Energage – training Community Energy Champions

Creating a network of Community Energy Champions network in Milton Keynes

We are delighted to announce that we have teamed up with the Open University to deliver a pilot project in Milton Keynes that will focus on recruiting and training community members to become volunteer Energy Champions in their neighbourhoods and communities.

The project has been made possible thanks to the funding from the Natural Environment Research Council as part of their recent funding call on ‘Engaging the UK public with the big issues of environmental science’. The Energage project is one of 18 across the UK – click here to find out more about this funding initiative.

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The initiative is the result of successful collaboration and partnership-working between Community Action: MK and the Open University through the MK:Smart and CAPE, Community Action Platform for Energy, projects. It is also linked to the work of other local organisations in Milton Keynes that promote the concept of community-owned and sustainable energy. These include Transition MK, Wolverton Community Energy (through Citizens:mk) and others involved in MK Community Energy Alliance and other organisations who already provide energy training such as The National Energy Foundation and Citizens Advice Milton Keynes.

There is already a number of local volunteers who champion sustainable energy and environmental awareness in Milton Keynes, and we want to learn from their experiences. Further, we want to attract new people – anyone with an interest in energy and sustainability, and ways of helping their own communities be more sustainable is welcomed to get involved in the project, and is asked to please get in contact with Community Action: MK.

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Carbon Conversations event run by Transition MK in 2015. Photo credit: Transition MK

The Energage project will develop a network of Community Energy Champions (COMECs) in Milton Keynes. One important part of the COMECs’ role will be to translate energy-based research from the Open University to the general public in a way that will help them find solutions that work to reduce their own carbon footprint. In return Open University researchers will learn better ways to engage the public with their research. This exchange of knowledge will occur through a series of co-creation workshops, facilitated by Community Action: MK.

Another important part of their role will be to grow the network through recruitment of new volunteers. Initial workshops will be followed by a ‘week of action’ in which COMECs will engage with the public. They will share their experiences amongst the community engagement specialists and Open University researchers. This pilot scheme is intended to be the start of longer term engagement between Open University energy researchers and the public.

Energage hope to build upon activities of the existing CAPE, Community Action Platform for Energy project at the Open University and lots of other energy-related initiatives across the city. The CAPE project aims to help reduce the carbon footprint of Milton Keynes by engaging the public with relevant data; it will also be linking homeowners identified as a good fit for energy saving measures (e.g. solar panels, loft insulation) with companies that can provide products, or to grant providers, such as the MK Council.

GET INVOLVED

We will be actively promoting the project in the next few weeks and updating you about its further plans. If you are interested in getting involved, please click here to register your interest or contact Anna at Community Action: MK on:

anna@communityactionmk.org

01908 661 623/ 07710 967131

#EnergageMK

www.facebook.com/groups/EnergageMK/

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Funded by:

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Blog Post CAPE, Community Action Platform for Energy Charities & Community Groups Communities Communities Can (Cultural Services Review 2016) Community Car Service Connecting Communities Conniburrow Consultation Eastern Expansion Area Employee Volunteering Engage MK Funding Great Linford Health & Wellbeing Jobs in the VCS Lakes Estate MK:Smart Netherfield New Communities News from and for the VCS Newton Leys People's Health Trust Projects Simpson & Ashland Volunteering Western Expansion Area Woughton

19th Jan 17: The Divide Film Showing

The Divide Film Showing

+ Q&A with Director Katherine Round

 

Community Action: MK are pleased to present a film that explores a major issue faced by society today; the growing divide between rich & poor. This film focuses on this subject in USA and UK, by following the stories of individuals in both countries. Join us for this insightful evening where we will be showing this film, plus other short films related to this topic in the UK. We are also lucky enough to be joined by Director Katherine Round who will be available for Q&A after the show.

