All posts by Tom Bulman

part-time Community Organiser for Citizens:mk

Mayor’s Celebration Cycle Ride through CMK

At 5.30pm on Thursday 16th May, business and education leaders from across Milton Keynes will meet in Station Square to thank MK’s Mayor and Mayoress, Cllr Mick and Mandy Legg, for their support of cycling in their mayoral year. At three Mayor’s Cycling Awards events they have presented 23 awards to 16 schools and 7 businesses for achievements in the MK Business Cycling Challenge and MK Secondary Schools Cycling Challenge.

This will also be an opportunity to welcome MK’s new Mayor for 2024-25, who will lead the ride from Station Square to Campbell Park Light Pyramid and back.

Awards will be made to schools achieving high levels of Bikeability training and cycling-to-school (see recent report on Year 7s’ travel behaviour and attitudes).

Families and friends are invited to join the ride, which will include chocolate prizes for those who gather clues on the way to reveal a magic word.

Cycle parking action on CMK Sainsburys

On an evening of high wind and rain, a group of 10 hardy cyclists met in Station Square.

After an introduction from Ian Revell, CEO of MK Community Foundation, a message of cycling support from MK Mayoress Mandy Legg, and prizes for best dressed cyclist (chocolate eggs donated by John Lewis), a large cycling rabbit led the ride up Midsummer Boulevard and across The Hub to Sainsbury’s.

For several months, campaigners have been appealing to Sainsbury’s to provide a few cycle parking spaces to encourage shoppers to cycle, at a cost approximately equal to one minute of Sainsburys’ annual profit. Currently there are none, only an allocated ‘Bicycle Parking’ area in the car park with no fixings, so cycles have to be parked against a nearby road safety railing.

In a recent email response, Sainsburys has said no ‘because of the cost’.

The aim of this action was to politely ask for a reconsideration and to ask where we’re supposed to park our bikes…

The cyclists were eventually met by a duty manager, who received the latest request, along with two draft press releases – ‘Sainsburys says No to cycle parking’ and ‘Sainsburys says Yes to cycle parking’), and agreed to communicate the further appeal to senior managers.

See that funny bunny hop while warming up for the action…

…and later trying to shop.

In a post-action evaluation, the cycling campaigners said they felt energised by the action, satisfied they had progressed the relationship with Sainsburys, and willing to return soon, if necessary, to continue the campaign for a deal.

Cycling CitizensMK launches Year 7 School Travel report

Following a survey of 1,173 Year 7 students across 12 MK secondary schools, the following report has been launched.

The report will be received by senior MK councillors before a ‘Follow the Rabbit‘ cycle ride through Central Milton Keynes on Thursday 28th March.

Cllr Zoe Nolan, Cabinet Member for Children & Families, said:  ‘We know children learn more easily when they get enough physical exercise, so cycling or walking to school is a pro-brainer!  That’s why MK City Council has set a target of 80% of Year 6 pupils receiving Bikeability training.  Now we need more schools and parents to help achieve it.”

Cllr Emily Darlington, Cabinet Member for Adults, Housing and Healthy Communities, said:  “We know 40% of our children in MK’s most deprived neighbours are undertaking less than 30 minutes of exercise a day, which is less than medical experts say they need.  Walking or cycling to school is such an easy way for children and young people to get the exercise they need.  We want to do all we can to help with this.”

Cllr Jane Carr, Cabinet Member for Tackling Social Inequalities, said:  “One in five MK households has no access to a car, so freedom to travel around our city is in issue of social equality.  For people who live in these households, we want to make walking and cycling as safe and attractive as we can.”

Jim Parker, Executive Principal of Lord Grey and Stantonbury secondary schools, will say:  “There are obvious health benefits to having twice daily exercise.  It could be the start of a lifetime exercise habit.  I used to cycle to school every day and still do cycle to work when I can.  There are big social benefits too of being with your friends as you walk, scoot or cycle to school.”

Julie Dawes, Events & Community Engagement Manager at The Parks Trust, a founder member of Cycling CitizensMK alliance, said:  “We welcome this report. We encourage people to walk and cycle in our parks, and we’re pleased the ‘Follow the Rabbit’ ride will end at the Light Pyramid in Campbell Park so everyone can enjoy the view.”

Why are only 23% MK cycle journeys by women?

Initial research by the Cycling Citizens MK alliance suggests only 23% of cycle journeys in MK are by women.  Volunteer researchers simply counted cyclists using redways in the last 10 days of January and found 131 male and 32 female.

“It’s a justice issue,” said Jane Whild of Voices of Women in MK, a partnership of women’s organisations to champion women’s voices to bring about change.  “Women’s equal access to cycling must be designed in to City plans.  Other research by Lime Bikes (‘Tackling the gender pedal gap’) shows only 19% of female cyclists feel sale riding alone at night and 91% face barriers to cycling.  To make progress, we must understand the barriers.”

Hazel Dean, another member of the research group, said: “For me the barrier was my confidence.  By joining the short cycle ride through CMK organised by Cycling Citizens on Thursdays, I now have the confidence to cycle around where I live.”

In partnership with MK City Council, Jane Whild has created a short online survey, https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/CyclingMK/, and wants at least 1,000 MK residents, female and male, to complete it.

Kurshida Mirza, High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire in Nomination 2024-25, said: “I’d love to cycle more around Milton Keynes, but I don’t feel very confident on my bike yet.  I’m interested to see what other women are saying about why they don’t cycle”.

Cllr Jenny Wilson-Marklew, Cabinet Member for Transport, said:  “As a regular cyclist I know what some of the barriers to cycling are.  Given the Council’s goal of reducing carbon emissions, and our principle of equal access to transport facilities, we urge as many adults as possible to fill in the short survey.”

Jane Whild will give an initial report on participation in the survey at the Mayor’s Cycling Awards on 14th March.

Ringway hosts Mayor’s Cycling Awards Tea

On Thursday 14th March, primary school leaders from across Milton Keynes received Mayor’s Cycling Awards for their achievements in Bikeability training and Modeshift STARS progress. The event was hosted by Ringway Infrastructure Services and attended by 25 guests. Awards were also made to secondary schools which have excelled in the MK Secondary Schools Cycling Challenge.

After a welcome from Ringway’s Daniel Mullins, and an update on the Cycling Citizens alliance’s data monitoring from Michael Pattinson of PWC, Organiser Tom Bulman presented the summary findings of the new report on Year 7 cycling to school.

MK Mayor and Mayoress Mick and Mandy Legg presented the following awards:

  • Top Cycling Secondary School (most cycles on site per 100 students in March 2024) – Glebe Farm School (10.7)
  • Top Cycling Primary School (most progress on Modeshift STARS) – Cold Harbour (‘Very Good’), Two Mile Ash (‘Good’), Barleyhurst (‘Approved’)
  • Top Cycling Primary School (high % Year 5 & 6 pupils on Bikeability training in 2023-24) – Knowles (68.5%), Barleyhurst (56.9%)
  • Bikeability Champion Schools pledging 80% participation by March 2025 – Giffard Park, The Premier Academy, Two Mile Ash.

Cllr Zoe Nolan, Cabinet Member for Children & Families (main picture above), spoke about the importance of MK City Council’s target of 80% children receiving Bikeability training and pledged to promote the recommendations of the report (above). Bikeability instructors Richard Allman and Maria Riding spoke about the progress primary schools are making in Bikeability training and in using the Modeshift STARS platform for recording and monitoring achievements in promoting active travel.

Jane Whild, of Voices of Women in Milton Keynes, talked about the recently launched campaign to increase cycling by women and asked all attendees to complete this survey

and encourage others to do the same. Ann Shrimpton, leader of Breeze rides for women, celebrated last week’s ride to celebrate International Women’s Day, and Ian Revell, CEO of MK Community Foundation, outlined the upcoming City rides planned in March, May, July, September, December) including the Follow The Rabbit ride on Thursday 28th March.

Finally attendees had a chance to see up close an e-assisted quadra-cycle (see below), similar to the one intended for next year’s MK Mayor, as outlined by Tristan Allen of Fully-charged e-bikes.

Other winners unable to attend were:

  • Top Cycling Secondary School (most students in Year 7 travel survey) – Watling Academy (220)
  • Top Cycling Secondary School (highest % students in Year 7 travel survey)Kents Hill Park (91%)
  • Top Cycling Secondary School (most cycling promotion initiatives) – Walton High (7)

Cycling Santas ready to ride again in 2024

At 10.30am on Saturday 14th December 2024, 500 MK residents will rally at Station Square, MK9 1LA, and set off on a short ride through Central Milton Keynes to Campbell Park and back (see photo story of last year’s event). This will be a formal world record attempt.

Register here now to participate, including a free Santa costume and/or free Tier/Santander hire bike on the day, if you need it.

There will be awards for the company and the school with the most registered Cycling Santas, and prizes for the best blinged bikes!

As well as creating fun, the event will bring together leaders from different business, education and community organisations who are members or supporters of a new broad-based alliance to get more people cycling in MK. This will be an opportunity from our civic and political leaders about their visions for cycling in MK.

The route itself is an easy ride, suitable for adults and children (with parents). The Cycling Santas will pedal up Midsummer Boulevard in the left-hand lane, as legally permitted, led and supported by 16 Guide Riders wearing pink hi-viz jackets, whose role includes making all junctions safe as the cyclists pass through. Cyclists will dismount to walk between thecentre:mk and Midsummer Place, the cycle together to MK Rose, and round and round it a few times, where mince pies and fruit will be shared. From there, most will return to Station Square by the same route (some will leave for home). For details, see Route & Risk Assessment.

For further information, contact cyclingmk@citizensuk.org, 07962 838685.

Cycling Santas thrill CMK shoppers

Shoppers stopped to cheer and wave as 135 MK residents, including MK’s Deputy-Mayor and senior councillors, cycled through the city centre in Santa suits.

At 10.30am on Saturday 16th December, the Cycling Santas rallied at Station Square for a short ride to Campbell Park. Following last year’s pilot ride, this was a rehearsal for a formal world record attempt next year, which will encourage 500 people to participate. The event was reported by BBC News (online story) and ITV Anglia News (TV report).

Father Christmas (aka actor Dave Lovesy) led the proceedings with some hilarity.

As well as creating fun, the event brought together leaders from different business, education and community organisations who are members or supporters of a new broad-based alliance to get more people cycling in MK, especially children.

It was an opportunity to hear from civic and political leaders about their visions for cycling in MK and secure important pledges.

  • Dame Ann Limb, High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire, said: “I am totally behind MK Council’s ambition to find ways to get more children cycling to school. Walking and cycling are good for people, places, and the planet which is at the heart of my sustainability focus as High Sheriff.”
  • Cllr Emily Darlington, Cabinet Member for Adults, Housing & Healthy Communities, said: “Research shows active travel leads to longer, healthier lives.  I pledge to do all I can to help MK City Council make walking and cycling easier and more attractive to MK residents.”
  • Cllr Zoe Nolan, Cabinet Member for Children & Families said: “We know cycling to school makes a big difference to children’s health and wellbeing. We want more children and young people to cycle to school. Last year MK Council delivered Bikeability Training to 35% of all 9-11-year-olds and we’re doing all we can to increase it to 60% this year. I pledged to work with our schools to find ways we can work together with the Cycling Citizens alliance to achieve this goal, and get to 80% by 2025.”

Mayor’s Cycling Awards were presented by Deputy-Mayor Cllr Marie Bradburn:

Then it was time for the Santas to cycle! MK’s Panacea Samba band provided the drum beat as they left the Square for Midsummer Boulevard.

With the help of 16 Guide Riders in hi-viz pink, the route was easy ride, attracting participants aged from 5 to 75 and a passenger dog!

The Cycling Santas pedalled up Midsummer Boulevard,

then dismounted at the ‘Cyclists Dismount’ sign to walk between thecentre:mk and Midsummer Place,

then circled MK Rose in Campbell Park

(video courtesy of Venkat Krishnan)

before stopping for mince pies and fruit.

Some pedalled on to the Light Pyramid and back.

before finally heading back to Station Square.

Thanks to MK Community Foundation for providing staging, Cycle Saviours (MK Christian Foundation) for providing transport and bike repairs, The Parks Trust for providing sound, Fully Charged for pedal haulage, and JAR Photography for the professional images above.

Madison Cycles hosts Mayor’s Cycling Awards

On Thursday 23rd November, Madison Cycles’ CEO Dom Langan welcomed 34 people from 19 MK’s businesses and education organisations to celebrate the results of this term’s MK Business Cycling Challenge and MK Schools Cycling Challenge.

“It was a pleasure to host the Cycling Citizens MK awards at Madison and to be joined by the Mayor and Lady Mayoress,” said Dom afterwards. “There were some emotional speeches about how cycling has changed their lives and some inspirational speeches about how teaching children to cycle is changing their lives for the better. Milton Keynes is very lucky to have such a motivated group of people promoting cycling for our community.”

After an update on Cycling CitizensMK’s strategy from Malcolm Davies of Trek Bikes and Michael Pattinson of PWC, Cllr Jennifer Wilson-Marklew, Cabinet Member for Sustainability and Action on Climate Change, gave her reflections on the importance of cycling to MK. She pledged to attend a meeting with the Cycling CitizensMK strategy group in the next three months.

