? Want to contribute to the creative life of Milton Keynes? Look no further…

Arts Gateway MK is an organisation part-way through a dynamic growth which we would like you to be part of. We are looking for new trustees to help our transformation. We are open to all ages and backgrounds especially those with experience in marketing, fundraising and arts administration. We are a successful arts umbrella body for Milton Keynes. Through this organisation we offer affordable spaces where artists and creatives across different genres can work, grow, experiment and collaborate. We organise creative events and programmes throughout the year such as the annual MK Litfest, now in its third year.

Carers Milton Keynes: Trustee Board Member

Image result for carers milton keynes

Carers Milton Keynes and its sister charity Carers Bucks are looking for new Trustee Board Members with talent and enthusiasm. If you are, have been or know someone who is a family carer, so much the better.

The charity’s work in their respective geographic areas and between them support nearly ten thousand adult and young carers. Services include advice, information, support groups and help both practically and emotionally.

Both charities have grown and developed over the past few years and between them now employ thirty staff and have a turnover of 1.4 million pounds. Among the skills and experience we are looking for are fundraising, marketing, youth work and social care.

MK Center for Integrated Living: Trustee

Image result for mk cil

MK CIL are looking for Trustees who have knowledge of finance, HR and PR/Marketing/Media.

MK CIL is an information centre which provides a very wide range of free and confidential information on any disability related issue for people with a disability, their families, carers, and anyone else with an interest in the field of disability.

MK CIL will aim to inspire, empower and enable people with disabilities, their families, carers and others. Through the provision of a range of information and services, MK CIL will support people in making informed choices, exercising their rights of full participation and to maximize their independence and potential.

Advertise your trustee vacancy with us: https://communityactionmk.org/volunteering/volunteer-management/

If you need support in finding new trustees, let us know at support@communityactionmk.org or give us a call on 01908 661623.

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First Aid for Mental Health Course – ECAF

“A key component of a company’s wealth, is in its employees having good mental health.” ECAF

Course: Supervising First Aid for Mental Health (Ofqual accredited qualification) 

Date: 19th-20th December 2019 (last one for the year)

Where: Milton Keynes

Who should attend: Managers and above, HR officials , union reps and health and safety reps from workplaces, schools, groups, faith groups and the armed forces. Anyone with an interest can also attend

Cost: £300 pp included (Ofqual accredited  level 3 qualification). There is 10% discount for charities, small businesses, any group working with children and families and social enterprises.
Bookings for any of our First Aid for Mental Health courses made between 1st November 2019 – 31st January 2020 get a 40% discount. 

To book email:training@ecafnp.com

ECAF supports the Heads Together programme, which is to bring well-being to workplaces, schools and the armed forces.

About First Aid for Mental Health 
First Aid for Mental Health courses help raise awareness of various mental health conditions and how to spot the signs and give initial help and support, until clinical help can be given. They also help reduce sickness/absence among staff and promote well-being in the workplace.
First Aid for Mental Health is evidenced based and is Ofqual regulated and accredited with certificates at level 1, level 2 and level 3. It complies with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and the Mental Health Policy of your organization.

While there are no specific duties placed on employers to reduce the risk of exposure to work related stress, the general duties under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 apply equally to mental well-being, as they do to physical injury and health, making First Aid for Mental Health courses as equally important as First Aid at Work.

What is First Aid for Mental Health?This allows a person to give immediate help, support and signposting information to someone at the onset, in or at the end of a mental health crisis, until clinical help and intervention can be given to the person. It acts in the same way as First Aid at Work and CPR. The courses help to improve the understanding, knowledge and attitude of individuals towards mental health conditions. This in turn helps to improve performance, reduce sick days and create a healthy work environment. Participants learn the signs of some mental health conditions and how to start a conversation and apply the four step C.A.R.E plan around it. It supports early intervention, prevention and treatment, with the correct signposting for clinical help. When early help is given, recovery is often quicker, making sickness absence shorter or not at all in some instances.

The Benefits
Staff get a good understanding of various mental health conditions and how to spot the signs of each. They learn how to support themselves and each other, leading to an open and transparent work culture that destigmatizes mental health conditions, making it easier for those with these conditions to attend work and thrive.

