{SAVE THE DATE}: MK Community Energy Conference 2017 – 25 February 2017

Milton Keynes energy and sustainability: the past, present and future!

Reserve your FREE space today through The Chrysalis Theatre box office – click here.

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The full programme will follow soon.
Blog Post CAPE, Community Action Platform for Energy Charities & Community Groups Communities Conniburrow Eastern Expansion Area Great Linford Health & Wellbeing Lakes Estate MK:Smart Netherfield New Communities News from and for the VCS Newton Leys Projects Simpson & Ashland Volunteering Western Expansion Area Woughton

Energage – training Community Energy Champions

Creating a network of Community Energy Champions network in Milton Keynes

We are delighted to announce that we have teamed up with the Open University to deliver a pilot project in Milton Keynes that will focus on recruiting and training community members to become volunteer Energy Champions in their neighbourhoods and communities.

The project has been made possible thanks to the funding from the Natural Environment Research Council as part of their recent funding call on ‘Engaging the UK public with the big issues of environmental science’. The Energage project is one of 18 across the UK – click here to find out more about this funding initiative.

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The initiative is the result of successful collaboration and partnership-working between Community Action: MK and the Open University through the MK:Smart and CAPE, Community Action Platform for Energy, projects. It is also linked to the work of other local organisations in Milton Keynes that promote the concept of community-owned and sustainable energy. These include Transition MK, Wolverton Community Energy (through Citizens:mk) and others involved in MK Community Energy Alliance and other organisations who already provide energy training such as The National Energy Foundation and Citizens Advice Milton Keynes.

There is already a number of local volunteers who champion sustainable energy and environmental awareness in Milton Keynes, and we want to learn from their experiences. Further, we want to attract new people – anyone with an interest in energy and sustainability, and ways of helping their own communities be more sustainable is welcomed to get involved in the project, and is asked to please get in contact with Community Action: MK.

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Carbon Conversations event run by Transition MK in 2015. Photo credit: Transition MK

The Energage project will develop a network of Community Energy Champions (COMECs) in Milton Keynes. One important part of the COMECs’ role will be to translate energy-based research from the Open University to the general public in a way that will help them find solutions that work to reduce their own carbon footprint. In return Open University researchers will learn better ways to engage the public with their research. This exchange of knowledge will occur through a series of co-creation workshops, facilitated by Community Action: MK.

Another important part of their role will be to grow the network through recruitment of new volunteers. Initial workshops will be followed by a ‘week of action’ in which COMECs will engage with the public. They will share their experiences amongst the community engagement specialists and Open University researchers. This pilot scheme is intended to be the start of longer term engagement between Open University energy researchers and the public.

Energage hope to build upon activities of the existing CAPE, Community Action Platform for Energy project at the Open University and lots of other energy-related initiatives across the city. The CAPE project aims to help reduce the carbon footprint of Milton Keynes by engaging the public with relevant data; it will also be linking homeowners identified as a good fit for energy saving measures (e.g. solar panels, loft insulation) with companies that can provide products, or to grant providers, such as the MK Council.

GET INVOLVED

We will be actively promoting the project in the next few weeks and updating you about its further plans. If you are interested in getting involved, please click here to register your interest or contact Anna at Community Action: MK on:

anna@communityactionmk.org

01908 661 623/ 07710 967131

#EnergageMK

www.facebook.com/groups/EnergageMK/

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Funded by:

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13-15 January: Startup Weekend in Milton Keynes

Our colleagues at the Milton Keynes office of Tech Mahindra, who work with us on the MK:Smart and CAPE projects, and support our Employee Volunteering Programme are holding a Startup Weekend in Milton Keynes. The event is being organised as part of the InnovateMK initiative.

Startup Weekend is the world’s starting point for entrepreneurship. It is a 54-hour event where designers, developers, marketers, and startup enthusiasts come together to share ideas, form teams, and launch startups. Tech Mahindra are organising the event with aim of fostering local entrepreneurship to strengthen local community.

The participants that attend have 60 seconds to make a pitch (optional), the pitches are whittled down to the top ideas, and then teams are formed around the ideas to come out with several developed companies or projects. Finally, the weekend culminates with demonstrations in front of an audience of judges and potential investors.

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Date and Time: 6.30pm 13th Jan to 8pm 15th Jan

Venue: InnovateMK, Tech Mahindra, 1st floor, 401 Grafton Gate East, MK9 1AT

Registration and more details:  http://bit.ly/2i4iu2L

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Volunteer Spotlight: Nhamburo Ziyenge

We’re sharing stories about amazing volunteers giving their time in Milton Keynes. This spotlight is on Zi Nhamburo, who is supporting the use of Raspberry Pi’s amongst parents.

