Volunteering with BucksVision

Today’s guest blog is from BucksVision, who are currently recruiting for a number of volunteer roles across Milton Keynes. Read on for all the details:

We are your local society dedicated to supporting visually impaired people across Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes.

If you would like to make a difference, this is an opportunity for you to join our fantastic team of volunteers, and to be a vital part of BucksVision’s commitment to sight loss prevention and support.

Becoming a volunteer can be very rewarding and there are many ways that you can help support us. By volunteering with us you can get involved in our wide range of services such as Fundraising, Home Services, and our Social & Activity groups.

We make every effort to ensure that you receive the appropriate support and training, so that you can realise your full potential as a volunteer helping people with visual impairment.

The Roles

Partridge Social Club

Peartree Centre, MK6 3EB

Volunteer Drivers and Social Club helpers needed. Meet fortnightly on a Thursday, 2.30pm – 4.30pm

Wolverton Social Club

Herons Court, MK12 6DQ

Volunteer Drivers and Social Club helpers needed. Meet fortnightly on a Tuesday, 2pm – 4pm.

Technology Group

SARC Offices, MK9 2AH

Volunteer Technology Support Advisers, we’re looking for volunteers who have experience with smartphones and other devices who can help visually impaired people become digitally included.

Meeting the last Friday of every month, 10.30am – 12.30am.

Walking Group (Long Walks)

Various locations across MK

Volunteer Drivers and Guides, we’re in need of volunteers to collect and guide our members. Volunteers will need to be physically able and comfortable walking for 2 hours.

Meeting one Saturday a month across the MK area.

Walking Group (Short Walks)

As above but walking for 1 hour.

Meeting 2nd Sunday of the month at 10.30am across the MK area.

For how to apply for any of these roles, click here.

Blog Post Strengthening Groups Volunteering

Guest Blog: NSPCC EAST

Help to protect children in Buckinghamshire & Milton Keynes with NSPCC school’s programme

Thanks to Laura Franklin, Schools Coordinator (Buckinghamshire & MK), for today’s guest blog:

Speak out. Stay safe (SOSS) is a safeguarding programme for children aged 5 to 11 years old and is available to all primary schools across Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes.

It helps children, in an age-appropriate way, to understand:

·       abuse in all its forms and how to recognise signs of abuse

·       that abuse is never a child’s fault and that they have the right to be safe

·       where to get help and the sources of help available to them, including our Childline service

Through virtual assemblies and face-to-face workshops, children can learn about the different types of abuse in a child-friendly way, so they can get help if or when they need it. NSPCC staff and volunteers help them identify a trusted adult they can talk to if they’re ever worried about themselves or a friend.

With the help of Childline’s mascot Buddy, SOSS covers topics like bullying, neglect and sexual abuse – without using any scary words or adult language.

Last year, the NSPCC delivered SOSS online programmes to 51,356 children in 216 schools in the East of England and now we are looking for volunteers to train for our face-to-face assemblies.

Over the past year our counsellors at Childline delivered over 15,500 counselling sessions where children had spoken about abuse. 15% of those sessions were with children disclosing abuse for the first time. With the help of our SOSS programme many children may speak out sooner.

Hear more about the journey of a SOSS volunteer here – ‘Children are a source of inspiration, joy, and sometimes sadness’ – Buckinghamshire NSPCC volunteer | InYourArea Community

If you are someone with experience of delivering programmes in an educational or safeguarding setting, who is motivated by targets, with strong planning and organisational abilities, good communication and excellent people skills – we would love to hear from you.

If you’re interested in becoming a Speak Out Stay Safe volunteer please apply here NSPCC Volunteering | Job description or  email volunteerrecruitment@nspcc.org.uk

For other information please visit –

Volunteer Opportunity of the Week: NSPCC’s Speak Out Stay Safe Programme – Community Action: MK (communityactionmk.org)

Photography by Tom Hull. The children and adults pictured are models.

Blog Post Volunteering

Volunteer Opportunity of the Week: Independent Monitoring Boards

Today’s guest blog comes from the Independent Monitoring Boards, who are in the midst of recruiting new board members at HMP Grendon and HMP Springhill. Read on for more about this voluntary role:

Who are IMB?

 “Independent Monitoring Boards are made up of over a thousand unpaid volunteers operating in every prison in England and Wales, and every immigration detention facility across the UK.

IMB members are the eyes and ears of the public, appointed by ministers to perform a vital task: independent monitoring of prisons and immigration detention. They report on whether the individuals held there are being treated fairly and humanely and whether prisoners are being given the support they need to turn their lives around. This can make a huge difference to the lives of those held within these facilities.”

“Are you looking for a volunteer role with a difference? Do you care about the fair and humane treatment of prisoners and the state of our prisons?

Whatever your background, if you’re enthusiastic, open minded, good with people and have sound judgement, then you could be exactly what we’re looking for.

Inside every prison, there is an Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) made up of members of the public from all walks of life doing an extraordinary job – and we’re currently recruiting.

What’s the role?

You’ll work as part of a team of IMB volunteers, who are the eyes and ears of the public, appointed by ministers to perform a vital task: independently monitor prisons. It’s an opportunity to help make sure that prisoners are being treated humanely and given the opportunity to change their lives, for their benefit and ours.

