Broughton and Brooklands Community Connectors: Community Awards Evening

Broughton and Brooklands Community Connectors Committee

On Friday evening, Peter, the Chairperson of the Connectors, celebrated the great work that has happened over the last four years by hosting a Community Awards evening to recognise and reward the nominees of the area.

The committee themselves – of Broughton & Brooklands Community Connectors – received an award for their hard work and dedication towards supporting and overseeing the other groups in the Broughton and Brooklands area. The awards were given by Milton Keynes Mayor, Sam Crooks, who came along by special invitation to present the awards to the deserving groups of Brooklands and Broughton.

One of the other groups to be awarded for their wonderful exemplary work was Supporting Xtra Special Families, who offer support to families living with disability or additional needs in Milton Keynes and the surrounding areas.

Supporting Xtra Special Families Committee

Our very own Community Action: MK employee also won an award for supporting both groups over their lifetime, and was thrilled to see them awarded for all their hard work and commitment.

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Our Autumn Networking/Netwalking Event

The weather was kind to us on Tuesday, for our networking/netwalking event that took place at the Meeting Place outside The Point amidst the Festival of Creative Urban Living.

With the venue so open plan, we used some of our refreshments as paperweights to hold down our information at our stall before it was lost to the wind – otherwise people wouldn’t know who we are, what we do, what we are working on or how we can help and support the voluntary and community sector.

The Festival of Creative Urban Living were kind enough to host us and even entertain us and our guests on a tour of the Festival, exhibiting some of their unique architecture and concepts, with one of our own team getting her idea of a beach in Milton Keynes on one of their models!

We were also joined by AccessAble. AccessAble have been working with Milton Keynes Council for a number of years to create over 350 Access Guides for the area. These Guides contain over 1,000 pieces of access information with a pan-disability approach so that residents and visitors with a disability can make independent and informed decisions about where they would like to go out. For more information, visit their website or contact them to find out how you can utilise their services and Guides!

Then some of our networkers ventured on our netWALK into Conniburrow to see how Big Local Conniburrow have helped to shape and enhance the local community assets. There was a walk around Friendship Park, a visit to the Big Local Conniburrow Hub, as well as a visit to the Pond, the Little Library and the Community Orchard. Our guests were impressed with all of Conniburrow’s hidden gems and how utilised these are by residents and the local community. Our team and guests even had a little laugh and a dance under the Sonar Arch in Friendship Park to show another way the space could be used!

We thank all our attendees and visitors to our Networking Event for coming along and for your ongoing support at our events.

If you would like to see what events we are hosting and that are coming up, sign up to our mailing list here.

Our next event is our ‘Let’s Talk Good Finance’ Event, organised in collaboration with the teams at NAVCA and Good Finance. There will be speakers, the hot topic of the REACH Fund and the promise of refreshments. Please see here for more details.

If you would like to know more about what we do, how we can help or if you have simply got news to share with us, then contact us at info@communityactionmk.org or call on 01908 661623.

We already have our ‘SAVE THE DATE’ for our next networking event! See below for more details.

We look forward to seeing you there! #lovemk #welovemk #networking #voluntaryandcommunitysector

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It’s Your Neighbourhood Awards!

Our very own residents from Netherfield were invited along to the ‘Its Your Neighbourhood’ awards, on behalf of the RHS Britain in Bloom, last week to recognise their work on the ever-improving Community Garden.

Residents from Netherfield attending It’s Your Neighbourhood event with our very own Community Mobiliser, Sue Nelson.

Netherfield residents received a Level 2 award from the Royal Horticultural Society for their efforts in transforming the Community Garden space in Netherfield.

It was a well-attended event, with other residents from Milton Keynes areas in attendance, such as locals from Fullers Slade, Greenleys, Bletchley and Stony Stratford.

Milton Keynes Residents at the event

The event is  major community participation programme and is run on behalf of the RHS Britain in Bloom Campaigns.  This programme focuses on community participation.

For more information on the event and the RHS campaign, click here.

To see how your community can get involved in this campaign for next year and for more information about South and South East in Bloom or Britain in Bloom, then click here.

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Fareshare South Midlands Warehouse is now open!

