Community Action: MK- Weekly Info and Updates

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 2nd September) at our drop in we have Citizens Advice Milton Keynes. Come and find out about the range of free advice and support they can offer.  We will be there  from 9am – 1pm so feel free to drop by at any time! Read more about the drop-ins here.
BAME And Faith Groups Macmillan Cancer Support Research EventsWednesday 22nd September 2021
Join us on Wednesday 22nd September in person from 10am to 12pm or online at 7pm- 8pm, where we will be joined by Macmillan, who will be talking about their work and the next steps for the project, and Community Action: MK team members, who will be talking about the research so far. There will be a chance to hear about and discuss our findings so far on the experience of cancer and cancer services among BAME communities and religious groups in Milton Keynes, and have your say on how Macmillan might be able to improve things for these groups. It will also be a great opportunity to meet other people interested in our project.

  • In person event: The Parks Trust (The Pavillion, 1300 Silbury Blvd) | 10am to 12pm. Register here.
  • Online session via Zoom | 7:00pm to 8:00pm. Register here.

To book a place please register using the links above. Places are limited, so we recommend booking your place early! If you have any questions about the event, please contact Susan Nelson at or contact us on 01908 661 623.

We are recruiting!
 PA To Chief Executive
Hours: 20 hours pw
Closing date: 8th September 2021 (midday)Come and work for us! We are currently recruiting for a part-time Personal Assistant to the Chief Executive Officer. This role is a 12-month, fixed-term contract. Find out more about the role and how to apply here.
Drop-in sessions for volunteers and organisations We are around every Tuesday for an online drop-in sessions. Read more about the drop in sessions and register here. The available time slots are:

  • 11am – 11.20am
  • 11.25am – 11.45am
  • 11.50am – 12.10pm
  • 12.15pm – 12.35pm
MK  Community Data Tool is now live!
It is an online tool for the Voluntary and Community Sector in Milton Keynes to capture social intelligence to make a positive impact. 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.
Support for Refugees from Afghanistan 
Groups and communities in Milton Keynes are coming together to provide support in light of the Afghan crisis and we are hearing that that lots of donations have been received by local organisations and MK Council. Some organisations that will be actively supporting Afghan refugee individuals and families are:

Please contact them directly if you would like to offer help or donations. If you know of other organisations that need support, please email us. See the Government’s guidance about Support for British and non-British nationals in Afghanistan here.

Signposting channels
Community Action: MK have a signposting page on our website, which acts as a directory of local services.  This was 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 now calling all groups and organisations to ask:

  • 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 send us information.

We are particularly interested to hear about the inclusion and accessibility of your services, so if you have any related or specific information, then please let us know (e.g. available to or providing tailored support to individuals with additional needs such as mental health, autism, visual or hearing impairments).
Alternatively, if you think 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!

View our events on Eventbrite here!
MKCDC Celebrate their Grounds Team
Throughout the pandemic the historic grounds at Bradwell Abbey have been a haven for those seeking solace in the outdoors. Their woodland and twelve acres of parkland are maintained by Brian Bailey, (Buildings and Garden Supervisor), Richard Gregory (Functions Manager) and a team of hard working and dedicated grounds volunteers. Together, they have created an oasis of calm, less than three miles from the centre of Milton Keynes. With a sensory garden, woodland walk, a bountiful allotment, and mosaic of habitats including medieval fishponds, it’s a lovely place to while away the hours! MKCDC asked a current member of the volunteer team, Alex Ramonsky, what he enjoys about his work at Bradwell Abbey:
“I am all for conservation and the three things I want to conserve are: my mental health, the environment, and access to nature for the next generation. I’m a biopsychologist and study epigenetics (the ways in which your environment affects the expression of your genes). There’s a plethora of scientific evidence about the benefits of nature to our physical and mental health, and I’m currently writing a book on this very subject. Some doctors have even started prescribing more time in nature for folks with depression or anxiety. I chose Bradwell Abbey because it has optimal conditions for me; fun, learning, creative opportunities and above all, nice people.”
With autumn rolling in, there’s still an abundance of tasks to be completed! If you’d like to gain new skills and be part of a friendly team, send an email to or ring 01908 227229 to find out more.
Vaccination Volunteers – Communities 1st need 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.
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 the descriptions.

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

Have you heard about Grapevine?
In direct response to the pandemic, Planting Up has partnered with Men In Sheds, Milton Keynes NHS Clinical Commissioning Group, Redeeming Our Communities, and Transition Town MK (TTMK) to create a community wellbeing hub called “Grapevine” that exists to connect people and support social prescriptions from local GPs. Grapevine provides a safe and inviting space for people to socialise and try new activities that meet the criteria of the 5 Ways to Wellbeing. The pilot project in Coffee Hall at Christ the Vine Community Church is open every Friday from 10am – 1pm and has a “Talking Cafe”, a Friendship (craft) Shed and gardening group that are all led by the community. Read more about the project here.

