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 issue focused calls and shared access to advice, resources, and peer support. We are aware that as situations develop different issues are being identified, gaps are emerging and the need to communicate across the sector is vital. The groups so far have been a brilliant way to bring together, big and small groups, addressing similar issues as well as seemingly unrelated issues. Such discussions and sharing have so far led to great collaborations and more joined up working across the various issues. If you have identified a gap or need more information about who can support with a group of service users these meetings and networks can be tapped into to create a space for a productive dicussion and planning. 

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, signposting to training etc) 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 and/or with your service users. Meetings will create space for you to tell us who you’ve been working with, what they are doing, the support you need and ways to engage other organisations to grow this network and increase cross sector collaboration.  

Please contact support@communityactionmk.org to get involved!

About the programme

‘Collaborative Action Groups’ (CAGs) are spaces to collect insight and information from groups, organisations and networks working across MK. The groups are constantly evolving and adapting to the needs of the sector, so we are continually developing the structures of the groups so they can be as useful as possible. If you have any issues or concerns then please let us know and we can look at how the groups can highlight the issue and also work together to look for solutions. The programme is supported with funding from MK Community Foundation.

The groups were initially geographically focused and brought together groups working to tackle the immediate Covid-19 crisis. As we move forwards they can be issue focused, location specific or initiative / action driven. This adaptiveness means as new needs or challenges arise we look at responding and coordinating within the sector. They continue to 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 hope this way of working will continue to 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. 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.

Next Steps…

  • Please get in touch with us if you would like to join the network, have any issues to flag or gaps you have come across in your work.
  • If you know of any groups that might be interested in sharing their work then please get in touch or share our work with them. If you would like to know more about the groups and what they have already done we can share insights with you.
  • We have a virtual workspace where information, reports, useful information and data can be shared between members of the Collaborative Actions Groups. This can also be a communication tool so you can collaborate and discuss potential projects easily.

This project was started with initial funding received from MK Community Foundation through the COVID-19 MK Emergency Response Appeal.