Community Action: MK – Weekly Info & Update

Welcome to the weekly bulletin for the voluntary and community sector ofMilton Keynes
Click here to see the full version of the newsletter
Click here to find out about a temporary Covid-19 testing centre in MK opening on 7th October
Click here to find out how Community Action: MK can support your group
Black History Month
This month marks and celebrates Black History Month. We will be aiming to post something relevant most days surrounding Black History Month (follow us on @ComActMK) and we have found out that the Global Outreach Foundation MK are exploring the Untold Stories of people of African descent. They are looking and investigating the reasons behind the whitewashing of history. Read more.
Charity So White: Survey of the Sector
#CharitySoWhite is a POC (‘People of Colour’) led campaign group dedicated to tackling institutional racism within the charity sector. They have recently launched a survey of the sector, which has been tailored for both BAME and WHITE organisations. The surveys aims to build a better understanding of the sector as a whole, and those working towards creating a more equal and anti-racist sector. Take part here.
Give Your Mind a Minute – MK YiS
If you haven’t heard or seen already on YiS social media platforms and recent press releases, MK YiS Education and their team of Wellbeing Champions have been busy working behind the scenes organising a mental health festival to raise awareness and bring the community together for World Mental Health Dayon Saturday 10th October. The aim is to create a platform so that everybody can focus on the importance of their mental health and wellbeing for one minute or more.  Read their blog here.
Volunteer Support
Have you been supporting others during the pandemic? It is important that you also take care of yourself! The Wellbeing Therapy Centre are offering FREE 1-2-1 and group sessions for volunteers to support them in their role as a volunteer. If you know of any volunteers, or you yourself are a volunteer, then please get in touch for more information at or call: 01908 661 623. Read more.
Grant Funding: tips & resources
Our Funding Session dedicated to grant funding has unfortunately sold out. If you were interested in attending, you are welcome to come along to one of our Collaborative Action Groups meetings on Thursday 15th October (11.30am or 1.30pm), where we will be going over the information and resources shared at the funding session. It may also be an opportunity for you to connect with other groups that are a part of this network. To get joining details, please contact us
Carers Discussion Group for informal Carers
Has your caring role been impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic? Have you got a positive experience of services or support that that providers could learn from? Do you have suggestions for how you could be better supported as a Carer, in the future? There is a virtual meeting on Zoom on Friday 23rd October, 10:30am – 11:30am. If you would like to attend, please email for details about how to join. Read more.
Collaborative Action Groups
We are adapting the way we run our Collaborative Action Groups, but we are still welcoming and recruiting new members! Any group or organisation, or member of the community that feel they would benefit from making new connections both locally and MK-wide, have access to tailored resources and learn about what is happening in local communities to help your beneficiaries is welcome to come along! Our next Collaborative Action Group meetings are being held on Thursday 15th, 11:30pm OR 1:30pm (online). These are being centred around funding and communications. Please contact for joining instructions and more information. Read our latest Collaborative Action Group blog here.
What colour is identity? 
Peter Cunnision, Lloyds Bank Foundation’s West Midlands Manager, reflects on race and identity in light of the Covid-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter Movement. Read more.
VCSE Survey
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is currently developing guidance to help volunteer-involving organisations, groups and bodies based in England to better understand how volunteering can be done safely and effectively during the COVID-19 pandemic.  As part of this, DCMS are asking employees and volunteers from volunteer-involving organisations, groups and bodies to complete a short survey. The results of this survey will be used to help ensure this guidance effectively meets the needs of its users. The survey will take approximately 5 minutes. Deadline: Monday 12th October, 5pm. Read more.
Samantha’s Story – NSPCC
A short film of the impact COVID is having on children. Samantha, a talented young athlete, shares her experience of mental health problems during coronavirus lockdown. Her and her mother, Louise, want to raise awareness of Childline to support other young people. Read more.
Enterprise Development Programme
Equally Ours are delighted to welcome applications for the equality strand of the Enterprise Development Programme. Funded by Access – the Foundation for Social Investment, this three-year programme builds financial resilience and fosters innovation across multiple charity sectors, offering participants bespoke capacity support programmes and possible funding to explore enterprise development within their own organisations. Deadline: 29th October, middayRead more.
UK Shared Prosperity Fund and Civil Society
Over the last forty years, European Union funding has provided a safety net for people facing inequality and discrimination and offered them a chance to make their lives better. As the UK leaves the EU, this funding will no longer continue. To replace it, the UK Government has promised to replace it with the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF). Read more.
Paul Streets: Charities must lead the way in recovering and rebuilding from COVID-19
In his latest blog, Lloyds Bank Foundation Chief Executive, Paul Streets, looks at how charities can lead the way in recovering and rebuilding from COVID-19, and the importance of us all coming together to continue to drive change at this opportune moment. Read more.
Safeguarding Training
Acorn offers almost 100 different courses in Safeguarding Children, First Aid, Creative Learning in the EYFS, SEND, Forest Schools, Leadership and Management, among others. Designated Safeguarding Courses have been booking up very quickly, so extra face to face sessions have been added, to meet the demand. Face to face sessions have a maximum of 10 people to ensure safe distancing. Read more.
UCL Covid-19 Social Study - Understanding the psychological and social impact of the pandemic
UCL are still looking for participants from specific groups to tell them about their experiences during the pandemic (in return for a £10 gift voucher to thank you for your time):

