Volunteer Opportunity of the Week: Al’s Pals

Al’s Pals are a local cancer support charity, who are recruiting volunteers. Read on for more about this impactful charity, and how you can support their work:

The Story Behind Al’s Pals

“ Al’s Pals is named after Alan Dumbell, who received cancer treatment at Milton Keynes University Hospital. Alan noticed that throughout his treatment, although he was surrounded by his loving family, he still felt very lonely and lost at times, and he often discussed having a ‘buddy’ to support and help him where he felt things were missing. It was his legacy to have a cancer buddy scheme like this and with the passion of his daughter, Al’s Pals was born.”

Volunteer Role Description

Becoming an Al’s Pals volunteer entails supporting those affected by cancer, this can change over time, but activities can include:

  • Accompanying a person to their hospital appointments
  • Providing a friendly person to chat to 
  • Signposting to services
  • Follow up phone calls
  • Manning the Al’s Pals stand in the Cancer Centre, MK Hospital

DBS checks and an induction will be arranged by Al’s Pals.

More information about the role can be found here, as well as how to apply.

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Creating the Community Action: MK Five Year Plan 2023-28

We’re currently collating feedback to inform our next Five Year Plan (2023-28), and we need the voices of the Milton Keynes’ Voluntary and Community Groups and Organisations.

We’re focusing on how Community Action: MK can best support MK groups to:

  • Access funding and other opportunities for growth and collaboration
  • Develop and maintain a thriving volunteer community
  • Help position the VCSE in Milton Keynes as a strategic partner within the local decision and policy making in the City

With this in mind, we’re posing two questions for consideration:

  1. What should our priorities in the above areas be? Are there any gaps we have missed?
  2. How can CA: MK share the impact of Milton Keynes’ Voluntary and Community Groups and Organisations?

You can answer these questions via this Google Jamboard, a virtual flip chart, where you can add ‘sticky notes’ using the menu found on the left hand side of the page.

Sharing your thoughts will take around 5 minutes, and your opinions will be anonymous.

The Jamboard will be open until the first week of December. You can also read our current Five Year plan here, and the responses to the two questions gathered during our October 2022 AGM here.

Many thanks for taking the time to complete the board, your insights will be invaluable in ensuring we can continue to strengthen groups, communities and the VCSE sector in Milton Keynes.
 If you would like to discuss any of the topics in more detail, please email support@communityactionmk.org to arrange a support session with a member of the team.

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Volunteer Opportunity of the Week: Knife Angel Volunteer Marshals

The National Monument against Violence & Aggression (Knife Angel) is being hosted in Milton Keynes this December and January at MK Dons Stadium. Thames Valley police are seeking volunteer marshals to provide information and answer questions from the large footfall the monument is likely to attract. You can read more about the creation of the Knife Angel here. 

Can you give a few hours of your time to stand with the Angel and promote the anti-violence message? It could act as a team-building day for a workforce, or for a charity to share its own anti-violence message. A one-hour online training session and briefing pack will be provided to those who volunteer.

Marshalls Dates and Times:

Times are available between 10am-2pm or 2pm-6pm daily, between 3rd December to 7th January.

All volunteers must be 18 years or over, unless accompanied by an appropriate adult registered and authorised to volunteer for this initiative.

Venue Location:

Gate 1, Stadium MK, Denbigh, Milton Keynes, MK1 1ST.

For travel information, visit: www.mkdons.com/club/visit-stadiummk

The recruitment deadline is this Friday 18th November.

For further information, please email : knifeangelvolunteers@thamesvalley.police.uk or haydn.lewis@thamesvalley.police.uk.

Image Credit: British Ironwork Centre

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Trustees’ Week 7-11 November

We’re in the midst of Trustees’ Week, an opportunity to highlight the vital role trustees play in  charities. This year’s theme is ‘making a difference in changing times’, a reflection of the uncertain and difficult landscape faced by the sector and society as a whole. It is also an opportunity to celebrate the achievements and impact of trustees;their voluntary commitment ensures charities and groups can continue to support communities in Milton Keynes and beyond.