Managers, well-being champions, union reps  and health and safety reps learn how to  take care of their own mental health, as they support colleagues in a range of issues, which can at times can be stressful.
Mangers and HR officials get a good understanding  of various mental health conditions  and how to spot the signs of each. They learn how to support staff who have mental health conditions or who have family members with mental health conditions, when having to manage sickness/absence, work capability, performance and reasonable adjustments of employers.

We offer qualification and non qualification training courses:

Level 1 half day First Aid for Mental Health Awareness

Level 2 one day First Aid for Mental Health First Aid

Level 3 two day Supervising First Aid for Mental Health

Did you know?

  • 1 in 6 people experienced a mental health issues this week
  • Mixed anxiety and depression is the most common mental disorder in Britain
  • 1 in five working days are lost each week due to mixed anxiety and depression
  • Mental health problems are sometimes hidden and not visible causing those who live with them to do so in silence, often without the correct help and support
  • 1 in 10 children aged 5-16 have a diagnosable condition
  • 1 in 2 of all mental health problems are established by age 14
  • 3 in 4 of all mental problems are established by age 24

Mental Health Foundation

About Us: We are a community interest company. We deliver training and programs that fund activities around children and families (after school homework help, holiday play and learn schemes, soft skills personal and social development and parenting courses for parents.) We support activities in local communities that empower and inspire children and families. 

See the website for more information about ECAF (please note prices on the website may differ to those offered above due to an outdated website)

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Trustees’ Week: the importance of good governance

Community Action: MK is committed to providing support and advice to local community groups and organisations to help them run in an effective, transparent way, with the aim of making the local Voluntary and Community Sector as strong and resilient as it can be.

As an organisation, we are fully committed to the principles of the The Code of Governance for Charities, which is a practical tool to help charities and their trustees develop high standards of governance.

What is the Charity Governance Code?

The Charity Governance Code is not a legal requirement, however it represents a standard of good governance practice to which all charities should aspire. Charity Commission recommends that all charities read, follow and apply it proportionately to their circumstances, and we encourage all not-for-profit groups to refer to its recommendations.

How do you start in reviewing your governance?

Trustees week (running from 4th -11th November) is a great opportunity for the existing board of trustees or group committees to review their own governance structures and reflect on the seven principles of the Code of Governance, which are as the below diagram illustrates:

If your board is interested in taking on this exercise, Community Action: MK can offer an easy online governance self-assessment tool, which we have developed over the past year with support from MK Community Foundation, and tested for the benefit of numerous local groups and organisations (please follow this link to see an example).

To complete the self- assessment, please follow this link to an online form, which will take you through some key questions based around the principles of The Code of Governance. Completing the form will take up to 15 minutes, however we recommend that the self-assessment is undertaken as a group exercise for your board or a committee – e.g. as part of your meeting.

What happens after the self assessment?

The form will give you and your fellow trustees some useful prompts to discuss the strengths of your organisation, and identify areas of improvement, and – based on this discussion – you will be able to score your performance.

Once you have submitted the form at the end of this process, we will take time to explore your answers and look into your governance documents.
If necessary:

  • we will come back to you to clarify any gaps in knowledge and, following this assessment;
  • We will provide you with a set of recommendations, including a number of useful resources to refer to and training opportunities;
  • We will consider how we can help you to improve your governance structures by providing support, 1-2-1 sessions and/or sign-posting you to other specialist services.

To find out more about the self-assessment tool , please follow this link to our Good Governance project page. Alternatively, if you have any questions or would like to speak to a member of our team, please either e-mail us on support@communityactionmk.org or call us on 01908 621 661.

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Free Pantomime tickets for charity performance: Thursday 19th December

Free tickets for charity performance on Thursday 19th December at 10am!

Are you still looking for that perfect Christmas outing?

Well we might just have the answer – keep reading!

RARE Pantomimes are delighted to be appearing at Stantonbury Theatre this Christmas. They will bring talented cast of professional actors and dancers together to delight you with their production of…

Beauty and the Beast!

Join Belle and the Beast in the enchanted castle. With Dame Dotty taking full control of everyone’s lives hindered by the hapless Muddles and arrogant Count George, what could possibly go wrong?

A traditional pantomime for all the family built around audience participation. A real Christmas treat!

