Community Action: MK- Weekly Info and Updates

Welcome to our weekly bulletin for Milton Keynes’ voluntary & community sector


Whitehouse Surgery | 11am – 1pm
This week at our drop in we have two amazing organisations:

  • The Parks Trust, a well-established local charity, caring for over 6000 acres of green space across MK. Come and find out what’s going and how you can get involved.
  • Depaul UK, a national charity dedicated to prevention of homelessness of young people, offering emergency accommodation to 16-25 year olds. They are currently establishing services in MK and are looking for volunteers & offering information about this diverse service.

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

Consultation: Oxford to Cambridge ArcThe Government has launched a digital consultation aiming to shape the future of the Oxford to Cambridge Arc. Our CEO, Clare Walton, has given the Government our feedback about how it should be developed – with the key role of the VCSE groups and the local communities within the region. Find out more about the consultation on the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, Department for Transport website here. You can also explore some of the specific topics of the consultation and provide feedback here.
Macmillan Cancer Support Research for BAME and Faith Groups

We are working in partnership with Macmillan to help make sure everyone, regardless of their faith or ethnic group, can get the support they need when they’re diagnosed with cancer. We want to hear about the cancer experiences and views of individuals and groups from ethnic minority and faith communities. This is to better understand more about the cancer needs of people in  minority ethnic and faith communities, and because research indicates that people in these groups don’t attend screening as often as  they could, and their awareness of cancer services/ support is  lower than it should be. Read more about the research and take the questionnaire here.

Help build up a bank of MK VCSE data 

As you know, our MK Community Data Tool is now live and we are asking for organisations’ insights and information.
We are eager to gather as much initial data through it as possible, so we can create a first report and explore how this type of community-led data could be analysed, shared wwithin the VCSE sector and with other stakeholders to make a positive impact. Visit our project page to find out more or see the slides from our latest workshop.

Drop-in sessions for volunteers and organisations 

Come and have a quick chat with us and ask any questions – anything related to volunteering or any other support that your group or organisation needs. We are around every Tuesday for a 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 here.

We are seeing quite a few organisations on the Do-It site without logos or maybe you haven’t got your roles uploaded yet - come along to a session and we can help you get it sorted. This way we will make sure the 500+ volunteers on the platform can find you! Book here.

Vagabond Film Festival
30-31st July 2021 

Vagabond Film Festival is back this July in the lovely outdoor location of 12th Street in the heart of Milton Keynes. The festival takes place over two evenings; Friday 30th & Saturday 31st July 2021 and will include the screening a popular feature film as well as a short film programme which will include the new short comedy film ‘Roundabouts‘ from the Milton Keynes Film Network.

Festival Volunteers needed – can you help?
Vagabond are also looking for enthusiastic volunteers to help make the festival run smoothly and welcome guests. Volunteers will need to be available both evenings from 6:30pm until circa 11:30pm (some food & drink, a festival t-shirt to keep will be provided). If you are interested, contact:

If you or an organisation that deserves recognition, would like a mention in our ‘Spotlight’ feature, please get in touch at
Community Ownership Fund The Government is providing £150 million over 4 years to support community groups to take ownership of assets and amenities, which are important to the local community but are at risk of being lost without community intervention. Incorporated charities, cooperatives and CICs can apply for up to £250,000 (up to £1million for exceptional sports facilities) of funding which must be matched by funding they have raised. Projects should be focused on place-based assets or amenities. There is an emphasis on ensuring the asset or amenity can be sustainable in community ownership and projects will need to prove the value of the asset to local people. Deadline 13 AugustFind our more on the Government’s website here.
Re-opened: Barclays’ 100×100 UK COVID-19 Community Relief Programme 
Funding for larger UK charities working to support vulnerable people and communities impacted by COVID-19, and to alleviate the associated social and economic hardship caused by the crisis. Deadline: 6th AugustRead more.
BBC – Children in Need 
BBC Children in Need offer funding across several funding programmes, including the Main Grants Programme and the Small Grants Programme. Find out more, including about the upcoming deadlines, here or have a look at the factsheet, which includes a summary of the funding available and the main criteria here.
View our dedicated funding page here!
MK Community Foundation Charity Car Raffle!
Find out how we can support your group / organisation here!
Free PPE for the Voluntary sector - Deadline: 1st August
Express your interest by completing this online form with a few details and a representative of DHSC (The Department of Health and Social Care) will contact you to arrange delivery.

