We know that local action has been absolutely key to supporting residents during the pandemic. With this in mind, we are bringing together local groups across the city who are already doing amazing work to tackle the immediate Covid-19 crisis locally in each area.  

If you’re working in MK to support local residents at this time, however that might be, and you’re willing to share your knowledge and skills to help more people find the support they need, we’d love for you to join us.

These groups will help us to offer the best support we can, foster the most helpful links, collect the most ‘real’ intelligence, and influence decision makers and funders to have the most direct impact in meeting needs. They will be a place where groups on the ground can share their work, connect with MK-wide organisations, and where we can work with groups to think strategically about the future of the sector.

The knowledge gathered and shared in these groups will not only help with current work in your area, but Community Action: MK will be able to share this learning with organisations across MK and local decision makers to make sure local voices are being heard.  

We are aiming for the groups to have weekly calls and shared access to advice, resources, and peer support. We think these groups will help us all better understand the bigger picture of what’s going on in communities across MK. While also working more closely with groups on the ground to ensure they’re getting the right support at this difficult time, and help to make plans for working towards the new normal. We will be sharing tools and guides (e.g. befriending) that will support organisations to make transitions, and make use of the amazing voluntary network we have seen emerge.

We are keen to learn in depth about what else is happening in your area. In our initial meeting we will create space for you to tell us who you’ve been working with, what they are doing and other organisations for us to get in touch with

We will be looking to arrange a meeting for the week commencing 8th June. We will confirm a date and time along with a rough agenda next week. We will be having weekly meetings so if you cannot make the first one feel free to contribute your thoughts and join the week after. 

Please contact support@communityactionmk.org to get involved!

About the programme

We are launching a new programme of ‘Collaborative Action Groups’ (CAGs) across MK throughout May and June, and will establish them as a way of working across the city in the long term. The programme is supported with funding from MK Community Foundation.

The groups will initially be geographically focused and will bring together groups working to tackle the immediate Covid-19 crisis.  They will be a place to share knowledge of issues in the community and form coordinated responses to these challenges.  They will be a place where we work with groups to think strategically about how they move forward and explore difficult questions about the future. The groups will be largely participant led in terms of what they offer, the role of Community Action: MK will be to bring people together to connect the dots, provide resources and support, keep an eye on the complicated issues and questions coming up and help groups through those, along with providing volunteers to help with support. 

We are really excited about what this opportunity presents; we think this way of working will capture the amazing community spirit rising from the crisis, change how people in Milton Keynes engage with their neighbourhoods and how groups work, and will put community development and community resilience at the heart of work across the city.

Who is involved?

We will be approaching groups that we know of delivering work in communities across Milton Keynes to participate in the Collaborative Action Groups . Initially this will be focused around those delivering Covid-19 responses. We will also be getting in touch with city-wide organisations and local decision makers to help feed knowledge down to the more local level, as well as using information from the Collaborative Action Groups  to feed back into work in influencing policy, based on the real issues we are seeing.

Timeline

We are looking at hosting the first sessions in June 2020, and from then on there will host one virtual meeting a week per forum.  This will be supported by an ongoing virtual space where participants can connect and talk outside of the meetings, and where we can share resources and mutual support.

Process

  • We will ask you to take part in the Collaborative Action Groups  and explain a bit more about how they work. If you’re interested we will sign you up, and will ask you a few questions about your work so we can get a good picture of who is on each forum and the challenges they currently face. 
  • Ahead of the first meeting you’ll be sent an agenda, and for following meetings you will have a chance to shape the meetings. 
  • After the first meeting you will also get access to a virtual workspace, where we will be sharing resources, and continuing discussions. We’ll keep an eye on the conversations happening across the week to pull out key issues for the next session. 
  • We ask that everyone on the Forum attends the weekly sessions, but we understand that everyone’s time is stretched. We will therefore be sharing minutes and resources as swiftly as possible, so you can keep up to date if you miss a week.

This project is being supported by funding received from MK Community Foundation through the COVID-19 MK Emergency Response Appeal.