Thursday 19th January 2017

6.30pm (to start at 7pm)

Stantonbury Theatre, MK14 6BN

This event is being hosted by many local organisations including Community Action: MK, Transition MK, MK Peace & Justice Network, The People’s Assembly, MK Community Bank, MK Green Party and MK Momentum. Information will be available about local services in Milton Keynes, so will also offer a great chance for networking and sharing.

Buy your tickets now from Stantonbury Box Office, with special reduced price for students, children and concessions. Refreshments will be available to purchase on the night.

We look forward to seeing you there.

 

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Social Capital of Milton Keynes – survey

Help the research – think about your community and neighbourhood:

We have been delighted to be contacted by Lakeisha Peacock, a student at Cardiff University, who comes from Milton Keynes and is currently undertaking research on the differences in the presence of Social Capital across different socio-economic areas in Milton Keynes.

Social Capital means the benefits and resources residents can gain from the networks they create in their communities. This can include informal ones such as speaking to their neighbours, all the way through to joining local clubs and groups.

Please take 2-3 minutes to complete this short survey. By completing the survey, you will be helping to answer to three key research questions:

1. Is there are difference in the presence of Social Capital between different socio-economic areas?
2. Is there a difference in the use of informal networks between different socio-economic areas?
3. Are those living in low socio-economic areas more likely to experience lower levels of community trust than those in higher socio-economic areas?
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If you have any questions, please contact Lakeisha directly on: PeacockLR@cardiff.ac.uk.
Thank you for your input!

 

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Survey: how to represent heat loss in a map?

Can you complete this short survey?

Our friends at The Open University who work with us on the MK:Smart and CAPE, Community Action Platform for Energy projects are investigating how to represent heat loss in a map. Please complete this short survey to help them understand which colours schemes better represent the level of heat loss of buildings in an on-line map. The heat loss of a house is related with the energy you would need to use to keep it warm and comfortable. Findings from the survey will be used for research purposes.

Data collected by the survey will be anonymous and it takes around 10-15 minutes to complete. You can exit the survey at any point.

This survey has been approved by the Open University’s Human Research Ethics Committee. If you have any queries or concerns, please feel free to contact Jose Cavero (jose.cavero@open.ac.uk).

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The Heat Loss map of Central Milton Keynes (thermal imagery)

Thank you!

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CAPE, Community Action Platform for Energy Communities Health & Wellbeing MK:Smart Projects

Research & Reports Round-up: VAT, Safeguarding Report, Barriers to Top Jobs, Charitable Business Plans, Engagement, Payment by Results and Sustainable Volunteering

Updated direct mail VAT guidance published

Updated guidance on VAT on direct mail has now been published by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). The Charity Tax Group says that this will ‘provide certainty and clarity for charities’ following HMRC’s change of view on the issue.


How safe are our children?

NSPCC has published a report that compiles and analyses the most robust and up-to-date child protection data that exists across the UK. The report sets out 20 different indicators and each one looks at ‘how safe are our children?’ from a different perspective.


Study into non-educational barriers to top jobs published

The Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission has published research on ‘Non educational barriers to the elite profession evaluation‘ showing that working-class applicants struggle to get access to top jobs in the UK. The research is the product of extensive interviews with staff from 13 elite law, accountancy and financial services firms, who together are responsible for 45,000 of the best jobs in the country.


How to eliminate weak spots in a charitable business plan

Carolyn Sims, head of banking at Charity Bank, has written a blog that describes six ways to help a charity plan for the future.


Engaging people with lived experience of severe and multiple disadvantage

Shaping Our Lives and User Voice have produced a report, ‘Engaging people with lived experience of severe and multiple disadvantage’.


Payment by Results

A new report by the National Audit Office says that, without a common source of shared expertise and a strong evidence base, Payment by Results schemes may be poorly designed and implemented, and commissioners are in danger of ‘reinventing the wheel’ for each new scheme.


Society is changing in ways that have specific consequences for volunteering

An article written by Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, explains why charities need to respond to changes in society to ensure that volunteering is sustainable.

Blog Post Charities & Community Groups News from and for the VCS Volunteering