Charities Bill – Factsheet
The Government has published a fact sheet on the new Charities Bill, which can be accessed here.

The National Lottery Community Fund: data breach
TNLF has issued a statement about a data breach related to data provided to them between by UK Portfolio, England funding and Building Better Opportunities customers September 2013 and December 2019. Find out more, including whether the breach could affect your organisation, here.

England Civil Society submission to UN: Racism is systemic in England
The Runnymede Trust’s report, representing more than 100 race equality and civil society organisations across England, finding that ‘racism is systemic in England and impacts BME groups’ enjoyment of rights’. The report shows that legislation, institutional practices and society’s customs continue to combine to harm BME groups. Read more here.

Report: Volunteering in England during Covid-19: Current issues and learning for recovery
This briefing presents early findings from research capturing the experiences of those working with volunteers within organisations and communities in England during the- Covid-19 pandemic, providing a snapshot of the current challenges and opportunities faced, and reflections on how to support volunteering as we move towards recovery. Read more here.

Vision of Volunteering
This is a joint initiative within the voluntary and community sector, led by NAVCA, NCVO, Volunteering Matters and the Association of Volunteer Managers. It aims to bring together people and organisations across England, collaborating and creating a long-term vision and shorter-term objectives, to change our communities for good. Sign up here to receive updates about the project and find out more on:

AHA MK: Cultural Traineeships
Our friends at AHA-MK are working with six arts and heritage partners (MK Gallery, Milton Keynes Arts Centre, Milton Keynes City Discovery Centre, Bletchley Park, InterAction MK and The Parks Trust) to deliver a number of cultural traineeships. All training will be delivered by Milton Keynes College, and the trainees will have 70+ hours work experience in one of the above cultural organisations. This project has been funded by MK Council. Read more here.

Heads Up – Men’s mental health campaign
Heads-Up is a campaign to help men get happy and stay happy. It has been set up to help men identify and deal with issues that tend to crop up in life from time to time. If you are a man aged 35-65 living in Bedfordshire, Luton or Milton Keynes and would like to help develop a local campaign, there are opportunities to get involved. Find out more here.

NHS England: Every Mind Matters 
The campaign has produced 11 tips to cope with anxiety about coming out of lockdown. Read more here.

The Poetry Project
This free project has been doing positive things for mental health awareness in the UK, Australia, and America since 2018. As well as appearing around the world, it is also a community-based project that is all about grassroots and bringing local communities together with messages of hope and support. The project is all about having positive, empowering, and motivational messages on display in public areas to promote well-being and raise awareness of mental health issues. It is also being used on social media and behind the scenes in the office place, to motivate staff and increase productivity. Read more and find out how you can get involved here.

Burnout and the UK charity sector
The recent podcast from Charity Digital is exploring the ways to counter burnout, caused by the challenging time over the coronavirus pandemic, by supporting staff and volunteers. Listen here.

Cranfield Trust: Business Planning templates
Cranfield Trust, who support charities through management consultancy, mentoring, and training services, have lots of useful information and resources (including free to download templates) related to business planning. If you are new to this area and/or have been asked to provide a business plan with a funding application, this is a helpful resource to refer to. Read more here.

Red Thread Partnership Training – Back to Business modules 
Red Thread Partnership have produced a leaflet detailing their latest training programme – Back to Business. The programme aims to  help women get back to work, get promoted or start their own business. Find out the details of each of the modules and which might be right for you or the community members you are working with or supporting here.

Age UK blog: Things to consider when Covid-19 restrictions end
Read the reflections from Dr Elizabeth Webb in this Age UK blog addressing the concerns about the end of the Covid-19 restrictions in the UK and how “No restrictions doesn’t mean no COVID”. Read the blog here.

The Big Issue: #StopMassHomelessness campaign 
The recent research shows that every 3.5 hours a household becomes homeless in the UK and many grapple with rent arrears, fuel poverty and other financial difficulties. The Big Issue has launched a major new campaign to #StopMassHomelessness and calls on government to take immediate action to support people who are at risk of losing their homes and long-term action to end homelessness for good. Read more and sign the petition here.