Countdown to the Cliff Edge – Universal Credit cut campaign
On the 30th September, furlough and other support schemes will end, pushing many people who are struggling to cover basic needs like food, rent and utility bills over a financial cliff edge. Turn2Us, a national charity that helps people in financial hardship to gain access to welfare benefits, charitable grants and support services, have launched a campaign around the issue. There are different ways to get involved and support the campaign. Find out more here.

#WRITENOW campaign
Marcus Rashford MBE and The Food Foundation have launched a new national campaign calling on MPs to support 3 recommendations in the National Food Strategy to alleviate the increase in food insecurity experienced by households with children as levels rise across the UK. Read more and get involved here.

Leading in uncertainty – Peer support for charity and social enterprise leaders
The Institute for Voluntary Action Research (IVAR) are offering weekly 90-minute zoom drop-ins for charity leaders. Participants will have space to share challenges, time to pause and reflect, and the opportunity to hear each other’s experiences.There will also be opportunities to influence funder practice through IVAR’s Open and trusting grant-making initiative. Read more about the drop-ins here.

NCVO – updated coronavirus guidance
The NCVO have updated their coronavirus guidance in line with government guidance. This now includes information about carrying out a covid-19 risk assessment, delivering activities and services safely and supporting staff and volunteers who are clinically extremely vulnerable. Find out more here.


Report: Covid-19 Voluntary Sector Impact Barometer
According to the report, almost two-thirds of charities have faced an increase in demand for their services since lockdown restrictions eased, according to the latest data, which comes from the ninth monthly Covid-19 Voluntary Sector Impact Barometer, led by the NCVO, Nottingham Trent University, and Sheffield Hallam University. The data also revealed the number of organisations using digital technology has doubled since the pandemic began. Read more here.

Association of Chairs blog: Essential advice on returning to the office
This blog covers a range of things to consider when returning to working in the office – from cleaning routines to hybrid-working arrangements, and a range of other factors that should be considered before opening workplaces. Read the blog here.

Youth Accessibility Survey
DMK Advantage are currently running a survey  (for those aged 11-25) all about youth accessibility to volunteering – they are using this information to develop an online hub for young people nationwide to access resources, opportunities and more. DMK Advantage is a project from DMK Potential which aims to enable young people across the UK to engage with volunteering and social action at a local and national level. Please share the survey with the young people you work with. You can find out more about DMK Advantage on their twitter page hereTake part in the survey here.

Is this OK?
Is this OK? is a new free and anonymous chatbot for young children and young people at risk of, or currently experiencing, sexual or criminal exploitation/abuse. It has been developed by Children in Need, NSPCC and Missing People. The chatbot supplements a specialist adviser service which runs during afternoons and evenings through the week. Available at

Vodafone: free data scheme for registered UK charities
Almost half of charities (45%) have had to give their users devices, data or support to enable them to get online and 20% said they had to cancel services because they did not have the skills or technology needed to deliver them, according to the 2021 Charity Digital Skills report. Vodafone has launched charities.connected, an initiative allowing UK charities to apply for free data. The aim is to help individuals and families supported by charities, as well as enable organisations to improve their own digital capacity. Find out more here.

Hosting an event? Get in touch here to let us know!
Religious and Faith Based Small Charities Meet-up
Wednesday 8th September 2021 | 11am – 12pm

This month, the Small Charities Coalition are looking at the contribution faith groups have made to the pandemic, the potential for contributing to the National Resilience Strategy consultation and the Independent Inquiry into sexual abuse report (published last week) on Child Protection in religious organisations and settingsRead more and sign up here.
University of Bedfordshire: “How To apply for grant funding in your area”8th September 2021 | 9am  – 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.
World Suicide Prevention Day
Thursday 9th September 2021Suicide 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.
Al’s Pals: Afternoon Tea with West End Star Zoe CurlettFriday 10th September 2021 |  3pm-6pm
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 07745601047 or email Tickets cost £35pp. Find out more here.
Milton Keynes: Heritage Open Days!10th – 19th September: various locations 
Taking place over ten days from Friday 10th - Sunday 19th 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.
Social Value Portal Webinar Digital: Is it going to rewire or hot-wire our planet’s future? The Road to COP26
Monday 13th September 2021 | 2pm – 3.15pm

There has been a clear shift towards digital in our lives, accelerated during the global COVID-19 pandemic, and the predominant message has been that this channel shift is good and will help people and the planet. Join The Social Value Portal for the first part of their upcoming webinar series leading up to the climate change conference COP26Find out more and register here.
BLEVEC Emergency Evening Training
Tuesday 14th September: 7pm – approx 9pm
BLEVEC (Bedfordshire Local Emergency Volunteers Executive Committee) are running an evening training session. This session is open to anyone that wants to attend from any of your organisations and will be run online via MK Teams. At this session, Robert Labe from Samaritans will introduce Jamie Kelly-Gray from Mind BLMK who will talk about the new Voluntary Sector – Single Point of Contact (Mental Health & Wellbeing) – or VS-SPOC. Robert and Mind BLMK reps will also brief you on the Mind BLMK Crisis Cafes, and on Samaritans current Outreach activities and Partnership working. This is important as the service will be available to all those volunteers who respond in an emergency. Robert will then facilitate a discussion on the themes for World Suicide Prevention Day (September 10th) and World Mental Health Day (October 10th).” To join the session, access the MS Teams link here.
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.
How Charities Can Build Communities Through Facebook
Wednesday 15th September 2021 | 10am – 11.30am

