Community Action: MK- Weekly Info and Updates

Supporting the voluntary and community sector of Milton Keynes
Welcome to our weekly bulletin for Milton Keynes’ voluntary & community sector
Catalyst Project: Developing a community intelligence gathering digital tool
We are excited to share an update from our Catalyst project. If you have not seem our weekly updates published on the Medium platform, you can read our blog published by our national partner, NAVCA, through their website. We’re are really pleased that the work on the project is being shared with other organizations in the UK, hoping it will sparkle an interest in our approach and re-use in other parts of the country. Read more about our work with the Catalyst Project.
Vulnerable People’s Partnership – Call for Outreach work
We still have a few spaces left for voluntary groups who work with the groups listed here to carry out outreach work, in order to understand how these groups like to be communicated with. We ask that you test a number of approved NHS resources with the groups you work with so vital conversations can be had. For how to get involved, contact: or call 01908 661623.
Inclusive Communications Session | Sensory Advice Resource Centre
UPDATE - our Inclusive Communications session that is being run by the Sensory Advice Resource Centre has had a change of date. The session will now be running on Thursday 29th April at 10.30am. Please register now to join us. This is a great opportunity to develop your organisations communications to cater for those with sight and hearing loss. We look forward to seeing you there. Register here.
Low-carbon Food Connect service saves 260,000 meals from waste in Milton Keynes trial  
As the spotlight continues to shine on food waste and its contribution to climate change, environmental charity Hubbub reveals the astonishing success of its pilot in Milton Keynes, redistributing surplus food from retailers to community groups using electric cargo bikes and an electric van.
The trial saved:

  • 109 tonnes of food – the equivalent of almost 260,000 meals
  • 1.7 tonnes of transport emissions

The pilot support community groups across MK, and partnered with retailers, restaurants, Fareshare, MK Council and food manufacturers, to share healthy food in the community. Helen Innes, Project Coordinator for Food Connect said:
“Food Connect has enabled us to provide food to around 800 local families a week and has also reduced the pressure on the volunteers who would be making these journeys by foot, taxi or car to pick up the surplus food.  The project has helped us establish a more reliable supply, including a wider variety of food to share and was invaluable in allowing us to support shielding households last year. We are so thrilled with the results and look forward to helping the service expand. We’re particularly keen to get more local retailers onboard.” 
Read the press release here.

If you or an organisation that deserves recognition, would like a mention in our ‘Spotlight’ feature, please get in touch at
My Funding Central
A new funding platform/ databse is launching, replacing the old Funding Central platform, which was run by NCVO. The platform is free to use for VCSE groups/ organisations with annual income of up to £30,000. Click here to find out more.
The Fore
Deadline: 3rd May 2021

The For will offer unrestricted grants of up to £30,000 which can be used over a three year period. They fund small organisations working with marginalised groups and led by people in the community that may have found it hard to access trust and foundation funding in the past. Invitation to register for The Fore Summer 2021 Funding Round begins on 12 April. Read more.

Baring Foundation – Arts and Mental Health Programme
Deadline: 21st April 2021

This new fund is designed to support activity to redress the under-representation of participatory artists from ethnically diverse communities in arts and mental health. Grants of between £10,000 and £40,000 are available to arts organisations. Read more about the fund.

Arnold Clark Community Fund
Deadline 31st May 2021

The Arnold Clark Community Fund will offer grants of up to £1,000 to UK registered charities and local community groups who need financial assistance due to the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic by means of a monthly draw. 500 grants will be made each month, with unsuccessful applications kept in the draw for the following month. Read more about the fund.

Calor Rural Community Fund
Deadline: 21st April 2021

The Calor Rural Community Fund has the ambition to support projects in rural communities, turning big ideas into a reality. As well as an £85,000 funding pot, Calor is working with Crowdfunder to offer a platform to raise awareness of the work you’re doing for your local area. You’ll have more tools to generate support and raise donations, to help get your community projects off to a flying start! Read more about the fund.

Church Urban Fund – Mustard Seed Programme
Grants of up to £5,000 to enable churches and faith-based organisations, working in very deprived communities, to engage in social action through supporting them to initiate or develop community work. This will then enable groups to either undertake larger pieces of work or significantly improve the existing provision. Read more.

