by Joe Bavington, Programme Manager
In August 2023, we were looking for ways to make connections in our local Milton Keynes community. Our aim was to get to know local people, both to raise awareness of MacIntyre and to see what we could do to help.
We had a great location we could use: our Learning Centre in Neath Hill. I hit on the idea of holding a regular community brunch, inspired by colleagues in Chesterfield who had done something similar.
We started slow, inviting people we support and neighbours in to enjoy a bacon butty and a cup of tea (I do like to cook!). We all began to get to know each other and make new friends.
Over the months, word got around and the Brunch is now held on the first Saturday of the month, between 10 am and 1 pm, We try and have a theme each time, especially as we have families with young children turn up. We put some music on, there are no expectations, we welcome everyone who turns up, and it’s just a nice social space.
Hosting the neighbours
But it’s led to other connections as well. We now host the local Residents’ Association meetings at the site, which was started by one of our neighbours who needed a space. On the first meeting we were amazed at how many people turned up and had to get loads of extra chairs out!
Planning a herb garden
We’ve also made connections with Great Linford Parish Council, who have been fantastic. They’ve kindly awarded us some funding towards a community herb garden which we’re going to plant outside the Neath Hill site. We hoping to have that ready for the April Community Brunch and have a ‘herby’ feast.
Someone came to the brunch who knew about geocaching (which is more than we did!). Geocaching is like a treasure hunt, where you get together to find caches that have been hidden in the area, and record your findings. We’re hoping to do our first one later this month, combining it with a litter-pick, to clean up the neighbourhood for others.
I’m so happy that what we’re doing is helping people, and is also beginning to break down the stereotypes about people with a learning disability.
If you're interested in coming along to our next Community Brunch - or other local events - you'll always find the latest information on our Events Page.
And you can hear Joe talking about the Community Brunch on MKFM here.