Join The Media Trust on Wednesday 15 September for our free masterclass with Facebook, on building communities through Facebook groups to drive positive impact, increase awareness and fundraise. Participants will also get free access to Facebook’s Community Manager Certification Programme. Read more and sign up here.
Hearing Loop Equipment Day – SARC
Thursday 16th September
Do you struggle to hear online meeting, your mobile phone or your TV? Pop down to SARC to learn about hearing loops and other listening equipment. There will be one-to-one demonstrations of equipment with your tablet or smartphone. Morning and afternoon appointments available. Find out more and how to book here.
MK Money Lifeline Scavenger Hunt
Saturday 18th September | 5.30pm

The first MK Money Lifeline Scavenger Hunt will be held on Saturday 18th September from 5.30pm, at St Mary’s Community Centre, Bletchley. Challenges will be set to take photos and collect items from around the city, ending with some delicious BBQ food provided by Andersons Catering. It’s not aimed for children but families are very welcome to take part and work together as a team. We are excited to add that Mark Niel our resident Poet Laureate will be adding some little poetry to the challenge clues. Tickets are £10 per person and teams can be as many as you can fit in your vehicle. Please come along and join in all the fun. Bring your own drinks. To book a team, email
Mashallah MK
Saturday 25th September 2021

An evening of live music, food, spoken word, story-telling and film, at The Chrysalis Theatre, Japonica Ln, Milton Keynes MK15 9JY. Milton Keynes Islamic Arts and Culture (MKIAC) presents Mashallah MK, an event that symbolises the joy, appreciation and thankfulness we hold for the community’s support over the last year, and a celebration of MK’s rich cultural diversity. Building on MKIAC’s renowned ‘Art in the Park’ festival, this year we have a special programme; a day of entertainment for all the family, packed with live music, food, spoken word, story-telling and film at Chrysalis Theatre. Everyone is welcome! Bring your family, friends and neighbours! Please book your tickets in advance. Find out more here.
Bosom Pals Charity Gala
Tuesday 12th October at 6.30pm
(Please express your interest by the 20th September) 

Bosom Pals would like to invite you to their Charity Gala. A proportion of the ticket price will go to Bosom Pals. Tickets are £25 and include a 3 course dinner. Take a look here for more information. If you are interested in attending please contact -
HSBC Webinars: @ Home Fraud Awareness
Wednesday 8th September | 11am
Tuesday 28th September | 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
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 organisation 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 hereYou can stay up to date by following #MKADA2020.
Climate Cafe re-launch
Saturday 13th November 2021 |  3pm – 5pm
MK’s Climate Cafe is being relaunched this November! There will be a Green Fair with stalls, speakers and a workshop. Help the Climate Cafe raise awareness about the climate emergency in MK! Contact for more information or to get involved.
As our local group, Planting Up MK, describes them: Climate Change Cafes offer a starting place to break the mould of isolation and confusion caused by these desperate and tragic times by giving us a discussion group to help address our feelings of isolation, where we can discover our common ground and get together to talk in a safe, guilt-free environment.
Sign up to our volunteering platform here!
Opportunity of the Week! 
2000 volunteers needed – 38 Degrees Call out
38 Degrees have launched a call for volunteers that are urgently needed to support the vaccination programme in the UK. Every single day the NHS Volunteer Responders programme needs around 2,000 Steward Volunteers to help at vaccination sites across the country. Steward support is essential to relieve pressure on NHS staff and to help those coming in for their jabs to do so safely and comfortably. They also help identify people who might need some extra support or a friendly face. Find out more about how to volunteer here.
Branch Out MK  - Director 
Are seeking someone with experience in the VCSE sector with an emphasis on strategic planning and/or fundraising. The aim of the role is to focus on helping Branch-out MK CIC to recover from the pandemic and to further grow and develop. More info by contacting: or calling 07900882740.
Thames Valley Cancer Alliance – Opportunity to join the Executive Board
Closing date: Friday 17th September 2021
The Thames Valley Cancer Alliance 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, then why not get in touch? An involvement payment from NHS England will be offered for this role, in addition to all reasonable out of pocket expenses. Find out more about the role here.
CMK Green Gym – get involved! 
Next week (7th September) Green Gym CMK will be working at Fred Roche Gardens. Do you know anyone who might want to join Green Gym CMK to help in the various CMK gardens? Please let your friends know about this opportunity – they don’t have to commit to coming every week (although we won’t complain if they do). They’re most welcome to come along for a session just to see what we do!To book your space, phone or text Charles on 07905200334 or email
Decision-making tool for volunteers

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