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 www.corambeanstalk.org.uk or call Coram Beanstalk on 020 7729 4087.

Blog Post

Broughton and Brooklands Community Connectors: Community Awards Evening

Broughton and Brooklands Community Connectors Committee

On Friday evening, Peter, the Chairperson of the Connectors, celebrated the great work that has happened over the last four years by hosting a Community Awards evening to recognise and reward the nominees of the area.

The committee themselves – of Broughton & Brooklands Community Connectors – received an award for their hard work and dedication towards supporting and overseeing the other groups in the Broughton and Brooklands area. The awards were given by Milton Keynes Mayor, Sam Crooks, who came along by special invitation to present the awards to the deserving groups of Brooklands and Broughton.

One of the other groups to be awarded for their wonderful exemplary work was Supporting Xtra Special Families, who offer support to families living with disability or additional needs in Milton Keynes and the surrounding areas.

Supporting Xtra Special Families Committee

Our very own Community Action: MK employee also won an award for supporting both groups over their lifetime, and was thrilled to see them awarded for all their hard work and commitment.

Blog Post

Free Pantomime tickets for charity performance: Thursday 19th December

Free tickets for charity performance on Thursday 19th December at 10am!

Are you still looking for that perfect Christmas outing?

Well we might just have the answer – keep reading!

RARE Pantomimes are delighted to be appearing at Stantonbury Theatre this Christmas. They will bring talented cast of professional actors and dancers together to delight you with their production of…

Beauty and the Beast!

Join Belle and the Beast in the enchanted castle. With Dame Dotty taking full control of everyone’s lives hindered by the hapless Muddles and arrogant Count George, what could possibly go wrong?

A traditional pantomime for all the family built around audience participation. A real Christmas treat!

For this special charity showing, we will be offering up to 30 tickets free of charge as a gesture of good will to the local Milton Keynes community…all we need now is you!

This unique performance will take place on Thursday 19th December at 10am.

These tickets are booked on a first come, first served basis so book now to avoid disappointment!

All we ask for in return is the promise of an image of your party having a lot of fun and a short message that we can share on our website and social media pages.

Stantonbury Theatre offers free parking for cars and coaches and disabled access for those with mobility issues.

If you have any other requirements or enquiries, please contact Emma at emmad@rareproductions.co.uk or contact the theatre directly to book at 01908 324466.

For more about RARE Pantomimes please check out our social media accounts for past production images and backstage gossip…

Facebook – @RAREPantomimes

Twitter – @RARE_Panto

Instagram – @rare_panto

Please be aware that there are only 30 tickets FREE and it will be a first come first serve basis.

Blog Post

Volunteers needed: Shenley Wood ExtraCare Retirement Village

Shenley Wood are flexible with their volunteers – whatever time you can give, they will appreciate and value, for it’s the residents that will benefit from any time you have to help make sure that the activities, facilities and groups are running for them to access and participate in.

Volunteers are needed at Shenley Wood in the following areas:

Befriender

The purpose of a befriender is to share time with residents listening and chatting, encouraging them to participate in a friendly and professional manner.

Main tasks:

  • To meet with residents who may be isolated in communal areas
  • To spend time with new residents welcoming them and introducing them to village life
  • To encourage the resident to participate in village life
  • To spend time with the resident chatting, listening and responding
  • To follow standard procedures and rules of conduct
  • To work with and in consultation with the staff and specifically the Village Activity Facilitator, Wellbeing advisor and Locksmith
  • Find things of interest for the resident to talk about

Attributes/Competencies:

  • To be a good listener and have an empathy with people
  • Pleasant, friendly personality, patient with a mature understanding attitude
  • Trustworthy, honest, reliable, able to observe confidentiality
  • To work as part of a team

Gym

This role is to assist the fitness instructor in the smooth running of the gym and to ensure proper procedures are observed, and to enhance the services provided within the village.