Awards were then presented by Mayor & Mayoress Mick & Mandy Legg:

  • Top Cycling Secondary School (most students in Year 7 travel survey and most cycles on site per 100 students) – Watling Academy (220 Year 7 students, 12.4 bikes per 100) – collected by Assistant Headteacher Cameron Parks (first picture below).
  • Top Cycling Company (biggest increase in cycles on site compared with May23) – The Open University (9%) – collected by the OU’s Jodi Houghton (third picture below)
  • Top Cycling Company (most cycles on site per 100 employees) – Gemini Rail Services (7 bicycles)
  • Best new cycle parking provision – Unity Place – collected by Nathan Kennard (pictured above)
  • Services to Cycling – Ringway Infrastructure Services, for maintaining roads and redways through winter.

Then John Wilkinson of Volkswagen Financial Services spoke about ‘What we have done to increase cycling among our staff’ (pictured below)

and Sarah James from MK City Council spoke about ‘How cycling helps achieve Healthy Workplace Standards’.

Teachers Rich Hill of Bushfield Primary School and Jake Saville of Two Mile Ash School (pictured afterwards below) talked about ‘What we have done to increase cycling among our pupils’,

Simon Rudiger, CEO of MK Christian Foundation/Cycle Saviours, talked about ‘How we help MK access and fix bicycles’ and Mary King gave her personal testimony of e-bike benefit.

Richard Allman & Paul Hammond of MK Council Bikeability talked about routine Bikeability training in primary schools and the upcoming Bikeability Olympics 2024 competition. And Ian Revell, CEO of MK Community Foundation, encouraged people to sign up for Cycling Santas 2023. As well as fun, this will be an opportunity to get pro-cycling pledges from Cllr Zoe Nolan, Cabinet Member for Children & Families: Cllr Emily Darlington, Cabinet Member for Adults, Housing & Healthy Communities; Cllr Marie Bradburn, MK’s Deputy-Mayor; and Dr. Ann Limb, High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire.

Finally Jane Whild of Voices of Women in MK and Ann Shrimpton of Broughton Cycling Group, talked about the importance of including women when planning for cycle promotion in MK.

Then more refreshments were served, courtesy of Madison Cycles.

Photos by Jos Dyer, Madison Cycles.

Cycling CitizensMK Alliance launch at Parks Trust

Deputy Mayoress Marie Bradburn joined leaders from member organisations and supporters to launch the Cycling CitizensMK alliance at Campbell Park Pavilion.

“We’re pleased to be hosting this, proud to be a founder member,” said Julie Dawes, Events and Community Engagement Manager for The Parks Trust.

Nudrat Hopper and Tom Bulman, both Community Organisers of Citizens UK, talked about the method of Organising which has been used to build the alliance.

Malcolm Davies of Trek Bikes and Daniel Mullins of Ringway Infrastructure Services agreed to serve as co-chairs, at least initially.

Daniel’s Ringway colleague Suzanne Moss presented a draft survey to find out more about why people don’t cycle – and also details of an electric assisted pedal vehicle which could be made into the MK Mayoress’ chariot next year. Cllr Bradburn agreed to ride in provided room for another person in the carriage.

The meeting also heard about a recent application for funding of a Cycling Transition 567 project to increase cycling among school pupils in Years 5-7, and powerful and challenging testimony from Suze Miller, author of a report on ‘How people use and value their cars‘ while a student at The Open University.

The meeting agreed to set up a manifesto working group to review the draft vision, aims & objectives, member/sponsor offer and calendar of events. The first meeting will be hosted by PWC 1.30-4.30pm on Monday 9th October.

Cyclists rally to praise Council

Following last year’s inaugural city status celebration ride (photo story & video), 90 cyclists from across the city rallied at The Old Bus Station to thank MK City Council for its leadership and ambition in recent efforts to promote cycling to school and work.

Business and school leaders were welcomed by the High Sheriff of Buckingham and Mayor’s Cycling Awards were presented.

Before the presentations, Cycle Saviours provided Dr. Bike services, Panacea Samba band played music and cyclists met a cycling dinosaur and automota created from bicycle parts by Festive Road.

There was also a break-dancing display from Kev Kallon and free hot food from Namji’s Restaurant.

While the awards are being presented, free hot snacks will be provided by Namji Restaurant.

After a welcome from Ian Revell, CEO of MK Community Foundation (pictured below left), there was a speech from Dame Ann Limb, High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire (pictured below centre), who later joined the cycle ride. “Cycling plays an important role in tackling inequality and reducing inclusion,” she said. “MK’s cycling infrastructure is for everyone, not just cycling fanatics.” She pledged to join a Mayor’s Cycling Breakfast next year and promote cycling at other events across the county.

Victoria Miles MBE, CEO of The Parks Trust (pictured above right), spoke about how MK’s parks provide excellent opportunities for leisure cycling as well as routes to school and work.

Then the Mayor’s Cycling Awards were presented by Deputy-Mayor Marie Bradburn.

  • Top Cycling Companies (based on results here) were introduced by Grant Wildman of Schwalbe Tyres, pledging a prize set of new Green Marathon tyres to the winner:
    • Top Company Cycling Promotion Initiatives (per 100 employees) – 1st place, Gemini Rail Services (2.36) – collected by David Smith
    • Top Company Cycling Promotion Initiatives (per 100 employees)– 2nd place, ICAEW (0.80) – collected by Liz Tribe
    • Top Company Cycling Promotion Initiatives (per 100 employees) – 3rd place, Volkswagen Financial Services (0.43) – collected by Mel Welburn.
  • Bikeability Olympics 2022-23 awards for primary schools, introduced by Nicky Newlands, Bikeability Instructor, who announced that MK City Council has provided Bikeability cycle training to 20,000 local people in the past 10 years, including 2,187 in 2022-23:
    • Gold Award – Bushfield – collected by pupils
    • Silver Award – Giles Brook – collected by pupil Thomas Winepress
    • Bronze Award – Two Mile Ash – collected by teacher Jake Saville.

Then Cllr Zoe Nolan, Cabinet Member for Children & Families (pictured below), talked about why and how MK City Council wants to increase cycling among Year 7 school students.

And Murray Woodburn, the Council’s new Head of Traffic & Transportation (pictured below), talked about why and how MK City Council wants to improve its national Active Travel rating.

Then Eliza Ahad, Year 8 student from Stantonbury Campus (pictured below), spoke about why she likes cycling.

“Cycling gives me freedom to explore my neighbourhood and makes me feel independent,” she said.  “I like cycling around my area, but would like it even better if more other people of my age did it too.”

Then Councillor Nolan accepted a gift for Council leader Pete Marland, to say thank you for including in the Council’s new Delivery Plan a goal to increase MK’s Active Travel rating from 1 to 2 in the next one year and also a goal to support a pilot project to get more Year 7 pupils cycling to school. Both Cllr Nolan and Officer Woodburn pledged to continue their support for these initiatives.

After a safety briefing from Dave Lewis of MK Parks Trust (route map & risk assessment), the cyclists set off up Midsummer Boulevard for a ride to the Light Pyramid in Campbell Park.

Free bikes for the event

People were invited to take up the Nextbike of free Santander bicycle use for three hours. “We want to be part of the MK community,” said nextbike’s Leigh Richards, “really want to be engaged with it.”

BetterPoints

Cyclists using the Better Points app were given an extra 250 Better Points on their account for recording a cycle ride of more than half a mile to Campbell Park between 5 and 6.30pm.

Thanks to Ringway Infrastructure Services for providing cones.

Flyer: download event flyer here.

Photos: by Sagar Kharecha.

Film: click here to see Thomas Gray’s fantastic new film about cycling in MK, Grid Spinners.

Other rides. Cycling enthusiasts meet for a short ride through CMK every Thursday 5.30pm. Just show up at Station Square.

Bushfield School wins Bikeability Olympics final

On Friday 7th July, 36 Year 5-6 pupils from 9 primary schools competed in the final of Bikeability Olympics 2023 at Sports Central in Central Milton Keynes. This followed heats in March, May and June.

Events included an obstacle course (pictured above), relay race, slow race, bike detectives (organised by Cycle Saviours) and road ride.  Each event tested different cycling skills taught to 2,000 pupils in Bikeability training sessions run by MK City Council over the past school year.

In a close contest, Bushfield School took team Gold (pictured above), with Giles Brook running second to take Silver (pictured below left) and Two Mile Ash taking Bronze (pictured below right).

Presenting the awards, Emily Cherry, CEO of Bikeability Trust UK, commended the pupils’ skills and attitude.  She thanked the organisers and instructors for creating Bikeability Olympics. “It’s the only one of its kind in the country,” she said.  “You should all be proud of what you’ve achieved.”

MK Mayor Cllr Mick Legg (pictured left below), told the children, teachers and parents: “Our Council is proud of what you’ve done. We want more children to cycle to school.”

SONY DSC

The action

The winners (full results here):

  • Bike Detectives
    • Gold: Thusani Suseelan, Water Hall School
    • Silver: Patrik Konya, New Bradwell School
    • Bronze: Ivy Thota, Loughton School
  • Obstacle Course
    • Gold: Rae Langston, Giles Brook School
    • Silver: Jake, Bushfield School
    • Bronze: Sophie Christie, Barleyhurst School
  • Relay Race
    • Gold: Ted, Bushfield School
    • Silver: Thomas Jolly, Giles Brook School
    • Bronze: Dylan G, Two Miles Ash School
  • Slow Race
    • Gold: Ito P, Two Mile Ash School
    • Silver: George Jackson, Giles Brook School
    • Bronze: Ted, Bushfield School
  • Road Ride
    • Gold: Edie, Bushfield School
    • Silver: Ara S, Two Mile Ash School
    • Bronze: Natalia Hearn-Kasimi, Loughton School
  • Overall school winners
    • Gold: Bushfield School
    • Silver: Giles Brook School
    • Bronze: Two Mile Ash School

The presentations

Thanks to all teachers and parents who enabled their children to participate in Bikeability Olympics 2022-23.

Photos by Erin and Zdenka Mgbolu

Final presentations

Engraved trophies were presented to each of the winning schools by Deputy-Mayor Marie Bradburn at the CMK Carnival Cycle Ride on 13th July.

Supported by

With their European head office and Campbell Wharf store in Milton Keynes, Trek is excited to be part of this project encouraging kids and families to enjoy all the benefits that cycling brings.

in partnership with

MK Council has a goal to make Milton Keynes the UK’s leading city for cycle infrastructure.

and

with thanks too for support from Martin Swift of Cycle Saviours and Chris Barltrop of Avanti Cycling.

The inaugural Bikeability Olympics was held in MK on 7th July 2022 (see photo story). Plans are underway for Bikeability Olympics 2023-24.

Fishermead celebrates 50th birthday with joyous carnival, new song and new film

On Sunday 2nd July, 850 Fishermead residents took part in a celebration of the estate’s history, diversity and positivity. There was dancing, singing, a portrait photo booth, sports competition, games, an array of cultural dress and abundant world food stalls supported by donations from local businesses.

In the first screening of a new film, hosted by Fishermead Mosque, residents talked about their pride in the estate. The children of Jubilee Wood School sang a new song about Fishermead (hear song in film below).

A scale model of the original 1970s plan for the area was also exhibited at the Mosque.

Visiting dignitaries including MK’s Mayor and Mayoress, the Lord-Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire, and the MP for MK North, said how impressed they were with the friendliness and creativity of residents.

Xtrim Hair & Beauty Salon won Gold in the Fishermead Business Olympics, with Freestyle Cosmetics running a close second for Silver, and Testimony Ghanaian Cuisine taking Bronze. The Cooperative Convenience Store won a special award for Services to the Community as did outgoing Chair of Campbell Park Parish Council, Terry Baines.

“We will do this again next year!” said MC Joey Acheampong (above).

“Everyone wanted to say something positive as they were leaving,” said Ruth Legh-Smith, one of the volunteers managing the road closure (seated in photo below). “As someone who hasn’t lived here very long, I can’t help thinking that these are all competent, sensible, lovely people, and maybe this is isn’t recognised much.”


Some residents’ comments:

  • “What a day for Fishermead!”
  • “It brought the community together”
  • “It was great to have the police there”
  • “Amazing food. The queues for food didn’t get any shorter.”
  • “So good for the kids. The games were good.”
  • “Any kid who comes to this will grow up knowing Fishermead as a good place “
  • “The event was spectacular in an area known for a lack of affluence.”
  • “All the litter was collected during the event (by volunteers from the Seventh Day Adventist Church) and removed soon afterwards.”

The Organising team thanks everyone who helped to make the event happen, including MK Community Foundation and Campbell Park Parish Council for a small grant and help with road closures, Fishermead Trinity Centre for looking after the volunteers, Return MK for delivering quality sound from the stage, Samaritans MK and Neighbourhood Watch volunteers for running advice stands, MK Police for being part of the party, New Bradwell SEN Dept for baking the Pirate Ship cake, Chinese Overseas Church Mission for running a Chinese Calligraphy stall, Pebbles Children’s Centre and Acorn Nursery for running children’s play activities, The Co-op and Fishermead Mosque for allowing use of their car parking spaces, The Seventh-day Adventist Church for hosting planning meetings and printing,

and The Living Archive for making the new film. Thanks too, to the local shops who donated food and drink: Convenience Store & Off Licence, Evergreen Foods, Sabeeh Mini Market, Testimony Ghanaian Cuisine, The Co-op and XLN Take Away.

This event, and the wider Fishermead Citizens project, was supported by funding from MK Community Foundation, Campbell Park Parish Council and donations from Councillors Donna Fuller, Sue and Val Dixon.