What would I do?

You’ll monitor day-to-day life in a prison. You could be talking to prisoners, checking that they’re being given access to healthcare and training, or observing how well

those at risk of self-harm are treated. You’ll also play an important role in dealing with problems faced by prisoners, ranging from lost property to serious bullying allegations.

Could I be a board member?

We welcome applications from over 18s from every walk of life and all backgrounds.

You’ll normally need to live within roughly 45 minutes of the prison, except for those in more remote locations.

What qualifications do I need?

You do not need any formal qualifications – you’ll receive training for the role.

What is the time commitment?

You’ll usually need to commit to at least two visits a month.

Would I be paid?

This is an unpaid, voluntary role, but we pay your travel expenses and in certain circumstances, some loss of earnings and childcare or carer costs.

If you’d like to apply, click here.

Volunteering

Volunteer Opportunity of the Week: Buckingham Canal Society

Buckingham Canal Society is a local charity working to restore the disused Buckingham Canal with volunteers. They run practical task work parties on Tuesdays, Thursdays and on the second Sunday of each month on four sites, along the canal one of which is a nature reserve.

Joining these work parties is a great way to get fit and give something back to the community.

“Our volunteers come from all walks of life, some are boaters, others are interested in the heritage and history of the canal whilst others it is the wildlife aspect. There is always of variety of tasks and most people find one they enjoy doing and people can swap
around and try different tasks. No experience as we supply all tools and equipment.
Joining one of our work parties helps to improve your physical fitness and general wellbeing whilst taking part in conservation activities that are fun and help to improve the environment.

On our site at Cosgrove volunteers learn or get the chance to drive excavators and dumper trucks,and try their hand at bricklaying and other such tasks.”

BCS also work with companies taking part in volunteering or team building days.

For more information visit our website or email info@buckinghamcanal.org.uk

Blog Post Volunteering

College in the Community Day – Tuesday 21st February

Are you looking for volunteer power to help boost any of your upcoming projects? Then keep reading, as today’s guest blog comes from MK College, with more about their College in the Community Day:

MK College are planning a day of action across Milton Keynes where as many of their students and staff as possible support the community and are looking for groups to work with on this. It could be a skills-based activity or something anyone could do, for a couple of hours or the whole day, at one of our campuses or in your project setting – if you have something they could get involved in, they want to hear from you!

If you have any questions or would like to discuss project ideas, please contact Rebecca Myrie, Community Engagement Manager (rebecca.myrie@mkcollege.ac.uk).

The picture is of Painting & Decorating students working on Woughton Community Centre in January 2020.

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Guest Blog by Poorvi Srivastava: Spotlight on Homelessness Resources

Poorvi has been volunteering her time with us since September 2022, and she has created this guest blog to highlight resources tackling homelessness. Many thanks to Poorvi for her much-appreciated contributions to the work of Community Action: MK!

With the winter and colder days fast approaching and the overall concerns around the Cost of Living crisis, it’s always a time when we think more about the needs of the most vulnerable people in our communities, including those that are homeless.

The cause for homelessness is commonly misunderstood as laziness. Contrary to belief, there are many socioeconomic factors that play a role in homelessness. Lack of affordable housing, rising unemployment, mental or physical health problems are just a few of the many reasons causing homelessness. People who leave prison, care or the armed forces may not have a support system and may be unable to provide for themselves. 

It can be a huge struggle to get out of homeless as people search for employment. They have no home address to fill in, no phone number to give and sometimes may not have adequate qualifications. All of these problems can be difficult to deal with, especially without a warm, safe environment to go to every night. People sleeping on the street are almost 17 times more likely to have been victims of violence. 

However there are many outlets all over Milton Keynes that anybody can be a part of to help the community and people that are struggling, particularly with the coldest months of the year looming. 

Winter Nights Shelter MK is a year- round charity that provides services, hot meals and food supplies that can be taken away. They also have clothing, sleeping supplies and toiletries available. If you are interested in volunteering more information can be found on the website here. 

Depaul’s is another great charity that improves access to education, training and employment opportunities for those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. More information can be found here

Keeping Kids Off The Streets (KKOTS) is a non-profit organisation, every Friday they cook over 700 meals for the homeless and struggling families, they also host community events, more information can be found here

MK food bank is a great way to indirectly have a huge impact on people’s lives so any donations or volunteers would be amazing for the community!

Homelessnes has so many different forms – it’s not just those that are forced to live on the streets, but also individuals and families that are living in temporary accommodation such motels or B&Bs and those that are sofa-surfing, or the Refugees that had to flee from places affected by war or other political/ economical upheavals. According to Shelter, the national housing and homelessness charity, there are currently over 115,000 children who are homeless in the UK and the cost of living crisis is posing a great risk of even more individuals and families becoming homeless in the coming months. There are a number of national and local organisations that campaign for and provide advice, support and volunteering opportunities to support individuals and families that are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Shelter, mentioned above, is one of them. In Milton Keynes, MK Homelessness Partnership is coordinating the work and related to supporting the local homelessness community and you can find out more about their work here. You can also access useful signposting information on our website here.

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