Main tasks:

  • Assisting with the opening and closing the gym
  • Turning machinery on and off as required
  • Carrying out daily cleaning and health and safety checks on gym facilities
  • Providing excellent customer service to gym members
  • Providing information on the operation of gym equipment
  • Operating the gym music system
  • Observing the gym (being able to raise the alarm in an emergency)
  • Filing and finding gym members programme cards
  • Promote gym facilities and memberships
  • Assisting with housekeeping tasks within the gym facilities  To observe standard procedures and observe Health and Safety and rules of conduct

Attributes/Competencies:
A people person with a pleasant and friendly personality
Trustworthy, honest and reliable
Ability to carry out their role within a team and under own initiative


Memory Group Session

The purpose of the role is to support the EOP Locksmith in delivering a reminiscence session through a person-centered and holistic approach.

Main tasks:

  • Welcoming and chatting to group members
  • Supporting residents to their seats
  • Participating in group and one to one discussions
  • Engaging with individuals, listening to their life history and respecting their life experiences
  • Providing the Locksmith with a summary of sessions and assisting them with planning future
  • reminiscence discussions
  • Assisting with group activities such as quizzes with the possibility of leading sessions
  • Making refreshments for residents

Attributes/Competencies:

  • Excellent communication skills
  • Empathetic with a person centered approach
  • A good listener with a friendly and welcoming personality
  • Reliable and flexible
  • An understanding of Dementia would be beneficial to this role
  • A strong team member

Wellbeing Group – Escorter

The role of the Volunteer Escorter Coordinator is to escort, support and assist residents to and from wellbeing and the Enriched Opportunities Programme (EOP) activities and sessions within the village.

Main tasks:

  • Collect residents in a timed manner following a timetable
  • Escorting residents to activities and sessions (assisting wheelchair users if required)
  • Chatting to residents
  • Liaising with the volunteer escorter coordinator, the residents and the care team when necessary
  • To follow standard procedures and rules of conduct
  • To work with and in consultation with the staff and specifically the Village Activity Facilitator/Activity Coordinator, Wellbeing advisor and Locksmith

Attributes/Competencies:

  • Reliable and punctual with excellent time management skills
  • To be a good listener and have an empathy with people
  • Pleasant, friendly personality, patient with a mature understanding attitude
  • Trustworthy, honest, able to observe confidentiality
  • To work as part of a team

Shop Assistant

The role of the shop assistant is to ensure that you are providing good customer service to the residents in a friendly and professional manner, as well as undertaking generic shop housekeeping duties.

Main tasks:

  • Providing excellent customer service
  • Assisting customers with their purchases
  • Replenishing and Rotating stock
  • Processing sales, cash handling and operating a till
  • Processing deliveries
  • Labeling and pricing stock
  • General housekeeping duties

Attributes/Competencies

  • A pleasant, friendly personality, patient with a mature attitude
  • Trustworthy, honest, reliable
  • Able to work in a team and under own initiative
  • Experience of retail work or customer focussed activity would be advantageous but full training and support will be given

Training and development for all roles will be provided.

If you are interested in any of these roles, please contact the Shenley Wood ExtraCare Volunteer manager at natalie.sabin@extracare.org.uk or call on 01908 413035

Blog Post

It’s Your Neighbourhood Awards!

Our very own residents from Netherfield were invited along to the ‘Its Your Neighbourhood’ awards, on behalf of the RHS Britain in Bloom, last week to recognise their work on the ever-improving Community Garden.

Residents from Netherfield attending It’s Your Neighbourhood event with our very own Community Mobiliser, Sue Nelson.

Netherfield residents received a Level 2 award from the Royal Horticultural Society for their efforts in transforming the Community Garden space in Netherfield.

It was a well-attended event, with other residents from Milton Keynes areas in attendance, such as locals from Fullers Slade, Greenleys, Bletchley and Stony Stratford.

Milton Keynes Residents at the event

The event is  major community participation programme and is run on behalf of the RHS Britain in Bloom Campaigns.  This programme focuses on community participation.

For more information on the event and the RHS campaign, click here.

To see how your community can get involved in this campaign for next year and for more information about South and South East in Bloom or Britain in Bloom, then click here.

Blog Post

Fareshare South Midlands Warehouse is now open!

