Community Action: Weekly Info and Updates

Supporting the voluntary and community sector of Milton Keynes
Welcome to our weekly bulletin for the Milton Keynes Voluntary & Community sector


SAVE THE DATE: 21st October 2021 – Community Action: MK AGM
Whitehouse Surgery | 11am – 1pm
This week (Thursday 26th  August) at our drop in we have:

  • Harry’s Rainbow a local charity supporting children who have been bereaved of a parent or sibling. A great chance to find out about their work and how to get involved.

We will be there  from 9am – 1pm so feel free to drop by at any time! Read more about the drop-ins here.


We are recruiting!
PA To Chief Executive 
(12-month Fixed Term Contract - 20 hours per week )
Closing date: 8th September (midday)

Come and work for us! We are currently recruiting for a part-time PA to Chief Executive Officer! Find out more on

Signposting Channels 

Community Action: MK has a signposting page on our website, which acts as a directory of local services.  This has been created during the lockdown as a way of easing access to some of the most vital services for people affected by the pandemic. We are calling all groups and organisations:

  • If you are listed on this resource and would like to update your details (e.g. about new services that you are providing, updated contact info) – please get in touch.
  • If you are not currently listed, but would like to be added -  please share your information with us.

We are particularly interested to hear about the inclusion and accessibility of your services, so if you have any specific information related to that (e.g. available to or providing tailored support to individuals with additional needs such as mental health, autism, visual or hearing impairments) – please let us know. Alternatively, if you think that your group or organisation requires support with making your services or activities more accessible, please get in touch.

See the signposting channels page on our website here. Please send your updates, information or request to Thank you!

Drop-in sessions for volunteers and organisations 

Come and have a quick chat with us and ask questions – anything related to volunteering, using our MK Community Data Tool or other support that your group or organisation needs. We are around every Tuesday for an online drop-in session. The available time slots are:

  • 11am – 11.20am
  • 11.25am – 11.45am
  • 11.50am – 12.10pm
  • 12.15pm – 12.35pm

Read more about the drop in sessions and register here.

Research for BAME and Faith Groups (with Macmillan Cancer Support)
As part of our community research project, in partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support, we want to hear about the cancer experiences and views of individuals and groups from ethnic minority and faith communities, and would like to encourage you to complete our questionnaire or forward it to anyone who might be interested  – e.g. we are keen to hear from health professionals. Read more about the research and take the questionnaire here or contact Sue at to get involved.
We are calling on all voluntary and community groups in Milton Keynes. Please help us make the most of the new MK Community Data Tool by sharing your insights. You can find out more about why this is really vital here.
View Our Events on Eventbrite here
Branch-out MK Will Be At The Chelsea Flower Show This Year 

Branch-out MK are very excited and would like everyone to know that they will be an exhibitor in the Floral Art and Floristry competition at the World Famous Chelsea Flower Show in September (21st – 26th this year for the first time ever!) The MK-based social enterprise will be showcasing their locally grown seasonal dried flowers, using 100% natural materials. If you would like more info get in touch!
Branch-out MK  is also looking for an additional director to join the organisation to help move things forward, contact Theresa or call 07900 88 27 40 for more information.


Take a listen to your Voluntary and Community Sector! 

These are quick snapshots videos of the work that these organisations do, how they got started, help they are looking for & a bit more about how you can access their services. Contact information is linked in descriptions. 

BBC Children In Need - Small Grants Fund
Thank you to Pam from BBC Children in Need for delivering a session around applying for their small grants fund. Sharing top tips, guidance and what applications need to include and show. For more information and guidance take a look at the slides Pam shared, they also contain contact details for Pam who is happy to be contacted.
VCSE Health and Wellbeing Fund - Funding is available for both local and national VCSE organisations who are already delivering existing services that can be expanded to provide additional support for children and families. Organisations who are addressing children’s respiratory and acute services during autumn/winter 2021, alongside raising awareness for the management of respiratory infections within communities that experience the greatest health inequalities. Grants are available between £75,000 – £300,000. Deadline 12 noon, 27 August. Details here.
NEW - The Ashworth Trust - Grants of up to £3,000 (and occasionally up to £5,000) can be applied for by UK registered charities with a turnover of less than £1 million, for a wide range of activities (excluding museums, hospices and those involved primarily in research). The Trust prefers to help fund humanitarian projects and ‘activities that share a vision which includes the oneness of humanity, establishment of true justice, education for all, and addressing the situation of the poor and marginalised.’
Projects funded include:

  • Grass root initiatives
  • Simple, clear objectives
  • Develop the capacity of individuals, communities or institutions
  • Enhance the learning of individuals, communities or institutions
  • Co-produced
  • Address the needs of those who have suffered (or are suffering) injustice, poverty, or difficult to overcome circumstances

Deadline 30 August. Details here.

See our dedicated funding page here
Find out how we can support your organisation here
Get Support from us with your DoIt Page on CA:MK Ecosystem

With over 500 volunteers signed up to our volunteering platform,, we’re keen to make sure that these volunteers can find your organisations and sign up to volunteer with you. We’re offering support with updating your Do-IT accounts – to help upload your logos or your volunteering roles, or help troubleshoot any problems you might have. Book here.



