Volunteering Round Up 3rd July

Volunteering in the news

“Volunteers are fantastic – but it’s wrong for Martyn Lewis to suggest they are always the cheaper choice. Awarding public sector contracts to volunteering groups is all well and good, but it needs to be properly thought through – and costed.”

Great article from Oonagh Aitken, Chief Executive of Volunteering Matters.

Government proposals for employees to receive three days of volunteering leave are to go ahead, the Minister for Civil Society confirmed in a recent speech.

Community Action: MK Volunteer Managers Forum – July 8th

Our next FREE Volunteer Managers Forum event is fully booked but we do have a waiting list if you would like to sign up and be the first to hear if a ticket becomes available. To keep up to date with our next forum, sign up to our Learning & Events newsletter here.

NEW Factsheets from Community Action: MK

Digital Volunteering: How to attract time poor, skilled and motivated volunteers by changing the way you create opportunities. Read some interesting case studies from The Woodland Trust, MK Smart and our Employee Volunteering programme here.

Best practice in recruiting and retaining volunteers, with some excellent local case studies.

Latest news from Community Action: MK’s Employee Volunteering programme:

Small team make a big impact at St Mungo’s.

Home Retail Group bridge the gap at Stowe Gardens.

Best practice: useful links & resources

Some really fantastic resources from the Wales Council for Voluntary Action.

A Charter for Strengthening Relations between paid staff and Volunteers (2011) – WCVA produced jointly with Wales TUC a Charter to strengthen relationships between paid and unpaid staff. This sets out principles for involving volunteers so as to promote a healthy and harmonious workplace.

Best practice guide on establishing joint working arrangements with third parties for involving volunteers:

Guidance from Barnardo’s as a tool for organisations who place volunteers in settings where Third Parties have responsibility for their day to day activity. It is a way of ensuring good practice in the management of volunteers, and is closely based on the Investing in Volunteers Standard.

Have you explored the LinkedIn Volunteer marketplace to recruit volunteers?

VolunteerMatch, part of LinkedIn’s LinkedIn4Good programme, is designed to help charities with two volunteering challenges:

– Finding volunteers with particular professional skills

– Finding volunteers who want to serve as a board member or trustee.

Charities can encourage their LinkedIn users to volunteer their skills and experience by completing the volunteer section of their LinkedIn profile.

Charities can post volunteer opportunities on LinkedIn for Nonprofits. There is a modest fee – 10% of the standard cost to post a job on LinkedIn – which LinkedIn explained was to ensure the facility was not misused. LinkedIn says it will reinvest this income in the service.

Charities can post at no charge if they post their advert via the two lead partners REACH Volunteering and Do-it.org. Adverts posted there will also access LinkedIn members.

Talk to us at Community Action: MK about listing your volunteer opportunities on Do-it.org.

Email volunteering@communityactionmk.org or call 01908 661623.

Charities & Community Groups Employee Volunteering News from and for the VCS Volunteering

Embracing social media as part of Engage MK Networking Event on ‘Building Your e-Community’

Community Action: MK held a networking event for frontline community workers and local groups, and volunteers in Milton Keynes on Monday 22nd of June 2015 at Cruck Barn, Bradwell Abbey.

The event, organised as part of the Engage MK project and funded by Safer MK, focused on the effective use of social media to promote local groups and projects and communicate with their supporters and service-users. The aim of the event was to explore how community workers could use digital communications to better connect with the communities in which they work.

Screenshot 2015-06-30 at 07.52.00

Two speakers shared shared their knowledge of social media through their interactive presentations. We heard from Sarah Moran, a freelance social media consultant and an associate with the successful local marketing agency, Jersey Road, giving useful tips on how to use social media to communicate and grow local causes. Hywel Jones, Campaign and Marketing Manager at the Milton Keynes based charity, Willen Hospice, showcased the charity’s successful way of working with social media on some of their very successful digital campaigns.

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Aside from exploring the ways of using digital media as part of the community work, the event was also an opportunity to network and share useful contacts between the attendees.

Screenshot 2015-06-30 at 07.45.27

Attendees also had a chance to explore the stalls showcasing the work that Community Action: MK does through digital media. This included stalls with information about our online volunteering recruitment service, the QuickChat mobile and desktop app used by Community Mobilisers as part of their community engagement, and OurMK, a brand new interactive website launched as part of the MK:Smart project, which allows every citizen on Milton Keynes to share their ideas on how to improve the use of transport, energy, water, health and environment in the city.