For this special charity showing, we will be offering up to 30 tickets free of charge as a gesture of good will to the local Milton Keynes community…all we need now is you!

This unique performance will take place on Thursday 19th December at 10am.

These tickets are booked on a first come, first served basis so book now to avoid disappointment!

All we ask for in return is the promise of an image of your party having a lot of fun and a short message that we can share on our website and social media pages.

Stantonbury Theatre offers free parking for cars and coaches and disabled access for those with mobility issues.

If you have any other requirements or enquiries, please contact Emma at emmad@rareproductions.co.uk or contact the theatre directly to book at 01908 324466.

For more about RARE Pantomimes please check out our social media accounts for past production images and backstage gossip…

Facebook – @RAREPantomimes

Twitter – @RARE_Panto

Instagram – @rare_panto

Please be aware that there are only 30 tickets FREE and it will be a first come first serve basis.

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Volunteers needed: Shenley Wood ExtraCare Retirement Village

Shenley Wood are flexible with their volunteers – whatever time you can give, they will appreciate and value, for it’s the residents that will benefit from any time you have to help make sure that the activities, facilities and groups are running for them to access and participate in.

Volunteers are needed at Shenley Wood in the following areas:

Befriender

The purpose of a befriender is to share time with residents listening and chatting, encouraging them to participate in a friendly and professional manner.

Main tasks:

  • To meet with residents who may be isolated in communal areas
  • To spend time with new residents welcoming them and introducing them to village life
  • To encourage the resident to participate in village life
  • To spend time with the resident chatting, listening and responding
  • To follow standard procedures and rules of conduct
  • To work with and in consultation with the staff and specifically the Village Activity Facilitator, Wellbeing advisor and Locksmith
  • Find things of interest for the resident to talk about

Attributes/Competencies:

  • To be a good listener and have an empathy with people
  • Pleasant, friendly personality, patient with a mature understanding attitude
  • Trustworthy, honest, reliable, able to observe confidentiality
  • To work as part of a team

Gym

This role is to assist the fitness instructor in the smooth running of the gym and to ensure proper procedures are observed, and to enhance the services provided within the village.

Main tasks:

  • Assisting with the opening and closing the gym
  • Turning machinery on and off as required
  • Carrying out daily cleaning and health and safety checks on gym facilities
  • Providing excellent customer service to gym members
  • Providing information on the operation of gym equipment
  • Operating the gym music system
  • Observing the gym (being able to raise the alarm in an emergency)
  • Filing and finding gym members programme cards
  • Promote gym facilities and memberships
  • Assisting with housekeeping tasks within the gym facilities  To observe standard procedures and observe Health and Safety and rules of conduct

Attributes/Competencies:
A people person with a pleasant and friendly personality
Trustworthy, honest and reliable
Ability to carry out their role within a team and under own initiative


Memory Group Session

The purpose of the role is to support the EOP Locksmith in delivering a reminiscence session through a person-centered and holistic approach.

Main tasks:

  • Welcoming and chatting to group members
  • Supporting residents to their seats
  • Participating in group and one to one discussions
  • Engaging with individuals, listening to their life history and respecting their life experiences
  • Providing the Locksmith with a summary of sessions and assisting them with planning future
  • reminiscence discussions
  • Assisting with group activities such as quizzes with the possibility of leading sessions
  • Making refreshments for residents

Attributes/Competencies:

  • Excellent communication skills
  • Empathetic with a person centered approach
  • A good listener with a friendly and welcoming personality
  • Reliable and flexible
  • An understanding of Dementia would be beneficial to this role
  • A strong team member

Wellbeing Group – Escorter

The role of the Volunteer Escorter Coordinator is to escort, support and assist residents to and from wellbeing and the Enriched Opportunities Programme (EOP) activities and sessions within the village.

Main tasks:

  • Collect residents in a timed manner following a timetable
  • Escorting residents to activities and sessions (assisting wheelchair users if required)
  • Chatting to residents
  • Liaising with the volunteer escorter coordinator, the residents and the care team when necessary
  • To follow standard procedures and rules of conduct
  • To work with and in consultation with the staff and specifically the Village Activity Facilitator/Activity Coordinator, Wellbeing advisor and Locksmith

Attributes/Competencies:

  • Reliable and punctual with excellent time management skills
  • To be a good listener and have an empathy with people
  • Pleasant, friendly personality, patient with a mature understanding attitude
  • Trustworthy, honest, able to observe confidentiality
  • To work as part of a team

Shop Assistant

The role of the shop assistant is to ensure that you are providing good customer service to the residents in a friendly and professional manner, as well as undertaking generic shop housekeeping duties.