In partnership with the alternative education charity SOFEA, a brand new Fareshare has come to Milton Keynes! Community Action:MK went along to the opening of the warehouse and the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Fareshare distribute and supply their surplus food to over 11,000 charities across the UK. They have brought themselves to Milton Keynes, working with ASDA, to try and tackle the poverty, homelessness and lack of food available to vulnerable people in order to provide a basic human need to those who might not otherwise receive it. Fareshare are also using their surplus food to connect people and create a social impact upon those they supply to, by bringing people together through food.

‘Surplus with a purpose’.

Community Action:MK were invited to attend the launch of the brand new Fareshare SOFEA Warehouse, where SOFEA and Fareshare’s partners, volunteers and organisations they supply to were out in force to celebrate the new Warehouse. SMART!, MK College and Milton Keynes Christian Foundation, to name a few of the organisations in attendance that Fareshare supply to.

The CEO of Fareshare and the CEO of SOFEA made speeches about how their organisations work and how they work together to achieve ‘surplus with a purpose’. There is a wealth of work behind the scenes and they owe a large thank you to their workers and volunteers, without whom they’re operation would not work or run smoothly or function at all in order to deliver to the frontline charities and community groups.

Lindsay Boswell, CEO of Fareshare, addressing the crowd at the opening launch.

The Mayor was in attendance of the event, invited to help cut the ribbon. He made an empowering speech about how Fareshare and their partnership with SOFEA and ASDA would benefit not only the homelessness numbers rising in Milton Keynes, but the poverty that both vulnerable people and children face. He is excited to see the benefit to the impoverished areas and vulnerable people within Milton Keynes that Fareshare and SOFEA will work with, as well as the individual and social impact it will have on local communities as a whole.

Fareshare are on the lookout for more volunteers for their new South Midlands Warehouse. If you are are interested in volunteering with Fareshare, click here for more information, or contact Community Action: MK at support@communityactionmk.org or call 01908 661623.

For more information about Fareshare and how they work, click here. Or follow the link here to learn more about SOFEA.

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Jobs in the sector: Homeless Shelter Support Worker

The Bus Shelter MK is a much loved local charity which provides a temporary home – and much, much more – for people who would otherwise be sleeping on the streets.

We provide accommodation on a converted double decker bus and reclaimed building site units based on a former car park in central Milton Keynes.

Since we opened in March 2018 we have accommodated 43 people and advised more than 100 others.  Ages of our guests has ranged from 19 to 73 and the average stay is three to four months. 

We are now seeking an additional team member to assist our Shelter Manager in supporting our guests and also ensuring the site remains a pleasant environment both physically and in atmosphere.

The personal qualities of the successful candidate will be more important than formal qualifications, but if you have experience in working with homeless people or expertise in benefits or housing that would be preferred. The duties will be varied and it is likely that no two days will be the same.

What will you need to be?

  • Confident and able to make sensible decisions in unexpected situations.
  • Kind and caring but not a pushover! You will often be working alongside volunteers so will need to understand how that creates a different dynamic than when working with fellow staff members or service users.
  • Computer literate and able to research and understand various regulations and guidelines.
  • Presentable and able to communicate with all types of people as you will be representing the charity to visitors and external organisations in the course of your duties.

Pay and conditions

The role is for 20 hours per week but full time or job share considered for the right applicant.

There will be a lot of evening and weekend working but not overnights. There will also be some lone working.

The role is permanent and the salary offered will depend on your skills and experience.

Holidays offered will be 36 days (including bank holidays).

Our Service Users

Our guests are people who would otherwise be sleeping on the streets and who need a helping hand to return to mainstream life.  Often the role will involve convincing guests their lives can improve and helping them unravel the red tape and hurdles that make it so difficult for them to move on.  At any one time, 50% of our usual guest cohort of eight will be working. We do not accept guests with drug or alcohol addictions as we do not have the facilities to help them. 

Former guests have described being on the bus as “five star homelessness” and attested to the kindness of staff and volunteers as changing their lives.

Why not join us as we provide hope and a route out of homelessness?

