On Saturday 31st October, MK Dons Sport & Education Trust received its Living Wage accreditation certificate in a pitch side presentation before MK Dons’ home game against Hull City.
The certificate was presented by Debbie Wilson, Citizens:mk’s Living Wage campaign leader. ““Our campaign is going from strength to strength,” said Debbie. “We now have 14 accredited Living Wage employers, including some of MK’s biggest employers. As a big MK Dons fan myself, it’s great to have MK Dons SET on board.”
John Cove, CEO for MK Dons SET (pictured with Debbie), said: “As soon as we knew that it was a viable option for the MK Dons SET, we worked towards becoming an accredited Living Wage employer. We hope this goes a small way to showing our appreciation to everyone within our organisation.”
On the morning of Saturday 24th October, 10 parishioners from St. Mary Magdalene’s Catholic Church in Stony Stratford attended a 90-minute training session on ‘Organising for the Year of Mercy’.
“It was interesting and enjoyable,” said Anna Kearns. “It wasn’t until near the end, when I saw the timeline for the Citizens:mk assemblies in February and April, that I realised how our local community organising will contribute to the power of the alliance.”
20 people representing 11 institutions, including non-members of Citizens:mk, met at the Civic Offices on the evening of Wednesday 21st October to discuss next steps in the campaign. Also attending was Jeremy Beake, Corporate Equality & Diversity Officer for MK Council, who will be over-seeing the spend of central government funding to accommodate Syrian refugees in MK.
It was resolved for a sub-group to meet on 4th November to plan another large group meeting on 11th November, when it is expected that each I institution will pledge commitment to action to achieve a set of goals agreed by the group.
Meeting Amazing People
Water Eaton was once a tiny hamlet on the edge of Bletchley, but a lot has changed since then. There were people at our Weaving Trust event who remembered the days when only a couple of buses passed through each week and the nearest hospital was in Aylesbury! They reminded us that much of the change has been a good thing – and that local people have shaped their community by working together. The church in Water Eaton would not have been built if local people hadn’t raised the money needed to buy the land…
At this Weaving Trust event we looked back but also looked forward. New relationships were formed as people from different cultures, faiths and backgrounds shared their experiences of life in MK. Amazing people met each other – and made plans to do more together. Weaving Trust may seem like a small thing but it makes a big difference.
On Saturday 26 September, Rob Fletcher, Duty Manager at Lidl in Oldbrook, was pleasantly surprised by a group from Citizens:mk who came to present him with a ‘Thank You’ card for the Company declaring that it would be paying the Living Wage to its employees. In fact, Lidl has gone beyond this, since it will pay its staff more than £8 per hour, which is higher than the Living Wage of £7.85 (outside London). It is the first retailer in Milton Keynes to commit to the Living Wage.
Rob said that it was a no brainer for the Company as paying the Living Wage will lead to happier, motivated, and committed people. It is anticipated that Lidl will attend the Citizens:mk Business Breakfast planned for 5th November, to encourage other employers to follow their lead.
On Friday 25th September, 9 guests visited MK Academy for afternoon tea and a discussion about how to deal with the problem of litter inside the school and beyond the school gates.
Local resident Margo talked of her experiences having rubbish thrown into her garden.
Students resolved to create a campaign team to meet weekly and work with sixth formers to reduce the problem.
On Saturday 12th September, 30 guests from Citizens:mk institutions visited the Islamic Centre on Coffee Hall. Here they were greeted by Kurshida Mirza and others who had prepared food and drink, then heard testimony from Michael Willis of St. Frideswide’s Church about how it felt to be visiting a mosque.
Then there was a carousel of 7-minute conversations between hosts and guests, culminating in a round-up of comments on how they experience had made people feel. A wordle of those comments is pictured here.