You can read more about the Community Action: MK trustees here. Their dedication, knowledge of Milton Keynes communities and wealth of experience provides invaluable support for the work of Community Action: MK, we’d like to thank them for their year-round efforts, including appearances as Easter bunnies (!), representing Community Action: MK on national news, supporting events, and the behind-the-scenes diligence that ensures we can strengthen the Milton Keynes community and VCSE sector. 

Thinking of becoming a trustee?

If our trustees have inspired you, and you’re interested in finding a trustee role, you can join our community on the volunteering platform DoIt. life, where you can browse opportunities by searching for ‘trustee’. You can also book a support session with our Volunteering Coordinator, who will help you connect to a role, email support@communityactionmk.org if you’d like to find out more.

Becoming a trustee has many benefits, it can provide connections, it’s also a valuable CPD opportunity. Read more about the positive impact of becoming a trustee here. 

Are you looking for a trustee?

If you have vacant trustee roles and would like our support getting to word out, we can promote the opportunity across our social media channels, on our website and in the weekly newsletter which reaches 1300 inboxes. Email support@communityactionmk.org with the role description and contact details.

Getting on Board supports the diversification of boards, providing guidance and empowering individuals from all sectors of society in becoming a trustee. They also provide guidance for organisations in their commitment to recruiting a representative board.

Their Festival of Trusteeship offers a programme of online events this Trustees’ Week, with info and panel sessions demystifying trusteeship.

Are you already a trustee, looking for resources to help you in your role?

Trustees’ Week has compiled a comprehensive compendium of resources, including links to the Charity Commission’s 5-minute reads for potential and existing trustees.

The National Council for Voluntary Action (NCVO) offers a concise run-down of the legal duties of trustees, with the Resource Centre providing a checklist of the responsibilities of management committees.  You can also find further guidance in our Information Sheets. 

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Trustees’ Week: Milton Keynes City Discovery Centre are seeking a Trustee with Legal Experience

As part of Trustees’ Week, we’re highlighting trustee roles in Milton Keynes.

Milton Keynes City Discovery Centre (MKCDC) is a Registered Educational Charity with a Trading Arm, and is a company limited by guarantee.

MKCDC are based at the beautiful Scheduled Ancient Monument medieval site of Bradwell Abbey, with several medieval buildings in situ, and 13 acres of woodland and landscaping. Their site and business are a hidden gem within the modern city of Milton Keynes.

They have recently completed a conservation project, and as a result, are ready to action the parts of their Business Plan that will see the site developing into an operational heritage attraction. 

They are now looking for a new Trustee with legal experience, to start immediately once interviews and checks have taken place. The role is voluntary, but expenses are offered:

Trustee with Legal Experience

Reports to: The Board

Purpose of the role:

In partnership with the Director to advise on and ensure the legal compliance of the organisation

Advise on appropriate legal matters where necessary

Main duties:

Advise as necessary/appropriate on legal matters affecting the organisation

Communicate with relevant staff and other committee members so as to maintain a clear picture of the legal compliance of the organisation as and when necessary

With the Director, advise on appropriate organisation policy and procedure

Key qualities:

A knowledge of legal requirements for charities and trading bodies

Ability to communicate and advise on legal practice relating to charities and trading bodies

Any legal background considered, although property, and/or staff and/or contract experience is desirable.

Please contact the Director, Noël James, via email if you are interested: 

Director@mkcdc.org.uk, attaching CV and cover letter, or alternatively post to Dr. Noël James. MKCDC, Bradwell Abbey, Alston Drive, Milton Keynes,MK13 9AP.

Please call 07951 997334 if you would like to discuss before applying.

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Volunteer Opportunity of the Week: The Winter Night Shelter Milton Keynes

This week’s Volunteer Opportunity of the Week comes from The Winter Night Shelter Milton Keynes:

“Originally set up to help the homeless during the coldest months of the year, The Winter Night Shelter MK now operates all year round, due to the demand and increase in need for our services. We provide welfare support, enabling our guests to access drug and alcohol support services, obtain housing advice, move on to longer-term accommodation and to find work. We also provide overnight accommodation to homeless and vulnerable people who would otherwise be rough sleeping in Milton Keynes during the coldest months of the year (November–March).

