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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Volunteer Spotlight: Ros McFadden

We’re back to sharing stories about amazing volunteers giving their time in Milton Keynes. This spotlight is on Ros McFadden, who is supporting breastfeeding across MK.

Ros is an Infant Feeding Lead Midwife at Milton Keynes University Hospital and is extremely keen to promote the benefits of breastfeeding. As a volunteer, she decided to apply to the Our MK initiative for funding to help her develop a mobile phone app to promote breastfeeding.

Alongside producing text and videos around why you should breastfeed, how to breastfeed, how to express and Frequently Asked Questions, the app will also contain details of who can help in the local area. The most innovative part of the app will be a map detailing the best locations in Milton Keynes to breastfeed using crowdsourced reviews. Ros has been instrumental in recruiting volunteer app developers, producing the material needed and in bringing the project to fruition.

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Ros has used her annual leave and spare time to pursue developing the app. Due to her expertise in the area, she sees the real need for an app to promote breastfeeding with the number of people starting breastfeeding fairly reasonable (80%), although continuation rates are low (usually drop to 40% after two weeks). While aspects of the app are not unique, taken as a whole it is particularly innovative, with no single app offering both detailed information, contact details and a handy map of suitable locations.

Ros is already starting to explore options for promoting the app and ensuring that it continues well beyond the end of her Our MK funding.

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

 

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Volunteer Spotlight: Tariq Raja

We’re sharing stories about amazing volunteers giving their time in Milton Keynes. This spotlight is on Tariq Raja, who has been volunteering at Community Action: MK.

Tariq started supporting Community Action: MK in May 2016 and has been incredibly helpful since that time. Tariq’s main role has been in supporting the development of the type of support we offer to citizens in Milton Keynes, this has involved doing background research about social enterprises and other models, meeting other local organisations, getting to know people we have already supported locally and helping some of them to take their ideas further. Rebecca Brown, a member of our Community Engagement Team has said:

‘Tariq has really used his fresh pair of eyes and an outside perspective to advise and help us to improve our service.’

Tariq has also helped out with other activities such as community engagement, our website and communications, and he has been actively supporting some of the citizen projects funded and supported by the Our MK platform.

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Tariq helping to deliver a Raspberry Pi session to students at the STEM Club at MK Academy as part of the Our MK – funded Community Computing project. Photo credit: Community Action: MK.

Tariq makes conscious effort to take himself out of his comfort zone in order to benefit the wider society. As a Muslim he has found that there is a large cultural divide between organisations such as ours and the people within his religious group. Therefore he is striving to bridge the gap. He is now starting to support Community Action: MK to reach out to minority groups by supporting the delivery of an equality workshops for those harder to reach ethnic groups and his insight is proving very valuable. Tariq hopes to understand where his skills fit into the Voluntary Sector and use this to support communities.

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Tariq delivering leaflets and engaging with residents in Broughton Gate about the Water Monitor project as part of MK: Smart. Photo credit: Community Action: MK.

Our team at Community Action: MK absolutely enjoys working with Tariq and we thoroughly appreciate his volunteering support – thank you Tariq!

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 the brand new Volunteering Platform for Milton Keynes – Volunteer Connect

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We are hiring!

Community Action: MK are recruiting for a number of full and part time positions in our Community Development Team. See more information below about the positions available.


Community Development Team Member (various roles available)

  • Full or Part time opportunities available
  • £22,387 per annum (pro rata)
  • Fixed term until June 2017, with possibility of extension dependant on funding.

Here at Community Action: MK we support the amazing work happening in and around Milton Keynes’ communities. We support local people to take action in their community whether part of a charity, a community group or an individual looking to make a difference. We are looking for passionate individuals to join our Community Development Team. As a team we deliver various Community Development contracts across Milton Keynes and we are looking for people that can join a flexible team that supports a variety of projects.

Download the Full Job Description & Personal Specification.

Download the Application Form.

Read our Equal Opportunities Statement.

Download our Equal Opportunities Form.

If you have any questions regarding this opportunity please contact Julie on 01908 661623 or julie@communityactionmk.org.

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Please complete our application form and return it via post or email to info@communityactionmk.org by 4th December 2016.

Please note we do not accept CVs.

A selection event and interviews will be held on 12th December 2016.

 

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Volunteer Spotlight: Hilarie Bowman

We’re sharing stories about amazing volunteers giving their time in Milton Keynes. This spotlight is on Hilarie Bowman, who is trustee and activist for Transition MK.

Hilarie is a trustee and a key member of Transition MK, and she volunteers at many other local groups, including MKLetNet and MK Climate Change Study & Action Group. She is also a Councillor at CMK Town Council

Hilarie is central in organising activities for Transition MK and goes above and beyond to support the work of the group and promote green behaviours and ethics. She was fundamental in organising the Climate Change Gathering last November, and is a core member of the committee for the group, helping to organise and coordinate activities about green living.

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Hilarie at the monthly meeting of Transition MK with her MK Volunteer Awards 2016 trophy and certificate. Photo credit: Transition MK

Hilarie also helped to develop the Transition MK trustee board by taking members of the group through a reflection tool and encouraging them to be creative in their work. She is motivated, passionate and enthusiastic about sharing her knowledge of all things green.

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Transition MK group meets every first Wednesday of each month and the ‘Place to Eat’ Cafe at John Lewis at the shopping centre at 5.45pm. The group is really keen to get more volunteers, who can help them in organising activities promoting practical action on low carbon living in Milton Keynes. Contact the group on transitionmkinfo@gmail.com if you are interested in getting involved.

Transition MK organise regular events, including film nights, which are open to everyone and free to attend. The next film -showing is on Thursday 24th November and it’s dedicated to Energy DIY. Come along to Centrecom for 7pm – register on Eventbrite: www.tmkfilms.eventbrite.co.uk

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Follow Transition MK on Twitter: @TransitionMK or join their Facebook Group here.


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 the brand new Volunteering Platform for Milton Keynes – Volunteer Connect

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Volunteer Spotlight: Holly Knox

We’re sharing stories about amazing volunteers giving their time in Milton Keynes. This spotlight is on Holly Knox, who is a young person giving her time to Foodbank.

Holly and her Mum (Sandra) and Grandmother (Patricia) volunteer every week in the MK Foodbank  warehouse, as part of her commitment to the Duke of Edinburgh scheme. Holly has committed to do 6 months and is halfway through. She is a very committed and enthusiastic volunteer. Foodbank have gained a lot from her youthful insight on how young people view food poverty. Holly has already become an excellent advocate for the work of the foodbank. Foodbank said:

“Often we have found that young people on the Duke of Edinburgh scheme are rather unwilling participants, being brought along by well meaning parents. Holly is very different. From the outset she has been engaged, enthusiastic and keen to make a contribution to our work. She is an exemplar of what you would hope a young Duke of Edinburgh student would be.”

Holly has also agreed to attend some harvest school assemblies this year to talk about her experience at the food bank and what she has learned.

Holly recently won our Young Persons Award at CA:MK’s Volunteer Awards Ceremony.

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Holly receiving her MK Volunteer Award 2016, with the Mayor of Milton Keynes, Steve Coventry. Photo credit: Community Action: MK

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 the brand new Volunteering Platform for Milton Keynes –Volunteer Connect

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