Communicating about Climate Change – a Transition MK event

Transition MK are pleased to invite you to a talk on ‘Communicating about Climate Change‘ by author and leading specialist on climate change communication, George Marshall. The talk will be followed by a Q&A session.

In his recent book George Marshall explores the reasons why we ignore climate change. He also is the co-founder and a leading member of COIN (Climate Change Outreach and Information Network). Come and hear George’s talk and ask him your questions.

Friday 20th November, 7.30 – 9pm
St Pauls School, Phoenix Drive, Leadenhall, MK6 5EN
Tickets are £5 on the door, or £4 with a pre-booked eventbrite ticket (in both instances please pay on the door as we cannot accept online payment).

For more information contact Transition MK.

To book your online ticket please click here.
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Blog Post Communities News from and for the VCS

Launch of Our MK

Our MK website ready for collaboration!

Our MK, a new collaborative website designed for sharing ideas on how to transform Milton Keynes into a smarter, greener place to live, was showcased at the launch event held at Transport Systems Catapult on Wednesday 23rd September.

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Launched as part of the city-wide project, MK: Smart, it’s a platform for all people living in Milton Keynes who want to have their say in shaping the future of our city. Individual citizens as well as existing groups can share their ideas through the website and apply for up to £5K funding to run projects beneficial for the city’s transport, energy, water, health and environment. The main aim for the website is to generate exciting and tangible citizen-led projects in Milton Keynes.

The launch event, with cheese & wine, was organised by the Citizen Innovation team, one of the eight workpackages of the MK:Smart project.

We were delighted to see a number of MK citizens and representatives of local organisations, groups and businesses, keen to find out more about this local initiative. Many of them shared their ideas with us at the event – by leaving comments at our ‘inspiration station’ and expressed their eagerness to be part of Our MK by running or helping to run local projects.

Robbie Macpherson, Chief Operations Officer at Community Action: MK, who has been working on the MK:Smart project from its inception said:

Great to meet so many enthusiastic people – many with ideas and some wanting to volunteer and help others, develop their ideas and deliver projects. A real buzz, and a “great gig”. 

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The event featured presentations from the key people behind the MK:Smart project, including members of the Our MK team at Community Action: MK and the Open University, who explained the concept of and the core objectives behind the smart cities initiative.

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The real highlight of the event was a talk from Michael Sheppard – MK citizen, teacher and a keen activist involved in a number of local initiatives, including Transition MK and the MK Green Party.

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Michael has just been announced as the winner of the first round of Our MK funding competition and was telling the audience about his plans for the innovative project related to off-grid solar lighting. You can visit Michael’s page on Our MK to find out more about his project and you can also sign-up to our monthly newsletter to receive updates on how Michael’s progressing in the coming months.

Our MK Competition

If, like Michael, you have an innovative and impactful idea for a project that could be run in MK, visit Our MK and find out more about our Citizen Ideas Competition, and your chance to win up to £5K of funding. See more information about the application process here:

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To explore further and sign up to our Drop-In Sessions at which we will provide you with support & advice for your project idea, please click here.

Blog Post Communities Funding MK:Smart

Top prizes up for grabs in exclusive MK energy trial

You could win a UHD TV by changing your energy habits 

Are you prepared to re-think the way in which you use electricity and gas? Samsung is running an energy trial exclusively for Milton Keynes residents and only 90 households will be selected to take part. These people will have the chance to win a top-of-the-range Samsung appliance or TV (amongst many other prizes). MK residents can take-part as an individual household, or increase their chances of winning by inviting friends and family (only one application per household).

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What’s in it for the participants?
  • Be part of a ground-breaking trial which will revolutionise the way people think about energy;
  • Benefit from innovative new energy web apps and tools being developed by Samsung;
  • Earn prizes for you and your friends/family (top prize of a top-of-the-range Samsung appliance or TV; other prizes for all participants).
How does it work?

Eligible participants who apply now will have equipment installed in their homes in the next few weeks which will record when and how they use energy.

The state-of-the-art sensor equipment will be installed at five plug sockets and gas/electricity meters and an energy monitoring hub will send data to Samsung about participants’ energy consumption via their Wi-Fi router.

The trial is taking place as part of the MK:Smart project, which is an Open University-led project working to make Milton Keynes a smarter city. The data collected will be curated in the MK Data Hub located in Central Milton Keynes.

In the New Year Samsung will provide a web portal for those taking part. There is no need to change energy provider to participate in the trial, but participants are free to do so if they wish. The scheme will not affect the rate participants pay their supplier for their energy.

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For further details or to register for the trial visit www.mksmart.org/samsung

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Blog Post MK:Smart

New platform launched to support technology-centred green projects in Milton Keynes.

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Apply for up to £5K funding for your ideas!

On the 23rd September we are launching ourmk.org, a new website to find out your ideas about how to make Milton Keynes a smarter, greener city.

Our MK is an online platform to bring together the citizens of Milton Keynes to share, discuss and develop innovative, technology-centred ideas that will make a positive impact on local communities. We are looking for ideas that help improve the sustainability of transport, water and energy use, health and the environment within Milton Keynes. We are offering grants of up to £5,000 to turn these ideas into reality.

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Our MK is part of the MK:Smart project, a collaborative initiative using big data to address some of the city’s key sustainability issues and make MK a Smart City. “Our MK offers a great opportunity for citizens to improve the communities they live in” said Dr Daniel Gooch who is working on the MK:Smart project at the Open University. “In addition to the funding, we are offering expert support and advice to make the best use of the resources of the MK:Smart project”.

