Author - Stuart | YLF

YMCA calls on MK community to join Sleep Easy 2019

YMCA Milton Keynes is calling on the MK community to come together and sleep rough for one night on Friday 8th March 2019 to support local young people, at risk of homelessness.

The youth charity, which has worked in Milton Keynes for over 30 years and has helped over 10,000 local young people, is hosting a Sleep Easy fundraiser at the intu shopping centre, West Boulevard (between Gap and Hollister).

The event will see participants sleep on the street for an evening to not only raise the much-needed funds for the new YMCA MK campus, due to open in September, but also increase awareness of the youth homelessness issue that’s right on our doorstep.

Milton Keynes was recently named the youth homeless capital of the UK, according to an article written by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. YMCA MK is doing all it can to raise awareness and tackle this issue head-on, starting with their new campus. It will provide accommodation, support and well-being services to 199 local young people.

YMCA MK has hosted Sleep Easy nights since 2016 and has raised a total of £29,000 from this event in that time. Money brought in has helped YMCA MK, which works with around 300 people each year, provide accommodation, support services and training to its residents.

It is hoped that this year’s event will help YMCA MK raise even more funds as the numbers of rough sleepers of all ages continues to rise and pressures mount on the housing market.

Simon Green YMCA MK Chief Executive said: “We’re organising this event to raise awareness of the plight of rough sleeping among young people in Milton Keynes. Since we lost our government funding last year, we know that without the support of local businesses and local people, we would be unable to continue our services and many more young people would be sleeping on the streets and have less options of realising their potential.

We are calling on the local community, old and young, to sign up to the YMCA MK Sleep Easy to help us support young people in our services today and into the future. One night sleeping rough can make a lifetime difference.”

Register here.



The series of drop-in sessions continue to encourage the local community in the Milton Keynes North constituency to interact with their local MP, whether it is just for a chat, or to discuss any issues constituent may be dealing with. Sessions will take place throughout the year at McDonald’s in Wolverton, Kingston and Xscape.

Mark commented, “I say it regularly, but one of the most rewarding roles for me as an MP, is to meet my constituents and aid them with any concerns they may have. Thanks to Ken and his team, and our extended programme of events for 2019, I have a fantastic opportunity to reach many more people to offer support and where I can, work towards a positive outcome.”

Ken Tomkins, owner of local franchise Kaizen Restaurants which operates six of the restaurants in Milton Keynes, commented “We have a great relationship with Mark, which goes back many years.  Many will remember him making his own Big Mac at our Xscape restaurant this time last year!”

“I’m pleased that we have been able to extend this series of events even further in 2019, giving local constituents more opportunities to meet with Mark.  We hope to see plenty of local faces on Friday 18 January!”

To stay up to date with events such as these, follow Kaizen Restaurants on Facebook and Twitter by searching“KaizenMcDsMK”.  You can find Mark on Facebook and Twitter too by searching “Mark Lancaster MK”.

NOW is the time to make it a Marathon of a year!

Registration for the 2019 Rightmove MK Marathon Weekend is open.

It is set to be the biggest and best to date, the Rightmove Milton Keynes Marathon Weekend is preparing for over 12,000 people to take part in one of the its events, and “now is the time to set yourself a New Year challenge”, says organiser and founder Andy Hully.

In its 8th year and taking place over the Bank Holiday Weekend on Sunday 5 and Monday 6 May, the Milton Keynes Marathon, Half Marathon, team Marathon Relay, 5k Rocket and the Superhero Fun Run have collectively become one of the biggest community events in the city that attracts athletes from across the world.

“This is the biggest Marathon is the region, the closest being London but it’s not just for the super fit,” explains Andy Hully, “The Milton Keynes Marathon Weekend is full of people that have set themselves a challenge, for businesses that are looking to raise money for charity and for people to come together to run for fun.

