Netherfield P.H.T. Graffiti Art Event

Young volunteers from across Netherfield joined forces over the weekend of 18th & 19th March to take place in a Graffiti Art event at the local shops. The event was arranged by the People’s Health Trust Local Conversation project, to raise awareness that Netherfield has been allocated some funding through the Health Lottery, and needs to engage with residents to identify priorities at a local level. There is especially a need for young people to have their voices heard.

The young volunteer artists were supported across the weekend by local organisations including Community Action: MK, Freestyle Textile & Kitchenware, Woughton Community Council, PHT, UFA and a local Graffiti artist (Squidge) from PlayStreet.

On the Saturday there was a design workshop where young people worked together to create potential designs, as well as some other fun activities for all. Young people learnt about wider volunteering opportunities and were boosted by the arrival of pizzas (thanks to Cheska from UFA who provide NCS (National Citizen Service) in Milton Keynes.

On the Sunday the team met at the shops where they had been given permission by Irene to paint their design on to her shop security shutter. Thanks Irene! Under Squidge’s expert guidance the volunteers were quick to pick up the various skills and techniques needed, and really impressed passers by with their handiwork. Local shoppers who stopped to admire the artwork helped us to fill in questionnaires, which gave Netherfield people a chance to talk about what they like/dislike about living in Netherfield and identify something that they would like to improve.

Irene was thrilled with the finished piece, and everyone agreed that the event had been a great success. However, despite collecting lots of ideas from local residents, the PHT are really anxious to hear from  more Netherfield folk. In particular, we would like Young People to have an opportunity to see their ideas become reality. If you are a young person who wants to get involved to make a difference in Netherfield then contact Stewart Ikin at stewart@communityactionmk.org to find out more information.

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Tea & Coffee Afternoon – Downs Barn

It’s that time of the week again where we stick the kettle on at the Cross & Stable Church & Community Centre. Come along and meet members of your community, have a cuppa, and maybe a biscuit. If the rain holds off and the ground is dry…maybe even come and join us in the spring sunshine bathing the garden.

Cross and Stable Church and Community Centre
Downs Barn Boulevard
Downs Barn
MK14 7RP

These events are sponsored by the Cross and Stable Church.

This is a great opportunity to meet those in your community and have a wonderful time.

We are also currently seeking volunteers. Please see the poster below for more information.

 

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Full Programme available for MK Community Energy Conference

Exploring the PAST, PRESENT and FUTURE of sustainability and energy in Milton Keynes

We very much hope that you will be able to join us at MK’s first Community Energy Conference, which is taking place at The Chrysalis Theatre in Camphill on Saturday 25th February: 10-4.30pm.

The event is free, however booking is essential, so please register your place via The Chrysalis Theatre’s box office – here.

The lovely Camphill Cafe are providing a lunch – book yours when registering and pay £5.oo on the day.

See the full programme here and below.

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SEE YOU THERE!

Anna, Marie, Hilarie, Michael, Tim and Kevin

MK Community Energy Alliance

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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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Volunteers wanted: Worktree Career WorkOuts

Volunteer in January and February by giving 1 hour of your time…

Worktree is a small employability education charity which introduces the secondary school students in Milton Keynes to hundreds of adult guests, each with their own experience of work, in a circle of 6-minute conversations.

Career WorkOut sessions are similar to the ‘Weaving Trust‘ events run by Citizens:mk, but focus on career awareness and aspirations as well as communicating with unfamiliar people.

Click here for dates and to book in.

It doesn’t matter what job you do or have done. Career WorkOut values chief executives, apprentices, stay-at-home parents and retired people equally. All have their own experience of work and have relevant answers to student questions about work.

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To find out more, contact the Worktree team at info@worktree.org or call 07966 204109.

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Volunteer Spotlight: Nhamburo Ziyenge

We’re sharing stories about amazing volunteers giving their time in Milton Keynes. This spotlight is on Zi Nhamburo, who is supporting the use of Raspberry Pi’s amongst parents.