In partnership with the alternative education charity SOFEA, a brand new Fareshare has come to Milton Keynes! Community Action:MK went along to the opening of the warehouse and the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Fareshare distribute and supply their surplus food to over 11,000 charities across the UK. They have brought themselves to Milton Keynes, working with ASDA, to try and tackle the poverty, homelessness and lack of food available to vulnerable people in order to provide a basic human need to those who might not otherwise receive it. Fareshare are also using their surplus food to connect people and create a social impact upon those they supply to, by bringing people together through food.

‘Surplus with a purpose’.

Community Action:MK were invited to attend the launch of the brand new Fareshare SOFEA Warehouse, where SOFEA and Fareshare’s partners, volunteers and organisations they supply to were out in force to celebrate the new Warehouse. SMART!, MK College and Milton Keynes Christian Foundation, to name a few of the organisations in attendance that Fareshare supply to.

The CEO of Fareshare and the CEO of SOFEA made speeches about how their organisations work and how they work together to achieve ‘surplus with a purpose’. There is a wealth of work behind the scenes and they owe a large thank you to their workers and volunteers, without whom they’re operation would not work or run smoothly or function at all in order to deliver to the frontline charities and community groups.

Lindsay Boswell, CEO of Fareshare, addressing the crowd at the opening launch.

The Mayor was in attendance of the event, invited to help cut the ribbon. He made an empowering speech about how Fareshare and their partnership with SOFEA and ASDA would benefit not only the homelessness numbers rising in Milton Keynes, but the poverty that both vulnerable people and children face. He is excited to see the benefit to the impoverished areas and vulnerable people within Milton Keynes that Fareshare and SOFEA will work with, as well as the individual and social impact it will have on local communities as a whole.

Fareshare are on the lookout for more volunteers for their new South Midlands Warehouse. If you are are interested in volunteering with Fareshare, click here for more information, or contact Community Action: MK at support@communityactionmk.org or call 01908 661623.

For more information about Fareshare and how they work, click here. Or follow the link here to learn more about SOFEA.

Blog Post

Health and Wellbeing Board Drop – In

Tim Davies joined us for the ‘Meet Peta’ Drop In and was keen to impart his knowledge and his wisdom about his role on the Health and Wellbeing Board, whilst enjoying some tea and treats in the process!

Tim Davies, the Deputy VCS representative on the Health and Wellbeing Board for Milton Keynes, stepped in for Peta at the drop in Community Action:MK hosted at Acorn House on Wednesday 25th September.

We got some visits from a couple of local groups, interested to learn about what the Health and Wellbeing Board do within the voluntary and community sector, whilst promoting themselves to Tim to make him aware of what is out there at a grassroots level.

Some groups are still growing, developing and learning about the sector they are involved in, such as DAFS (Drugs Alcohol Family Support), a family support group run by other parents/partners of addicted loved ones, offering a weekly support meeting in a welcoming/safe/confidential and non-judgemental environment. They met Tim and were impressed with the strategic priorities of the HWB to affect change at grass roots level for the voluntary and community sector and the new and developing groups working with and operating within the health and social care system.

What is the Health and Wellbeing Board?

Health and Wellbeing Boards are a key element of the new health and social care system. The boards bring together commissioners of services across the NHS, public health, social care and children’s services, and build on the current strong local partnerships and joint working across health and social care within Milton Keynes. Milton Keynes Council has provided strategic leadership in developing a Health and Wellbeing Board for Milton Keynes.

The Health and Social Care Act 2012 gives health and wellbeing boards specific functions which include the preparation of Joint Strategic Needs Assessments (JSNAs) and Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategies (JHWSs), these are duties of local authorities and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs).

The overarching strategic priorities of the Milton Keynes Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2018 – 2028 (PDF, 2.4MB) are:

Staying Well

  • a strong focus on prevention

Closing the Gap

  • reducing inequalities in life chances

One MK

  • an integrated, innovative approach to health and wellbeing

This is achieved through Starting Well, Living Well and Ageing Well.

For more information about how the Health and Wellbeing board in Milton Keynes is being run and what it is about, click here.

If you would like to learn more about how you can start, support or develop a group within the voluntary and community sector, please contact us at support@communityactionmk.org or call us on 01908 661623.

Blog Post