Photos by Zdenka Mgbolu & Tom Bulman

Loughton School reaches Bikeability Olympics final

On Friday 30th June at Sports Central in CMK, Loughton School progressed to the Final of Bikeability Olympics 2023 on 7th July. There they will join Bushfield and Two Mile Ash, whose second teams also progressed to the final.

In drizzly weather, 26 pupils from 7 schools competed in each of five contests, including a road ride around Loughton.

“Thanks to all (Bikeability) instructors for another amazing event today,” said Jake Saville, Head of PE & Enrichment Coordinator at Two Mile Ash.

The final results were as follows (3 points for a contest win, 2 for 2nd place, 1 for 3rd place):

Schools

  • Two Mile Ash – 14 points
  • Loughton – 6 points
  • Bushfield – 4 points
  • New Bradwell – 3 points
  • Water Hall – 3 points

Individuals

  • Marshall B, Two Mile Ash – 6 points
  • Darragh B-A,  Two Mile Ash – 4 points
  • Ito P, Two Mile Ash – 3 points
  • Natalia Hearn-Kasimi, Loughton – 3 points
  • Patrik Konya, New Bradwell – 3 points
  • Thushani Suseelan, Water Hall – 3 points

Lauren Townsend, MK City Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Realm, presented the certificates and encouraged them to continue cycling.

Supported by

With their European head office and Campbell Wharf store in Milton Keynes, Trek is excited to be part of this project encouraging kids and families to enjoy all the benefits that cycling brings.

in partnership with

MK Council has a goal to make Milton Keynes the UK’s leading city for cycle infrastructure.

and

Mayor’s Cycling Breakfast 6.7.23

On Thursday 6th July, 20 leaders from 13 business and education institutions attended the third Mayor’s Cycle Breakfast & Awards of the year, which was hosted by The Open University (photo story of last one on 16th March). The meeting was organised by Cycling CitizensMK, a project funded by grants from MK City Council’s Economic Recovery Fund and Capability Fund, using monies from Active Travel England and the Department for Transport.

Following a welcome from event Chair Deborah Cooper, of MK Cycle Forum, Professor Nick Braithwaite, VCE Sponsor for Sustainability and Executive Dean at The OU gave an opening address: “We aim to be carbon neutral by 2030.  I see it as my job, stimulated by this morning, to increase the number of people cycling to The Open University. You can rely on us doing our bit as a relatively large employer in the region.”

Then Adam Sciberras, Special Projects Director of MK Development Partnership, shared some of the ideas driving MK planning for 2050. “For too long the city has been steered by a small group of people who have lived here a long while. We’re trying to listen to those people who are moving here and will be here in the future. We’re trying to introduce cycling as a more sustainable way of getting around the city.”

Cllr Jenny Wilson-Marklew, Cabinet Member for Climate Action & Sustainability, said: “As a city we need to not just take our cycling infrastructure for granted and think, well obviously we’re going to be an active travel city, and think more about what that network needs to look like so people can use it efficiently.

“The way I am trying to work in my role and to promote active travel and public transport is to bring it into the round, so it’s about making the conversation not just about cycling, but about the health benefits of active travel, and frame it around poverty.”

Murray Woodburn, the Council’s new Head of Traffic & Transport, will say: “There are some things we can do which are quick wins.  Lighting, surfacing, priorities and removing obstructions, are relatively cheap and can be done relatively quickly.”

Then the Top Cycling Company awards were presented by MK Mayor Mick Legg and Mayoress Mandy Legg based on bike counts and the number of cycling promotion initiatives undertaken (full results here). The winners were: The Open University, Network Rail, Niftylift, MK Council and Volkswagen Financial Services. Walton High won the Top Cycling School award.

The OU’s Neville the Newt also visited.

The meeting also enjoyed presentations from Dave Lewis of The Parks Trust, Chris Brittain of Walton High and Clive Faine of Abbeygate and MK Cycle Forum, and finally heard from Ian Revell, CEO of MK Community Foundation, about the upcoming CMK Carnival Cycle Ride on Thursday 13th July.

Bushfield, Giles Brook and Caroline Haslett through to Bikeability Olympics final

35 pupils from five MK primary schools tested their cycling skills in the second heat of MK Bikeability Olympics 2023. The event was held at Middleton Hall, thanks to thecentre:mk management, attracting parents and passing shoppers to enjoy the spectacle.

Pupils competed over five contests, including an obstacle course, slow race, relay race and a road ride in Central Milton Keynes.

After a close contest, pupils from Slated Row and The Premier Academy were edged out by pupils from Bushfield, Giles Brook and Caroline Haslett schools, who now proceed to meet Barleyhurst and Two Mile Ash schools in the final on Friday 7th July. The final heat will take place at Sports Central on Friday 30th June, for which registration is still open – click link to sign up here.

Presenting the awards, Matthew John, Development Director for MyMiltonKeynes, said: “It’s important to us all – businesses and individual citizens alike – that more people cycle, starting with our youngest citizens!”

The contests

The contestants

The scores (full details here)

– Schools

  • Bushfield 1, 42 points
  • Giles Brook, 37 points
  • Caroline Haslett, 31 points
  • The Premier Academy, 20 points
  • Slated Row, 18 points
  • Bushfield 2, 14 points

– Individuals

  • Jenitha Johnson, The Premier Academy 12
  • Oliver Stokes, Caroline Haslett 11
  • Macey Paul, Giles Brook 11
  • Markus, Bushfield 10
  • Ted, Bushfield 10

Thanks to thecentre:mk for hosting and Ringway Infrastructure Services for providing the bollards.

And thanks to Trek Bikes for sponsoring Bikeability Olympics 2023.

Photos by Jane Russell Photography.

Council Leader listens to Cycling CitizensMK leaders

Cycling CitizensMK recently scored an important win:  inclusion of specific pro-cycling goals in the Council’s Delivery Plan 23/24 (pts 73 & 74). Setting the goal of achieving Level 2 or higher with Active Travel England opens the prospect of additional funding from central government to improve cycling and walking infrastructure in Milton Keynes.

This win came about through a meeting with Cllr Pete Marland, leader of MK City Council, on 16th May. Cycling CitizensMK was represented by three leaders: James Heslop, Director of Strategy at Network Rail; Jim Parker, Executive Principal of Tove Learning Trust (Lord Grey Academya nd Stantonbury School); and Nicky Newlands, Bikeability Trainer.

Each leader gave testimony of their different interests in promoting cycling (for employees’ health, for improved routes to school, for cycling skills development) and listened to Cllr Marland’s explanation of Council priorities and constraints. They requested that he prioritise: a) achieving ATE Level 2; b) supporting a new initiative to promote cycling to school.

A few days after the meeting, the two requests were included in the Council’s Delivery Plan for the year ahead.

This follows a successful Redways Relaunch campaign of 2017 which won a pledge from Cllr Marland as Council Leader to make 50 specific improvements to the redways around five schools. In the end, the Council made 253 improvements.

Cyclists rally for CMK Egg Hunt 6.4.23

On 6th April, 35 cyclists rallied for Mayor’s Cycling Awards at The Old Bus Station and an Egg Hunt ride through CMK.

Logo designed by Tim Layden, photos by Jane Russell of JAR Photography.

Following free Dr Bike services from Cycle Saviours and a Bunny Hop contest for a £25 prize won by teenager Dominic H,

MK’s Deputy Mayor & Mayoress presented awards for cycling achievements in the MK Business Cycling Challenge and the MK Schools Cycling Challenge and to Adam Sciberras of MK Development Partnership for his participation in the Better Points reward scheme.

While the awards were being presented, free hot snacks were provided by Namji’s Restaurant in Xscape.

MC Richard Allman of MK Bikeability introduced Cllr Jennifer Wilson-Marklew, City Council Cabinet Member for Climate Action and Sustainability, who gave a short speech about why cycling is important to the Council’s plans to promote active travel.

She talked about the health and sustainability benefits of cycling. “We must get people out of their cars,” she said. “We must make it easier for people to use cycle routes or any new infrastructure we build to allow them to get to places they need to go” (see video from Paul Lane).

Julie Dawes & Lutin Smuts of The Parks Trust talked about the launch of its new 30 Mile Cycle Challenge.

Richard Allman briefed riders on the Cycling Egg Hunt challenge through CMK to Campbell Park Light Pyramid. This involved cycling to collect mystery numbers along Midsummer Boulevard.

Six teams contested the challenge.

The challege was won by a four-person team including the winner of last year’s Cycle Egg Hunt, Miles Gray (pictured second from left below, with Elaine Wales second from right).

A large chocolate Easter egg prize was presented by Elaine Wales of John Lewis,

with additional chocolate eggs donated by Liz Tribe of ICAEW.

Finally three contestants took part in the Pyramid Leap challenge, a timed competition to cycle down the pyramid hill, around the nearest tree and back to the top.

This contest was won by Tam Sheikh of Trek Bikes, who received a £25 prize.

Free bike vouchers for the Cycle Egg Hunt were made available by nextbike “We want to be part of the MK community,” said nextbike’s Leigh Richards, “really want to be engaged with it.”

Nextbike enables a user friendly service that supports cities in creating sustainable and integrated travel solutions.

The next big ride through CMK will be on Thursday 13th July (see calendar for details). All welcome.

Barleyhurst and Two Mile Ash proceed through first Bikeability Olympics heat

On a cold Friday afternoon, 13 students from Barleyhurst and Two Mile Ash primary schools competed in the first heat of Bikeability Olympics 2023 (won by Giles Brook last year – see story).

Both schools proceeded through to the finals which we be held on 7th July (see details).

The highest scoring individual winners (full results below) were:

  • 1st place – Reshan Mohanathas, Two Mile Ash
  • 2nd place – Sophie Christie, Barleyhurst
  • 3rd place – Kaydi Mcmanus, Barleyhurst.

Presenting the certificates, Cllr Emily Darlington, MK City Council Cabinet Member for Adults, Housing and Healthy Communities, said: “It’s good for Milton Keynes to have young people cycling and these contestants show a good example to us all.”

Joe Passmore, Deputy Headteacher of Barleyhurst Primary School, ,said: “Despite the wind and rain, pupils completed the various cycling challenges with enthusiasm and enjoyment. It was fantastic to see their team spirit as they cheered each other on to be the best that they could be. A lovely afternoon.” 

Jake Saville, Head of PE & Enrichment Coordinator at Two Mile Ash School, said: “The children had a great time taking on the five challenges which tested their cycling skills and knowledge. The Bikeability instructors provided the children with lots of support, encouragement and most importantly made sure they enjoyed themselves! It was a wonderful event and we look forward to being involved again in the future.”

Richard Allman, Bikeability Instructor who organised the Obstacle Course event, said: “It was great to see how the children had developed & improved their riding skills since completing the Level 2 course.”

Full results

  • Bike Detectives
    • 1st place – Zakariya Khan, Barleyhurst
    • 2nd place – Ryan Knotts, Barleyhurst
    • 3rd place – Sophie Christie, Barleyhurst
  • Obstacle Course
    • 1st place – Zakariya Khan, Barleyhurst
    • 2nd place – Kaydi Mcmanus, Barleyhurst
    • 3rd place – Reshan Mohanathas, Two Mile Ash
  • Relay Race
    • 1st place – Freddie Booth, Two Mile Ash
    • 2nd place – Michaela Searrott, Two Mile Ash
    • 3rd place – Reshan Mohanathas, Two Mile Ash
  • Slow Race
    • 1st place – Michaela Searrott, Two Mile Ash
    • 2nd place – Dylan Glynn, Two Mile Ash
    • 3rd place – Reshan Mohanathas, Two Mile Ash
  • Road Ride
    • 1st place – Kaydi Mcmanus, Barleyhurst
    • 2nd place – Sophie Christie, Barleyhurst
    • 3rd place – Amber Russell, Two Mile Ash

MAYOR’S CYCLING AWARDS BREAKFAST 16.3.23 AGENDA

Inviting leaders of MK’s businesses and education organisations, this event celebrated the achievements of participants in the MK Business Cycling Challenge and the MK Schools Cycling Challenge (awards below).

This event was held in MK Community Foundation, Margaret Powell House, 417 Midsummer Blvd, Milton Keynes, MK9 3BN – also on zoom link https://cuk.zoom.us/j/3863655749. (See photo story of last Mayor’s Cycling Breakfast hosted by Network Rail 10.11.22.)

