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State of the Sector Survey 2019

Our annual State of the Sector survey is now open!

This important piece of research helps us to understand the local voluntary and community sector better. Our new and improved survey is designed to help us find out about the sorts of groups and organisations working in our city, their experiences over the last year, and the support they need to thrive.

We need as many people involved in the sector as possible to take part. The more groups and organisations we hear from, the more accurate and useful our research will be in understanding the state of the sector.

You can click here to find out a bit more about the research, and to take part in the survey.

There will also be a number of workshops this year, to help us explore the themes in the survey in more detail. You can sign up at the end of the survey, or contact Laura Berrisford on to find out more.

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Board Members Wanted: Equality Council UK


In light to some retirements, ECUK is seeking members to serve on its Board, in particular the Milton Keynes area, but regional representation may be sought in the near future.

ECUK is a charity run by voluntary members.

We are looking for interested individuals who have the enthusiasm and drive to forward the equality agenda . If you feel your interest and skills can support our charity, then we would like to hear from you. We are seeking skills in the following areas:

  • Funding raising through an application/tendering process
  • Recruitment and membership – diversifying the database and connections
  • Marketing, Networking and Business Development
  • Equality Standards, Training and Development
  • Events Management: Equality Awards and Promotional Events
  • Web Maintenance and Information Technology

You would need to be committed and determined to make a difference.

There will be approximately 7 meetings during 2020 including the AGM. Facilities will be made available for members to attend meetings remotely via video/teleconferencing.

Please forward your recent CV together with a covering letter outlining your interest in Equality and Diversity as well as what you can bring to the Board. Please send your particulars to:

Visit our website:

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Volunteers Needed: Reading Helpers – Coram Beanstalk

Could you spare a few hours each week at a local primary school to share your love of reading with children in Milton Keynes?

Coram Beanstalk is a national reading charity that transforms children’s life chances by recruiting, training and supporting volunteers to work directly with children aged 5-11 who need support in their reading ability and confidence.

The charity currently needs new volunteers who can help engage children in books and stories, bringing the fun and magic back into reading with children whose reading confidence and enjoyment may have been lost or may need a boost.

As a reading helper you will support three primary school children twice a week for 30 minutes sessions for at least one academic year. The children you will be working with will need help for a variety of reasons but your focus will be on making reading fun and helping them feel more positive around books.

Very importantly, sessions are meant to be fun and enjoyable. By having this one-on-one time with each child the reading helper can help to develop the child’s reading skills and wider language acquisition in a fun and engaging way.

All volunteers receive professional training by Coram Beanstalk and ongoing support to ensure that they are best able to have the biggest impact possible through their sessions.

If you would like to become a reading helper in Milton Keynes, please visit the website at or call Coram Beanstalk on 020 7729 4087.

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Volunteer to help the homeless in Milton Keynes

Homelessness has become a major issue in Milton Keynes over the last few years. According to Vital Signs 2019, a report published by the MK Community Foundation, 1 in every 117 people in Milton Keynes are homeless. This figures does not take into consideration the hidden homeless, so those sofa-surfing or living in temporary accommodation.

With the number of local rough sleepers increasing year on year, how long can we continue to look the other way?

Volunteer to help the homeless:

Sanctuary Housing

Sanctuary Hosting: We need volunteer hosts across the Thames Valley –  people with an open heart and a free bed to help someone who is destitute and far from their home country. If you are interested in being a support worker – volunteers who support hosting placements to help us ensure that hosting goes well – please also get in touch:

YMCA England

YMCA Milton Keynes: There are many ways to get involved, including:

  • Fundraising to help raise money for accommodation and support services for our young residents.
  • Becoming a board committee member and sharing your experience to benefit YMCA MK.
  • Participating at our events, for example assisting with general organisation or serving food and refreshments.
  • Helping us furnish 199 rooms in our new campus that opens in February 2020.

Bus Shelter MK: There are a wide variety of tasks, including feeding residents, supporting the daily life on the bus and helping residents become self-sufficient so they can move on after their time with us.