  • Young people aged 13 – 21 from BAME groups
  • Fathers of young children
  • Public facing key workers. We are particularly interested in hearing from key workers who are BAME groups and those aged 18-35 years old
  • Mothers from BAME groups who have young children
  • Mothers who are aged 18-35 with young children

If you identify with any of these groups, or if you know anyone who does and who would like further information, please contact Alex BurtonRead more.

Opportunities through The Open University 
The Open University has a number of opportunities that may be relevant for VCSE groups in Milton Keynes, including:

  • Opportunity Hub: an online vacancy platform through which you can recruit for both  paid and volunteering roles free of charge.
  • Virtual Internships: a programme of internships that can be delivered remotely (with office-based and blended options available too).
  • Free Online course to support HR work: Future Learn courses offering information about online recruitment and onboarding: providing continuity for business and candidates.
Click here to read the latest update about our Collaborative Action Groups 
Proposed Amendments to the Council Tax Reduction Scheme
The scheme itself reduces the council tax bill for people on a low income. The amendment seeks to introduce a tolerance rule on all working age cases. Closes: 26th November 2020. Read more.
Mental Health Partnership Board – Upcoming Meetings

  • Service User Meeting: Wednesday 14th October, 1pm-2pm - his meeting is for service users only. If you would like to attend please respond to this email or email you will be sent the Zoom link. Read more.
  • VCSE/Third Sector Meeting: Wednesday 21st October, 2pm-3pm - This meeting is for anyone in the VCSE/Third sector.
  • Professionals (by invite only): Wednesday 4th November, 2pm-3pm.
Milton Keynes Task and Finish Group: Phase 2
After submitting their Interim Report of the response to the Covid-19 Crisis in MK, the Task and Finish Group is now moving into the Phase 2 of its evidence gathering, working towards the full report due on the 25th November.
CQC Strategy 2021: share your views
Over the past couple of months, CQC have been speaking to people who use services, providers, other stakeholders and our CQC colleagues about the emerging themes of their future strategy. Read the CQC draft strategy for discussion document here.
Local planning and consultations:

  • MK Council Plan: 2016-2022 (see the latest updated version here)
  • Modifications to the Newport Pagnell Neighbourhood Plan - closes 12th October.Read more.
See the latest updates from the MK Covid-19 Outbreak Control Plan
Challenge Poverty Week England and Wales: 12th – 18th October 2020.
Challenge Poverty Week is an opportunity to highlight the incredible work being done by community groups around the country, and to show what can and must be done differently. It’s an opportunity for voices that are often ignored to be heard loud and clear. It’s a chance to focus attention on the need to tackle poverty – and to show the immense difference we could make to our society if we do. Read more.
Co-op Foundation: Lonely Not Alone Campaign 
You can help young people tackle the stigma of youth loneliness from Wednesday 7th October by joining in with The Co-op Foundation: Lonely Not Alone campaign, which been made by young people for young people. They are asking us all to wear yellow socks to show young people everywhere that although they may be lonely, they are not alone. Read more.
Covid-19: providing unpaid care to adults with learning disabilities and autistic adults
The Government has updated its guidance for people providing unpaid care to adults with learning disabilities and autistic adults during the coronavirus outbreak. The updates relate to the changes in social distancing guidance and include an “easy-to-read counterpart” on staying alert and safe, coronavirus outbreak FAQs and guidance on meeting with others safely. Read more.
The Henry Allen Trust Virtual Balloon Race 2020
To mark Henry’s 7th Angel anniversary, Team Henry have chosen to do a virtual balloon race to try and raise awareness of childhood cancers and Henry’s Angel Anniversary. The Henry Allen Trust virtual balloon race launches at 3.15pm on Tuesday 20th  October from Chepstow Park, Henry’s favourite place. The race finishes at 3:15pm on Tuesday 27th OctoberRead more.
Willen Lake creates over an acre of free play!
Willen Lake is currently undergoing large scale improvement works to enhance visitor experience. These works will include a state of the art, fully accessible water sports building as well as a brand-new children’s play area. Once the new play area is complete, it will be over an acre in size, meaning Willen Lake will be home to the biggest free to use play area in Milton Keynes! Read more.
Guidance for contacts of people with confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection who do not live with the person
Guidance for contacts of a person with a positive test result for coronavirus (COVID-19) who do not live with that person. Available in a variety of different languages. Read more.
Click here for more Government Coronavirus guidance 
MK Council is giving six lucky people an opportunity to win £100 each to spend on their local high street as part of a campaign to support small independent businesses in response to COVID-19. Read more and find out how to enter here.
How to communicate better with people with hearing loss
COVID-19 poses a unique challenge for health and social care professionals when talking to someone with hearing loss. In response to this, Healthwatch has published some important tips to help you communicate effectively with someone with hearing loss. Click here to review the advice.
The Parks Trust begin to revive Great Linford Manor Park
The Parks Trust have been awarded £3.1m by the National Lottery to ‘Reveal, Revive and Restore’ Great Linford Manor Park. With this funding they are restoring elements of the 18th century English Landscape Garden that was laid out by historic owners of the Manor. Read more.
Report: Harnessing the power of the people
Read Nesta’s recent report on people-powered change, which is calling on the Government and the civil society to “to seize this opportunity and support the acceleration of a people-powered shift.” The report explores the people-powered change that is happening across the country and beyond: from the rise of the mutual aid groups to the #BlackLivesMatter movement – its huge contributions to UK’s society and how it is often undervalued by public services.
Read more.
See more Covid-19 Information for communities on our website 
Sainsbury’s Food Donation Programme – Join as a Virtual Volunteer to help increase donations
Fareshare still need your help! They would like your help to raise awareness of the Food Donation Programme to encourage more people to donate online if they are able to. Will you support them by becoming a Virtual Volunteer? Virtual Volunteers can pledge their support for FareShare in a number of ways – every small action can have a big impact! Read more.
Volunteer with intu Green Gym - A great green workout guaranteed!
Join intu MK Green Gym at the Fred Roche Gardens, Central Milton Keynes. They carry out a range of gardening tasks to help keep the gardens in great shape for Autumn. Please email: or call 07740 899633 for further information. Booking essential.
Emotional Support Volunteer – POST LOCK-DOWN
Victims First Emotional Support Service are looking for an emotional support volunteer. The role of a Victims First Emotional Support Volunteer involves providing practical and emotional support to victims of crime in the Thames Valley area, working to empower victims and map progress using an evidence-based outcomes tool, ensuring fairness, impartiality and equality in supporting victims and more. Read more here.
Are you willing, able and safe to volunteer? Complete the expression of interest form here
Project Worker – MK YiS
With funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, MK YiS are recruiting for a passionate and dedicated project worker to help improve young people’s mental health in Milton Keynes. The post will be working closely with young people to develop and deliver innovative mental health and wellbeing projects, campaigns and activities. Application deadline: 14th October. Read more.
Vacancies – MacIntyre
At MacIntyre School and Children’s Homes, you’ll be part of a close-knit team supporting young people and encouraging participation in community activities and hobbies. Full-time, part-time and relief roles available in Leighton Buzzard, Wingrave and Aylesbury. Read more.
Outreach and Inclusion Workers – Victims First Specialist Service
Victims First Specialist Service
 now have vacancies for 3 x Outreach and Inclusion Workers to work specifically with BAMER communities to improve their experiences of accessing and receiving support if they are affected by sexual violence and/or other abuse. You will help to identify and engage with individuals on a one-to-one basis, enabling them to access services and make positive, empowering choices to change their lives. Find out more.
Enterprise Development Programme
The Enterprise Development Programme from the Social Investment Business is offering support to new social enterprises or growing existing ones. Organisations accepted onto their programme will work with partners and receive a variety of support. Read more here. Applications are currently open for expression of interest, to social enterprises working in the areas of:

  • Equality: Deadline 29 October
  • Youth: Deadline 12 November
BAME Healthy Communities Surviving COVID-19 Fund
Grants are available for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) led voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector organisations across the UK to help them support their communities during and beyond the coronavirus/COVID-19 crisis, building wellbeing, resilience, and capacity. Deadline: 30th October. Read more.
Postcode Recovery Fund from Postcode Dream Trust
Grants of £500,000 to £1million for projects that address a systemic societal issue relating to educational inequalities, homelessness, domestic violence, health and wellbeing, social exclusion and isolation and/or poverty and can demonstrate a clear link to the effects of the pandemic. Deadline: 30 October. Read more.
Garfield Weston Foundation
UK charities can apply for an unrestricted grant for core and project costs. The Foundation supports projects across Arts, Education, Youth, Health, Museums & Heritage, Community, Environment, Faith and Welfare, particularly to those in need, and in regions of economic disadvantage. Read more.
Morrisons Foundation
The Morrisons Foundation awards grant funding for charity projects which make a positive difference in local communities. In the main grants are available to fully fund projects up to £25,000. Read more.
National Churches Trust – The Foundation Grants Programme 
The Foundation Grants Programme will offer grants of between £500 and £5,000 towards urgent maintenance works and small repairs identified as high priority within a recent Quinquennial Inspection or Survey Report. Also, small investigative works and surveys. Deadline: 30th October. Read more.
Click here to see more funding opportunities on our website
Westbury Arts Centre – What’s on?
From children’s holiday workshops for ages 7 – 12 years and 12- 18 years, to number of events and exhibitions still going on despite the pandemic, Westbury Arts Centre are still hosting a variety of events and workshops at their centre and online.Read more. 
TCV intu Green Gym Milton Keynes – Monthly Programme
There are lots of exciting activities planned for this month to improve your health, help wildlife and learn new skills.

  • Sow Wildflower Plots and Build and Insect Hotel - Tuesday 13th October, 10.45am – 1.30pm
  • Autumn Garden Tidy! - Tuesday 20th October, 10.45am – 1.30pm
  • The Big Community Bulb Plant – Tuesday 27th October, 10.45am – 1.30pm

Please email: or call 07740 899633 for further information. Booking essential.

MK Play Association – Upcoming Events (Covid-19 Compliant)
Milton Keynes Play Association have a variety of play sessions and events coming up that will make the holidays and events of this winter fun for all, using craft kits and activity packs. Some of these include; World Space week, Halloween, Lantern Making, Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead), Diwali, Christmas Boxes, and Play sessions. Read more.
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