Draft agenda (names in italics unconfirmed):

  • 8am – Arrival, coffee and pastries
  • 8.15 – Inspiring videos including film about cycling in MK by MK Grid Spinners
  • 8.30 – Start – Welcome from Ian Revell, MK Community Foundation and Chair Deborah Cooper, MK Cycle Forum;
  • 8.35 – Introduction from Cllr Jennifer Wilson-Marklew, Cabinet Member for Climate Action and Sustainability, MK City Council – Why cycling is good for MK
  • 8.40 – Recent & future MK cycling events: video of Cycling Santas 22.12.22 and CMK Egg Hunt ride 6.4.23 – Ian Revell, MK Community Foundation
  • 8.45 – Mayor’s awards – presented by Mayor Amanda Marlow
    • Top Cycling School (most students in travel survey) – Walton High
    • Top Cycling School (most bicycles at school one day), 1st = – Shenley Brook End School & The Hazeley Academy
    • Top Cycling School (most bicycles at school one day), 3rd Place – Lord Grey Academy
    • Top Cycling Company (most bicycles on site one day), 1st Place – Niftylift
    • Top Cycling Company (most bicycles on site one day), 2nd Place – Sainsbury’s Argos
    • Top Cycling Company (most bicycles on site one day), 3rd Place – Gemini Rail Services
    • Top Cycling Company (biggest increase in bicycles since December) – Volkswagen Financial Services
  • 8.50 – Results of MK Schools Travel Survey, Dec 2022 – Tom Bulman, with reflections from Cllr Zoe Nolan, Cabinet Member for Children & Families, and Cllr Emily Darlington, Cabinet Member for Adults, Housing and Healthy Communities.
  • 9.05 – Launch of Bikeability Olympics 2023 (including video of Bikeability Olympics 2022) and update on MK Council cycle initiatives including Better Points – Dave Lewis & Raeesa Chowdhury, MK Council Bikeability
  • 9.15 – Building of Cycling CitizensMK alliance – Clive Faine, MK Cycle Forum; Malcolm Davies, Trek Bikes
  • 9.25 – Thanks and next steps, including follow-on meeting for potential members of Cycling CitizensMK alliance, CMK Cycle Egg Hunt 6.4.23 and City Celebration Cycle Ride 13.7.22 – Deborah Cooper & Michael Pattinson of PWC.
  • 9.30 – End
  • 9.35 – Celebration photo of all participants (outside with bicycles)
  • 10.00 – Meeting of potential members of dues-paying Cycling CitizensMK alliance, including next steps following MK Cycle City Vision meeting 2.2.23. This will be hosted by PWC at Exchange House, Midsummer Boulevard, MK9 2DF.
  • 11.00 – End of meeting

Parking: TBC

For further information, contact Tom Bulman, 07962 838685, cyclingmk@citizensuk.org, or Raeesa Chowdhury, raeesa.chowdhury@milton-keynes.gov.uk.

City leaders welcome report on cycling to school

Leaders from MK business, Council and voluntary organisations reacted positively to the findings of a large-scale survey of students’ travel behaviours and attitudes.

The survey of 2500 secondary school students showed 12% of Year 7 students cycle to school while 50% are driven. And of those living within a 15-minute cycle ride, nearly 40% are driven.

The report recommends action from schools and MK City Council to promote cycling to school in order to achieve personal health & wellbeing and net-zero carbon goals.

Cllr Emily Darlington, Cabinet Member for Adults, Housing and Healthy Communities, said: “If we could get more people cycling for leisure, exercise and transport, we could transform the mental health of people in this city.”

Cllr Zoe Nolan, Cabinet Member for Children & Families, said: “Imagine the difference we could make if we could get 1000 more Year 7 students cycling to school rather than being driven. Promoting cycling from the earliest age is so important. Talking to parents about how their children can cycle safely to school is vital. I am certain we can increase the 12% who are currently cycling.”

The event also celebrated the achievements of participants in the 2022-23 Business Cycling Challenge and the Schools Cycling Challenge. Mayor Amanda Marlow presented the following awards:

  • Top Cycling Company (most cycles on site one day) – Niftylift
  • Top Cycling Company (biggest increase in cycles on site since December) – Volkswagen Financial Services
  • Top Cycling School (most students in travel survey) – Walton High
  • Top Cycling School (most bicycles at school one day), 3rd Place – Lord Grey Academy

Ian Revell, CEO of MK Community Foundation, talked to the video of Cycling Santas 22.12.22 and outlined plans for the CMK Egg Hunt ride 6.4.23, inviting all join.

Bikeability Instructor Dave Lewis outlined plans for the launch of Bikeability Olympics 2023 (to video of Bikeability Olympics 2022).

Jacqueline Fairclough of MK City Council’s Transport Planning team announced the launch of Better Points 2023, the app which enables MK residents to accumulate points for goods and services or charity donations simply by walking, cycling or using public transport.

Finally Clive Faine of MK Cycle Forum and Malcolm Davies of Trek Bikes talked about the need to follow up the report, and the MK Cycle City Vision meeting at Trek Bikes on 2.2.23, and plan next steps towards building a sustainable alliance of business and voluntary organisations to help the Council increase cycling.

Michael Pattinson, Director of Mobility at PWC, explained there would be a follow-on meeting for potential alliance members across the road at PWC. At this meeting, it was agreed that a prospectus would be drawn up for potential members to consider and respond to within the next month.

22 leaders attend local training

22 leaders attended a one-day training on the 5 steps to social change at Water Eaton Church Centre, south Milton Keynes. Participants came from as near as the immediate vicinity and as far as Hong Kong.

Participants practised 121s and learned about the process of building relational power for action to achieve social change.

At the end, they shared actions they were now planning to take in their communities.

In post-training evaluation, participants scored it 8 out of 10.

Fishermead Citizens Assembly with Lord Lieutenant 23.2.23

More than 100 Fishermead residents and leaders of local civil society institutions – churches, mosque, schools and other community groups – attended a meeting with the Lord Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire, The Countess Howe, hosted by the Chinese Overseas Church Mission (COCM) on Padstow Ave. They wanted to know if she could help them get a visit from the Royal Family later to celebrate the estate’s 50th birthday later in the year.

This followed an assembly with the High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire three months ago to celebrate Fishermead’s successes and talk about plans celebration (see photo story).

The evening began with a warm welcome to COCM from Rev Henry Lu and (above) an introduction from Fola Komolafe, MBE, President of MK Community Foundation (below) .

Then Lady Howe (below) told residents about her role as Lord Lieutenant and what had it been like for me so far.

Ophelia Cole of Action Speaks introduced Alix Saunders (below) , Enhanced Practitioner at Pebbles Children Centre, who talked about what her Centre had learned about early years education. She was surprised by the loudness of the timing bell (rung by Derek Bayley of Trinity Centre)!

There was more excitement when Jubilee Wood Primary School choir (below) thrilled the audience with a Cornish sea song (relating to all Fishermead’s streets being named after places in Cornwall).

Then Mike Kelly of MK Samaritans and Clare Doughty of Salvation Army Lifehouse talked about what they had learned about supporting mental health and wellbeing.

In a show of great personal kindness, young Muhammed of MK Gallacticos Football Club (above) won the keepyuppies football contest in front of the audience – by 100 touches! – and generously shared his £30 cash prize with the two other contestants.

Badr Zamaan, representing local shop Sabeeh Mini Market (above), explained why Fishermead is unhappy with its reputation and said ‘If a Prince comes to Fishermead, who can say it is not safe here?’

then Ursy White (above) outlined plans for about Fishermead. She told the story of how the alien Zarina landed at Fishermead’s junior school one night in 1988 and enthralled the pupils for several weeks and explained the plan to both screen a film of that project and make another film about ‘Fishermead landings’ with today’s residents in May-June this year.

Various leaders then explained why they wanted a Royal Visit for Fishermead: Rev Ian Herbert of Trinity Centre Anglican Church (below);

Matt O’Brien, Headteacher of Jubilee Wood Primary School, which has 530 pupils and 70 staff, (on video link and pictured below) ;

Nana K of Xtrim Hair and Beauty salon (below),

and Benson of Freestyle Cosmetics Salon (on video link) (below):

Maria Affa of the Make Good Better Breakfast Club (below) ;

Cllr Zamzam Osman of Campbell Park Parish Council (below).

Then the Lord Lieutenant was presented with a small gift (from the Zarina Project) (below)

and gave her reaction to what she had seen and heard during the evening, how positively it made her think about Fishermead, and how pleased she was that the process for requesting a Royal Visit was underway (although she didn’t have the power to actually make it happen). Countess Howe pledged to return to Fishermead on 2nd July to present awards at the Fishermead 50 celebration party (below)

and received a loud round of applause.

The assembly ended off with positive comments from its co-chairs – David Hart, Pavle Trajkovski, Ophelia Cole and Ruth Legh-Smith – and a call to action for residents to attend an open planning meeting on Thursday 9th March for the celebration event on Sunday 2nd July.

Then Fishermead resident Harold Sharpe MBE, Headcoach of Special Needs Units Gymnastics (SNUGS) showed the medals won by his daughter Jennifer in world competition.

And finally, there was a wonderful display of Bulgarian dancing led by Krasimira Valcheva (below).

In post-event evaluation, participants said they felt ‘positive’, ‘inspired’ and ‘uplifted’, and rated the event 8.5 out of 10, with points lost for a lack of turnout from senior staff in local schools.

Fishermead shopkeepers pledge to support 50th birthday celebration

(Pictures by Sagar Kharecha.)

On 27th January six shopkeepers in Fishermead met at Frank Howe Court and agreed to work together to organise a celebration of the estate’s 50th birthday this summer.

The meeting was organised by Ruth Legh-Smith, a resident of Frank Howe Court, and attended by Cllr Terry Baines, Chair of Campbell Park Parish Council and fellow councillors Martin Petchey and Zamzam Osman; also Pavle Trajkovski, Pastor of Fishermead Seventh Day Adventist Church.

The shops were represented as follows:

  • Nana K of Xtrim Hair & Beauty
  • Benson of Freestyle Salon
  • Nuzral of XLN Take Away
  • MD Acam of Sabeeh Mini Market
  • Gloria of Testimony Ghana Food
  • Ali Asghar of Evergreen Foods.

A follow up meeting of the shopkeepers will be held in three months time, when plans for the Fishermead Is 50 celebrations are further advanced.

Cycle City 2050 – vision meeting 2.2.23

On 2nd February, 20 leaders from MK’s private, public and voluntary sectors met to plan a vision for substantially increased cycling in the city. The meeting, organised by Cycling CitizensMK, was hosted by Trek Bikes in Tilbrook. Organisations represented included MK City Council, MK Community Foundation, MK Christian Foundation/Cycle Saviours, MK Cycle Forum, MK Development Partnership, Network Rail, Next Bike/Santander, PWC, The Open University, Red Bull Racing and Volkswagen Group.

The meeting was opened by Deborah Cooper and Phil Murphy of MK Cycle Forum, who talked about the importance of cycling to personal health and explained the meeting aimed to complement MK City Council’s current efforts to promote cycling.

Cllr Jenny Wilson-Marklew, Cabinet Member for Climate Action and Sustainability, said cycling was one of the Council’s carbon-neutrality priorities, MK’s Redways needed investment and she would share the work of this meeting with her team. Jacqueline Fairclough, Travel Planning Officer for the Council, said her colleagues were focused on improving the Redway infrastructure and delivering Bikeability training, encouraging leisure cycling as a stage in the process towards increased utility cycling trips.

Dr. Jonathan Flower, former MK resident (pictured above with his family of six on a cycle in the late 90s) and now researcher at the Centre for Transport & Society at University of West England, showed examples of best practice from elsewhere in UK – especially Bristol, where cycle usage is high despite the hills – and talked about the obstacles facing cycling planners in MK, where cycle usage is low at 3-4% of modal share (see presentation).

This was followed by a Chris Boardman video about Kesgrave secondary school in Ipswich, where 9 out of 10 students walk or cycle to school.

Then Trek Bikes’ Malcolm Davies presented on how MK can use a rating of cycling infrastructure through People For Bikes as a basis for setting and monitoring cycling improvement targets (see presentation). Can MK get to 10% of cycling modal share by 2030? James Heslop, Head of Strategy at Network Rail, talked about their business drivers for promoting cycling, emphasising the benefits to employees’ health and wellbeing (see presentation), and the importance of good cycle parking.

Tom Bulman of Cycling CitizensMK then shared initial findings from a large-scale MK schools travel survey created by Tim Coffey, Science teacher at Ousedale School, showing that 5,000 MK secondary school students are being driven to school across distances that could be cycled in less than 15 minutes (see presentation).

Small groups discussed and fed back on four questions:

  • What should the goals be for active travel in MK, what should success look like? 
  • What should be the next steps?
  • Who else needs to be here?
  • Who could fund the development?

Ian Revell, CEO of MK Community Foundation, talked about next steps and the importance of secure funding for a continuation of the Cycling Citizens MK project. Tom Bulman recommended a bold vision of MK becoming the UK’s lead cycle city by 2050 in step with the Council’s existing carbon-negative target, a disciplined analysis of each Council Cabinet member’s interests, and a process of Community Organising to build relational power through an alliance of diverse, dues-paying institutions. Ian suggested creating an endowment fund to enable this approach long term.

It was agreed to set up a follow-on meeting in March/April to consider firm plans for such an alliance, with the aim of launching it in June/July. It was also agreed that developing relationships with officers at the Department of Transport and Active Travel England, and developing with them a data-driven approach in the context of their own goals, was vital. The main goal of this group, suggested Michael Pattinson of PWC, should be to make it easier for MK City Council to make good decisions about cycling.

And Malcolm later sent this thread of inspiration from Waltham Forest.

Cycling Santas bring joy to city centre

On 22nd December, 42 Cycling Santas left The Old Bus Station for a short ride through Central Milton Keynes to Campbell Park and back and made many friends. This was the second year of preparation for a world record-breaking attempt in 2023 (see video and photos of last year here).

The event was reported by BBC TV (above) and on BBC online and YouTube (Adventures of Paul). (Photos below are by Jane Russell Photograph unless otherwise indicated.)

As well as creating fun, the aim was to bring together leaders from different business, education and community organisations towards building a broad-based alliance to get more people cycling in MK.

Following free Dr Bike services from Cycle Saviours, a Winter Wheelie stunt contest (£50 prize won by Loven Prentice, pictured left in main picture below)

and breakdancing display from MK’s own Kevin Kallon

MK’s Deputy-Mayor and -Mayoress, Cllr Mick and Mandy Legg,

(photo by Sagar Kharecha)

presented awards to schools and businesses for cycling achievements this winter (listed below).