Thames Valley Cancer Alliance – Opportunity to join the Executive Board
Are looking for a Patient/Carer representative, to join their Thames Valley Cancer Alliance Executive Board (TVCA EB). If you would like to influence the transformation of cancer services and deliver real improvements in cancer care for patients in Thames Valley, you can find out more about this opportunity on their website. An involvement payment from NHS England will be offered for this role, in addition to all reasonable out of pocket expenses. Applications close on Friday 17 September 2021

Eden Project – Virtual Community Camp (1-2 October): open for applications
The Community Camp is an initiative that brings together people who care about community – to share, connect and learn from each other’s recent experiences and to build confidence to take small steps to do good things where they live. Delivered by educational and environmental charity, The Eden Project, in partnership with National Lottery, it is a free virtual event. Deadline for applications: Wednesday 17th September. Read more and apply here.

Health Outcomes of Different Ethnic Groups - 
The Office for National Statistics has, for the first time, been able to provide insights into the health outcomes of different ethnic groups. In this blog, Julie Stanborough explains why this experimental data is so important and outlines some of the complexities behind the statistics used. Click here for more details.

NCVO report: What happened to volunteering during the pandemic?
62% of adults in England volunteered their time at least once in the last year. 42% did so at least once a month. These figures, from the recently released Community Life Survey 2020/21 are unchanged on the year before. But these headline numbers mask a huge shift in the types of volunteering people have been doing and who has been doing it. To find out more click here
Social Value Portal briefing paper: Embedding social value into planning
This paper is the result of over 6 months of collaboration from over 30 organisations across the planning, development and designing of communities. It shows that all parties have a clear desire to find a way to work together to embed social value into the planning process to help our communities recover, deliver better places to live and work to rebuild trust. Read the paper here.

Starling Research – Neurodiversity Training opportunity
Starling are a registered charity based in the North West of England working to increase knowledge, understanding and acceptance of neurodiversity in the UK. They are reaching out as they have just started to offer a brand new online training for professionals working in the VSE sector; ‘An Introduction to Neurodiversity.’ To find out more about this paid training, click here.

MK Play Association: New programme of training 
MKPA have a revised programme of training for September 2021 – July 2022 available to people working or volunteering in Milton Keynes. The programme includes a huge variety of topics – from first aid, and safeguarding to a range of SEN (Special Education Needs) courses, and more. Bespoke training sessions can also be facilitated. Find out more from their training brochure here.

Digital Candle: free digital advice 
This is a service facilitated by Catalyst & Platypus Digital, offering one free hour of expert digital advice for charities. Community Action: MK have benefitted from this support and have recently signposted other local local VCSE organisations, who shared very positive feedback about the service. Find out more and register here.

Hosting any events? Get in touch here to let us know!
HSBC Webinars: @Home Fraud Awareness
Wednesday 8th September at 11am / Tuesday 28th September at 1:30pm

This session, run by the local HSBC team in Milton Keynes, will take you through the main types of financial fraud you might come across, from fake emails to callers pretending to be from your bank. They will also tell you about some of the ways they are making your money more secure, with sophisticated – yet easy-to-use – digital banking tools. The session will last around 30 minutes. If you are interested in attending these sessions or have any questions, email

Free event: World Suicide Prevention Day
Thursday 9th September

Suicide prevention remains a universal challenge. Every year, suicide is among the top 20 leading causes of death globally for people of all ages. Every life lost to suicide is a tragedy. This event is for those who live or work in, Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes. Find out more and book your place here.

University of Bedfordshire: “How To apply for grant funding in your area”

8th September 2021: 9 – 11am
The Government awarded a total of £265million to the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) area from 2015 to 2021 (see more here). There is also range of funded consultancy and grant programmes offered by Local Authorities, regional agencies and the University of Bedfordshire. The event will give you an overview of what is available and help you decide which could be the best fit for your business. Find out more and register here.

Al’s Pals: Afternoon Tea with West End Star Zoe Curlett

10th September, 3pm-6pm, tickets £35pp
Join Al’s Pals, a local cancer support charity, for a fabulous afternoon of tea, cakes and scones accompanied by songs from Zoe Curlett, the  star of West End Musicals. To book, call 07745 601047 or email Find out more here.

Milton Keynes: Open Heritage Days 

10th – 19th September: various locations 

Taking place over ten days from Friday 10 to Sunday 19 September, the events will be celebrating the heritage of Milton Keynes. The event’s programme includes 150 guided walks, historic talks, cycle rides, workshops, craft events, open days, exhibitions and performances – all free to attend this is a great opportunity to explore places is such as Milton Keynes Museum, MK Gallery, Great Linford Manor Park, Westbury Arts Centre, Milton Keynes City Discovery Centre, The Stables Theatre and the Cowper & Newton Museum in Olney. Find out more from the event’s full brochure here or from the Living Archives’ website here.