Lloyds Bank Foundation
The Foundation’s priority is to reach those charities tackling one of 11 complex social issues such as homelessness, trafficking and domestic abuse, with a proven track record of helping people achieve positive change in their local communities. Read more about the fund.

BBC Children in Need
Deadline: 12th April 2021

Funding is available to organisations that are supporting children and young people of 18 years and under who are experiencing disadvantage through: illness, distress, abuse or neglect any kind of disability behavioural or psychological difficulties living in poverty or situations of deprivation. Read more about the fund.

Great Linford Parish Council Grants
Deadline: 16th April 2021

The Great Linford Parish Council awards grants twice a year and consider applications from voluntary organisations, registered charities or established community, not for profit groups. New starter organisations will be considered. Read more about the fund.

Football Foundation – Multiple funds available

Windrush Community Fund
Deadline: 30th June 2021

The Windrush Community Fund is up to £500,000 of financial support available to charity, community or grassroots organisations across the UK to fund projects which raise awareness of the Windrush Scheme (documentation), the Windrush Compensation Scheme or both. Read more about the fund.

The Hilden Charitable Fund
Deadline: 16th April 2021

The Hilden Charitable Fund includes as its UK priorities, community based initiatives for disadvantaged young people aged 16 to 25 and asylum seekers and refugees. Grants, of average size £5000 are awarded to community level organisations that can demonstrate a charitable purpose and with income levels under £550,000 and can cover general running costs. Read more about the fund.

Youth Endowment Fund
Deadline: 14th May

The Youth Endowment Fund exists to prevent children and young people becoming involved in violence. A new £20 million fund will launch on 19 April, but details of the fund are available now, along with details of grant workshops on 17th and 25th March. Read more about the fund.

Heritage Trade Up Programme
A learning programme and match funding grant are available for leaders of heritage organisations in the UK. Read more about the fund.

The Pixel Fund
Grants are available for UK-based charities and community interest organisations to support projects that promote the mental health and wellbeing of children and young adults. Read more about the fund.

Women Thrive Fund
Grants are available to grassroots and specialist women’s and girls’ organisations across the UK that are working to enable women and girls to improve their mental health and wellbeing and/or improve their financial resilience. Read more about the fund.

SEMLEP Community Grants
The Community Grants programme offers VCSE organisations grant funding from £10,000 to £20,000 to deliver local projects that make a difference within local communities in the South East Midlands. Click to learn more about the fund.

Funding page for the VCSE sector
Find out how we can support your group / organisation here!
The Big Lunch is back: 5th – 6th June 2021
The Big Lunch is the UK’s annual big date to celebrate and give thanks to our neighbours and communities. An idea from the Eden Project that each year brings 6 million people together, made possible by The National Lottery and supported sponsors Iceland Foods. People meet, chat and have fun in their neighbourhoods, annually fundraising £8m for local causes they care about. The Big Lunch is taking place from 5th – 6th June 2021. Read more about the Big Lunch and how to get involved.

Strong Integrated Care Systems Everywhere
One of the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic is that people need support which is joined up across local councils, the NHS and voluntary and community organisations. This video explains how Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) embed this collaboration, helping local services to respond to the challenges of the pandemic and beyond. Watch the video here.

Covid-19 mental health and wellbeing recovery action plan
The Covid-19 mental health and wellbeing recovery action plan sets out a cross-government, whole-person approach to promoting positive mental health and supporting people living with mental illness to recover and live well.

Sir Lenny Henry publishes open letter to Black Britons 
Sir Lenny Henry has published an open letter to encourage Black Britons to take the COVID-19 vaccine. The film can be viewed here. The latest weekly NHS data on vaccination uptake by ethnicity shows that over 466,000 and 24,000 Black or Black British adults have taken the first and second COVID-19 vaccine doses respectively. Read the letter here.

Disability charities benefit from £2.4m fund
Thirteen charities that help autistic people, disabled people and those with a learning disability who are struggling with the effects of the pandemic will benefit from £2.4 million of additional government funding. Read more.