Jodi Houghton (pictured below) spoke about why cycling is important to The Open University and what they are doing to encourage cycling there

and a raffle was drawn. Then the Cycling Santas rode out to the drums of new MK band Panacea Samba.

and proceeded up Midsummer Boulevard.

Along the walkway between thecentre:mk and Midsummer Place, the Santas dismounted, in accordance with instruction on blue sign

(photo by Sagar Kharecha)

and distributed flyers promoting cycling to shoppers,

then circled outside MK Theatre

(photo by Sagar Kharecha)

and around MK Rose

Cycling Santas circling the MK Rose (filmed by Iain Talbot)

before the final stretch

(photo by Sagar Kharecha)

to the Light Pyramid for a final hohoho

(photo by Sagar Kharecha)

and turnaround for the ride back to The Old Bus Station (see video from The Salvage Hacker).

(photo by Sagar Kharecha)

Mayor’s Winter Cycling Awards 2022

  • Top Bikeability School 2022 (total no. trainee riders) – Middleton Primary School (246 riders), collected by Philip Morris.
  • Top Cycling Hardiness School (lowest decrease in no. cycles parked at end of term compared with beginning) – Lord Grey Academy (-11%), collected by Tim Layden
  • Top Cycling Innovation School (highest number of Cycling Initiatives per student) – Watling Academy (0.36)
  • Top Cycling Research School (highest number of survey respondents per 100 pupils) – Walton High (36)
  • Wheelie Contest Winner (£50 cash prize) – Loven Prentice
  • Top Cycling Company (highest no. cycles this month) – The Open University (22), collected by Jodi Houghton, and Santander (22)
  • Top Cycling Company (highest no. cycles per 100 staff one day this month) – Gemini Rail Services (7.87)
  • Services to Cycling – MK Highways Department for gritting the roads in freezing weather, collected by Naveed Ahmed.

Thanks to Nextbike for providing free Santander bicycles for those who needed them. “We want to be part of the MK community,” said nextbike’s Leigh Richards, “really want to be engaged with it.”

Thanks to Ringway Infrastructure Services for providing cones.

And thanks to Jane Russell Photography and Sagar Khachera (where indicated above) for the photos.

MK’s Network Rail and John Lewis improve cycle parking

Network Rail, one of MK’s largest companies, recently installed bicycle parking racks for visitors outside the main entrance (pictured above). This followed a small action by Cycling CitizensMK to draw the attention of Network Rail’s Workplace Manager, Steve Bassington.

“For years I’ve been frustrated as a visitor to Network Rail, having to lock my bike to a short railing outside the front of the building because there were no bike racks,” said Tom Bulman of Cycling CitizensMK. “All it took was an email to Network Rail asking for a meeting and a walk outside to show Mr. Bassington the problem. Within weeks the racks were installed.”

Meanwhile at John Lewis, Community Liaison Coordinator Elaine Wales also scored a win for cycling, securing bike racks for John Lewis partners (workers) at the CMK store.

“I had previously been in contact with centre:mk shopping management, MyMiltonKeynes Business Improvement District and MK Council, asking about bike racks,” said Elaine, “because our partners had said they do not like to cycle to work as there was nowhere safe to store their bicycles. But they did not have any immediate plans to build a secure bike shed for centre:mk employees.

“Undeterred, I spoke to our Head of Branch, David Donovan, who said why don’t we turn our Partner Entrance area on the ground floor into a makeshift bike shed and add bike racks to it? We have now done exactly that and our partners can now store their bikes securely and in a warm, dry environment.” (Picture below.)

Discerning Assembly 3.12.22

It is hard to convey why a Citizens Assembly is so special.  OK, so 40 people from a dozen different institutions in MK gathered at Cornerstone Church for two hours on a Saturday morning to agree on their campaigns for next year. Big yawn, surely? Was it to avoid doing the Christmas shopping?

No!  It because Assemblies are fun and inspiring!  Because a buzz develops. Because that’s what happens when you have one-to-one conversations meeting new people; when you hear of campaigns making a difference in people’s lives; when you experience a different sort of democracy in action; and come to understand how we can make properly make our private concerns into public action on things that really matter to us.  It is extraordinary: an Assembly is carefully orchestrated – and yet you don’t know what will happen.  

On this occasion a member of the MK Muslim Association, attending for the first time, gave impromptu testimony, speaking right from the heart.  A new campaign was born.

Regie Kpobi talked about knife crime

Suresh Nesaratnam of MK Council of Faiths (right in picture below) said: “Regie Kpobi’s efforts to combat knife crime, through presentations to vulnerable youngsters at places of worship, sounded like a campaign that was truly needed in MK – and I duly signed-up for it.”

Rob Paton of MK Quaker Meeting (right in picture below) said: “As one of the leaders of Action on Climate and the Environment, I was astonished at how many people moved over to stand by the climate campaign placard at the end – what a boost.  I went home elated.”

Jane Whild of The Open University (third from left in picture below) said: “It was wonderful to be assembled in person again and see many new faces as well as old friends. Our Misogyny Campaign Team attracted new representatives and I look forward to planning our next actions with them in January.”

Attendees show support for individual campaigns

Rev Catherine Butt of St. Frideswide’s Church (front of picture below), who co-chaired the assembly, said:  “There was a great energy in the room. It was wonderful to see familiar faces and meet new people who are passionate about seeing change in our city. Here’s to an action-packed 2023!”

Lest you are thinking this is too good to be true (puff and PR, surely?) another feature of Assemblies is the rapid ‘shout-out’ evaluations at the end. 

Post-assembly evaluation led by Rev Tim Norwood

We ask ‘How did we do?’  Indeed, one indicator of a good assembly is when lots of people stay to join in and are truthful about the shortcomings as well as the achievements. Which is exactly what happened.  In a lively few minutes we gave ourselves 8.5 out of 10 while also agreeing that we really must use microphones properly when we speak; and if we meet at this time of day, we need to offer childcare.

Assemblies are why so many of us love Citizens . Come to the next one and find out for yourself!

121 conversations

Fishermead residents get High Sheriff support for royal visit

125 Fishermead residents and guests filled Trinity Community Centre for a celebration assembly and meeting with powerholders including the Mayor of Milton Keynes (2nd from left below) and High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire (far left below)

The assembly was organised by a group of Fishermead residents and workers who are building a citizens alliance of Fishermead institutions as part of a Community Organising project funded by MK Community Foundation. (Hear Assembly audio recording.)

Rev Pavle Trajovski, Fishermead Seventh Day Adventist Church, Assembly Co-Chair

Their goal was to strengthen relationships with powerholders and get pledges of support from them for the idea of a royal visit to celebrate Fishermead’s 50th birthday next year.

In 1973, the first house was built in Fishermead. Today there are 1,400 households and a proudly diverse community. One thing residents are not proud of is Fishermead’s reputation, which they think is unfairly negative.

Cllr Amanda Marlow, Mayor of MK, told the Assembly: “When MK was founded, the builders moved in pretty early to start building Fishermead. So many of you are original inhabitants of Fishermead, which makes such a difference.  You are encouraging people to stay and to grow their families here and to make a difference to future generations.”

Awards were presented to Fishermead heroes, including The Co-op store staff and security guard Abdul; the Landscaping team of Campbell Park Parish Council (collected by Council Chair, Terry Baines); and PCSO Craig Hawksworth.

Following video testimonies from the children of Willows First School, in which they described all the things they liked about Fishermead, there was a breakdancing display led by Kevin Kallon (bottom right below), who grew up on Fishermead and now runs breakdancing classes at Trinity Centre on Monday evenings.

Young football players of MK Galacticos FC took part in a ‘keepyuppies’ contest, with the £30 cash prize going to winner Mohammed.

Then the choir of Jubilee Wood School sang ‘Count On Me’ while the Royal Visit Petition signatures were counted.

Assembly Co-chair David Hart then announced the total number was 580 signatures (representing nearly half of all Fishermead households). The High Sheriff later described this as “an incredible community building initiative”.

12 Community leaders, including Willows First Headteacher Jo Orbell and Parish Council Chair Terry Baines, took turns to say what it would mean to their institution if a royal visit could be arranged.

Badir Zamaan Mustapha, representing the owner of Sabeeh Market shops on Gurnards Avenue, lifted the roof when he said: “What we must do together is slay the Fishermead reputation dragon and rescue the princess of real Fishermead!”

Then High Sheriff Debbie Brock responded with details of what next steps would be required.  She emphasised the importance of acting quickly to get a chance of a royal visit next summer (see transcript of High Sheriff’s speech) and pledged to contact the Lord Lieutenant stating her support for the idea. “It’s been really inspirational,” she said.

(Afterwards, the High Sheriff wrote: “It was spectacularly well attended with great contributions and real vitality. The collection of signatures was a great community building exercise in its own right and it would be great to keep them as a real public record of the support for the visit and celebrations”).

The organising team is appealing to Fishermead residents to add their signatures to the Royal Visit Petition online (if they haven’t already signed the paper petition) and get involved in preparations for Fishermead’s 50th birthday celebrations in 2023.

A short group evaluation immediately after the Assembly gave a score of 8/9 out of 10, noting the absence of the Headteacher of Jubilee Wood Primary School and insufficient audio amplification. One participant said: “The children were amazing, I would never have dared to do what they did tonight when I was their age, and the people who came with them.” Total turnout was 125 people.

For more information, contact Community Organiser Tom Bulman, fishermead@citizensuk.org, 07962 838685.

Thanks to Sagar Kharecha for photography (up to 7pm) and Maria Affa and Derek Bailey (below) for refreshments.

Other photos from the evening

(Main picture above shows Sophie Richens of Fishermead Trinity Centre.)

The picture below shows Rev Ian Herbert of Fishermead Trinity Church presenting the award to Sharona Edwards, collecting on behalf of The Co-op Convenience Store, three weeks after the Assembly (thanks to Ruth Legh-Smith).

Women enjoy Learn To Ride on Saturday morning

On the morning of Saturday 12th November six women joined a Learn To Ride course provided by MK Council and led by Bikeability trainers Nicky and Maria. The location was Hollin Lane in Stacey Bushes, home of Cycle Saviours who loaned the bikes.

“It was helpful and very enjoyable,” said Kurshida Mirza of Truby’s Garden Tea Room. “When we can we do more?”

A series of five further sessions is being planned for Spring 2023. If you are interested to attend, contact Tom Bulman, cyclingmk@citizensuk.org, tel 07962 838685.

Mayor’s Cycling & Sustainability Awards, Autumn 2022

Following the 50-Day Workplace Challenger recorded by the Better Points app the first phase of MK Schools Cycling Challenge 2022-23, MK Mayor Amanda Marlow presented the awards at a breakfast hosted by Network Rail on 10th November.

35 people attended from 19 MK business, education and voluntary organisations interested in increasing the number of people cycling to work and school in MK.

The presentation began with a film about cycling in MK produced by MK Grid Spinners and was then introduced by Deborah Cooper of MK Cycle Forum; Jo Lewington, Chief Environment & Sustainability Officer of Network Rail; Cllr Zoe Nolan, Cabinet member for Children and Families, MK Council, and Ian Revell, CEO of MK Community Foundation.

Cllr Zoe Nolan

Mayor Amanda Marlow said “encouraging children and young people to cycle is important for their wellbeing” and presented the following awards:

  • Top Cycling School (most bicycles at school one day) – 1st place, Walton High (227), collected by Chris Brittain
  • Top Cycling School (most bicycles at one school per 100 pupils) – 1st place, Watling Academy (10.71), collected by Jo Barford
  • Top Cycling Company (most cycling activities & miles cycled) – 1st place, Gemini Rail Services (285 & 3793) – collected by David Smith, Free Dr. Bike Repair Day prize donated to Watling Academy
  • Top Cycling Company (most cycling activities & miles cycled) – 2nd place, The Open University (208 & 1074) – collected by Jodi Houghton
  • Top Cycling Company (most cycling activities per employee) – ICAEW (35.2) – collected by Liz Tribe
  • Top Cycling Individual (most cycling activities) – 1st place, Ann Kiceluk, World Vision (93) – prize Cycling Helmet (from Cycling CitizensMK)
  • Top Cycling Individual (most cycling activities) – 2nd place, Alan Dewick, Gemini Rail Services (87) – prize £50 voucher (from Better Points)
  • Top Cycling Individual (most cycling activities) – 3rd place, David Smith, Gemini Rail Services (71) – prize T-shirt/tote bag (from MK Council)
  • Winning Walker (most walking activities) – 1st place, Steve Porritt, Gemini Rail Services (221) – prize Bone conducting headphones (from MK Council)
  • Winning Walker (most walking activities) – 2nd place, Charlie Byron, Gemini Rail Services (112) – prize T-shirt/tote bag (from MK Council)
  • C02 Saver (most CO2 saved from walking and sustainable journey modes) – 1st place, Steve Porritt, Gemini Rail Services (265) – prize £50 voucher (from Better Points)
  • C02 Saver (most CO2 saved from walking and sustainable journey modes) – 2nd place, Alan Dewick, Gemini Rail Services (179) – prize T-shirt/tote bag (from MK Council)
  • Most Sustainable Traveler (most sustainable bus journeys – bus, train, MK connect, eScooter, Car Club Journey) – 1st place – Maham Khan, Network Rail (38) – prize £50 voucher (from Better Points)
  • Most Sustainable Traveler (most sustainable bus journeys – bus, train, MK connect, eScooter, Car Club Journey) – 2nd place – Ian Turvey, World Vision (17) – prize T-shirt/tote bag (from MK Council)
  • Top Better Points Company (most engagements per person) – Gemini Rail Services – donation of £200 to Willen Hospice (from Better Points).