Main tasks:

  • Providing excellent customer service
  • Assisting customers with their purchases
  • Replenishing and Rotating stock
  • Processing sales, cash handling and operating a till
  • Processing deliveries
  • Labeling and pricing stock
  • General housekeeping duties

Attributes/Competencies

  • A pleasant, friendly personality, patient with a mature attitude
  • Trustworthy, honest, reliable
  • Able to work in a team and under own initiative
  • Experience of retail work or customer focussed activity would be advantageous but full training and support will be given

Training and development for all roles will be provided.

If you are interested in any of these roles, please contact the Shenley Wood ExtraCare Volunteer manager at natalie.sabin@extracare.org.uk or call on 01908 413035

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All you ever wanted to know about social prescribing

The King’s Fund has produced a reading list on social prescribing for anybody who would like more information. It includes everything from introductory material (such as NHS England’s Social prescribing and community-based support: Summary guide) to qualitative studies (such as Delivering a primary care-based social prescribing initiative: a qualitative study of the benefits and challenges, so there is something for everybody.

Some of the reports have a specific focus such as exercise on referral or arts and health, whereas others are more general. This highlights the complexity of social prescribing, as well as the different rates of development. If you’re working on social prescribing – or thinking about it – this is a really useful resource.

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Let’s Talk Good Finance Milton Keynes: free event about social investment for local groups

Please follow this link to see the event’s programme.

Guest speakers:

Investors:
Jo Wedderspoon, CAF Venturesome (unsecured loans)
Jaishree Mistry, Homeless Link (blended finance – part grant, part loan)

Hear from a Peer:
David Lett, Co-founder & Operations Director, ToolShed

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Our Autumn Networking/Netwalking Event

The weather was kind to us on Tuesday, for our networking/netwalking event that took place at the Meeting Place outside The Point amidst the Festival of Creative Urban Living.

With the venue so open plan, we used some of our refreshments as paperweights to hold down our information at our stall before it was lost to the wind – otherwise people wouldn’t know who we are, what we do, what we are working on or how we can help and support the voluntary and community sector.

The Festival of Creative Urban Living were kind enough to host us and even entertain us and our guests on a tour of the Festival, exhibiting some of their unique architecture and concepts, with one of our own team getting her idea of a beach in Milton Keynes on one of their models!

We were also joined by AccessAble. AccessAble have been working with Milton Keynes Council for a number of years to create over 350 Access Guides for the area. These Guides contain over 1,000 pieces of access information with a pan-disability approach so that residents and visitors with a disability can make independent and informed decisions about where they would like to go out. For more information, visit their website or contact them to find out how you can utilise their services and Guides!

Then some of our networkers ventured on our netWALK into Conniburrow to see how Big Local Conniburrow have helped to shape and enhance the local community assets. There was a walk around Friendship Park, a visit to the Big Local Conniburrow Hub, as well as a visit to the Pond, the Little Library and the Community Orchard. Our guests were impressed with all of Conniburrow’s hidden gems and how utilised these are by residents and the local community. Our team and guests even had a little laugh and a dance under the Sonar Arch in Friendship Park to show another way the space could be used!

We thank all our attendees and visitors to our Networking Event for coming along and for your ongoing support at our events.

If you would like to see what events we are hosting and that are coming up, sign up to our mailing list here.

Our next event is our ‘Let’s Talk Good Finance’ Event, organised in collaboration with the teams at NAVCA and Good Finance. There will be speakers, the hot topic of the REACH Fund and the promise of refreshments. Please see here for more details.

If you would like to know more about what we do, how we can help or if you have simply got news to share with us, then contact us at info@communityactionmk.org or call on 01908 661623.

We already have our ‘SAVE THE DATE’ for our next networking event! See below for more details.

