Creating social value with community partnership

Lots of organisations work with charities and good causes locally. They do this because it is a positive contribution to their community, and to give their staff an opportunity to volunteer and develop their skills. And there are often, whisper it, tax benefits as well…

At YourMK we want to do this, but for us it is something more central.

YourMK is all about communities.  Everything we do has to be driven by the values we have and the communities we were set up to serve.  It is our responsibility to make the investment decisions about regeneration, but we will do so only after extensive and comprehensive engagement and involvement of the communities it will impact on.  Only when we have spent significant time talking to and listening to people who live on the estates will possible solutions be proposed.  This is what we mean when we say our approach is community led and commercially framed.

So when we get involved with local organisations we only do so if they share our vision for the area and the values that drive us.  This is why we are working with the Milton Keynes Food Bank.

Like YourMK, the Food Bank believes in developing communities. Like YourMK, they believe in the power of people.  They know the power that community networks can have; providing critical support when it is most needed.  And they have seen, as we have, the power of individuals to find a way out of challenging situations and build a good future for themselves and their families.

Ironically, the Food Bank also shares our view that we want a society where food banks are not necessary.  But while they are, they will do all they can to provide the support that’s really needed, in the way that people want to receive it.  

And that’s where we can help.  Our staff have spent time working with the food bank staff and last week we were able to donate a van to help their work.  Staff at YourMK are now building up Christmas hampers for the charity to use to help their distribution.

Crucially, this is not a one-off or short-term arrangement.  YourMK and MK Food Bank want to work together to ensure that when we deliver regeneration over the next few years, we are doing so with community solutions to the problems that the Food Bank team sees every day.  So do we need to develop and support community shops with community produce? Or what about the possibility of community allotments and community business?  Or even new sharing and bartering systems where people want them?

Because this is what all good partnerships are about.  Not just short-term one way help but a lasting synergy of ideas and development.   We look forward to a long and sustainable partnership with MK Food Bank: working together to benefit Milton Keynes.