“Taking part in competitions like this improves morale in our workplace,” said David Smith of Gemini Rail Services.

Richard Allman, Bikeability Instructor with MK Council, announced the launch of Bikeability Olympics 2023 for primary schools (including video of Bikeability Olympics 2022) and Raeesa Chowdhury of MK Council Transport Planning team gave an update on current initiatives.

Primary school pupil in action at Bikeability Olylmpics 2022

Clive Faine of Abbeygate Development and MK Cycle Forum talked about the importance of continued support for Cycling CitizensMK’s behaviour change agenda, and Malcolm Davies talked about Trek Bikes’ rationale for supporting it.

Then all participants went outside for a photo to celebrate Network Rail’s recent instalment of visitor cycle racks resulting from Cycling CitizensMK’s agitation.

It was announced that this year’s Cycling Santas ride would be on 15th December leaving The Old Bus Station at 6pm, all welcome.

After the photo call, 10 participants attended a ‘How To Promote Cycling In My Institution’ workshop sharing best practice of businesses and schools and agreed a series of follow up actions.

(Thanks to Lisa Hathway of GGS UK for standing in at short notice to take photos of the award winners!)

Fishermead citizens appeal to High Sheriff for big 50th

On Friday 18th November, 50 Fishermead residents will meet with Debbie Brock, the High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire, in a special assembly to celebrate the estate and make plans for its 50th anniversary in 2023. They will present a petition of 500 signatures asking for a royal visit.

In 1973, the first house was built in Fishermead. Today there are 1,400 households and a proudly diverse community. One thing residents are not proud of is Fishermead’s reputation, which they think is unfairly negative.

“Fishermead is still an estate regarded by outsiders as dangerous and a hopeless case,” said resident Thomas O’Brien. “A royal visit could help dispel these prejudices by highlighting the range of people who make this a rich community, and the individuals and organisations who help knit our community together.”

“This is a fantastic place to live,” said another resident. “We have friendly shops, different faith groups, a primary school which Ofsted rates as good, lots of green space and a kids’ play area right in the middle of the estate. I am glad we moved here.”

“I’d like to play with Princess Charlotte at the pirate park,” said the child of a petition signatory.

Also attended by MK Mayor Amanda Marlow and local ward Councillor Donna Fuller, the assembly will celebrate Fishermead’s young and old residents, with videos from Willows First School children, displays of break-dancing and football skills from MK Galacticos FC, food from different countries and testimonies of what Fishermead was like in the early days. Children from Jubilee Wood Primary School will sing ‘Count On Me’ while the number of petition signatures is finally counted, then present it to the High Sheriff and ask “what do we need to do to get a royal visit next year?”.

Leaders from a variety of Fishermead institutions – Mosque, Trinity Church, Frank Howe Court, Pebbles Nursery, Salvation Army, Samaritans, Seventh Day Adventist Church and The Coop store – will be listening and planning together over coming months a celebration for Fishermead’s 50th birthday which will show the best of Fishermead and make residents feel proud.

The assembly will also be attended by members of Campbell Park Parish Council and Milton Keynes Council.

The organising team is appealing to Fishermead residents to do two things to help the campaign for a royal visit:

  1. add your signature to the petition (450 signatures so far). You can do this outside The Coop store most afternoons from 3pm.
  2. attend the assembly at Fishermead Trinity Centre on Friday 18th November, 6.30-8pm. Sign up at tinyurl.com/fish2023.

Local resident Ruth Legh-Smith of Frank Howe Court said: “The more Fishermead people we have in the room next Friday, the more it’ll show the High Sheriff how much we care.”

For further information, contact leaders David Hart davidhartchristian@gmail.com, Pavle Trajkovski ptrajkovski@secadventist.org.uk, or Community Organiser Tom Bulman, fishermead@citizensuk.org, tel 07962 838685.

(Picture shows Averil Aplin (left) with daughter Miyahn, who’ll be singing at the assembly, and campaigner Ruth Legh-Smith, as she collects signatures outside The Coop convenience store.)

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Hong Kong arrivals explore Fishermead

Ten parents of children at Jubilee Wood Primary School in Fishermead, all of whom have arrived in MK in the past year, were shown around the estate by Ruth Legh-Smith of Frank Howe Court and Pastor Pavle Trajkovski of the Seventh Day Adventist Church. They stopped outside and were told about the Medical Centre, The Coop Store, Trinity Community Centre, the Lifehouse Project, Willows First School, Pebbles Day Nursery, the Chinese Overseas Christian Mission (COCM) and New Bradwell Special Needs Department.

“It was interesting to learn about the many different organisations which we didn’t realise existed in Fishermead,” said parent Tony Ka Ming. “The people are friendly. It was a surprise to find ourselves hearing a talk about Fishermead (from Rev Henry Lu at COCM) and being able to ask questions in our own Cantonese language!”

Pictured above: Headteacher of Willows First School, Jo Orbell, greets the group

Watling Academy students cycling to school

Watling Academy is MK’s leading school for the proportion of its students who cycle to school. One in nine students make the journey from home to school by bicycle.

This is the result of a recent survey of all MK secondary schools based on counting the number of bicycles on school premises. Kents Hill Park School and Oakgrove School came a close second and third – see results.

“I cycle to school because if helps me stay fit and healthy,” said Meghan, Year 9 student at Watling Academy. “Once you get into it, it’s part of your daily routine.”

“My parents don’t like using the car,” said Ethan, another student. “My parents don’t like using the car and I live close, so why wouldn’t I?”

“With our school focus on sustainability and being part of the MK community, I’m proud to see so many Watling Academy students on their bikes or walking to school,” said Headteacher Ian Bacon. “I want the headache of where exactly to build another set of bike sheds for our staff and students, we have only just had more installed over the summer and now they are almost full too!”

The results of the schools cycle count raise questions about the different factors affecting cycling at different schools, including access and facilities. But more and more schools are encouraging their students to cycle, and the Cycling CitizensMK project is helping them share best practice.

Watling Academy and other top cycling schools will receive awards at the Mayor’s Cycling Breakfast, hosted by Network Rail, on 10th November.

Pictured above, Watling Academy Headteacher Ian Bacon flanked by students Ethan (left) and Meghan (right).

Fishermead Community Walk part 9.10.22

Fishermead leaders enjoyed another Community Walk on Friday 9th September, visiting and hearing testimony from others of their experiences, power and interest in Fishermead:

Charlie Bird, Manager of The Coop, second from right
Thajudeen Lebbe, President of Fishermead Mosque, third from right
Lesley Little, Jubilee Wood Primary School, third from left

...and Hayley Jones-Seal, Headteacher of New Bradwell SEN Department, third from right in main photo above.

Several actions were agreed, including collaboration to rally further support for the ’20 is plenty’ car speed reduction campaign, action to clear the ‘jungle’ bordered by Bossigny, Talland and Fishermead Boulevard, school visit invitations from the Mosque and Seventh Day Adventist Church and school invitations to participate in the Big Fishermead Assembly at Trinity Community Centre on 16th November.

Fishermead residents petition to reduce car speeds

Following a serious car accident and a series of near misses involving children, more than 500 residents of Fishermead have signed a petition demanding slower car speeds.

“My 12-year-old niece was killed in a car accident and my own kids have had their own near misses,” said Sophie Richens (photo below). “For the climate we need our kids walking to school, but only if it’s safe from speeding cars.”

Sophie is one of a fast-growing group of Fishermead residents campaigning for car speeds to be reduced to 20mph on the estate.

David Hart, one of the campaign leaders and a resident of Fishermead for more than 30 years (pictured below), said: “The design of the estate streets mean that in many places cars travel inches away from children on the pavement.  Research shows that a 20mph speed limit would mean a sevenfold reduction in the change of serious injury compared to 30mph. We just need a majority of residents to sign the petition.”

One Saturday, following a short training including a briefing from the Police on safe door-knocking techniques, campaigners visited more than two hundred houses and flats to gather signatures for the petition.  Campaigners also stood outside the Co-Op collecting signatures.

A group of campaigners sets off to collect signatures.

The petition was submitted to MK Council on 31st August and is now in process of consideration.  Campaigners are confident the Council will agree to implement a new 20mph zone across Fishermead during 2023, coinciding with Fishermead’s 50th birthday celebrations.

If you haven’t added your name to the petition and would like to, you can do so online by clicking tinyurl.com/20mph4us.

Tom Bulman, Community Organiser for a project to build the power of Fishermead Citizens, funded by MK Community Foundation, said: “We hope this campaign will bring the community together to make a difference on Fishermead. Most residents feel proud of their estate and want to feel safe. This will make them feel safer.”

Fishermead break dancer Kevin Kallon performs at Commonwealth Games

27-year-old Meaway Kevin ‘MK’ Kallon, who grew up in Fishermead and attended Stantonbury International school, performed his break dancing routine live at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham last week.  This is the first time the Commonwealth Games has showcased break dancing, which will be introduced as a new sport in the Olympic Games in Paris in 2024.

“I felt so proud to be dancing on this stage,” said Kevin.  “I felt like it was me MK (Meaway Kevin) doing it for my home city Milton Keynes!”

Kevin was born in war-torn Sierra Leone, from where his parents fled to the Netherlands before settling in Milton Keynes in 2008.

“At Stantonbury I thrived in the performing arts and sports,” said Kevin.  “I already knew about physical discipline from my dad teaching me karate and went on to do well at tennis, free running, gymnastics and capoeira.

“In the end I realised that dance was my thing because of the freedom and creativity it offered.  Breaking (break dancing) took over and I’ve been doing it ever since.”

Today, alongside his day job as a finance consultant, Kevin runs a break dancing club at Fishermead Trinity Centre and is organising a national break dancing competition in Fishermead on 22nd October.  The club is open for lessons every Monday.  Kevin also sits on the Pre-Founding Committee for Fishermead Citizens Alliance, which plans to launch in November.

“Having spent my formative years in Fishermead, I want to contribute and better my community through dance and fitness,” says Kevin.  “My dream is to attract the right sponsorship to achieve my goals.”

Click to see how MK Citizen and MKFM Radio reported…and BBC Look East TV below.

Kevin Kallon features on BBC Look East TV

MK new kid on block for cycling

120 people from across Milton Keynes gathered for a short cycle ride through the city centre to celebrate MK’s new city status and recent increases in cycling to school and work in MK delivered by Cycling CitizensMK. See:

“I always thought Cambridge was the cycling capital of our region,” said ITV News reporter Matt Hudson, “but there’s a new kid on the block. The city of Milton Keynes wants to be the place which has the most people using pedal power.”

The ride was organised by Cycling CitizensMK, a project funded by MK Council. The riders included MK Councillors, business and school leaders, primary school pupils, teenagers and vintage bicyclists in their 70s. See film produced by Real Solid Media.

10-year-old Luca Galeanu, who recently helped Bradwell Village School win MK’s (and UK’s) first Bikeability Olympics competition between primary schools, said: “Cycling is important because I learn new things and make new friends, plus it keeps you healthy.”

Teenager Charlotte of MK Youth Cabinet said: “I really enjoy cycling with my friends, I just find it’s an easy way to get around.”

“Cycling is a Council priority,” said Cllr Mick Legg, Deputy Mayor of Milton Keynes (below), who presented the Mayor’s Cycling Awards. “It goes to our cycling strategy and our target to halve our carbon emissions by 2030. We’ve long been a supporter of cycling. We’ve got over 300 miles of redway network.”

“For us it’s a real win-win,” said Richard Scott of Volkswagen Financial Services (above), winner of the award for large company with the highest number of cycle trips per employee. “Cycling is good for our colleagues’ health, not only physical but also mental health. Our group cycle rides in the evenings help camaraderie, bring colleagues together.”

“Cycling Citizens MK has given us motivation to get out and about in MK,” said Liz Tribe, Senior Employer Training and CPD Support Executive at the Institute of Chartered Accountants, winner of the Top Large Companies (average trips per employee) award.

The Mayor’s Cycling Awards presentation took place on Thursday 14th July at The Old Bus Station (schedule), following a Vintage Bicycle Competition (see bikes) and Bunny Hop and Wheelie stunt contests (see trailer) – award winners listed below. MC for the presentation was Ian Revell, CEO of MK Community Foundation.

MK Council’s Highways department received a Special Thanks award, presented by Dylan Murray, Deputy Member of Youth Parliament MK South, and collected by Andy Dickinson, Client Services Manager of MK Highways. “Without your hard work maintaining our roads and redways,” said Ian Revell, “none of us would be able to cycle in MK.”

Andy Dickinson receives Special Thanks award and garland designed by local artist Philippa Tipper.

The awards were preceded by a short performance from MK champion break dancer Kevin Kallon and hot snacks from Namji’s Restaurant were served during the awards presentation.

Breakdancer Kevin Kallon

Former Mayor Cllr Mohammed Khan told the riders how proud he had been to see city status achieved during his time as MK Mayor and how important cycling was to MK’s vision of itself as a city.

The riders set off for the short ride to Campbell Park shortly after 6pm.

The ride proceeded up Midsummer Boulevard.

And arrived at the Light Pyramid in Campbell Park for a final celebration.

