Proving your impact – useful tools for voluntary groups

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It’s increasingly important that voluntary and community groups are able to demonstrate the impact of their work on service users and the wider community. Inspiring Impact is a UK-wide collaborative programme which helps charity sector organisations to know what and how to measure the difference they make.

Blog Post Charities & Community Groups Funding

Former Community Action: MK staff – where are they now?

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

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Kat Newman

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

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

Your favourite inspirational quote:

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

www.the-challenge.org

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Joanna Bevan

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

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

Your favourite inspirational quote:

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

www.speak-street.com

andy

Andy MacDermott

I’m nurturing a love for all things Pottery.

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

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

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

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

Your favourite inspirational quote:

“Be somebody who makes everyone feel like a somebody”

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

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

www.andrewmacdermott.com

Blog Post

Job Vacancies

Volunteering Advisor with Voluntary and Community Action

Salary: Up to £22,937pa pro rata

Terms: Full time permanent

Location: Leighton Buzzard

Closing Date: 10am 24 September 2015

This is an excellent job opportunity for someone who would like a satisfying role that has variety and makes a real difference to others.

You will undertake the promotion of volunteering, interview & advise potential volunteers, help organisations develop volunteering roles and good practice, and manage a database of local volunteering opportunities.

You will have good information management, organisational and inter-personal skills; the ability to communicate information in different forms, including one-to-one advice and guidance; and experience of managing volunteers.

To apply for this post Click here for an application pack

Click here for an application form

Click here for an equal opportunities form

Or contact:

Voluntary and Community Action,
Bossard House, West Street, Leighton Buzzard LU7 1DA.
Telephone: 01525 850559.
Email: mail@action-centralbeds.org.uk


Timebanking Coordinator with Voluntary and Community Action

Salary: Up to £21,530pa pro rata

Terms: 16 hours per week

Location: Leighton Buzzard

Closing Date: 10am 20 August 2015

This is an excellent job opportunity for someone who would like a satisfying role that has variety and makes a real difference to others.

You will undertake the promotion of timebanking and other forms of volunteering and help local groups and communities to set up local timebanks.

You will have good organisational and inter-personal skills; the ability to communicate information in different forms, including one-to-one technical advice and guidance; and experience of developing innovative projects in local communities.

To apply for this post Click here for an application pack

Click here for an application form

Click here for an equal opportunities form

Or contact:

Voluntary and Community Action,
Bossard House, West Street, Leighton Buzzard LU7 1DA.
Telephone: 01525 850559.
Email: mail@action-centralbeds.org.uk

Jobs in the VCS

Walking Tours of the Western Expansion Area (WEA) – last places for afternoon tour booking up now!

We only have 6 places left on our Afternoon Walking Tour of the Western Expansion Areas on 9th September.  Guided by James Mooney from Gallaghers Estate, we will take a walk around Area 10 of the WEA, which is the part closest to Crownhill. The tour will last for approximately 1.5 hours and there will be a chance to find out about plans for the site and ask questions.

Booking is essential so please call Hannah on 01908 661623 or register on our eventbrite page.

If you are unable to attend this tour but would like to know about future tours of the WEA, please email Hannah@CommunityActionMK.org.

And dont forget, we are hosting a public exhibition all about the Western Expansion Area on 8th October where you can find out more about the plans for the site and meet some of the agencies involved in creating this new community.

WEA exhibition poster

Blog Post

Poetic Food For Thought

Book cover

“Poetic food for thought” – John Marshall, Food Bank Project Manager, and Martin Small, a local author, had the idea of writing and publishing a collection of their original prose and poetry and donating all its proceeds to the Food Bank. I can thoroughly recommend this read, and its great the proceeds go to such a great cause.

To obtain your copy of the book please call 01908 322800

Communities News from and for the VCS

Job Advert: Supporter Care Executive with Brain Tumour Research

Salary: £15k to £18k depending on experience

Terms: Full-time

Location: Milton Keynes

Closing Date: Applications by Friday 28th August latest

  • Writing timely thank you letters to Brain Tumour Research supporters
  • Administering their unique Sponsor A Day scheme to recognise the contribution of their supporters
  • Registering their supporters and prospects on to lab tours at each of their four centres through the year
  • Running and challenge events administration registering and fulfilling requirements of participants

This is a full-time positions based at their head office, they will be moving to Milton Keynes in the Autumn of 2015.

Proficiency in excel, word and powerpoint is essential.

Please send your CV with a covering letter, demonstrating how you could add value to your chosen role and detailing your current salary to:

Sharon Stevens, PA to the Chief Executive, Brain Tumour Research

sharon@braintumourresearch.org

Jobs in the VCS

Job Advert: Recovery Worker (Supported Housing) with Richmond Fellowship

Salary: £15,850 pa

Terms: Permanent

Location: Milton Keynes

Closing Date: 24 August 2015

Interviews: 11 September 2015

As a Recovery Worker, you will support people with mental health problems in a supported accommodation setting. You’ll provide them with the emotional and practical assistance they need, enabling them to live independently in the community.

As Recovery Worker, your role will see you:

  • Managing your own caseload of service users
  • Addressing service users’ practical and emotional needs – from helping them to find employment and training opportunities, to enabling them to grow in social confidence
  • Enabling service users to live as independently as possible, helping them to develop domestic management and finance management skills, and supporting them to move back into the community where this is possible
  • Carrying out in-depth assessments of service users’ needs and risks – and developing individually-tailored support plans accordingly

This is a great opportunity to join a team that’s professional, committed and passionate about making a difference to those most in need of Richmond Fellowships help. You’ll need:

  • A track record in Mental Health or related field
  • Experience of supporting, empowering and engaging service users in a range of developmental, rehabilitative and community activities
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Ability to work well under pressure and manage your own workload
  • Experience of using IT and the proven ability to maintain up-to-date records and systems
  • Good partnership working skills
  • Capacity to work flexible hours within an agreed framework (24hr/7day week shift rota)

Managing more than 120 services nationwide, Richmond Fellowship provides an immensely diverse range of services to people with mental health needs.

They offer great benefits, including 25 days’ holiday per year, contributory pension scheme, employee assistance programme and childcare vouchers.

To apply for this post Click here you will be directed to Charity Jobs website

Jobs in the VCS