We look forward to seeing you there! #lovemk #welovemk #networking #voluntaryandcommunitysector

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Big Local Conniburrow upcoming events

Join Big Local Conniburrow for their community events:

Halloween Gathering

When is it: 30th October (Wednesday) 6pm – 8pm (FREE)
Where is it: BLC Hub, 34 Bramble Avenue, MK14 7AP.

What will be happening: Crafts, Snacks, Games and More!
Who is it for: All Ages.

Art Exhibition

When is it: 9th November (Saturday) 10am – 2pm (20p Entry Fee)
Where is it: BLC Hub, 34 Bramble Avenue, MK14 7AP.

What will be happening: Paintings by Sid Burgess, a resident, will be available for viewing and sale.
Who is it for: All Ages.

Yoga

When is it: Weekly on Tuesday, 10:30am – 11:45am (FREE)
Where is it: BLC Hub, 34 Bramble Avenue, MK14 7AP.
Who runs it and how does it work: Trevor Heale does a relaxing session with a focus on breathing and light stretches designed to give the same results as a hard yoga routine.

Coffee Morning

When is it: Weekly on Friday, 10am – 12am. (FREE)
Where is it: BLC Hub, 34 Bramble Avenue, MK14 7AP.
What is available: Free hot drinks, Newspapers and WIFI. Playing cards and darts available as well and we will happily play with you!
Who is it for: Everyone.

Crafty Cuppa

When is it: 9am – 9:30am (Free Breakfast) 9:45am – 11am (Crafty)
Where is it: 1 Germander Place, MK14 7DU (The School)
What happens: Crafty Activities, like knitting for example, around other people for a lovely social environment and cohesion. 
Who is it for: All Ages. Towards Parents.

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7 October: Weekly Bulletin for the Voluntary and Community Sector in Milton Keynes

Make sure you are signed up to our mailing list to to receive the bulletin to your inbox every Monday morning!

See this week’s bulletin here: https://mailchi.mp/communityactionmk/weekly-info-updates-from-community-action-mk-w7ct2jjjgf?e=f769201de3

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It’s Your Neighbourhood Awards!

Our very own residents from Netherfield were invited along to the ‘Its Your Neighbourhood’ awards, on behalf of the RHS Britain in Bloom, last week to recognise their work on the ever-improving Community Garden.

Residents from Netherfield attending It’s Your Neighbourhood event with our very own Community Mobiliser, Sue Nelson.

Netherfield residents received a Level 2 award from the Royal Horticultural Society for their efforts in transforming the Community Garden space in Netherfield.

It was a well-attended event, with other residents from Milton Keynes areas in attendance, such as locals from Fullers Slade, Greenleys, Bletchley and Stony Stratford.

Milton Keynes Residents at the event

The event is  major community participation programme and is run on behalf of the RHS Britain in Bloom Campaigns.  This programme focuses on community participation.

For more information on the event and the RHS campaign, click here.

To see how your community can get involved in this campaign for next year and for more information about South and South East in Bloom or Britain in Bloom, then click here.

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

Make sure you are signed up to our mailing list to to receive the bulletin to your inbox every Monday morning!

See our weekly bulletin here: https://mailchi.mp/communityactionmk/weekly-info-updates-from-community-action-mk?e=bd69a4edbf

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Fareshare South Midlands Warehouse is now open!

In partnership with the alternative education charity SOFEA, a brand new Fareshare has come to Milton Keynes! Community Action:MK went along to the opening of the warehouse and the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Fareshare distribute and supply their surplus food to over 11,000 charities across the UK. They have brought themselves to Milton Keynes, working with ASDA, to try and tackle the poverty, homelessness and lack of food available to vulnerable people in order to provide a basic human need to those who might not otherwise receive it. Fareshare are also using their surplus food to connect people and create a social impact upon those they supply to, by bringing people together through food.

‘Surplus with a purpose’.

Community Action:MK were invited to attend the launch of the brand new Fareshare SOFEA Warehouse, where SOFEA and Fareshare’s partners, volunteers and organisations they supply to were out in force to celebrate the new Warehouse. SMART!, MK College and Milton Keynes Christian Foundation, to name a few of the organisations in attendance that Fareshare supply to.