How the pandemic has changed attitudes towards older people
Loneliness is at the forefront of the public’s mind when they think about old age; but loneliness is not limited to older people. This blog explores the impact of Covid-19 on older people charities, with a focus on how the issue of loneliness can be leveraged. Read more.

Young Black men’s lives blighted by Covid-19
An interesting blog exploring how young Black men’s mental health has been hit hard by the pandemic and urgent cross-government action is needed now to avoid jeopardising their futures, according to a briefing published by Centre for Mental Health. Read the blog here.

Young Women’s Trust report: Lockdown one year on: how young women are paying the price for the pandemic
86% of young women feel that the government response to the pandemic had made things worse for people like them as the devastating impact on young women’s work, finances and mental health continues. Read the report and the findings here.

RSA Challenge: make things happen
Over the coming weeks, The Royal Society of Arts will be showcasing the RSA’s Living Change Approach, their multidisciplinary way of uniting people and ideas to resolve the challenges of our time to create lasting change. Through blogs, events and workshops, they will celebrate Fellows that are making change happen and explore how. Each week will focus on a different area of work. Read more about RSA’s work.

Concerns around the level of support for refugees from the Government and the public
This nfp synergy blog shines light on the difficult situation regarding international aid, exacerbated by the pandemic, and the effects it has had on the refugee support. Read the blog here.

B&Q Community Re-use scheme
B&Q stores donate unsellable materials and products to local community groups. If your charity, community group, college or school would like to find out more, please get in touch with B&Q here to add your details to their database of community groups. Read more about the scheme here.

Acevo report: Hidden leaders, disability leadership in civil society
The report draws on new desk-based research and ten in-depth interviews to provide recommendations for ACEVO, and other voluntary sector organisations that want to build more disability-inclusive approaches to leadership. Read the report here.

Fawcett leads call to reinstate gender pay gap reporting
Fawcett Society has launched joint statement demanding reinstatement of gender pay gap reporting.will be encouraging supporters to write to their MP and ask them to support reinstating mandatory gender pay gap reporting among large employers. You can write to your MP by clicking here. Supporters are also encouraged to sign a petition calling on the Government to reinstate gender pay gap reporting. Read more.

Great Big Green Week
Ahead of the UK hosting the UN Climate Summit in November, this is an opportunity for groups and organisations to arrange events to raise awareness for climate change. There are lots of options for what you could do, or just check out what else is going on in the area. Find out how you can get involved here.
Centre for Voluntary Sector Leadership: Annual Conference: Leading voluntary organisations in precarious times… what next?
Wednesday 12th May 2021 | 9.30am – 4.30pm 

As we begin to see ‘light at the end of the tunnel’, CVSL’s annual conference will look ahead to the future to explore what lies ahead for voluntary sector leadership. This free, online conference is an opportunity for members of the voluntary sector and academics to come together to learn, share and reflect. Read more about the event and how to register.
How will the public mood shape care after the pandemic? The Health Foundation
Thursday 15th  April 2021 | 11.45am – 1pm

Drawing on polling taken before and during the pandemic, up to the present, a panel will consider shifts in public attitudes to care, including; satisfaction with and expectations of the NHS; the biggest priorities facing health and social care; and satisfaction with how the government managed the pandemic. Find out more and how to register.
Local news

The Living Income Survey. The Living Income campaign wants to improve incomes and reform the benefits system, so that everyone can live with dignity. The past year has shown that the safety net we all rely on needs to be stronger to protect us. Take this survey to share your experiences of how Covid-19 and lockdown have affected your income.

Funding for greener travel offered to MK businesses. Read more.

MK Connect: Demand-responsive transport in Milton Keynes. Read more about MK’s new responsive transport system.

Fix Your Bike Voucher Scheme: apply for a voucher. The Fix Your Bike Voucher Scheme allows members of the public to receive a voucher worth up to £50 towards the cost of repairing a bicycle. Read more.

Because we all care: people with a learning disability or autism. Read more about how to get involved and express your views.

Ramadan Safety GuidanceRead more.

Carbon reducing green bus shelters to be installed in Milton Keynes. New living green bus shelters capable of extracting harmful carbon emissions are being installed across MK as part of a pilot project. Read more.

