Community Action: MK – Weekly Info and Updates

Welcome to our weekly bulletin for Milton Keynes’ voluntary & community sector
Annual Review 2019 / 2020
Volunteer Drop In

Wednesday 27th January, 11am – 1pm
We’ve taken our volunteer drop-in online! A chance to talk through and learn more about what volunteering roles are out there for you! Our volunteer drop-in will be hosted online for the foreseeable future to enable us to talk to you through virtual means about all your volunteering queries. Sign up here.

Volunteer recruitment & management in the age of COVID

Tuesday 26th January, 10am – 12pm
This free online training from our partner Community Impact Bucks will provide practical advice and guidance about key areas including steps to take before recruiting volunteers, COVID-19: implications for volunteers, what a good recruitment process looks like, and safeguarding volunteers and service users. Sign up here.

If you or an organisation that deserves recognition, would like a mention in our ‘Spotlight’ feature, please get in touch at
MK Community Foundation Recovery Fund
Local Connections Fund from National Lottery Community Fund
Deadline: 26th January 2021
Small grants of up to £2,500 to charities and community organisations with annual incomes of up to £50,000 to bring people and communities together in safe and secure ways. Read more.

Woodward Charitable Trust 
Deadline: 28th January 2021
The Woodward Charitable Trust is a grant-making trust. The Trust primarily funds charitable organisations in the UK. Woodward favours charities which make good use of volunteers and encourage past and current users to participate. Read more.

Windrush Community Fund
Deadline: 12th February 2021

Grants are available for charities, community or grassroots organisations for projects in the UK which raise awareness of the Windrush Scheme (documentation), the Windrush Compensation Scheme or both. Read more.

Cameron Grants for Innovation in Mental Health
Seed funding grants are available for UK based charities and other not-for-profit groups and organisations to trial new and innovative ways to support people in the UK who are suffering with poor mental health. Read more.

Local Connections Fund from National Lottery Community Fund
Deadline: 26th January 2021
Small grants of up to £2,500 to charities and community organisations with annual incomes of up to £50,000 to bring people and communities together in safe and secure ways. Read more.

Golsoncott Foundation
Deadline: 31st January 2021

The Golsoncott Foundation aims to promote, maintain, improve and advance the education of the public in the arts generally and in particular the fine arts and music. This includes providing access to the arts for young people and developing new audiences. Read more.

Wilkinsons – Helping Hands
Helping Hands is a community initiative where each local store has a budget to distribute to projects and schemes within the stores local community. Read more.

The Wakenham Trust
The Wakeham Trust are particularly interested in neighbourhood projects, community arts projects, projects involving community service by young people, or projects set up by those who are socially excluded. Read more.

Funding page for the VCSE sector
NHS England and Improvement Learning Disability and Autism Programme – East of England
East of England NHS England/Learning Improvement is seeking an organisation that will lead in the coordination of a project covering the areas in the region. The role will be to facilitate and coordinate the development of a user group to support, capture and encourage feedback and provide advice to NHS England/Improvement on how this can be maximised. This is a one off project for which proposals are invited by noon on Thursday 21 January with expectation of work commencing on 1 April 2021. Collaborative bids with a lead provider are welcomed. Read more.

Anglian Water unlocks second half of £1 million funding pot to help communities battle second wave
Hundreds of local causes continue to benefit from Anglian Water’s community funding. Last year, half of the company’s Positive Difference Fund (PDF) was made available to help front-line organisations in the immediate response to the pandemic. The remaining funds are to be made available to help communities meet emerging needs and adapt following almost a year of Covid impact. Read more.

Black Lives Matter UK to start funding groups from £1.2m donations
Black Lives Matter UK will be releasing more than £100,000 to black-led organisations across the country by the end of the month, as protesters pledge to build on last year’s anti-racism demonstrations. Read more.

South Central NPS – Community Relationships
South Central is the newly formed region in the National Probation Service, covering the Thames Valley and Hampshire. They are keen to strengthen community relationships and are making some enquiries about how they might best o this. They are interested in exploring whether service users could make a meaningful contribution by assisting local third sector organisations with projects / activities. Read more.

Experiences and learning from the VCSEP
In December, NAVCA issued a short survey to the Local Infrastructure Network of Local Infrastructure Organisations, Liaison Leads and National Liaison Leads. The survey marked the midpoint of the VCS Emergencies Partnership and was designed to gauge satisfaction across core elements of their involvement in the programme. The report details the findings of this survey and an overview of key themes. Read more.

UK Poverty Report 2020/2021
This is the 2020/21 edition of Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s annual report on the nature and scale of poverty across the UK and how it affects people. It highlights early indications of how poverty has changed in our society since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, as well as the situation revealed by the latest poverty data, collected before the coronavirus outbreak. Read more.

Time Well Spent: Diversity and Volunteering Report
For the great majority of people volunteering is a positive experience, however some volunteers are less likely to have a positive experience than others, including younger, Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME), and disabled volunteers. This report – which builds on NCVO’s Time Well Spent research – looks at organisational approaches to diversity and inclusive volunteering. Read more.