The CEO of Fareshare and the CEO of SOFEA made speeches about how their organisations work and how they work together to achieve ‘surplus with a purpose’. There is a wealth of work behind the scenes and they owe a large thank you to their workers and volunteers, without whom they’re operation would not work or run smoothly or function at all in order to deliver to the frontline charities and community groups.

Lindsay Boswell, CEO of Fareshare, addressing the crowd at the opening launch.

The Mayor was in attendance of the event, invited to help cut the ribbon. He made an empowering speech about how Fareshare and their partnership with SOFEA and ASDA would benefit not only the homelessness numbers rising in Milton Keynes, but the poverty that both vulnerable people and children face. He is excited to see the benefit to the impoverished areas and vulnerable people within Milton Keynes that Fareshare and SOFEA will work with, as well as the individual and social impact it will have on local communities as a whole.

Fareshare are on the lookout for more volunteers for their new South Midlands Warehouse. If you are are interested in volunteering with Fareshare, click here for more information, or contact Community Action: MK at support@communityactionmk.org or call 01908 661623.

For more information about Fareshare and how they work, click here. Or follow the link here to learn more about SOFEA.

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Community Action: MK joined in the Worlds Biggest Coffee Morning!

Inundated with cake, Community Action:MK sat down and enjoyed a chat over their bakes and buys, accompanied with a cuppa, in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.

On Friday the 27th September, Community Action:MK took an hour from their day to sit down, have a coffee and a slice of the many, many cakes provided by the staff and donated to Macmillan Cancer Support on the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning.

Chocolate cake, lemon cake, fruit cake and raspberry cake and homemade tiffin, the Community Action: MK team surpassed cake-expectations and baked, brought and provided the office with plenty of goodies to feast on alongside their cuppas.

Between our small team of workers and the generosity of our neighbours Duncan Lewis, we raised £58.11 towards Macmillan Cancer Support!

A big thank you to our team at Community Action for getting involved in such a worthwhile cause and for putting your hands in your pockets and giving what you can!

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Autumn Networking Event: Living well in communities – 8 October

Date: Tuesday 8th October 2019
Time: 2:00 – 3:00pm, Optional Walk to Conniburrow commencing at 3:00pm
Venue: The Meeting Place (near The Point, CMK)
REGISTER HERE

Community Action:MK are hosting our Autumn Networking in line with the Festival of Creative Urban Living, happening on Midsummer Boulevard.

Join us to explore ‘Living Well in Communities’ in the new urban dwellings of Milton Keynes and come together with colleagues and friends from the voluntary and community sector to explore the hidden gems within these communities.

There will be a walk (optional) into Conniburrow to view the hidden gems of this estate and to explore the community engagement activities taking place there, with guidance from our colleagues working with Big Local Conniburrow.

Agenda (draft):

2:00 pm – Arrival: Registration and Refreshments
2:15 pm – Welcome from Clare Walton, CEO of Community Action:MK
2:20 pm – Networking
3:00 pm – Walk to Conniburrow (optional) / Stay and explore the Festival of Creative Urban Living
3:30 pm – Exploring Conniburrow: The Community Orchard, The Little Library, Friendship Park, The Pond and The Community Hub .
4:15pm – Walk back to CMK

The walk to Conniburrow is optional, but please reserve a ticket as part of the registration process) On the walk, we will be exploring the creative designs within an urban area and visiting the hidden gems of Conniburrow, such as The Community Orchard, Friendship Park and The Hub.

If you prefer, you are more than welcome to stay after our networking section and explore the events and exhibitions of the Festival of Creative Urban Living. From Utopia Station, film screenings and Bike School to the Boulevard Broadcast, talks and Beds United, there is so much to do see and explore at the Festival, that maybe just one afternoon won’t be enough!

You can find a programme of events here.

We do hope you will join in to explore what we will be an intriguing insight into ‘Living Well in Communities’ within the Festival and to journey with us into our very own Conniburrow to see how their hidden gems have contributed to the creativity of one of MK’s very own urban estates.

We very much look forward to seeing you on the day!

Thank you,
Community Action:MK Team

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System-wide Conversation: “Let’s talk about changing outcomes for people who are the highest users of services and how we support these vulnerable individuals within our community to flourish”

Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes ICS invites you to: System-wide Conversation: “Let’s talk about changing outcomes for people who are the highest users of services and how we support these vulnerable individuals within our community to flourish”

When: Wednesday 9 October, 2019 5.45 pm – 9.00 pm
Where: Rufus Centre, Lockyer Suite, Steppingley Road, Flitwick, Bedfordshire, MK45 1AH

To register for the event please click here.