“As we start the New Year, it’s the perfect time to think about a challenge. Our advice to anyone reading this is to register today, not tomorrow. Do it now and then you’ve committed to doing something amazing. If you start training now, you have plenty of time to get fit for the full 26 miles, especially for those that have already run a half marathon and are thinking of the next step. If you’re new or a casual runner, the half marathon is still an incredible achievement, and we can give you everything you need to make it a race to remember.”

The Milton Keynes Marathon organisers provide fitness advice and host clinics for just £10, which includes a free High5 nutrition pack worth £15 – the first being on 11 February at David Lloyd Leisure – which explain how to train, when to train and how to avoid injury. The website ( is full of tips, advice, inspiration videos, testimonials, a map of the route, what to expect on the day and what runners will see.

“Milton Keynes has some spectacular sites on the route, from Willen Lake and the Peace Pagoda to the historic Linford Manor and Bradwell Windmill – it’s not all roundabouts and concrete cows,” Andy adds. “It’s is also one of the flattest marathons in the country, which, if considering a marathon for the first time, is a huge advantage.”

If motivation is a barrier, the MK Marathon organisers have teamed up with local organisations such as the Redway Runners who run every Sunday morning, and is for people of all abilities. Starting at a different location each week and attracting in excess of 100 people, you can just turn up and introduce yourself with no need to book.

The scale of the Marathon Weekend has become so large that it’s even has its own concert.

Starting and finishing at the home of Milton Keynes Don’s football club, the Stadium MK provides a spectacular start and finish for the race, and now includes the Rightmove Race Village. Situated outside Gate 5 of Stadium MK, there will be a full line up of exciting live acts on stage, and many different activities for all the family to participate in.

So, whether a runner, spectator or volunteer, if you are looking be part of the Milton Keynes Marathon Weekend, find out everything you need to know at and register today.

Beat Blue Monday with the Funball Machine at intu Milton Keynes!

Nobody likes Blue Monday! That’s why intu Milton Keynes is helping local people to beat the so-called ‘most depressing day of the year’, with a super-fun event that’s full of surprises and delights.

Ladies and gentlemen of MK, intu presents…the Funball Machine! On this dastardly day, Monday 21 January, to cheer shoppers up despite the post-Christmas blues, dreary weather, dark nights, eagerness for pay day and the (probably) failing New Year’s resolutions, the machine will be popping out balls containing exciting prizes for shoppers, ranging from free parking to cash-loaded intu gift cards.

intu staff will be roaming the mall handing out special coins to shoppers, and if you’re lucky enough to receive one, that’s your chance to head to the Funball Machine and play! Just pop the coin in, turn the handle, and wait for the prize ball to drop down.

intu’s mascot, the well-loved Bobby Bubbles, will be at the shopping centre being his usual bubbly self and dishing out happiness-inducing hugs to shoppers big and small! So if you spot him, head on over for a snuggle.

Kirsty McGiff, marketing manager for intu Milton Keynes, said: “January can be so dull, so we thought we’d brighten it up a bit and get as many people smiling as possible! We want to start the year off right. We have such an exciting schedule planned for 2019, with loads going on and so much to look forward to. We can’t wait to share our plans, and to invite you to join in the fun.”

For more information on intu Milton Keynes, including our opening hours, head to

No gift too big – the festive wrappers are back at intu Milton Keynes!

This Christmas, there’s no gift too small – or big – for the festive wrappers at intu Milton Keynes.

Trained to take the hassle out of wrapping and armed with tape, bows, ribbon and thousands of meters of paper, the festive wrappers are now in full swing!

Raising money for local charities, the service was officially launched by the Mayor of Milton Keynes, Cllr Martin Petchey on Tuesday 11 December who helped Age UK Milton Keynes to wrap a Tesla car – a very happy Christmas for someone!

The gift-wrapping station is located in the gingerbread house between Pret and Wrapchic and is now open daily until Christmas Eve. All donations will be shared across several charities, including Advantage Africa, Age UK Milton Keynes, Hope for Hollie, Citizens Advice and Willen Hospice.

Donations start from just £2 depending on the size of each gift and all proceeds go directly to the charity.