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Volunteers needed! Contact Help our Homeless to find out what volunteering opportunities they have and what donations they are looking for.

Winter Night Shelter Milton Keynes

Winter Night Shelter MK. Night owls and early risers are always especially needed. There are many different roles, both interacting with our guests and supporting behind the scenes.

Open Door MK Logo.jpg

Open Door MK: Our future depends on you. Your donations, your support, and your time all help us help the homeless in MK .

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MK Soup Run: MK Soup Run is run by a group volunteers, many of which are connected to local church organisations. They are often looking for donations and people to put together winter care packages.

The Rough Sleeper Partnership: The RSP provides a combination of outreach support and assessment hubs where homeless people and people who are vulnerably house can go to access help and support. RSP operates across Milton Keynes, Luton and Bedford – there are volunteering opportunities in all these areas. 

Connection Support

Connection Support: Volunteering with Connection Support offers many exciting opportunities. There is no typical volunteer, we believe that everyone has something valuable to offer. Whether your skills are practical, admin, language-based or people-centred, we can find a role to suit you!

MK Food Bank - Sowing the seeds of Love

MK Foodbank: We have several opportunities for individuals and business volunteering. Opportunities range from a few hours, to a day volunteering in our warehouse or visiting one of our emergency food serving sessions. Interested in volunteering? Please email


MK Storehouse: We have sessions for clothes sorting, general tidying and cleaning of the building. We also sometimes need people with large cars and strong muscles to help us move donations around. Do get in touch if you’d like to be notified when these are taking place and what you would be happy doing.


Refugees Welcome Milton Keynes is always on the lookout for people who can help in the following capacities:

  • Administrators
  • Furnishings, books, donations:
  • Offer meaningful work placements with positive outputs
  • Assist our our first Community Sponsorship project: Refugees Welcome Wolverton
  • Be a “work mentor” to one family
  • Interpret or teach ESL for the Red Cross, teach Maths or English via Building Bridges
  • Be a “buddy” family and help with all aspects of integration
  • Organise social events that support integration
  • Offer positive links to sports/hobby groups who want to help
  • Speakers to join our ‘Talks Team’
  • Help with fostering (please visit the Milton Keynes Council Fostering page for info)

Village Carlton logo

Emmaus Village Carlton: At Emmaus Village Carlton our volunteers work alongside our companions and staff, sharing activities and responsibilities and helping to build our social enterprise together.

We always welcome support with:

  • Helping to merchandise and price items in our shops (furniture, boutique and bric and brac
  • Admin assistance
  • Fundraising
  • Drivers
  • Upcycling of furniture
  • Gardeners
  • Bistro assistance

Also please get in touch with the organisations below if you are interested in volunteering with them.

Further organisations that help the homeless

Milton Keynes Homelessness Partnership (MKHP) is working together with public, private and voluntary sector organisations for a real change. With a vision of sustainable homes for all, MKHP’s strategy is to shift the focus from managing homelessness to ending homelessness by wider engagement and a joined-up approach to provide a clear pathway to sustainable housing.

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Get advice immediately if you think you might become homeless – with the right help you might be able to stay in or return to your home.

The Salvation Army: Fishermead Centre is a Salvation Army Lifehouse that offers supported housing to men and women experiencing homelessness who are aged 25 and over who can stay for 6 months.  For initial enquiries or a referral form please email

Compass: A free, confidential substance misuse service for all Milton Keynes residents aged 18+. We positively welcome all those in our community who are experiencing problems with drugs and alcohol misuse and we specialise in supporting recovery.

Street Link Logo

StreetLink: StreetLink exists to help end rough sleeping by enabling members of the public to connect people sleeping rough with the local services that can support them. If you are concerned about someone over the age of 18 that you have seen sleeping rough in England or Wales, you can use this website to send an alert to StreetLink.The details you provide are sent to the local authority or outreach service for the area in which you have seen the person, to help them find the individual and connect them to support.

If your community group or charity works in homelessness and is looking for volunteers please contact Community Action: MK at or 01908 661 623.

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