Zi is a former student at UCMK passionate about ensuring that everyone has basic computer literacy. With mandatory computing now part of the school curriculum, he is concerned that parents will not be able to help the children with their computing homework. With that in mind he is starting to develop the Community Computing Literacy scheme which he hopes to develop into a social enterprise. Focusing around the Raspberry Pi, he is running a series of workshops across Milton Keynes to help teach parents basic computer literacy skills.

In addition to developing the teaching materials for the workshops, the project also involves surveying local schools about their computing provision and developing two demonstrator systems, highlighting the potential for sustainably-powered computers. Funded by Our MK, the first workshop took place in August 2016 and was attended by 7 people who stated they were highly satisfied and keen to attend further workshops.

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Zi demonstrating a Raspberry Pi to attendees at the community workshop at UCMK in August 2016. Photo credit: Community Action: MK

Since being granted the funding from Our MK, Zi has worked closely with a team at Community Action: MK and run a series of 6 workshop for students at the STEM Club at MK Academy, which has been made possible by the Academy teachers, Mr Brian Serridge in particular. Zi has also been invited by The National Museum of Computing based at Bletchley Park to run regular activities at the museum, starting with the Christmas Bytes Festival this December.

Having recognized a demonstrable shortcoming in computer literacy in the population as a whole, Zi has decided to do something about it. He successfully navigated the Our MK funding process and started to develop a series of workshops which he will deliver for free. Such planning involves a large investment of time and great technical skill. While the idea of running workshops around the Raspberry Pi is not unique, Zi’s scheme is free, is focused on grass-roots participation, takes students of any age and experience, and still delivers materials which are interesting, informative and focused on a sustainability agenda. As such, Zi’s scheme is highly innovative.

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Zi delivering a Raspberry Pi session to students at the STEM Club at MK Academy. Photo credit: Community Action: MK.

Find out more about Zi’s volunteering Community Computing project here.

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Interested in volunteering? Get involved in with lots of roles available via Community Action: MK. Search our bank of MK Volunteering roles now to find your place and explore our new Volunteering Platform – Volunteer Connect

Happy New Year 2017! 

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Volunteer Spotlight: Paul Johnson

We’re sharing stories about amazing volunteers giving their time in Milton Keynes. This spotlight is on Paul Johnson, who is working tirelessly for the community of Netherfield.

Paul maintains the local shrubbery and bushes in Netherfield and has cut down over 30 tonnes of unwanted and dangerous shrubbery already. Paul started volunteering with the Local Conversation steering group and learned that overgrown shrubbery had been identified by local people as one of the biggest negative issue on the estate. Wheelchair users and parents with prams could not use some paths as they were blocked by overgrown bushes, overgrown landscaping was also making it difficult for children crossing the road to see oncoming traffic, and affecting drivers’ sightlines. The overgrown shrubbery was also attracting dumped rubbish and hypodermic needles.

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Paul getting his hands dirty tidying up Netherfield’s Landscape. Photo credit: Local Conversations Steering Group in Netherfield.

Paul decided to take immediate action to solve the issue. Using the People’s Health Trust funding, equipment was bought and Paul liaised with the local Council to gain permission to start a volunteer landscaping team. Using the steering group’s Facebook page he responded directly to local landscaping needs and issues. He has transformed the look of the estate and made it a much safer and pleasant environment to live in. A landscaping course has now been run on the estate so that Paul and other volunteers have learnt how to use other landscaping tools and techniques so more people can get involved and make greater improvements going forward.

Paul has shown a huge initiative in direct response to an issue in his local community. He has taken an idea and made it a reality, putting in a huge amount of hard work and hours. Paul has worked tirelessly to make his community a better place to live and to make the differences his neighbours want to see. Paul is leading the way in community activity on the estate, inspiring others to see that they too have the power to change things they don’t like and make a positive difference. The training is the next step in expanding the volunteer team to make the initiative more sustainable by the community as a whole.

Interested in volunteering? Get involved with lots of roles available via Community Action: MK. Search our bank of MK Volunteering roles now to find your place and explore our new Volunteering Platform – Volunteer Connect. 

HAPPY CHRISTMAS! 

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