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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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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Volunteer Spotlight: Jo Millington-Wallace

We’re sharing stories about amazing volunteers giving their time in Milton Keynes. This spotlight is on Jo Millington-Wallace, who volunteers with MK Snap.

MK Snap is a centre for people with a learning disability to attend for Education, Life skills and work training. Jo comes to MK Snap every Tuesday and Friday morning. On Fridays, Jo supports the tutors at MK Snap in a sports session and it is very obvious that sport is something that she is very passionate about. She will help out in the classroom for the first half of the session, which involves helping Learners engage in activities including quizzes and games about sport – usually through the computer or interactive board. This is a crucial part of learning for the Learners as they mostly learn through visual aids. After break, the Learners will participate in the activities in the sports hall, which involves various sports including tennis, cricket, badminton, boccia, football and many more. Jo will give 1-1 support where needed to enable all the Learners to participate in all the activities they wish to.

Jo has been very consistent as a volunteer at MK Snap.The Learners at MK Snap very much enjoy working with Jo because she is very reliable and flexible, and helps out in anyway that she can. She has gone above and beyond her role as a volunteer, sometimes replacing members of staff when needed. She has also helped out on occasions when she would not normally have been scheduled to help, and has volunteered with the Snap Choir and at fundraising events. Jo is very reliable and always lets the charity know if she cannot attend for any reason. Even when MK Snap have invited Jo to events to say thank you for her support as a volunteer ,she has still ended up helping out in some way! MK Snap said:

Jo is a real asset to the team at MK Snap and she is highly respected and appreciated here by both the staff and Learners.

Jo has received an award for Sports Activities’ at MK Volunteer Awards 2016 Ceremony at Stantonbury Theatre on the 5th October 2016.

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 Photo credit: Community Action: MK.

Click here to find out how you can support MK:Snap, either through volunteering or fundraising.

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: Brian Aldous

We’re sharing stories about amazing volunteers giving their time in Milton Keynes. This spotlight is on Brian Aldous, who volunteers at The National Museum of Computing. Brian has won a trophy as part of MK Volunteer Awards 2016 under the ‘Longevity’ category. 

Brian looks after the Archive at the National Museum of Computing. He is responsible for managing a small team of other committed volunteers, but for the most part works independently to catalogue, store and digitalise their archive which aims to become a renounced centre for the research of computer history.

Brain works tirelessly and often solitarily to preserve this important archive as a resource for the future. He also does this mostly at his own expense. The archive is not only a useful resource for the museum but a key part of their development, which is required to move the museum towards accreditation as a national museum. The work is often physical and repetitive (such as scanning items), but Brian is very committed to the project. He also researches all the necessary copyright and other legislation, and archiving standards to ensure the museum is doing everything correctly.

Brian is in his 80s, but his commitment to volunteering at the National Museum of Computing and to the archive project is unwavering.

cua_u8rwaaapmuq(Photo Credit: The National Museum of Computing)

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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