“There’s no need to spend Christmas Eve tangled in tape and reems of paper; said Shelley Peppard, general manager at intu Milton Keynes. She added: “There is a real festive atmosphere in the shopping centre and now’s the time to get those last minute presents to guarantee you have them for the big day.”

Find out about all the festive activities at intu Milton Keynes on the social media pages and the What’s On section at for full details of Christmas at intu Milton Keynes!

MK Residents are Scam Smart!

Milton Keynes MP’s Iain Stewart and Mark Lancaster are delighted with the incredible response for their first Scam Smart event.

The majority of the one hundred people were keen to share their personal experiences with the ten invited stakeholders at Lovat Fields Retirement Village at Willen and to hear about the many preventative measures available.

Key experts from MK Council’s Trading Standards, HMR&C, Barclays and the Pensions Advisory Service were just a few of the experts on hand to offer guidance and advice.

The cost of fraud targeting individuals, is around £10 billion each year. Figures suggest that there are up to 3.25 million victims but it is likely that this figure is much higher as few people report the crime, as they feel too embarrassed.

Iain said, “It’s apparent that with identity fraud on the rise, it’s vital that we are all aware of the ingenious and sophisticated scams that are becoming more prevalent as each day passes.”

Mark commented, “The devastating act of fraud can only be combatted if we become more vigilant and ensure that the knowledge is shared with friends, family and colleagues.  It’s good to hear that there’s an appetite for a regular event, enabling us to continue to share the most up to date information.”

See England in Euro Mixed Team action in Milton Keynes

Team England’s HQ, the National Badminton Centre, will host its first international event on its courts, welcoming spectators to each of the six ties, staged between 7-9 December.

Five time champions England have selected the strongest possible squad for the qualification rounds as they look to book their place in Denmark for the Championship finals in February.

Olympians Chris Langridge, Marcus Ellis, the Adcocks, Rajiv Ouseph and Lauren headline the squad whilst national champions Chloe Birch, Jess Pugh also feature. England programme players Ben Lane, Toby Penty and Sean Vendy alongside Jenny Moore and Abigail Holden complete England’s 12.

England open their campaign on Friday 7 December (6:30pm) when they face Italy. The full schedule is below:
Fri 7 Dec @ 10:00 | Hungary vs Belgium
Fri 7 Dec @ 18:30 | England vs Italy
Sat 8 Dec@ 10:00 | Belgium vs Italy
Sat 8 Dec @ 14:00 | England vs Hungary
Sun 9 Dec @ 10:00 | Italy vs Hungary
Sun 9 Dec @ 14:00 | England vs Belgium

Tickets available via the Badminton England website,

From a Warm Mulled Wine in a Twinkling Giant Yurt to the Private Outdoor Globe, with Fun and Games for All the All-New ALPINE VILLAGE is Now Open at intu Milton Keynes

This winter there’s no need to slope off to the Alps, the all-new Alpine Village at Oak Court, intu Milton Keynes, has all the fun of a festive alpine ski retreat in the heart of the city centre.

Now open, the Alpine Village is an all-new, magical winter experience for all ages

Entry to Alpine Village is FREE and visitors can enjoy all manner of festive experiences.   A *giant, luxury yurt and bar, decorated with vintage ski memorabilia and hundreds of soft, twinkling lights will play host to live music in the evenings and movie magic on select days, plus much more.

A superb range of delicious temptations will leave guests spoilt for choice including the latest street food sensation – Yorkshire pudding wraps – foodies can feast from a range of meats wrapped up in a large Yorkshire pudding crammed with gravy, stuffing, sauces and vegetables.

Other wintery treats include:

  • Indoor fire pit for toasting marshmallows and enjoying hot toddies
  • Large choice of non-alcoholic drinks – from decadent hot chocolates and coffees to mocktails
  • Nutella House – crepes, donuts and all manner of Nutella drenched delights
  • Bubble waffle wraps
  • Bratwurst from the swing grill
  • A range of mulled wine and cider
  • Prosecco and champagne by the glass

Friends and families can immerse themselves completely in the festive spirit by booking MK’s smallest restaurant.  Seated inside a beautifully lit snow globe (seats 8) diners can enjoy fondue and raclette served inside the dome, a unique setting for a well-earned treat!