Zi is a former student at UCMK passionate about ensuring that everyone has basic computer literacy. With mandatory computing now part of the school curriculum, he is concerned that parents will not be able to help the children with their computing homework. With that in mind he is starting to develop the Community Computing Literacy scheme which he hopes to develop into a social enterprise. Focusing around the Raspberry Pi, he is running a series of workshops across Milton Keynes to help teach parents basic computer literacy skills.

In addition to developing the teaching materials for the workshops, the project also involves surveying local schools about their computing provision and developing two demonstrator systems, highlighting the potential for sustainably-powered computers. Funded by Our MK, the first workshop took place in August 2016 and was attended by 7 people who stated they were highly satisfied and keen to attend further workshops.

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Zi demonstrating a Raspberry Pi to attendees at the community workshop at UCMK in August 2016. Photo credit: Community Action: MK

Since being granted the funding from Our MK, Zi has worked closely with a team at Community Action: MK and run a series of 6 workshop for students at the STEM Club at MK Academy, which has been made possible by the Academy teachers, Mr Brian Serridge in particular. Zi has also been invited by The National Museum of Computing based at Bletchley Park to run regular activities at the museum, starting with the Christmas Bytes Festival this December.

Having recognized a demonstrable shortcoming in computer literacy in the population as a whole, Zi has decided to do something about it. He successfully navigated the Our MK funding process and started to develop a series of workshops which he will deliver for free. Such planning involves a large investment of time and great technical skill. While the idea of running workshops around the Raspberry Pi is not unique, Zi’s scheme is free, is focused on grass-roots participation, takes students of any age and experience, and still delivers materials which are interesting, informative and focused on a sustainability agenda. As such, Zi’s scheme is highly innovative.

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Zi delivering a Raspberry Pi session to students at the STEM Club at MK Academy. Photo credit: Community Action: MK.

Find out more about Zi’s volunteering Community Computing project here.

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Interested in volunteering? Get involved in with lots of roles available via Community Action: MK. Search our bank of MK Volunteering roles now to find your place and explore our new Volunteering Platform – Volunteer Connect

Happy New Year 2017! 

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5th Jan 2017 – New Year’s Resolutions with Transition MK

Free event for anyone in Milton Keynes

New Year’s Resolutions – what can we all do to make to make the biggest difference?

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Come along to the first Transition MK meeting of 2017 and be inspired by short films about some of the activities of other UK Transition groups. It will also be your chance to discuss what our priorities for 2017 should be, and enjoy some networking.

Thursday 5th January 2017, 7pm – 9pm at Centrecom in CMK (MK93BJ).

Sign up on Eventbrite: https://tmkfilmnight1.eventbrite.co.uk

To find out more about Transition MK, visit: www.transitionmk.com

Follow Transition MK on Twitter here.

Join Transition MK Facebook group here.

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Happy Christmas from Community Action: MK

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We would like to wish all our friends in the Voluntary and Community Sector organisations in Milton Keynes as well as our members and partners a very Merry Christmas!

Thank you for all your support and collaboration this year. We very much look forward to working with you and supporting you in the New Year 2017, and continuing to promote the amazing work of our communities, voluntary organisations and volunteers!

 

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Volunteer Spotlight: Ros McFadden

We’re back to sharing stories about amazing volunteers giving their time in Milton Keynes. This spotlight is on Ros McFadden, who is supporting breastfeeding across MK.

Ros is an Infant Feeding Lead Midwife at Milton Keynes University Hospital and is extremely keen to promote the benefits of breastfeeding. As a volunteer, she decided to apply to the Our MK initiative for funding to help her develop a mobile phone app to promote breastfeeding.

Alongside producing text and videos around why you should breastfeed, how to breastfeed, how to express and Frequently Asked Questions, the app will also contain details of who can help in the local area. The most innovative part of the app will be a map detailing the best locations in Milton Keynes to breastfeed using crowdsourced reviews. Ros has been instrumental in recruiting volunteer app developers, producing the material needed and in bringing the project to fruition.

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Ros has used her annual leave and spare time to pursue developing the app. Due to her expertise in the area, she sees the real need for an app to promote breastfeeding with the number of people starting breastfeeding fairly reasonable (80%), although continuation rates are low (usually drop to 40% after two weeks). While aspects of the app are not unique, taken as a whole it is particularly innovative, with no single app offering both detailed information, contact details and a handy map of suitable locations.

Ros is already starting to explore options for promoting the app and ensuring that it continues well beyond the end of her Our MK funding.

Interested in volunteering? Get involved in with lots of roles available via Community Action: MK. Search our bank of MK Volunteering roles now to find your place and explore our new Volunteering Platform – Volunteer Connect

 

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