The award winners (photos below)

  • Category 1: MK’s Top Large Companies (average trips per employee):
    • ICAEW (0.89) – Liz Tribe, Senior Employer Training and CPD Support Executive
    • Volkswagen Financial Services (0.76) – Richard Scott, Chair of Employee Forum
    • The Open University (0.48) – Nick Braithwaite, Head of Sustainability
    • Gemini Rail Services UK (0.45) – David Smith, Change Control Manager
    • Red Bull Technology (0.35) – Phill Elvidge, Production Control
  • Category 2: MK’s Top Secondary Schools (average trips per student & staff member):
    • The Radcliffe School (1.29) – Paula Lawson, Headteacher
    • Watling Academy (0.51) – Ian Bacon, Headteacher
    • Ousedale School (0.26) – Tim Coffey, Teacher
  • Category 3: MK Bikeability Olympics Awards for primary schools:
    • Gold Award: Giles Brook School
    • Silver Award: Bradwell Village School
    • Bronze Award: Oxley Park School
  • Category 4: Contest Awards organised by Cycle Saviours and Iain Talbot
    • Stunt Contest Gold Award (£100 cash prize): Brandon
    • Stunt Contest Silver Award (£50 cash prize): Tim
    • Stunt Contest Bronze Award (£50 Madison voucher): Alex
    • Vintage Bicycle Gold Award (£50 Madison voucher): Allan
    • Vintage Bicycle Silver Award (£10 John Lewis voucher): Barry
    • Vintage Bicycle Competition Bronze Award (£10 John Lewis voucher): Steve
  • Category 4: Special Award
    • MK Council Head of Highways – Thank you for providing our roads and redways. Collected by Andy Dickinson, Client Services Manager.

The contests

Bunny Hop

Vintage Bicycles

Iain Talbot (front) and Chris Bridgman

Award winners

Business winners

Secondary schools winner

Paula Lawson, Headteacher of The Radcliffe School

Primary Schools (Bikeability Olympics)

Vintage Bicycle contest winners

Stunt contest winners

All winners

Special thanks to MK Development Partnership for permitting use of the area outside The Old Bus Station and Ringway Infrastructure Services for providing cones and tape to mark the area off for safety.

See how MKFM Radio trailed the event.

For more information, contact:

Note: Category 1 and 2 awards were based on business and schools’ performances over four cycling competitions 2021-22 (Bike Month June 2021Cycle September 2021Winter Wheelers 2021Ride Anywhere March 2022)

Photos by Jane Russell Photography.

Film: click here to see Thomas Gray’s fantastic new film about cycling in MK, Grid Spinners.

Future rides. Cycling enthusiasts meet for a short ride through CMK every Thursday 5.30pm. Just show up at The Old Bus Station.

Fishermead Community Walk part 2

Five leaders from four Fishermead institutions visited four others on another sunny day in Fishermead. Those giving short talks at their institution’s doors were: Mike Kelly, Director of MK Samaritans; Jo Orbell, Headteacher of Willows First School; Clare Doughty, Assistant Support Worker at the Salvation Army Life House; Don Mahon, Treasurer of Fishermead Trinity Church; and Gonzalez, Deputy Manager of The Coop Convenience Store.

After the walk, Clare (pictured outside the entrance to Life House above), wrote, “How great it was to get to know you all and hear your interesting talks about each institution”, and reached out to offer marketing support to Mike and metal fabrication support to Don.

Listening to Jo Orbell (second from left) outisde Willows First School
Listening to Don Mahon (second from right) outside Trinity Church and Centre

A Community Walk part 3 is being planned for September.

Primary pupils compete in MK’s first Bikeability Olympics

To celebrate MK as a cycling city, children from nine MK primary schools showed off their cycling skills in MK’s first ever Bikeability Olympics competition.  Events included an Obstacle Course, Relay Race, Slow Race and Road Ride testing Bikeability skills. See:

Obstacle Course

This was the culmination of a year in which 3,000 pupils have been trained to achieve Bikeability levels 1 and 2 in 40 primary schools.  The event was the first of its kind – with branding permission from The Bikeability Trust – and a celebration of MK’s promotion of cycling as clean, low-cost and healthy way to get to travel around the city.

The winning school was Giles Brook Primary School, whose team of five contestants achieved two Golds and one Bronze medal.  Bradwell Village took second place, with pupil Luca Galeanu achieving the highest individual medal tally of all contestants, and Oxley Park came third (individual medalists listed below).

Winners Giles Brook School with Jo Lewington of Network Rail

Jo Lewington, Chief Environment and Sustainability Officer of Network Rail, who presented the medals, said: “We are always looking for new ways to promote sustainability.  We’re delighted to have Network Rail staff playing their part as volunteer marshals at this Bikeability Olympics event.”

Volunteer marshals from Network Rail with Thank You trophy

Councillor Lauren Townsend, Cabinet Member for Public Realm who attended Bikeability Olympics, said: “This is a great way to encourage children to cycle more.  We know it’s good for health and can save money as well as saving the environment.  It’s impressive that we have so many young people cycling safely to school.  MK Council is proud to have the ambitious goal of becoming the UK’s leading city for cycling infrastructure”.

Teacher Luke Bartishel from Orchard Academy primary school said: “Our school has purchased enough bicycles for all our pupils to do Bikeability training.  The Bikeability Olympics was an amazing event, a great idea, and the kids loved it.”

Slow Race

Bikeability Instructor Nicky Newlands, who has trained many children this year, said: “It’s wonderful to see how much the cyclists have improved and now competing together.  I hope to see many more next year, please talk to your school.”

Pump Relay Race

Dave Lewis, the Bikeability Instructor who led the ‘Quadrathon’ Road Ride through Loughton, said: “What an amazing afternoon. The students on the road ride were all fantastic, and as an instructor it’s such a proud moment to reconnect with former students.” 

Daniel Mullins, Operations Director of Ringway Infrastructure Services, said: “This is a fantastic event and we’re delighted to be supporting the event by lending some traffic management equipment to help mark out the various contest areas and help the children to cycle safely while competing.”

Martin Swift of Cycle Saviours, who created the unique Bikeability Olympics trophies, said: “Cycle Saviours is proud to have supported this event, helping younger children enjoy the fresh air and exercise.”

Luca Galeanu of Bradwell Village School, Victor Ludorum

Jonathan Stone, Manager of Trek Bikes’ new store at Campbell Wharf, which lent bicycles for the Bike Detectives contest, said:  “We want more people in MK to cycle.  It is great to be involved in the local community and we are always on the lookout for opportunities to help with local cycling events and initiatives to get more bums on bikes!”

MK Deputy-Mayor Mick Legg presented certificates to the school winners of Bikeability Olympics at the Mayor’s Cycling Awards and City Status Cycle Ride the following week.

Click here to see how MKFM promoted it.

In post-event feedback, parents and teachers scored 4.8/5.0 ‘the likelihood I would recommend the event to someone else’ and 4.7/5.0 ‘my feeling that the event would encourage the young people involved to cycle more often’.

The medalists

Photo galleries. All photos by Jane Russell Photography

The contests

The winners

MK celebrates city status with cycle ride through city centre

120 people from across Milton Keynes gathered for a short cycle ride through the city centre to celebrate MK’s new city status and recent increases in cycling to school and work through Cycling CitizensMK. See:

“I always thought Cambridge was the cycling capital of our region,” said ITV News reporter Matt Hudson, “but there’s a new kid on the block. The city of Milton Keynes wants to be the place which has the most people using pedal power.”

The ride was organised by Cycling CitizensMK, a project funded by MK Council. The riders included MK Councillors, business and school leaders, primary school pupils, teenagers and vintage bicyclists in their 70s. See film produced by Real Solid Media.

10-year-old Luca Galeanu, who recently helped Bradwell Village School win MK’s (and UK’s) first Bikeability Olympics competition between primary schools, said: “Cycling is important because I learn new things and make new friends, plus it keeps you healthy.”

Teenager Charlotte of MK Youth Cabinet said: “I really enjoy cycling with my friends, I just find it’s an easy way to get around.”

“Cycling is a Council priority,” said Cllr Mick Legg, Deputy Mayor of Milton Keynes (below), who presented the Mayor’s Cycling Awards. “It goes to our cycling strategy and our target to halve our carbon emissions by 2030. We’ve long been a supporter of cycling. We’ve got over 300 miles of redway network.”

“For us it’s a real win-win,” said Richard Scott of Volkswagen Financial Services (above), winner of the award for large company with the highest number of cycle trips per employee. “Cycling is good for our colleagues’ health, not only physical but also mental health. Our group cycle rides in the evenings help camaraderie, bring colleagues together.”

The Mayor’s Cycling Awards presentation took place on Thursday 14th July at The Old Bus Station (schedule), following a Vintage Bicycle Competition (see bikes) and Bunny Hop and Wheelie stunt contests (see trailer) – award winners listed below. MC for the presentation was Ian Revell, CEO of MK Community Foundation.

MK Council’s Highways department received a Special Thanks award, presented by Dylan Murray, Deputy Member of Youth Parliament MK South, and collected by Andy Dickinson, Client Services Manager of MK Highways. “Without your hard work maintaining our roads and redways,” said Ian Revell, “none of us would be able to cycle in MK.”

Andy Dickinson receives Special Thanks award and garland designed by local artist Philippa Tipper.

The awards were preceded by a short performance from MK champion break dancer Kevin Kallon and hot snacks from Namji’s Restaurant were served during the awards presentation.

Breakdancer Kevin Kallon

Former Mayor Cllr Mohammed Khan told the riders how proud he had been to see city status achieved during his time as MK Mayor and how important cycling was to MK’s vision of itself as a city.

The riders set off for the short ride to Campbell Park shortly after 6pm.

The ride proceeded up Midsummer Boulevard.

And arrived at the Light Pyramid in Campbell Park for a final celebration.

The award winners (photos below)

  • Category 1: MK’s Top Large Companies (average trips per employee):
    • ICAEW (0.89) – Liz Tribe, Senior Employer Training and CPD Support Executive
    • Volkswagen Financial Services (0.76) – Richard Scott, Chair of Employee Forum
    • The Open University (0.48) – Nick Braithwaite, Head of Sustainability
    • Gemini Rail Services UK (0.45) – David Smith, Change Control Manager
    • Red Bull Technology (0.35) – Phill Elvidge, Production Control
  • Category 2: MK’s Top Secondary Schools (average trips per student & staff member):
    • The Radcliffe School (1.29) – Paula Lawson, Headteacher
    • Watling Academy (0.51) – Ian Bacon, Headteacher
    • Ousedale School (0.26) – Tim Coffey, Teacher
  • Category 3: MK Bikeability Olympics Awards for primary schools:
    • Gold Award: Giles Brook School
    • Silver Award: Bradwell Village School
    • Bronze Award: Oxley Park School
  • Category 4: Contest Awards organised by Cycle Saviours and Iain Talbot
    • Stunt Contest Gold Award (£100 cash prize): Brandon
    • Stunt Contest Silver Award (£50 cash prize): Tim
    • Stunt Contest Bronze Award (£50 Madison voucher): Alex
    • Vintage Bicycle Gold Award (£50 Madison voucher): Allan
    • Vintage Bicycle Silver Award (£10 John Lewis voucher): Barry
    • Vintage Bicycle Competition Bronze Award (£10 John Lewis voucher): Steve
  • Category 4: Special Award
    • MK Council Head of Highways – Thank you for providing our roads and redways. Collected by Andy Dickinson, Client Services Manager.

The contests

Bunny Hop

Vintage Bicycles

Iain Talbot (front) and Chris Bridgman

Award winners

Business winners

Secondary schools winner

Paula Lawson, Headteacher of The Radcliffe School

Primary Schools (Bikeability Olympics)

Vintage Bicycle contest winners

Stunt contest winners

All winners

Special thanks to MK Development Partnership for permitting use of the area outside The Old Bus Station and Ringway Infrastructure Services for providing cones and tape to mark the area off for safety.

See how MKFM Radio trailed the event.

For more information, contact:

Note: Category 1 and 2 awards were based on business and schools’ performances over four cycling competitions 2021-22 (Bike Month June 2021Cycle September 2021Winter Wheelers 2021Ride Anywhere March 2022)

Photos by Jane Russell Photography.

Film: click here to see Thomas Gray’s fantastic new film about cycling in MK, Grid Spinners.

Future rides. Cycling enthusiasts meet for a short ride through CMK every Thursday 5.30pm. Just show up at The Old Bus Station.

Learning from Fishermead Community Walk

Nine leaders from Fishermead institutions took part in a Community Walk to find out from one another how they see life and times in Fishermead.

The group stopped off at the Seventh Day Adventist Church, Pebbles Nursery (pictured above), the playing field, Campbell Park Parish Council office (main picture), Frank Howe Court and the Chinese Overseas Christian Mission, to hear from leaders at each institution what they do and why, what they see and what they think about it.

Mike Kelly, Director of Samaritans MK, said: “I was really impressed by the strong sense of community support within Fishermead and the range of work being undertaken by the voluntary and other sectors in support of local residents.”

One of the issues discussed during the walk was car speeds. Walkers observed one particularly hazardous pedestrian/cycle crossing at the junction of Pentewan Gate and Child’s Way (pictured below), which is unmarked.

The Community Walk will be continued on Friday 15th July at 10am. If you’re interested to join, please contact Ruth Legh-Smith.

Onwards and Upwards for Climate Campaign

Last September at the Citizens:MK Climate Assembly, the Bishop of Oxford agreed to our request for a meeting to discuss Climate Income (‘the fast and fair way to tackle the climate emergency’) and whether he might use his position in the House of Lords to promote the idea.

