Volunteering Round Up 31st July

The Value of Volunteering

Community Action: MK’s flagship community mobiliser service was recently reviewed by an external SROI expert who concluded that for every pound of investment from MK Council, our service delivered £8.15 of benefits.

Our community mobilisers are often the key first point of contact for people to connect with volunteering as a way of helping to shape their community, develop new skills, address social isolation and make a positive contribution. This is just one of the ways we support volunteering to happen in the city – helping to support and inspire new volunteers and people who might face barriers and challenges in stepping up to volunteer. Alongside our brokerage service which helps over 1500 people a year volunteer for over 350 charities and community groups, we’re proud to have such a comprehensive support system for volunteering to flourish.

Sadly, the Community Mobiliser service as we know it, will be ending soon. Read more about why that is and why we are working hard to find ways to continue to do this vital work.

Student Volunteering

The Community Action: MK Volunteering team will be attending freshers fairs at MK College this September, helping students find to volunteering opportunities. If your group would like to find out more about how to involve young people in volunteering and develop opportunities that appeal to people looking to improve employability and skills, please talk to us. We can advise on everything from policies and procedures to copywriting skills.

Email debbie@communityactionmk.org or call 01908 661623.

Employee Volunteering

Volunteering and making a difference isn’t always about a big team making a big statement – just ask Abbegail Sawney and her team of 2 from Home Retail Group! Originally the team were about 8 – 10 people in size but due to sickness and other commitments on the day the team shrunk. However, the group of 3 from HRG made a big impact on one of the gardens owned by the charity St Mungo’s.

st mungos june hrg2

St Mungo’s support young people and provide a safe place to live for a period of time. They support people who are at risk and vulnerable and include isolated people with mental health or drug problems, current and ex offenders, former rough sleepers now in their own homes and people who are begging or street drinking. This is a vital service across the country and here in Milton Keynes. St Mungo’s have various locations across MK and the small team from HRG dedicated their volunteering day at one location tidying up their garden and planting flowers.

Community Action: MK run a brokerage service between charities and community groups and local businesses who are looking for volunteering days across the city. Does your charity or community group need a hand with anything? Talk to us about how we can help. Contact ev@communityactionmk.org or call 01908 661623.

344 Volunteering Opportunities in MK!

Five brand new local organisations registered their volunteering opportunities with us during July. Check out all the opportunities we list on the Do-it website.

Re-thinking Parks & Volunteering

Burnley Borough Council has been awarded £98,615 from NESTA to develop and test the cost saving potential of a coordinated set of different techniques for park management that include woodchipping, starflower oil production and engaging volunteers to develop specialist skills. They will be testing out ‘self service volunteer management software’ to help volunteers engage with the programme. Definitely one to watch!

The Volunteering Round Up will be having a little break for the holidays but will be back on 21st August with the next update.

Blog Post Employee Volunteering News from and for the VCS Volunteering

The End of Community Mobilisers?

Community Mobilisers, or CMs, who have been working in the communities of Milton Keynes for the past 12 years, are due to be removed from many of their current communities from September 2015, due to cessation of MK Council funding.

Community Mobilisers, a service offered by Community Action: MK (CA:MK), are unique to this area, with no role such as this found in any other place in the UK. Milton Keynes was pioneering in terms of the approach and CA:MK have been delivering this approach for the last 12 years.

We are able to provide support for communities in a flexible and unique way. By enabling individuals and groups to access services, develop their skills and grow in confidence, we’ve encouraged local people to take action in their community and to solve local issues.” – Tim Marren, CEO at CA:MK.


Since 2003, CMs have been active in 16 communities many of which are considered the most deprived areas of the city. In these areas thousands of people and organisations have been supported to reach their potential, start up new local groups and contribute to their community.

An Open University article published in 2013 described CMs as “integral to promoting community cohesion between community members”. The paper also noted that residents, parents and community stakeholders described CMs as “the glue that brings communities together”. A recent report by Bruce Fenning, an expert in social return on investment, estimated that the CM service brings a return of at least £8.15 for every £1 invested. This means that the gain from MK Council’s investment has been worth £2.5 million per year to Milton Keynes.

“The CM programme is an invaluable service that brings people together and acts as a kingpin of the community” – Resident

With their unique model of community development, Community Mobilisers have enabled hundreds of residents’ voices to be heard. Since 2012 a unique mobile app has been used to log, report and analyse conversations with residents. Around 20,000 issues, interests, ideas and positive stories have been captured, the effect of this has been wide-reaching and influential in MK, changing local service provision, affecting local decisions and starting up community led projects.

The future is unclear for this vital provision. Many options are being explored to maintain the Community Mobiliser service, and although this may look different in times to come Community Action: MK hope to be able to retain the frontline role which has so successfully promoted community-led development across the city in the past.

 “For over 12 years communities have been energised and empowered by the wonderful Community Mobiliser service. CA:MK is so proud of all that communities have achieved with the CMs. We are actively working with partners and agencies across Milton Keynes to ensure new and older communities alike continue to be strengthened through building on such a solid foundation. We have the proof that this is a hugely effective and economic success story which is just too good to lose.” – Sheila Thornton, Chair of Trustees for CA:MK

For more information contact info@communityactionmk.org or on 01908 661 623.

Blog Post Communities Lakes Estate Netherfield

Mobilisers Bring in £9 for Every £1 MK Council Fund Us!

We recently asked Bruce Fenning, an expert on Social Return On Investment (SROI), to have a look at the difference our Community Mobiliser service makes in Milton Keynes. There’s lots of interesting he came back with, including that the return on the Council’s investment over is over £9 for each pound they spent. Over five years, the financial impact adds up to over £10 million! To read the full report, click here to download it.

