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
Blog Post

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

Blog Post

Employment opportunities

VCSE Programme Lead – BLMK Communities Together programme

An exciting opportunity has arisen for a Programme 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 in managing organisational change, we’d love to hear from you. Click here for more information and to apply

Blog Post

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)

Volunteer handing out a hot drink at Unity Park Station

The Winter Night Shelter Milton Keynes has been supporting the homeless and vulnerable for the last 10 years. We provide year-round welfare and practical support from our centre, Unity Park Station (the old bus station in town on Elder Gate).

We not only support rough sleepers but help a growing number of individuals who are not yet homeless but faced with crisis, in order to ensure they don’t end up on the streets in the first place.

In normal times we would also provide supervised overnight accommodation and meals to homeless people who would otherwise be rough sleeping in Milton Keynes during the coldest months of the year, although over the winter just gone we have been focusing on providing help to people placed into emergency accommodation under the government’s ‘Everyone In’ policy.

Our Welfare Team enable our guests to recover lost ID, access benefits, access drug and alcohol support services, to obtain housing advice, move on to longer-term accommodation and to find work.

Our volunteers based at Unity Park Station enable the provision of ‘wrap around’ support for our guests, including access to showers and washing machines, refreshments, hot meals and takeaway food parcels. Covid in general and lockdown in particular means that we have been a lifeline to many, as most support services have been suspended or have been offering online access only. 

Recruiting more volunteers to address growing need

The Covid legacy for us this year is that we are going from being a ‘seasonal’ charity to needing to maintain our level of operations year-round because of growing need.

Usually we are ‘off-peak’ over spring and summer, focusing on fundraising and preparations for autumn.  However, we do not want to reduce our services at the current time, when many people need us more than ever. The number of homeless people we are helping has doubled since the beginning of this year, and we are seeing people newly in crisis arrive daily at Unity Park Station for help. 

We are therefore making plans to maintain and build on our current food and welfare operations, to bridge the gap between last winter and the next in a way that we have never had to do before. 

We are currently looking for new volunteers to join our team in order to keep our services going through spring/summer and to relieve some of our current volunteer cohort who may be returning to work or needing to step down for a break after a busy winter season. Will you join us? 

Volunteer helping with food preparation

Our volunteer roles

We require volunteers for the following roles on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays from 9.30am-2pm: 

  • Kitchen duty: food preparation
  • Kitchen duty: drinks preparation
  • Table service and guest interaction
  • Supervision of showers and toilets
  • Additional cleaning
  • Clothing management
Volunteer helping with clothing management

The additional cleaning roles are important for things such as wiping down frequently touched surfaces, to maintain a safe environment and minimise the risk of Covid transmission. These roles are essential; if we don’t have enough volunteers willing to do these roles we are not able to operate safely. 

Due to Covid roles this year will be fixed in team bubbles and shifts are typically once a fortnight.

In addition to our active volunteers we also need a bank of reserve volunteers to be available to help on a more occasional basis to fill gaps if other volunteers are unable to attend their shift for any reason. Due to Covid we require more reserve volunteers than ever before, to keep services running if people find that they need to self-isolate or if they need to look after dependents such as children whose school bubble may be required to isolate.

How to apply

We welcome applications from people of all backgrounds and levels of experience. Training will be given, the main things that are required are compassion for the homeless and willingness to work collaboratively as part of a friendly team. 

To apply for a role this spring/summer please complete this application form: WNSMK volunteer application form (spring/summer 2021)

Alternatively, for further information please contact Jana Turner: opsassistant@winternightsheltermk.com.

For more information about the Winter Night Shelter Milton Keynes visit – www.winternightsheltermk.com.

Increased cleaning is vital to allow the service to run, volunteer helping keep Unity Park Station clean
Blog Post

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

Blog Post

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. 

Blog Post