Our Autumn Networking/Netwalking Event

The weather was kind to us on Tuesday, for our networking/netwalking event that took place at the Meeting Place outside The Point amidst the Festival of Creative Urban Living.

With the venue so open plan, we used some of our refreshments as paperweights to hold down our information at our stall before it was lost to the wind – otherwise people wouldn’t know who we are, what we do, what we are working on or how we can help and support the voluntary and community sector.

The Festival of Creative Urban Living were kind enough to host us and even entertain us and our guests on a tour of the Festival, exhibiting some of their unique architecture and concepts, with one of our own team getting her idea of a beach in Milton Keynes on one of their models!

We were also joined by AccessAble. AccessAble have been working with Milton Keynes Council for a number of years to create over 350 Access Guides for the area. These Guides contain over 1,000 pieces of access information with a pan-disability approach so that residents and visitors with a disability can make independent and informed decisions about where they would like to go out. For more information, visit their website or contact them to find out how you can utilise their services and Guides!

Then some of our networkers ventured on our netWALK into Conniburrow to see how Big Local Conniburrow have helped to shape and enhance the local community assets. There was a walk around Friendship Park, a visit to the Big Local Conniburrow Hub, as well as a visit to the Pond, the Little Library and the Community Orchard. Our guests were impressed with all of Conniburrow’s hidden gems and how utilised these are by residents and the local community. Our team and guests even had a little laugh and a dance under the Sonar Arch in Friendship Park to show another way the space could be used!

We thank all our attendees and visitors to our Networking Event for coming along and for your ongoing support at our events.

If you would like to see what events we are hosting and that are coming up, sign up to our mailing list here.

Our next event is our ‘Let’s Talk Good Finance’ Event, organised in collaboration with the teams at NAVCA and Good Finance. There will be speakers, the hot topic of the REACH Fund and the promise of refreshments. Please see here for more details.

If you would like to know more about what we do, how we can help or if you have simply got news to share with us, then contact us at info@communityactionmk.org or call on 01908 661623.

We already have our ‘SAVE THE DATE’ for our next networking event! See below for more details.

We look forward to seeing you there! #lovemk #welovemk #networking #voluntaryandcommunitysector

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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.

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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.

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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.

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What’s been happening in Conniburrow? A BLC Update.

Big Local Conniburrow has had an exciting few weeks and we wanted to share with you what’s been happening!

BLC Fun Day

The Fun Day was a big hit, with hundreds of residents turning up to the big party-like atmosphere in the Friendship Park. There were food stalls, face-painting stalls, soft-play for the children and even and inflatable helter skelter! And a big hat’s off to one of Conniburrow residents for ‘Braving the Shave’ to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Research, with BLC’s Chair of the Partnership, Robbie Macpherson, kindly offering to yield the razor for her!

All the stalls and the entire event was made up of volunteers giving up their weekend to bring the local community together to enjoy the end of summer and promote the hard work of the Big Local Conniburrow!

Treasure Hunt

The Treasure Hunt took place in Great Linford Wood with a picnic lunch afterwards, with a good turn-out on the day and plenty of treasure to hunt down! There was even a story read to the children and families afterwards by our new Trainee Mobiliser!

This event was hosted by Sid Burgess, a local resident who really enjoys spending time at BLC and his input and ideas had really help make the events as successful as they are. If you are interested in getting involved at Big Local Conniburrow, then please contact us on support@communityactionmk.org or call 01908 661623

What else is BLC up to?

The Involvement and Social Task group are always hosting events, such as the most recent Cheese and Biscuit Quiz, led again by Sid Burgess, keen to always find different ways to bring the community together in different ways!

BLC also host weekly groups and clubs for local residents from Conniburrow and the surrounding area to attend! There is a Youth Social every Tuesday afternoon (16yrs+) and a coffee morning for every age on Friday mornings. They facilitate Yoga sessions on a Tuesday morning and yes, the Crafty Cuppa is back! Complete with an option of Breakfast at the Children’s Centre in Conniburrow every Thursday morning.

Conniburrow is also home to a well-kept, creatively planted Community Orchard.

Friends of Community Orchard project is managed by volunteers in collaboration with Big Local Conniburrow. We are always looking for volunteers to help maintain and plant the orchard. The Friends of the Orchard meet every Wednesday at 3:30pm to 5pm for Creative Gardening and on the third saturday of each month. (Please note these times may have changed. Contact us for more details).

If you are interested in any of these groups or getting involved in BLC or volunteering at one of their events or in the orchard, then please contact us at support@communityactionmk.org or call 01908 661623

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Volunteering Opportunity: Volunteers required for Quality Christmas Gift Wrapping in December 2019

It’s too early for Christmas, surely? Not for Nkiru Arts – they are thinking ahead and already looking to recruit volunteers for Christmas!

Nkiru Arts are currently recruiting unpaid volunteers for December up to Christmas Eve to be trained for quality Christmas Gift Wrapping to work a few occasional 3 / 4 hour shifts on the Charity Gift Wrapping Stall in INTU as part of the Christ The Cornerstone Christmas Appeal Christmas Gift Wrapping Stall.

The hours spent wrapping would be credited to Nkiru Arts Inclusive Organisation (not for profit)

You would report to and be under the guidance and Insurance of of Nkiru Arts.

Who are Nkiru Arts?

 Nkiru –  Means ‘the best is yet to come’.

Nkiru Arts is an Inclusive arts for health organisation based in Milton Keynes. They are a  small ‘Not for profit’ organisation and run entirely by volunteers – everyone gives their time freely and no wages are paid.

Focusing on all aspects of ‘The Arts’, embracing all forms of ‘The Arts’ to compliment people’s lives keeping people fit, active and portray disabilities in a positive light.

Nkiru runs community African & Dhol Drumming Groups for fun and do public performances. Sessions are totally inclusive and encourage a mix of abled and disabled. Arts workshops and all textile workshops are totally inclusive too. They aim to include all, regardless of any disability.

Nkiru Arts’ activities also provide supportive opportunities, training and work experience for volunteers.

The ideal candidate must:

  • be over 18 years of age
  • have a good rapport with customers
  • be able to take and organise orders
  • be nimble fingered
  • enjoy wrapping gifts
  • be able to work sitting or standing for 3 / 4 hour shift
  • be able to cope in busy periods.

Sales experience in shop environment ideal, but not essential as full training given, working as a team member and able to follow instructions essential.

All training provided and must reach level required, must attend a 2 hour training session.

Choice of morning , afternoon, evening or weekend shift to suit.

Please contact Annie Beddoenkiruarts@btinternet.com

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Volunteering opportunity of the week: Puppy Socialiser

Medical Detection Dogs are looking for caring family homes in Milton Keynes and surrounding areas to look after and socialise puppies and young adult dogs up to 18 months old.


We are training our assistance dogs to accompany clients with detectable medical conditions and alert to oncoming episodes. If you can support our charity by being involved in socialising puppies or dogs for a period of time then we would love to hear from you.


This is a full time volunteer role as the puppy/dog will live with the volunteer for a number of months.


The volunteer will need to:
– attend regular puppy classes
– be at home most of the day
– follow positive dog training methods
– regularly visit lots of different environments and us various forms of transport
– be willing to support charity events

How to find out more: www.medicaldetectiondogs.org.uk

Register your interest on our Simply Connect volunteering site

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