MKCDC – Hit The Right Note music project 
Milton Keynes City Discovery Centre’s new Covid-19 music project aims to use the power of music to re-unite families and friends in the UK with families and friends overseas who have been isolated and kept apart by the pandemic. A massed choir will see a collaboration between a diverse range of organisations and schools, reaching out to BAME, LGBQT+, dementia and music therapy groups, bringing together voices from across the community. This will culminate in a live streamed performance in the grounds of Bradwell Abbey this December, alongside the premiere of a ‘making-of’ documentary. To get involved,  please email

Fairspace MK and a new co-workers space in Milton Keynes 
MK Community Foundation have opened the doors to their new co-working facility – the new shared office facility on the 3rd floor of Acorn House. This new Co-Workspace sees the launch of Fairspace MK, an MK Community Foundation’s subsidiary brand. Find out more from the Foundation’s press release here.

The Time is Now – Petition
The Time Is Now is a campaign run by The Climate Coalition, the UK’s largest group of people dedicated to action against climate change. Read more and view the petition here.

Hosting any events? Get in touch here to let us know!
Speak Out to Help Out: GP access
Thursday 29 July at 11.30am-12.45pm

Are you tired of not being able to see your GP? Have you struggled to get a doctor’s appointment for you or a family member? Healthwatch MK understands that many of you feel frustrated, forgotten, and like the system is working against you. So, on 29 July they’re partnering up with the MK GP Federation for a Speak Out to Help Out online discussion, to share patient experiences, better understand the pressures that GPs are under, and come up with genuine solutions. Please join them: without your feedback and patient stories, change can’t be made. This event will be mediated to ensure the conversation is productive, non-confrontational and respectful. To sign up a contact
IF: Milton Keynes International Festival
10th – 30th July 2021

IF: Milton Keynes International Festival, a major landmark event in the cultural calendar, is its final week. The programme features The Stables’ Spiegeltent, home to a programme of concerts, comedy and circus, an Acoustic Stage as well as installations placed in unusual locations across Central Milton Keynes, including parks, public squares and boulevards, as well as in the digital realm – with Luke Jerram’s Museum of the Moon being a real highlight. Read more about the festival here.
HSBC @ Home Fraud Awareness webinar Invitation
Wednesday 28th July 2021 | 1.30pm

HSBC is inviting any interested groups to ‘Together Against Fraud’ – HSBC@Home Session run by a local HSBC team in Milton Keynes. They will take you through the main types of financial fraud you might come across and also tell you about some of their digital banking tools. The session will last around 30 minutes, and you’ll have the chance to ask any questions you may have about financial scams and staying safe. If you are interested or have any questions, please email
Wenta Webinars for social media
Wednesday 28th July: 1-4.30pm

Wenta, a not for profit social enterprise supporting businesses, is offering ‘Let’s be social!’ - a series of FREE webinars to support those wanting to develop their social media skills. Find out more here.
Alina Orchestra Concert: Mozart: Symphony no.41
11 September at 7.30pm: The Venue, Walton High
Conductor: Hilary Davan Wetton/ Cristian Grajner de Sa, Violin
Alina Orchestra is a brand new professional orchestra providing accessible classical concerts and a range for outreach for the local community – ‘Music is for everyone’. Join Alina Orchestra for its inaugural concert and be part of something special as Musical Director, Hilary Davan Wetton, takes you on a journey featuring a famous Mozart Symphony, classical favourites and Scala Radio ‘Young Artist’ Cristian Grajner de Sa. To book visit: Alina Orchestra – The Venue MK.
Sign up to our volunteering platform here!
Opportunity of the Week!
Refugee Casework Volunteer – British Red Cross 

British Red Cross (BRC) volunteers help thousands of refugees, asylum seekers and vulnerable migrants every year enabling people to draw upon their own strengths to withstand crisis and rebuild their lives.

Casework volunteers work one-to-one with refugees, asylum seekers and vulnerable migrants at a time which many will find particularly difficult and distressing. We help to ensure people have choices and opportunities made available to them to find a way forward and start their lives in a new country.

This is currently a home-based role, so ideally, you will need access to a phone and laptop/computer. BRC would be particularly interested to hear from you if you have excellent communication skills and are IT savvy.

Find out more about the role on BRC’s DoIt profile & if you haven’t already got a DoIt Pass Register for one here (It’s quick and easy we promise, but you can always come along to our support sessions if you would like a hand!)

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.
Decision-making tool for volunteers
Local news

Westbury Arts Centre: Children’s Art Workshops coming up this summer

York House Centre Summer fun days – Mondays: 2nd, 9th & 16th August, 2 – 4pmRead more about the summer fun days here.

Courses at MK Arts Centre this summerView the range of courses available here.