Screenshot 2015-06-29 at 12.19.10

The Engage MK Network is a partnership project between Community Action: MK and Safer MK. Our events bring together staff, volunteers and community groups working to support MK communities. We welcome all staff and volunteers who work with local communities in MK to join our network.

You can follow updates about the project, including news about our future events, through #EngageMK.


Communities Engage MK Volunteering

Research & Reports Round-up: VAT, Safeguarding Report, Barriers to Top Jobs, Charitable Business Plans, Engagement, Payment by Results and Sustainable Volunteering

Updated direct mail VAT guidance published

Updated guidance on VAT on direct mail has now been published by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). The Charity Tax Group says that this will ‘provide certainty and clarity for charities’ following HMRC’s change of view on the issue.

How safe are our children?

NSPCC has published a report that compiles and analyses the most robust and up-to-date child protection data that exists across the UK. The report sets out 20 different indicators and each one looks at ‘how safe are our children?’ from a different perspective.

Study into non-educational barriers to top jobs published

The Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission has published research on ‘Non educational barriers to the elite profession evaluation‘ showing that working-class applicants struggle to get access to top jobs in the UK. The research is the product of extensive interviews with staff from 13 elite law, accountancy and financial services firms, who together are responsible for 45,000 of the best jobs in the country.

How to eliminate weak spots in a charitable business plan

Carolyn Sims, head of banking at Charity Bank, has written a blog that describes six ways to help a charity plan for the future.

Engaging people with lived experience of severe and multiple disadvantage

Shaping Our Lives and User Voice have produced a report, ‘Engaging people with lived experience of severe and multiple disadvantage’.

Payment by Results

A new report by the National Audit Office says that, without a common source of shared expertise and a strong evidence base, Payment by Results schemes may be poorly designed and implemented, and commissioners are in danger of ‘reinventing the wheel’ for each new scheme.

Society is changing in ways that have specific consequences for volunteering

An article written by Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, explains why charities need to respond to changes in society to ensure that volunteering is sustainable.

Blog Post Charities & Community Groups News from and for the VCS Volunteering

Developing options for the future of Library Services in MK

There can be no doubt that the face of public library services is changing. Public libraries provide a vital function in local communities and are valued by those who use them whether to borrow a book, find a quiet place to work, access Wi-Fi, meet people and so on. However the way services have to be provided has to change, especially in the light of reducing finance.

Given the scale of the financial challenge, the Milton Keynes Council cannot do this alone. It is seeking more collaborative models for the delivery of library services within localities across the Borough which is very much in keeping with the Council’s status as a Cooperative Council.

“Sharing Responsibilities for Libraries” is an opportunity to look at what may be possible in the future. The communities of Milton Keynes have an exciting opportunity to shape that future and this will only happen through active engagement with all sectors of the community. This document sets out a number of proposed ideas that have been developed so far for both improving the libraries and for delivering savings and efficiencies. A number of these savings proposals build on some very successful relationships with parish and town councils, the voluntary sector as well as local citizens.

They highlight how the use of some of the larger library buildings can be maximised. They also build on best practice from elsewhere in the country. It provides information about how the building and non-core library services could be shared with others so that the Council can focus its financial and staff resources on the core library provision.

Milton Keynes Council are seeking ways in which they can further share responsibilities for library delivery across the Borough and would welcome ideas from library customers, businesses, charities, community groups, ward councillors, parish and town councils and other stakeholders, to enable greater local input and reduced Council resources.

As part of this, the Council will be running a series of Community Engagement sessions to hear your views, ideas and your offers of help, and would encourage anyone who is interested in their local library to come along or to complete the online questionnaire.

Newport Pagnell Library 6-7pm Wednesday 24 June
Olney Library 6-7pm Thursday 25 June
Stony Stratford Library 6-7pm Monday 29 June
Wolverton Library 6-7pm Thursday 2 July
Central Library 6-7pm Monday 6 July
Kingston Library 6-7pm Tuesday 7 July
Woburn Sands 6-7pm Thursday 9 July
Westcroft Library 6-7pm Tuesday 14 July

Blog Post Charities & Community Groups Communities News from and for the VCS Volunteering

News Round Up: Volunteers, Contracts, Newspapers, Protests and Young People

Image via MK WebVolunteers are fantastic – not the cheap option

Oonagh Aitken, chief executive of Volunteering Matters says ‘awarding public sector contracts to volunteering groups is all well and good, but it needs to be properly thought through – and costed‘.

Government can’t ask charities to compete for contracts while savaging council spending

In her blog, Kathy Evans, chief executive of Children England states that the government cannot tell charities they must compete for contracts in a market while slashing the spending power of the only paying customers, local authorities.