Leicester BRC Health Fairs – does your organisation want to attend? 
As part of this project they previously ran in Gp surgeries across MK they are now running a health fairs to further develop engagement and promote community investment. They also want to thank local communities who took part in very challenging circumstances. They are inviting organisations to join them for their event and share their services as a steady flow of community members attend. Click here for more details. This is a great opportunity for organisations to promote who they are and make sure the community knows them!
Milton Keynes Intercultural Forum: Workshop 3
Tuesday 14th September, 6pm – 8pm
Christ The Vine Church, MK6 5EG
The last of 3 workshops that MKIF (MK Intercultural Forum) have been running around Mental Health and engaging BAME communities in MK. They are inviting diverse communities of MK and Mental Health Service Providers to join in reflecting, planning and sharing. Please share the poster with neighbours, family, friends and networks, and register here to attend.
Challenge Poverty Week
4th – 10th October

Challenge Poverty Week is designed to highlight that poverty is a problem we can solve, and to showcase solutions we can all get behind.  The week is an opportunity for to raise your voice against poverty and unite with others in calling for a more just and equal Scotland. Find out more here.

MK Afro Diaspora Awards
Saturday 16th October 
M & G Productions, a voluntary Organization in Milton Keynes, is carrying out its 2nd Afro /Caribbean Diaspora Awards Night in Milton Keynes. As a group they support, promote and organise events for unemployed over 18’s with Creative Media skills within the MK community.

MK Afro Diaspora Awards 2021 is an annual event which promotes achievements, commitments, and contributions made by Black Afro Caribbean individuals, companies and associations within the Milton Keynes community. These outstanding individuals will be awarded based on their credits, hard work and popularity by votes casted by their supporters. Find out more and  book your tickets here


Sign up to our volunteering platform here!
Opportunity of the Week! 
The Mix MK -
A mental health peer-support group, are looking for dedicated, friendly people who are willing to give up their time to assist with the  facilitation of mental health drop-in sessions.They need people who can offer a listening ear to service users who want to chat. Roles might include: directing them to the professionals present, supporting them to get involved in the range of activities available, helping prepare the venue, welcoming people in and serving refreshments. For more information click here
Vaccination Volunteers | Communities 1st
Calling all 16-17 year olds! Milton Keynes needs you!
Help fight coronavirus at your local vaccination centre. To sign up as a Vaccination Centre Volunteer contact 020 3940 4865 or email  If you are interested in volunteering, read more here or visit their website to find out more and to register.

NAVCA members can help you volunteer

They support around 200,000 local voluntary and community organisations every year.

For an up to date look at what NAVCA are up to click here.



NCVO report: What happened to volunteering during the pandemic?

62% of adults in England volunteered their time at least once in the last year. 42% did so at least once a month. These figures, from the recently released Community Life Survey 2020/21 are unchanged on the year before. But these headline numbers mask a huge shift in the types of volunteering people have been doing and who has been doing it. To find out more click here

Decision-making tool for volunteers
Support for Refugees from Afghanistan 
We have already heard that lots of donations have been received by local organisations and MK Council – stay up to date with where you can donate and how you can help. Some organisations to take a look at Refugee’s WelcomeMK Mission Partnership, MK Council, Girl PackMK Community Hub & British Red Cross. If you know of other organisations that need support please let us know –

Tree inspectors at Milton Keynes Council have clocked up almost 1,000 carbon-free miles after making the switch to fully electric e-cargo bikes in 2021. The council was successful in securing funding from the Department for Transport to purchase 21 e-cargo bikes last year and has since started using them to deliver cleaner and greener public services. To find out more click here.

The Green Gym have revised their programme of activities for August. Next Week (31st August), they will be working at the Secklow Mound. To book your space, contact Charles on 07905200334 or email To receive regular updates about the Green Gym’s activities, sign up to their newsletter here.

MK College - Free Level 2 distance learning courses. Read more about what’s on offer.

Other local activities and events: 

Latest updates Government’s advice related to the new variant - UPDATED
Government Guide: Working safely during coronavirus (Covid-19) - UPDATED 

England’s Step 4 of the road map from 19th July 2021 - UPDATED
COVID-19: parking concessions for health, care and volunteer workers
Easing of restrictions – guidance for charity shops
Risk management  checklist for event organisers
Keep Life Moving campaign

Have you already had your Covid-19 vaccination? Or have you chosen not to go ahead with it?

Health Watch MK- Young People’s Covid-19 Vaccination Survey - 

Whatever your choices, if you’re aged between 16-30 we want to hear your views on the COVID-19 vaccination. Your views will help us to tell the people paying for and running the vaccination programme for young people, how it can be improved. Your feedback will improve the information roll-out for younger people, improve access to the vaccination and help NHS leaders to understand the reasons for the choices you’re making.  Take the survey here

Vaccination information

Organisations – useful information

Blog: Delta Variant and vaccine effectiveness: What can the Coronavirus Infection Survey tell us?
As well as providing estimates on infection levels and antibodies, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey (CIS) collects information from participants on their vaccination status, providing some insight into vaccine effectiveness on variants, including Delta. To read more,
take a look at ONS (Office for National Statistics) blog here.
Information for communities
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