BLMK ICS is delighted to invite you to a special workshop focussed on changing the outcomes of the health systems highest users. On the evening we will be joined by two keynote speakers who will join us to talk about ‘High Intensity User (HIU) Schemes, Approaches, Mindsets & Behaviours’.

– Rhian Monteith, Clinical Lead for RightCare High Intensity User Programme, NHS England and NHS Improvement & Clinical Lead, Rotating Paramedic Programme, Health Education England and

– Dawn Chamberlain, Programme Director Clinical Improvement, NHS England and NHS Improvement

In addition, the evening will also include an opportunity for attendees to participate in break out groups to focus on jointly identifying a better understanding of the true impact across our whole system – in particular the wider determinants of health – for HIU schemes/approaches. 

Spaces are available to staff of the 15 Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes partners and associated voluntary organisations.

To register for the event please click here.

Food and refreshments will be provided at the event and a full agenda will follow. 
Follow us at:  @BLMKPartnership www.blmkpartnership.co.uk

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Health and Wellbeing Board Drop – In

Tim Davies joined us for the ‘Meet Peta’ Drop In and was keen to impart his knowledge and his wisdom about his role on the Health and Wellbeing Board, whilst enjoying some tea and treats in the process!

Tim Davies, the Deputy VCS representative on the Health and Wellbeing Board for Milton Keynes, stepped in for Peta at the drop in Community Action:MK hosted at Acorn House on Wednesday 25th September.

We got some visits from a couple of local groups, interested to learn about what the Health and Wellbeing Board do within the voluntary and community sector, whilst promoting themselves to Tim to make him aware of what is out there at a grassroots level.

Some groups are still growing, developing and learning about the sector they are involved in, such as DAFS (Drugs Alcohol Family Support), a family support group run by other parents/partners of addicted loved ones, offering a weekly support meeting in a welcoming/safe/confidential and non-judgemental environment. They met Tim and were impressed with the strategic priorities of the HWB to affect change at grass roots level for the voluntary and community sector and the new and developing groups working with and operating within the health and social care system.

What is the Health and Wellbeing Board?

Health and Wellbeing Boards are a key element of the new health and social care system. The boards bring together commissioners of services across the NHS, public health, social care and children’s services, and build on the current strong local partnerships and joint working across health and social care within Milton Keynes. Milton Keynes Council has provided strategic leadership in developing a Health and Wellbeing Board for Milton Keynes.

The Health and Social Care Act 2012 gives health and wellbeing boards specific functions which include the preparation of Joint Strategic Needs Assessments (JSNAs) and Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategies (JHWSs), these are duties of local authorities and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs).

The overarching strategic priorities of the Milton Keynes Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2018 – 2028 (PDF, 2.4MB) are:

Staying Well

  • a strong focus on prevention

Closing the Gap

  • reducing inequalities in life chances

One MK

  • an integrated, innovative approach to health and wellbeing

This is achieved through Starting Well, Living Well and Ageing Well.

For more information about how the Health and Wellbeing board in Milton Keynes is being run and what it is about, click here.

If you would like to learn more about how you can start, support or develop a group within the voluntary and community sector, please contact us at support@communityactionmk.org or call us on 01908 661623.

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Skills Support for the Unemployed

The Skills Support for the Unemployed initiative is aimed at the 18+ and unemployed.

The short courses are designed to upskill individuals and give you some training and development to boost confidence and increase their employability.

We also try to arrange job interviews after each course. 

Not only is all the training and development paid for, but you will receive money for each training day, paid into your account at the end of each course.

This is to cover any expenses e.g travel, food that they might have occurred. They won’t need proof of expenditure. They will literally just receive a capped payment per day, for each course (this is paid on successful course completion). 

Upcoming Courses:

Spectator Safety – One day workshop

All attendees will also receive £20 per day for food and travel expenses.   

Date & Time: Monday 23rd Sept 2019: 9.30am – 4.30pm

Location: Luton


Spectator Safety – One day workshop 

All attendees will also receive £20 per day for food and travel expenses. 