‘Newspapers don’t want good news stories about charities’

Two veteran newspaper journalists told an audience of charity leaders that positive stories about the sector are unlikely to attract the attention of editors.

What gets communities off the couch and on to the street to protest?

Civic mobilisation has piqued academic interest over recent decades. Among the many explanations to emerge, three themes echo loudly through the literature: grievance, efficacy and social embeddedness.

Charities ‘do not live up to young employees’ expectations

Many charities do not live up to graduate employees’ expectations, do not make the most of talented young people, and are too tolerant of bad management, a charity recruitment specialist told an NCVO conference this week.

(via NAVCA)

Blog Post Charities & Community Groups News from and for the VCS Volunteering

Volunteering Round Up 12th June

Volunteering News

NCVO asks whether charities are failing to tap into the talent of their volunteer base to develop new trustees. If you’d like support to develop your volunteering programme, including trustee recruitment, please drop us a line on volunteering@communityactionmk.org

We love this innovative way that the Canal & River Trust came up with to reward volunteers! If you’d like to learn and share tips with other organisations who involve volunteers, come along to our Volunteer Managers’ Forum on 8th July. It’s free and appropriate for anyone supporting volunteers, even if you’re a volunteer yourself.

Volunteering data. NCVO’s 2015 Almanac has some useful facts and figures about the sector including information about the shape of volunteering in public sector service delivery.

If you’d like to tap into potential new volunteers in the expansion areas of MK, contact our growth officer Hannah. MK’s population is set to grow by 20% by 2026 – that’s lots of new volunteers!

Opportunities of the week
MK:Smart are looking for individuals with a passion and knowledge for photography who can help in the planning and organising of an MK:Smart Photo Competition which they are looking to launch by the end of September.
During this opportunity you will be volunteering closely with the MK:Smart team by assisting in planning the photo competition. Tasks will include looking into venues for hire, contacting potential judges, planning categories for the photo competition and creating flyers.
By joining the MK:Smart Photo Competition team you’ll have the opportunity to develop your organisational skills, interpersonal skills and creative abilities. Appropriate training offered if required. Click to express an interest in this opportunity.

The incredible Walking with Giants Parade returns to CMK this summer. If you want to be able to say ‘I helped make that’ check out and sign up for the makers’ camps happening over the next few weeks.

If you have free time, are a car owner and enjoy driving and would like to help people in your local area then you could become a volunteer car driver for Community Action: MK‘s new community car service – have a look at the link for more information.

MK Islamic Arts and Culture organisation are looking for volunteers for their popular summer festival taking place on the 18th and 19th July. A great opportunity to develop your skills in event organisation and support. Express an interest here.

Job Vacancy

Do Good Feel Good project manager for Arts for Health Milton Keynes.

Blog Post Volunteering

Volunteering friends for life

It’s the final day of Volunteers’ Week 2015 and all week we’ve been sharing case studies with you to highlight the many reasons people have for volunteering. We hope you’ve enjoyed them and perhaps been inspired to have a go yourself. There are over 370 opportunities in Milton Keynes so you’re sure to find something that takes your fancy!

Dick’s Story


Dick Evans helps to run the Age UK Milton Keynes lunch club at Radcotte Lodge every Wednesday and also supports various fund raising events for the organisation throughout the year including supermarket bag packs, singing events at Peartree Centre or lunch clubs, providing refreshments at fetes and so on. Not only that, Dick helps to lead chair exercises during the winter and coaches short mat bowls to the residents of The Limes in Newport Pagnell on Thursday afternoons.

After being made redundant just over 3 years ago and unable to find employment Dick’s wife Rosemary saw an advert for volunteering at Age UK Milton Keynes. Over the last 3 years Dick has made many friends at the lunch club, to the extent that he has become a big part of their lives and they have become part of his. Dick says that he has observed real friendship among the members that is invaluable and comforting to them especially during times of sadness or when someone sadly passes away.

Dick says he gets tremendous satisfaction when he helps out with singing, along with the other members of his band, at residential homes of all types. He says “to see the people singing along is reward in itself and a joy to see them enjoying it.”

If you’d like to find out more about volunteering, give Community Action: MK a call on 01908 661623 or come along to our drop in and speak to one of our friendly, trained advisors every Thursday morning from 10am-12noon in the reception at Acorn House, 351 Midsummer Boulevard, CMK, MK9 3HP.

Alternatively, you can search for local opportunities via www.do-it.org

Blog Post Volunteering