Keeping Well
Free, fast and confidential wellbeing and psychological support
 for health and social care staff in Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes. Keeping Well provide wellbeing and psychological support to all NHS staff and staff providing care to others in the community, including residential homes and VCS organisations in the Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes (BLMK) area. The service provides rapid access to support in a variety of ways, where health and care workers can, in confidence, talk to expert clinicians about any personal or professional challenges that are impacting on their stress, anxiety or mood. Read more.

Windrush Community Fund Information Day Event
Wednesday 20th January 2021, 2pm – 4pm
The Windrush Community Fund (WCF) is a £500,000 fund for charitable, voluntary and community sector and grassroots organisations across the UK that work with communities from the Windrush generation. Interested organisations can bid for an award from £2,500 up to £25,000, with projects that are designed to ensure that all people affected by Windrush are aware of the support available and are not missing out on the compensation schemes or latest information. Read more.
Funding Talk: Social investment options with Big Society Capital
Wednesday 20th January 2021, 2PM - 3PM

At Good Finance, they know that it can be confusing and difficult to navigate the world of repayable finance. Join this event if you’d like to learn about social investment, the different types available and explore if it is a suitable tool for you, considerations to think about and Good Finance’s 7 lessons learned from charities and social enterprises who have taken on social investment. Read more.
Starting a Digital Champion project
Thursday 21st January 2021, 3.30pm

Are you training or recruiting people to help others with essential digital skills? Join Citizens Online for a free webinar, where they share what they have learned around role description, marketing channels and what has worked – and hasn’t worked. There will be time for questions and discussion. Read more.
Domestic Abuse – Awareness in the workplace | Monday 25th January, 9.30am – 1.30pm
Join the free virtual training sessions delivered by MK-Act, a specialist Domestic Violence Support Service for Milton Keynes. This workshop is for businesses of all sizes, employers, HR professionals, line managers and front-line staff working in Milton Keynes. Read more and register here.
Webinar Series – VCSEs: Winning central government contracts and the new social value model
DCMS is launching a series of webinars aimed at VCSE organisations to make the most out of the new social value model. See the dates below:

  • Wednesday 3rd February (2pm-4pm)
  • Wednesday 17th March (2pm-4pm)

Sign up here.

Inspiring Impact England Online Regional Workshop Series | Various dates

Local news

  • Remote employment service for Deaf and Hard of Hearing people in England. Read more.
  • MK Birthday Week: 18th – 24thJanuary 2021. On the 23rd January 2021, Milton Keynes will celebrate its 54th birthday as a Designated New Town. To mark the occasion, a free online programme has been developed to showcase MK’s diverse and engaging arts and heritage offer. Read more.
  • Bridge improvement works on Fenny Stratford Canal Bridge. Works will take place between February and April 2021. Read more.
  • Suspension of food and garden waste collections in MKRead more.
  • BrewMonday. Reach out to a friend, family member or colleague for a virtual cuppa and a chat. Read more.
  • Offset Projects. Offset Projects nourishes the creativity of children & young people, giving them the tools to respond to today so they can better shape their tomorrow. We design and deliver projects for children & young people aged 0 – 25. Offset also supports the education and cultural sectors through consultancy and facilitation services. Read more.
  • MK Open 2021 - Open for submissions. Milton Keynes Open is all about championing local creatives so Westbury Arts Centre are inviting all artists to apply. Deadline: 4th May 2021Read more.
  • Village Hall Week 2021: 25th – 29th January. Join ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England) as they celebrate the resilience of village halls. Read more.
  • Arthritis Action Group. People with Arthritis are given the opportunity to meet others online who have the condition to share their hints, tips and experience about how they manage their pain and associated symptoms with confidence. Read more.
  • 4 ways to keep your family busy during lockdown. Read more.
  • Developmental Skills Advice Packs. Packs have been created by Community Health Services to support professionals and parents of children who struggle with fine motor and functional skills. They provide information on graded play activities and ideas to help children practice and progress their fine motor skills in relation to what they are developmentally ready for. Read more.
  • vHelp app adds Gift Aid feature for volunteer expenses. Volunteering payment start-up vHelp is adding a new feature to its app that will allow charities to claim Gift Aid on expenses claims donated back by volunteers. Read more.
Coronavirus news

Information for communities
Local Consultations

National Consultations

Community Fridge Volunteers Needed! | Big Local Conniburrow
Volunteers needed at the Conniburrow Community Fridge. They are looking for people to cover one (or more) 2 hour shifts from either 11am-1pm or 1pm-3pm. Backup volunteers are also required. The application process can be done in person in less than 15 minutes and no DBS checks or references are required. It is busy and fun and preventing tons of food going into landfill each week. Please contact for more information. 

Volunteering Matters

We are supporting Volunteering Matters to source vital volunteers. These are the 3 main roles available:

  • Telephone befrienders
  • Community car drivers
  • Grandmentors

If you are interested and would like to know more, please get in touch with us at

Volunteer Mentor | Community Led Initatives
Become a mentor, change a life. Community Led Initiatives are currently recruiting for volunteer mentors to help people to turn their lives around by providing mentoring and group support for people in recovery from substance misuse and gambling addiction. No qualifications or experience is required – they invest in training and supporting mentors within the role. Read more.

Decision-making tool for volunteers
Useful links

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