MK Share Fair – 16 October

Milton Keynes Share Fair event will take place on Sunday 16th October between 11am-3pm at Oldbrook Boulevard (MK6 2).

A Share Fair is like a market BUT everything is ABSOLUTELY FREE. A money free zone where everyone is welcome to share and swap, skills, stuff and stories.

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Everyone has something to share; skills, time, ideas, stories and stuff.

If you have anything to share and would like to get involved in the event please get in touch by e-mailing csefton@edenproject.com.

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How can parishes and their residents benefit from community energy?

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How can my parish and local residents benefit from community-owned energy?

Community Action: MK is inviting members of Parish Councils and Residents Associations in Milton Keynes to a special event being organised during the national Community Energy Fortnight taking place between 3rd-18th September.

The event will take place at the Imovation Centre at Transport Systems Catapult (170 Midsummer Boulevard) between 5-7pm on Tuesday 13th September.

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The Imovation Centre at Transport Systems Catapult

This short and practical session will provide useful information about the role that your parish and your neighbourhood could play in promoting community ownership of energy. We will be using case studies of successful MK-based projects, such as Wolverton Community Energy, to illustrate how this model can act as a vehicle for community cohesion, at the same time as raising income for community investment in your area. In particular, we will be exploring:

  • Planning for sustainability and resilience – how you can include community energy outcomes in your Neighbourhood Plan, Parish/Business Plan or other strategic documents
  • Ways of improving efficiency of local buildings
  • Community ownership model – challenges and benefits
  • CAPE, Community Action Platform for Energy – new project in Milton Keynes

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Wolverton Community Energy

There will be an opportunity to network with representatives of other parish councils from and residents groups across MK Borough and to find out about the exciting new MK Community Energy Alliance, and how to get involved as part of it.

We are also pleased to confirm that The National Energy Foundation and the Plan:MK team at Milton Keynes Council will be speaking at the event, alongside Wolverton Community Energy and CAPE, Community Action Platform for Energy project.

If you would like to represent your parish or a local residents’ group at the event, please RSVP to anna@communityactionmk.org.

The event is being organised in collaboration between CAPE, Community Action Platform for Energy (one of Community Action: MK’s projects) and Wolverton Community Energy.

Thank you to Transport Systems Catapult for providing the venue. 

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You can see this and other events listed on the official Community Energy Fortnight 2016 website and follow updates on Twitter through #CEF16:

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Community Mobilisers Under Threat!

One MK have a story up about the possible effect of cuts being made to our Community Mobiliser Service. There’s a snippet below, but click here to read the full article.

Community Mobilisers, Robbie MacPherson, Tracy Whitmore & Stewart Ikin with pictures of some of the events that they have helped instigate

Community Mobilisers, Robbie MacPherson, Tracy Whitmore & Stewart Ikin with pictures of some of the events that they have helped instigate

A service which has saved Milton Keynes Council on average £2.5 million per year is set to be drastically reduced due to funding cuts.

Community Action:MK, a charity which co-ordinates voluntary events around Milton Keynes, currently provides community mobilisers to eight areas in the city – to support people and organisations and develop local groups.

But from September, areas such as Fishermead, Netherfield and Stantonbury will no longer benefit from the service.

A report by Bruce Fenning, an expert in social return on investment, in June estimated that the community mobiliser service brings a return of £8.15 for every £1 of investment.

Robbie Macpherson, chief operating officer for Community Action:MK, understands that cuts need to be made, but believes the decision will prove costly.

He said: “It is a large amount of money we are losing and it will have a huge impact on the work we do. We offer a sort of preventative service before further council services are needed.

“They do have make cuts somewhere, but I think in the longer term, they are going to have more demand on the council’s services as a result.”

To carry on reading, please click here to read the full article at One MK.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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