Date & Time: Friday 27th September 2019: 9.30am – 4.30pm

Location: Northampton

See PDF for more details


Sales & Customer Service – 5 day course  

All attendees will also receive £10 per day for food and travel expenses, paid via bacs transfer at the end of the week.  

Date & Time: 30th September – 4th October 2019: 9.30am – 4.00pm

Location: Corby


Sales & Customer Service – 5 day course

All attendees will also receive £10 per day for food and travel expenses, paid via bacs transfer at the end of the week.

Date & Time: 7th – 11th October 2019: 9.30am – 4.00pm

Location: Luton


Sales & Customer Service – 5 day course  

All attendees will also receive £10 per day for food and travel expenses, paid via bacs transfer at the end of the week.  

Date & Time: 14th – 18th October 2019: 9.30am – 4.00pm

Location: Milton Keynes

See PDF for more details


Social Media & Digital Marketing – 5 day course  

All attendees will also receive £10 per day for food and travel expenses, paid via bacs transfer at the end of the week.  

Date & Time: 14th – 18th October 2019: 9.30am – 4.00pm

Location: Northampton 

Please see PDF for more details


If you have any questions or would like to apply, please contact CA:MK at support@communityactionmk.org or directly contact the TESS group at shovorne.adams@thetessgroup.com or call 01604 210500

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

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23 September 2019

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Autumn networking event: Living well in communities

Date: Tuesday 8th October 2019
Time: 2:00 – 3:00pm. Optional Walk to Conniburrow commencing at 3:00pm
Venue: The Meeting Place (next to The Point in CMK)

REGISTER HERE

Join us to explore ‘Living Well in Communities’ in the new urban dwellings of Milton Keynes and come together with colleagues and friends from the voluntary and community sector to explore the hidden gems within these communities.

There will be a walk (optional) into Conniburrow to view the hidden gems of this estate and to explore the community engagement activities taking place there, with guidance from our colleagues working with Big Local Conniburrow.

Let’s Talk Good Finance MK

Thursday 17th October, 1.30 – 4.30pm.
This session is designed for charities, social enterprises, community businesses and local groups in Milton Keynes interested in social investment. To find out more about social investment and to book your free place, REGISTER HERE.

Sign up to our Cyber Protect workshops

The workshops will be held on the following dates and times:
Workshop 1: Tuesday 8th October
11am – 1pm.
Workshop 2: Thursday 24th October 11am – 1pm
Venue: Grant Thornton, 199 Avebury Blvd, MK9 1AU. REGISTER HERE

Meet Peta : drop-in with the representative of MK Health & Wellbeing board

Drop in on 25 September, 13:00-15:00, Acorn House Foyer to meet Peta Wilkinson from the MK Health and Wellbeing Board.

For more information about what the Health and Wellbeing Board is and what they do, click this link.

Age UK Milton Keynes AGM

Thu, September 26, 2019, 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM. REGISTER HERE
Guest speaker is Michael Bracey, Chief Executive Milton Keynes Council, who will be speaking about the changing role and relationship between the council and the voluntary sector.

Proposed changes to sexual harassment law

The government has opened a consultation on sexual harassment in the workplace and the legal protections available under the Equalities Act 2010. NCVO has published some useful information for charities which explains what the consultation is about and how the proposed changes to sexual harassment law may affect how you safeguard not just staff, but also volunteers. You can read NCVOs guidance here and you can take part in the consultation here

Independent Examination update for Trustees – TCC

The Charity Commission has updated its guidance for trustees on what they need to know about independent examination. This guidance gives trustees the information they need to:

  • check whether their charity can have its accounts independently examined instead of audited
  • appoint a suitable person to carry out the independent examination, and
  • prepare for the independent examination.
    Find out more
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Milton Keynes Council Open Consultations

See all MK Council consultations

Other useful links:

Milton Keynes Housing Strategy Consultation

Architect, Building, Joy, Planning

The Housing Strategy provides a clear vision of how the Council and its stakeholders can achieve our shared aspiration in providing housing that meets the needs and requirements of Milton Keynes. Find out more and have your say here.

EEH Transport Strategy Meeting

England’s Economic Heartland (EEH)