To apply please send a CV and a covering letter to: info@thebussheltermk.org  

Please put Support Worker Application in the subject line. The successful candidate will require an Enhanced DBS Check in line with our safeguarding policy.

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Jobs in the Sector: Community Inclusion Project Manager – The Stables

The Community Inclusion Project Manager will play a pivotal role in creating new connections between The Stables, IF: Milton Keynes International Festival and D/deaf and disabled people. He/she will be responsible for creating connections within Milton Keynes and ensuring that The Stables and the Festival are appropriately prepared for these new partnerships.

This role will support the delivery of a new project funded by MK Community Foundation which includes an extensive programme focussing on and enhancing the organisation’s approach to working with D/deaf and disabled people as participants, audience members and performers.

The successful candidate will need to:

  • demonstrate an ability to work with a good degree of independence and responsibility whilst maintaining ongoing communication to keep in touch with the team.
  • an understanding of accessible arts, inclusion, working with disabled people, project management and ways to engage a wide range of people is central to the role.
  • Communication skills are key, along with an ability to maintain the big picture as well as retaining high levels of attention to detail.
  • require a flexible yet methodical approach with a ‘can do’ attitude.
  • the ability to absorb information quickly, integrate into an existing team and organisational culture, and work with established systems and processes to ensure a joined-up approach is essential.
  • it will be important to build relationships with local networks, so a good knowledge of / connection with the Milton Keynes area is desirable.

A more detailed role description can be found here

Who are The Stables?

The Stables in Milton Keynes is one of the UK’s leading music organisations, presenting over 400 concerts across all music genres, and delivering 250 learning and participation projects per annum, including the National Youth Music Camps.

It also produces IF: Milton Keynes International Festival, a biennial multi-artform festival which engages people with extraordinary events in unusual spaces and in unexpected ways. Part of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio, The Stables is preparing for its 50th birthday celebrations in 2020 by looking to expand the impact of its work locally, regionally and nationally.

Salary: Up to £20,000 depending on experience and availability

Contract: Freelance, temporary

Term: 1 year  

Based: The Stables, Wavendon

Please submit your CV and up to 2-pages of A4 outlining your suitability for the role. Your submission should set out how you would seek to tackle the project and how much time you would commit to ensuring its success.

Alternative formats to written applications are accepted as a reasonable adjustment.

Application Deadline: Monday 23 September, midday (12 noon)

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News: Congratulations! YMCA Milton Keynes secures £498,849 grant from the National Lottery!

“We will use this grant over a 3-year period to fund staff and services to improve the well-being of our residents, including 3 personal development coaches and a significant resident activities budget to help their young people belong, contribute and thrive.”

Youth social housing provider and independent homeless charity, YMCA Milton Keynes, is celebrating today after being awarded £498,849 in National Lottery funding to support its work with local young people. The charity will use the cash over a 3-year period to fund staff and services to improve the well-being of its residents, including 3 personal development coaches and a significant resident activities budget to help their young people belong, contribute and thrive.

YMCA Milton Keynes has helped over 10,000 young people since it opened its doors in 1981. The charity’s current site is cramped and no longer fit for purpose, so it has embarked on an ambitious journey to build a new £19M campus to provide supported housing to young people in Milton Keynes. YMCA Milton Keynes’ new campus, which is due to open early in the new year, will give 199 young people access to affordable accommodation, a dedicated pathway of support, including training and employment opportunities, well-being services and a number of social enterprises, including a café and a nursery that will provide its residents with work experience and employment opportunities.

The National Lottery grant will focus on supporting 225 young people over a 3-year period with mental and physical health, employment, education and training giving them access to a sustainable future.

Each outcome will be tracked through monitoring mechanisms and short and long-term outcomes. This will show how the services delivered contribute to a chain of results leading to the intended outcomes.

Simon Green, CEO of YMCA Milton Keynes, says:

“We’re delighted that The National Lottery Community Fund has recognised our work in this way. Now, thanks to National Lottery players we will be able to press on with our plans to broaden the range of support and opportunities available to young people here in Milton Keynes. This grant is vital as it enables us to deliver the dedicated support, activities and training needed to enable our young people to achieve their full potential.”

Find out more about YMCA Milton Keynes by following this link

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