He has a very full schedule, so December was the first available date… and then just beforehand, he suffered a nasty bout of Covid. Finally, on 25th April this yea, the meeting took place.

The omens were promising: he had already raised the question of Climate Income in the Lords as a result of the assembly; he had put aside two hours to meet us; and he was bringing two advisors!  All the more reason for the representatives of the campaign team – pictured – to prepare carefully.  We agreed our roles: Catherine would convene, we scripted our contributions, and built a break for 1-2-l conversations into a plan that included reporting back to each other on developments in our climate work since September. We were precise about the two things we would ask for from him.

So what happened?  Lauren presented our first ‘ask’: we wanted to cite him as a supporter of Climate Income and of our campaign, as we took it national through the Citizens network. Would he consent to this?  The reply was immediate – yes indeed, and without the conditions one might have expected (e.g., that statements needed to be cleared through his office in advance).

Then our second ‘ask’: would he invite us to the Lords to a meeting, whether formal or informal, as he thought best, to help increase understanding and support for Climate Income among parliamentarians?

Again he replied positively, though not unconditionally.  Characteristically thoughtful, he said he needed time to consider when and how the meeting could best be ‘anchored’ in the processes of the Lords (and its Climate and Environment committee in particular – of which he is a member).  Then he gave us an important and unexpected bonus  – direct access to his two advisors (both of whom were clearly willing, thoughtful, and very well informed on Parliamentary processes as well as climate issues).

It had been an intense two hours including some lively exchanges around how to bring the need for rising carbon prices into the policy process and public debate.  We left feeling tired but elated – and certainly more powerful. We had strengthened and extended our relationships into the political establishment. We had an important ally for what we see as our next steps – both locally, and working across the Citizens UK network to spread this word and bring other chapters on board, turning it into a national campaign.   All that is needed is lots more hard work! – if you might like to be involved, please get in touch.

Councillor pledges to support Fishermead citizens’ agenda

23 Fishermead residents and workers representing 12 institutions attended an Accountability Assembly to engage with local Councillor Donna Fuller (top right of main picture and below).

Following a live BBC Look East broadcast from the Trinity Centre earlier in the week, they wanted her reaction to their agenda for change developed at a Delegates Assembly in March.

The Assembly was hosted by the Chinese Overseas Christian Mission on Pentewan Avenue, Fishermead, and began with a welcome from Eric Shan Lin (above) followed by a moment of silence in memory of local Cllr Carole Baume, ‘a special kind of politician’ who recently died.

Representing the local Council electoral candidate from the Labour Party, who was unable to attend, and in the absence of Conservative and LibDem candidates who had also been invited, sitting Councillor Fuller was asked to respond to a series of questions about Road Safety, Crime, Community and the Environment (see below).

Councillor Fuller responded positively to all the asks and pledged to work with the developing Fishermead Citizens Alliance to achieve its goals. She said: “For me this is about building a relationship with you. I am more than happy to represent and advocate for you. I just need you to tell me what you need. I personally commit and (if she is elected) I am sure Amber will too.”

Cllr Fuller’s support was welcomed and it was agreed there would be follow-up meetings with her.

In post-event evaluation, leaders gave a score of 8 out of 10.

Hear audio of the Assembly (with thanks to Eric).

From left to right above: Kay Smith of MK Community Foundation; Maria Affa of MGB Community Service; Jo Orbell, Headteacher of The Willows First School; and Cath Broadhead, Chair of Governors, The Willows First School.
Ruth Legh-Smith on door duty

(Photos by Zdenka Mgbolu.)

The Asks

Road Safety

  • How would you be able to engage with your local supporters to assist with the petition
  • campaign to ensure we gather as many signatures as possible?
  • If elected how would you support the campaign on the local council?

Crime

  • If elected, how would you make crime reduction on Fishermead a key priority?
  • How would you support the establishment of a local shopkeepers forum to share

Community

  • Would you commit to meeting the community at the breakfast club on a monthly basis?
  • When we have identified a long-term solution for managing a community café, would you commit to support in any areas we encounter difficulties?

Environment

  • Will you support local initiatives (clearing up footpaths, organising a community garden, landscaping) on Fishermead both financially and logistically?
  • Will you make the maintenance of Fishermead (landscaping, waste removal, street lights, roads and pavements, proper signage) your priority by facilitating the communication with different authorities and advocating on our behalf?

Fishermead leaders talk to BBC TV Look East

Four Fishermead leaders took part in a live BBC TV Look East broadcast from Fishermead Trinity Centre, answering questions about the issues facing Fishermead in the upcoming Council elections. David Hart (Fishermead Community Association), Sophie Richens (Fishermead Trinity Centre), Ruth Legh-Smith (Frank Howe Court) and Thajudeen Lebbe (Fishermead Islamic Centre) all talked individually to BBC reporter Ben Schofield about the issues affecting them most: lack of relationship with local councillors, fast-driving cars and maintenance of children’s play spaces.

See recording of broadcast.

Mayor celebrates cycling with egg hunt through city centre

MK Mayor Mohammed Khan presented awards to businesses and schools for their achievements in the Ride Anywhere 21st-27th March competitions. The Radcliffe School, The Open University and Volkswagen Financial Services topped the leader boards (see full results for businesses and schools).

In video clip above, Mayor Khan prepares for awards presentation

Following free Dr Bike services from Cycle Saviours, and an introduction by MK Community Foundation CEO Ian Revell at 5pm, the rally of 20 cyclists heard from Paula Lawson, Headteacher of The Radcliffe School, about how the school has substantially increased student cycling among students in recent months. Then the awards were presented by Mayor Khan (pictures of winners, with thanks to Adekunle Odunewu of Realsolid Media, and listing below).

Then there was an Easter Egg Treasure Hunt on bicycles (devised by Vernon Young and Vankata Krishnan), which involved cyclists following clues to collect mystery letters en route to the Light Pyramid in Campbell Park (on Midsummer and Silbury Boulevards) to make two magic words, revealed as ‘BETTER POINTS’. This was to celebrate MK Council’s launch of the new Better Points app which rewards MK residents’ sustainable travel choices. The overall winner of the large chocolate Easter egg, donated by John Lewis, was Miles Gray, aged 11.

  • School Cycling awards
  • Top Cycling School (students and staff) – most trips, 1st place – The Radcliffe School (279 trips) – collected by Paula Lawson, Headteacher and Top Encourager (6 new riders encouraged)
  • Top Cycling School (students and staff) – most trips, 2nd place – Ousedale School (28 trips)
  • Top Cycling School (students and staff) – most trips, 3rd place – Lord Grey School (19 trips)
  • Top Student Rider (most miles), 1st place  – Arthur Williams, The Radcliffe School (218 miles)
  • Top Staff Rider (most trips) – Steve Truan, The Radcliffe School (24 trips)
  • Top Staff Rider (most miles) – Jason Falkner, The Radcliffe School (209 miles)
  • Other awards: Top Student Rider (most miles), 2nd place – Jude Chamberlain, Ousedale School (118 miles); Top Student Rider (most miles) 3rd Place – Luke Marshall, Shenley Brook End School (113 miles).
  • Business Cycling awards
  • Open University – 1st most riders (41), trips (158) and miles (2099) – collected by Jodi Houghton
  • Volkswagen Financial Services (VWFS) – 2nd highest average trips per employee, 2nd most miles (842) and 3rd most trips (49) – collected by Mel Welburn
  • Other awards: ICAEW – highest average trips per employee; Network Rail – 2nd most trips (52); Gemini Rail Services – 3rd highest average trips per employee; Top Riders (most trips):  Christopher Charles, Network Rail (13); Elizabeth Tribe (9);  David Smith, Gemini Rail Services (8); Top Riders (most miles):  Chris Binch, Cranfield University (187); Andy Sutton, The Open University (183);  David Black, Volkswagen Financial Services (167).

The next cycle rally in Station Square will be at 3.3-6pm on Thursday 30th June 2022.

Fishermead Delegates agree agenda for action

As the building of the Fishermead Citizens alliance progresses, 23 leaders from eight Fishermead institutions and six guests attended a Delegates Assembly at Frank Howe Court to plan actions on four issues affecting residents and workers in Fishermead: Road safety, Crime, Community and Environment.

Crime breakgout group planning action

The organisations represented (and no. delegates) were: 7th Day Adventist Church (4), Action Speaks (2), Chinese Overseas Church Mission (3), Fishermead Community Association (2), Trinity Church and Trinity Centre (3), Frank Howe Court (6) and Salvation Army Life House project (3). Apologies were received from Fishermead Mosque, Jubilee Wood Primary and Willows First schools, due to the event being held on a Sunday.

Rev Ian Herbert

After an introduction and short speeches from Rev Ian Herbert of Trinity Church, and Derek Stanley, a guest from Unity Park (provider of services to the homeless), and a written update from the Neighbourhood Police Team presented by David Hart of Fishermead Community Association, delegates were asked to join breakout groups to plan actions on each of the four main issues.

Environment breakout group planning action.

The actions agreed are wide-ranging – see details here – and were The actions agreed are wide-ranging and include implementing a 20mph zone for safe driving, a Neighbours Day, Improved street-lighting and Litter-picking teams (details here).  The actions were summarised by Ophelia Cole of Action Speaks and David Hart of Fishermead Community Association.

Ophelia Cole & David Hart

It was agreed that a sub-group of Fishermead’s institutional leaders trained by Citizens UK would organise a meeting with the candidates for MK Council’s Woughton & Fishermead ward one week before the election. This meeting will take place on Thursday 28th April, 6.30pm at Chinese Overseas Church Mission on Padstow Avenue.

In a post-Assembly evaluation, delegates agreed a score of 9/10 for the Assembly, noting that the turnout of attendees could have included leaders from other invited institutions, e.g. the two Fishermead schools, if the event had been held on a weekday evening rather than a Sunday afternoon. Thanks were given to Frank Howe Court for hosting so warmly and to resident Ruth Legh-Smith for contributing substantially to organising it.

Main picture above: Ruth Legh-Smith, presenting action planned to reduce car speeds to 20mph

Photos by Zdenka Mgbolu.

Mayor celebrates MK citizens cycling more this winter

According to data from online platform Love To Ride, MK residents have bicycled more this winter than last winter. Results from two ‘Winter Wheelers‘ competitions promoted by Cycling CitizensMK, funded by MK Council with prizes from John Lewis and Trek Bikes, show a total of 1,500 rides covering nearly 14,000 miles between 1st-25th December.

Among the top 15 large companies participating, there were overall increases (compared with last year) in the number of riders (up 15% to 124), the number of cycle trips (up 43% to 817) and the number of miles cycled (up 10% to 9,761). The leading cycling companies were ICAEW, The Open University, Gemini Rail Services, Network Rail and Volkswagen Financial Services.

Among the top five schools, 65 riders made 791 cycle trips covering 4,083 miles, The leading schools were The Radcliffe, Ousedale and Watling Academy.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to be out in front on cycling,” said Paula Lawson, Headteacher of The Radcliffe School. “Students and staff have really enjoyed participating in the competition. We’re proud to be contributing environmental and health benefits simply by cycling.”

Awards will be presented by MK Mayor Mohammed Khan at a celebration Bicycling Breakfast on 17th February hosted by Willen Hospice. (Mayor Khan testing his winter cycling skills on Station Square (cycle courtesy of Cycle Saviours.)

Similar competitions for businesses and for schools will commence in March.

For more information see www.citizensmk.org.uk/campaigns/cycling-citizensmk.

Lynx lays on cabling for Fishermead Community Centre

(Pictured above: Connor O’Dell, Bertie Canavan and Lee Mould of Lynx Networks)

Fishermead Trinity Community Centre now has fast speed connection to the internet and is a step closer to its vision of providing an internet cafe for local residents. Technicians from Bletchley-based Lynx Networks Plc laid the cables as an in-kind donation to the Centre agreed between Lynx MD Alan Bullen and Trinity Centre trustee Heinz Elbers.

“Business is a little light for us this mid-winter and we’re pleased to put our spare resources to a good cause,” said Alan Bullen. “We can see the value of providing an internet cafe here.”

Alan Bullen, MD, Lynx Networks

“It’s a huge boost to our vision,” said Heinz Elbers. “i couldn’t believe it when I explained the problem and Alan just said yes we can help. This is a good news story for business and community working together.

Heinz Elbers, Trinity Centre trustee

“With many thanks to Lynx Networks for the network cabling installation and the partnership with Vodafone to provide their Gigafast fibre-optic connection we can now offer the perfect location for computer-based training courses, as well as the ad-hoc zoom call, after-school clubs for online homework or even network games. As opposed to an often poor and unstable wi-fi connection, all halls can now provide a gigabit network connection. This is part one of a wider story as the cabling outside the office is the first big step towards our Digital Inclusion pilot project. ”

This win follows the summer launch of the internet cafe campaign, when MK Mayor Khan presented 35 laptops donated by Veritas Digital (see story).

Centre trustee Don Mahon said: “It’s been really hard up to now because the only reliable connection was in the office, so we could only help one or two users at a time. Now we can get internet anywhere in the Centre, even in the hall here where we hold church services on Sundays.”

Lee Wootton, lead cabler for Lynx, said: “it took us longer than we initially expected, getting around the brick and glass in the building. But at Lynx we pride ourselves on sticking to our word, and it’s been enjoyable to deliver this. it’s good for us to do good.”

Pictured above (left to right): Lee Wootton, Barry Stone (Lynx), Don Mahon.