We work in partnership with churches and community centres across the city who offer their facilities as an overnight venue and operate with teams of trained volunteers to provide beds and overnight supervision. This winter will be our 12th year of running our overnight accommodation.”


The Night Shelter will be hosted at the following venues on the following days:

Mon pm – Tue am: Loughton Baptist Church

Tue pm – Wed am: Newport Pagnell Baptist Church

Wed pm – Thu am: The Ridgeway Centre (Wolverton) & Shenley Christian Fellowship – alternative fortnights

Thu pm – Fri am: Stony Stratford Community Church & The Ridgeway Centre (Wolverton) – alternative fortnights

Fri pm – Sat am: St George’s Church (Wolverton) & MK Christian Foundation (Wolverton)

Sat pm – Sun am: Christ the Vine Community Church (Coffee Hall) & Church of the Holy Cross (Two Mile Ash)

Sun pm – Mon am: St Mary’s Church (Woburn) & Whaddon Way Church (Bletchley)

Opening the doors of The Winter Night Shelter to those who need a warm welcome would not be possible without the help of dedicated volunteers.

If you’d like to join the volunteer team, or would like to read further details of the varying roles, including welcoming guests, forming part of the Nightwatch, or preparing refreshments, click here:

Volunteer | Winter Night Shelter Milton Keynes (winternightsheltermk.org)

Images: The Winter Night Shelter

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Volunteer Opportunity of the Week: British Heart Foundation Shops and Stores 

This week’s guest blog comes from the British Heart Foundation Shops in Bletchley and Leighton Buzzard, who are looking for new volunteers to join the team:

British Heart Foundation Shops & Stores

In the UK, 1 in 4 of us die from heart and circulatory diseases – conditions like heart disease, stroke  and vascular dementia. The British Heart Foundation funds research to find ways to prevent, treat  and perhaps one day cure these conditions. This research is as urgent and vital as ever, but it is only  possible thanks to public donations and the time given by volunteers. Our shops are the face of  British Heart Foundation in the community, helping to raise funds and spread awareness of our  work.

The Role

Shop Volunteer 

Our shop volunteers are the first point of contact for customers when they enter our shops. You will provide invaluable help through the running of the shop, keeping it stocked and attractively displayed.  

You can get involved as much or as little as you like by sorting out stock; putting your own stamp on the shop  displays or getting trained to serve customers at the till. 

Being part of a huge retail team to raise funds is very motivating, you provide the best service possible for the local community and raise as much money as possible for the organisation. You even  get a 25% discount on donated goods. 

Say hello to the team 

Funding for researchers begins at your local charity shop. Now, more than ever, we are in urgent need of  public support to enable us to continue our life saving research and help the 7.4 million people in the UK living  with heart and circulatory diseases. This wouldn’t be possible without our fantastic volunteers. 

Our team is welcoming and friendly, and we love meeting people from all walks of life. Typical tasks include: 

• Serving customers & providing good all-round customer service 

• Promoting our campaigns to customers  

• Promoting instore sales 

• Working on window and shop displays 

• Keeping the shop tidy, clean and well organised 

• Interacting with the general public 

You get a lot from volunteering too: 

• A chance to work in a friendly team, to make new friends and meet a diverse group of people

• The opportunity to make an invaluable contribution to British Heart Foundation goal of beating heartbreak forever 

• The time to develop your confidence and interpersonal skills 

• The ability to gain valuable work experience to add onto your CV and to learn new skills

• Flexibility to fit with your lifestyle 

• The chance to gain valuable retail experience 

Here’s a little bit more about us:

The BHF is here to Beat Heartbreak Forever. We are working towards a world free from the fear of heart and  circulatory diseases. 

By 2030, we want to see advances across the spectrum of heart and circulatory diseases; we want to prevent  these conditions from developing and we want those with existing conditions to have better, longer lives.

To find out more…

Leighton Buzzard Store:

Contact name Claire or Kim

01525 214786

Email l31@bhf.org.uk

Bletchley Store:

Contact Name Jude

01908 374090

Email b11@bhf.org.uk

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