Equality Council UK (ECUK) Projects. Find out how you can become involved.

  • Milton Keynes Organ Transplant Awareness Initiative. This aims to give reliable information to BAME community and faith groups in Milton Keynes, so they can make informed decisions about organ donation and be encouraged to become organ donors.
  • Women’s Healthy Lifestyle. This aims to promote and deliver Health and Wellbeing workshops and exercise classes to women from community/faith groups in Milton Keynes and encourage the adoption of a healthier lifestyle.

MK Community Boat News. Read more.

The Warmth and Wellbeing Service – Better Housing Better Health. This non-for-profit project helps vulnerable residents and those living in fuel poverty to free access advice and support. Read more about the service here.

Digital Skills Service – Citizens Advice MK. Citizens Advice offer support for you to improve your digital skills and develop confidence using the internet and other online services. They can provide 1-2-1 support over a series of appointments via a digital coach or partner agencies. To refer or find out more, contact Stuart on 07975021253. Read more about the digital skills service.

MILTON KEYNES OPEN 2021. Deadline: 4th May 2021. Find out more about how you can enter here.

GentleSpaces. Gentlespaces is run by MK Mission Partnership. If you have recently lost someone, you can join these spaces to find support and meet others. They are currently being held on zoom. Read more about gentlespaces.

Nightstop MK and Reconnect Referral Guidance. Reconnect MK offers impartial, professional support and mediation for young people aged 16-25 at risk of or currently experiencing homelessness. Nightstop MK provides emergency accommodation for 16 to 25 year old young people in the homes of vetted and trained volunteer hosts. Read more.

Looking for Work? Let Works for Us help. Their completely free service offers support, advice and a range of different skills courses and is open to anyone living in Milton Keynes. Read more about Works For Us support.

Coronavirus news


Information for communities
Local Consultations

National Consultations

Opportunity of the week!
Family Services Volunteer – Play Volunteer | PACT
Pact supports families of prisoners as they arrive at the visitors centre and during their visit, by providing supervised play for the children. Volunteers support this service by setting up toys and offering fun and engaging activities for children of all ages in the Visits Hall. In addition there may be opportunity to get involved in special events such as Family Days organised by Pact and the prison that offers families more quality time together. Find out more about this role on our do-it volunteering site.
Community Representatives | MK Community Foundation
MK Community Foundation currently have two vacancies on their Community Grants panel board. They are seeking applicants with knowledge, skills and/or lived experience of one or more of the following:

  • Child poverty
  • Disability
  • Issues affecting LGBTQ+ community
  • Issues affecting the Middle Eastern community

If you would like to have an informal chat with MKCF to find out more about the role and the commitment it requires please contact Michaela: / 01908 690276Read more.

Stepping Stones | Volunteering Matters
This brand new project was developed, and will be delivered, collaboratively with the Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group and Service Six, addressing the need to support children and young people transitioning from long-term inpatient mental health units back into the wider community. Read more about the role in our blog! If you are interested please let us know and we can put you in touch with the project coordinator at Volunteering Matters. Contact:
Retired and Senior Volunteer Programme
RSVP – Retired and Senior Volunteer Programme – is a distinctive part of Volunteering Matters, set up in 1988 to enable people aged 50 and over to contribute their energy, enthusiasm and experience for the benefit of their communities. RSVP projects are led by over-50s volunteers, taking a lead role in setting up and managing volunteering activities. The purpose of the role is to research and reconstruct the RSVP Project Directory. The directory is an important organisational and operational tool. It contains the essential details of RSVP projects and organisers across all regions. Read more about the role.
Decision-making tool for volunteers
Volunteer Coordinator | DePaul
Closing date: 9th April
Salary: £20,859 + pension and benefits
Depaul UK are currently recruiting for a full time Volunteer Coordinator to recruit, train and support volunteers as well as working with young clients accessing the service. You will also be responsible for providing support to guests accessing our suitable move on accommodation. This role will be based in our new Nightstop service, a prevention service, in Milton Keynes. Read more about the role.
SAFE! Support for Young People Affected by Crime
Closing date for all: Wednesday 14th April.

SAFE! are currently recruiting for 3 roles. Read more about each role here.

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