Parks Trust Summer Activities. The Parks Trust have got an exciting programme planned for families so you can keep your children entertained whilst enjoying MK’s fantastic green space. Read more about the activities here.

More than 100,000 hours of FREE activities available to MK children and young people this summer. Read more about MK Council’s Summer of Play, or view the programme here.

Awesome Tech Training: 24th August 10am - Introduction to digital marketing for small businesses (FREE)

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

CMK Green Gym newsletterRead the latest newsletter and find out how you can volunteer here.

Laura Knight: A Panoramic View at MK Gallery, 9 October 2021 – 20 February 2022. The exhibition at MK Gallery will be the largest overview of her work in over 50 years, with 160 drawings, paintings, ceramics, pieces of jewellery and costumes. Read more about the exhibition here and about their crowdfunding campaign here.

Survey: No recourse to public funds. National Citizens Advice is working with the polling agency Savanta ComRes to gather data about the experiences of people with limited leave to remain who have No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF). The survey should take between 15-20 minutes to complete, and participants will be given a £10 bank or PayPal transfer, or a £10 voucher as a thank you for taking part. As well as English, the survey is available in multiple languages commonly spoken by people with NRPF who have migrated from a non-Anglophone country: Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Albanian and Mandarin. Read more about how to participate and view the survey here.

MK Reading Adventure. Young readers of all ages in Milton Keynes can join the MK Reading Adventure this summer and escape with a book. Register for the challenge at any MK Library or complete the whole challenge online and download resources. Read more about the challenge here.

Young adult support group – Harry’s Rainbow. Harry’s Rainbow are delighted that with the help of some of the young people who were growing out of their youth group, they will soon be ready to provide a service to young people and adults wanting extended support. Read more about the group here.

Bands available free of charge for community and charity events.

  • The Free Peace Band – vocal harmony trio, no drums, will fit into a small space. Can play background music or a dance set with music from 60′s to 00′s.
  • Crossroots – 5 piece with drums for larger concerts. Can do a pop or dance set. Mainly pop, rock and country from 60′s to 90′s.

Contact Marcus at for more information

England has moved to Step 4 of the road map – 19th July 2021.
Enabling safe and effective volunteering during coronavirus (COVID-19UPDATED
Easing of restrictions in England – guidance for charity shops UPDATED
Risk management  checklist for event organisers NEW
Vaccination information

Organisations – useful information

Information for communities
If you know of any consultations that are happening – get in touch here!
Local Consultations

Central Bletchley Urban Design Framework (Supplementary Planning Document)

Sharing Feedback online:
An interactive website has been launched where residents can contribute ideas and comments to a map of the area. It will be updated regularly to add new ways to share ideas, such as through the use of polls or surveys. This initial period of informal engagement will run until the end of September with the SPD then being drafted from October to December. Formal consultation on the draft SPD is planned to take place in early 2022. To get involved, visit:
Engagement Event: Thursday 5th August 11am-2pm,:
Hyas Associates (commissioned by Milton Keynes Council to provide consultation and engagement support for the consultation) will be joining the Town Council at a pop-up stall in Queensway outside the old Town Council offices to talk to people about the SPD, Neighbourhood Plan and Town Deal.

Find out more here about the consultation here.

National Consultations

View all national consultations here
MK Act – Service Manager:
Salary: £31,032 (37.5 hours per week)
Deadline: 5pm on Monday 16th AugustThis is an opportunity to lead, develop and support the Crisis Team and Fresh Start teams so that they are able to provide the best service for  clients to lead the Crisis Intervention Service and our Perpetrator Programme (Fresh Start). Read more here.
MK Act – LGBTQ+ Domestic Abuse Development Worker
Salary: £27,115 (37.5 hours per week; 1 year fixed term)
Deadline: 5pm on Monday 16th AugustThis is an opportunity to develop MK Act’s response to LGBTQ+ victims of domestic abuse across the organisation and  work in partnership with colleagues within MK-Act and with other agencies, and engaging collaboratively with LGBTQ+ people, including young LGBTQ+ people aged 11-25. This post will work to create and deliver training and support services to address barriers to accessing support. Read more here
MKIAC – Heritage Researcher
Salary: Freelance: 
20 days of work. £200 per day between July-December 2021
Closing date: 2nd August

Milton Keynes Islamic Arts, Heritage and Culture (MKIAHC) are seeking a freelance Heritage Researcher to support a Project focusing on the inclusion of the diversity of migrant stories in the development of Milton Keynes. <a href=”

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