Blog Post Communities Eastern Expansion Area Lakes Estate Netherfield News from and for the VCS Western Expansion Area Woughton

Funding for New Communities in MK

Grants of up to £5000 are available to new and existing voluntary and community groups wishing to support the residents living in some on MK’s newest areas. The money can be used to support a wide range of activities including: start up costs, equipment, venue hire, insurance and DBS checks, sessional worker fees and more.

Contact MK Community Foundation to apply, or Community Action: MK’s Growth Officer for more information.

New Comm Poster - Blank (1)

Blog Post

Learning Disability Services Planning Ahead – Consultation

Milton Keynes Council is looking at learning disability services in MK. The team will look at what is happening in services and what is needed for people now and in the future. There are four public events if you would like to come and find out more and feedback your thoughts.

  • Thursday 30 July, 2-4pm Rooms 2 and 3 Civic Offices, Milton Keynes Council, MK9 3EJ
  • Monday 7 September, 2-4pm Bletchley Leisure Centre, Princess Way, MK2 2HQ
  • Tuesday 29 September, 6-8pm Lovat Hall, Silver Street, Newport Pagnell, MK16 0EJ
  • Wednesday 7 October, 7pm Health and Adult Social Care Select Committee, Civic Offices, Milton Keynes Council, MK9 3EJ

Visit the Council’s website for information. The consultation closes on 25th October 2015.

Blog Post

Job Advert: Humanitarian Grants Compliance Officer at World Vision

Salary: £30,161 plus good range of benefits

Terms: Permanent

Closing Date: 10 August 2015

Interviews: Week beginning 31 August 2015

Location: Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, South East

World Vision is the world’s largest international children’s charity, operating in close to 100 countries. At World Vision, their aim is simple – to keep every child free from fear. World Vision are also proud to be voted one of the Top 100 ‘Best Not-For-Profit Organisations to Work For 2015’.

Operating as a Grants Compliance Officer within World Vision Humanitarian and Resilience team, you will take a lead role in all aspects of humanitarian grant contract management and compliance. This includes ensuring standards are understood and adhered to by colleagues within World Vision UK as well as those in National Offices (particularly in emergencies and fragile states).

Using your expertise in financial processes and reporting, grant applications, donor and complex contractual requirements, audits, financial and risk management will be a crucial deliverable for the Humanitarian Grants Compliance Officer.

It will be essential to build strategic and supportive relationships with key stakeholders to achieve the optimum standards of financial management and accountability.

 Role essentials:

  • Strong project management skills and the ability to manage complex grants in multiple locations from a broad range of donors.
  • Analytical skills along with the ability to communicate complex donor regulations to stakeholders will be vital.
  • You will also be expected to promote a culture of excellence to ensure WVUK’s core values and principles are implemented in their grants
  • Experience of working in a humanitarian context will be an advantage
  • Willingness to work flexibly in response to emergencies and travel internationally to emergencies and fragile states is an essential part of the role

In addition to the salary offered, you’ll enjoy benefits including pension, subsidised gym membership, generous holiday entitlement and free parking.

This is a fantastic opportunity to utilise your skills where they really matter. If you have the qualities required to succeed in this great position, please apply by following the instructions to view the Job Description, complete a short application form and upload your CV. State in your cover letter why you think you are able to meet the key criteria listed in the Job Description.

Please note that if response for this role is higher than anticipated, World Vision reserve the right to close this vacancy early.

All applicants must have the right to live and work in the UK.

World Vision are an equal opportunities employer

As a child focused organisation, World Vision UK is committed to the safeguarding of children and does not employ staff whose background is not suitable for working with children. All employment is conditional upon the successful completion of all applicable background checks, including criminal record checks where possible.

No agencies please

To apply: click here

Jobs in the VCS

Beanhill Rainbows are looking for a new Volunteer Leader

Volunteer Leader needed for Rainbows Unit in Beanhill.

Rainbows is the Girlguiding section for girls aged 5 to 7. The unit has been running successfully since 2014 and meet every Monday 16:30-17:30 during school term, at Moorlands Community & Children’s Centre on Beanhill. Rainbows is about developing self-confidence, building friendships, learning new things by doing and having fun.

The unit is looking for new Volunteers to join the team in September at the start of the autumn term. No previous experience is required as full training is provided. Basic computer skills are essential and good communication, organisational and creative skills are a bonus.

By volunteering for the group, you will not only gain valuable experience of community work, you will also get a chance to obtain a Girlguiding Leadership Qualification, which will enable you to develop skills on the job and through formal and informal training sessions.

Volunteer leaders run all aspects of the unit, devising and preparing activities and games. Organising and overseeing meetings and adventures. Effectively communicating with members, parents and the leadership team, updating the units Facebook Page, Fundraising and generally ensuring the unit runs smoothly.

Being a Rainbow leader is tremendously rewarding and you make an enormous difference to the lives of the girls and the surrounding community.

“a space where they can be themselves, have fun, build brilliant friendships, gain valuable life skills and make a positive difference to their lives and their communities”.

You can find out more about Rainbows and Girlguiding UK here.

Rainbows, Girlguding UL

If this sounds like a great role for you and you would like to be part of this much-needed and rewarding local initiative, get in touch today!

For more details, contact Kay Wales at: beanhillrainbows@outlook.com or register to volunteer directly on the website here.                     

                                                                      Screenshot 2015-07-24 at 07.20.13

Blog Post Communities Volunteering