We’ve already heard ideas from people including a ‘Ripe Near Me’ app for sharing foraging info, deploying solar panels for domestic lighting and a London Tube style redways map. See all these ideas and more on the Our MK Website.

To celebrate the launch of the Our MK Citizens Ideas Competition and share information about how you can get involved, we’re holding a Cheese and Wine event on 23rd September 2015, 6-8pm at the Transport Systems Catapult, The Pinnacle, Midsummer Boulevard. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to find out more – register for the event here.

“The event will provide an opportunity for people in Milton Keynes to find out about the competition and share their ideas with other people. It is great to see groups already coming together to share ideas for their community and being given a chance to shape their city” said Rebecca Brown, MK:Smart Lead at Community Action: MK.

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For more information visit the website ourmk.org or contact us. Plus don’t forget to visit eventbrite to sign up to the launch event.

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Blog Post MK:Smart Projects

Second workshop for MK:Smart Citizen Ideas Competition

The second project advice workshop for MK: Smart and OurMK

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The Citizen Innovation team at MK:Smart held it’s second project advice workshop on Wednesday 29th of July at Community Action: MK office in Acorn House. The workshop was designed for MK Citizens who have submitted their ideas and projects on our citizen collaboration platform, www.ourmk.org.

Once again, we met with citizens who have great ideas for the city and talked through their projects ranging from those related to health & wellbeing, time-banking and energy efficiency. The workshop followed the format from the previous week (see our blog here), where attendees had a chance to stop by at various ‘advice stations’ to chat to our team about their projects and get useful information to help them apply for funding through our Citizens Ideas Competition.

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We really enjoyed talking to some very passionate people at the workshop, who have a clear vision for MK being a smart and sustainable city, where citizens can thrive. The projects we explored at the workshop included:

  • MK Women & Wellbeing – see more information here
  • TimeBanking – see more information here
  • Walnut Tree Urban Farm – see more information here

You can find out more about these and other interesting projects & ideas by visiting the OurMK website.

We are now excited at the prospect of the next stage of the Citizens Ideas Competition. The deadline to submit a project and apply for funding through the MK:Smart Citizen Innovation Fund is Monday 16th of August. Following this date, the competition judging panel will choose the projects that, they believe, are ready to receive funding and can bring the most benefits to MK and its communities.

We hope to be updating everyone about the results of this first phase of the competition at the end of August.

You can follow us via #MKSmart to get regular updates about the project’s developments or via #ChallengeMK to get updates about the Citizens Competition in particular.

You can also sign up to our monthly MK:Smart newsletter here.

Blog Post MK:Smart

MK:Smart holds its first project advice workshop!

Exploring great ideas for MK

The MK:Smart Citizen Innovation team hosted the first in a series of advice workshops this week, organised to support MK Citizens with great project ideas to apply for funding through the Citizens Ideas Competition. The Competition is open to projects aimed at improving transport, energy, water, health or environment in MK. The successful entries will be granted funding to help them start or develop their projects in the coming months.

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The workshop featured an opening presentation from Gerd Kortuem and Daniel Gooch at the Open University, and Rebecca Brown from Community Action: MK, who deliver the Citizen Innovation work-package within the MK:Smart project. The session covered the key facts about MK:Smart project and its objectives, and explained the process behind the MK:Smart Citizen Innovation Fund.

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This introductory part was followed by interactive sessions with a number of advice stations for the attendees, offering information and advice in the areas such as:

  • Community Enterprise
  • Starting up a new group
  • Involving Citizens
  • Bid writing tips
  • Our MK: technical support

The attendees had a chance to ask questions, browse the materials showcased at each of the advice stations, and take some resources with them. The session was also a great opportunity for them to network and chat about their ideas to fellow citizens, identifying areas of synergy and potential for collaboration. Rebecca, from Community Action: MK said “We heard a range of different project ideas from the citizens and we were able to offer them guidance on how to make their ideas a reality using this opportunity”. Ten Citizens attended this workshop from groups such as Wolverton Community Energy and Transition MK, as well as individuals across the city. We expect a similar number and range of people again next week.

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We were delighted to see a wide range of interesting projects being represented at the workshop: from the Urban Farm concepts to community energy and white-coated rooftops generating renewable energy. We are now looking forward to seeing some of these ideas developed into projects and entered into the competition officially. You can see all the project ideas on our new interactive website, OurMK.

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The feedback from the attendees has been very positive and we are already aware of some of the project owners talking to one another to connect their ideas and find areas of synergy.

The next advice workshop is taking place on Wednesday 29th of July and we are encouraging all citizens who have ideas for projects to submit them on OurMK and come along to the workshop to find out more about the competition and the MK:Smart project in general. Sign-up via Eventbrite here.

You can follow our MK:Smart updates through #MKSmart #ChallengeMK or sign up here to receive our monthly newsletter.

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Finding ways round funding for community growing

Growing Together is a new partnership of community and environmental sector organisations. Supported by the Big Lottery Fund, it will develop “income inspiration” for community growing groups to help them become financially self-sustaining and less reliant on grants.

The project will also offer expert advice and training about income generation, as well as working with government and big business to unlock land, skills and money.

The website address http://www.growingtogether.community/ currently goes to a temporary information page hosted by Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens.

The Growing Together partnership will work across the UK and comprises the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens, Groundwork UK, Incredible Edible Network, Permaculture Association, Development Trusts Association (Scotland), Wales Co-operative Centre (Wales) and Cooperative Alternatives (Northern Ireland).

Blog Post Communities News from and for the VCS