Movie Magic – free screenings of festive family favourites, including Elf, Frozen, Home Alone and The Polar Express (see notes below for Move Magic timetable). Guests can cosy up for that apres-ski feeling whatever the weather and put themselves on the slopes in front of an Instagram photo wall and alpine photo booth complete with fun props will help capture the moment.

Commenting on the launch, Nigel Holliday, director of the Alpine Village said:
“We wanted to create a destination that’s free to enter and fun and memorable for all ages whatever time of day. The giant yurt will be the hub of the village, showing everyone’s favourite Christmas films free of charge and during the evening the open fire and live music will create a real apres-ski feel. With MK’s smallest restaurant and the famous Yorkshire pudding wraps – it’s got to be the perfect stop off during a busy day’s Christmas shopping.”

The Alpine Village will be the perfect destination for all – from friends and families to couples and co-workers, there is something to keep everyone entertained right through the day and into the evening. *The giant yurt is also available for exclusive hire and offers a unique setting for a celebration or office Christmas party.

The Alpine Village will open Monday to Saturday from 10am until late and on Sundays from 12noon until 6pm.

For more information go to

Rt Hon Mark Lancaster and Commonwealth War Graves Commission encourage residents to learn about local war dead

Rt Hon Mark Lancaster, MP for the Milton Keynes North Constituency, is urging constituents to learn more about their community’s connection to the First and Second World War by engaging with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) sites on their doorstep.

CWGC looks after the graves and memorials to the 1.7 million Commonwealth men and women who died serving in the two World Wars. More than 306,000 of those who gave their lives are commemorated on British soil, including 170,000 burials and Sir Mark Lancaster, and the Commission are encouraging local residents to keep their stories alive.

In almost every city, town and village in the country there lies a war hero who will be commemorated in perpetuity by CWGC. A simple search on the Commission’s website ( can reveal just how many of those who died in the conflicts found their final resting place in your home town. Anyone can support the Commission’s work to remember the war dead by joining as a supporter of the Commonwealth War Graves Foundation and help to fund educational outreach work to engage the next generation.

Mark said: “Almost every family in the country has a story or connection that links them personally to the First and Second World Wars but not everyone knows about those who are commemorated in their home town. It’s astounding to think that wherever you go in the UK you are rarely far away from a poignant reminder of the sacrifice given by the generations before us and Milton Keynes is no exception.

“I would encourage those who live and work in Milton Keynes to search on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s website and learn more about those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the two World Wars. You never know, you may even make a connection to your own family history that had been forgotten. I’m proud to support the Commonwealth War Graves Foundation’s work to ensure the next generation continues to learn about those who died in two World Wars and keep their memory alive.”

The CWGC has a commitment to commemorate the war dead in perpetuity and its charity arm the Commonwealth War Graves Foundation (CWGF) offers supporters a chance to give back to those who gave their lives in the conflicts by helping to teach young people about those who died in the two World Wars.

CWGF runs an educational programme that teaches the next generations about the cost of war and funds the successful intern programme that offers young people the chance to work at some of the Commission’s most well-known sites in France and Belgium and engage with visitors from around the world about the war dead from the Commonwealth.

Max Dutton, assistant historian at CWGC, said: “CWGC has more than 13,000 locations in the UK, ranging from military cemeteries and churchyard burials to single headstones on remote Scottish islands. Every single one of those 306,000 men and women died in service to their country and we are here to commemorate them in perpetuity. It is always touching to see a local community engage with the stories of the war dead commemorated in their area. Some of the projects on which towns and villages have embarked show that our joint commitment to remember them will continue.

“Whether it’s helping a child to find out more about their home town for a school project or seeking to create a new way to engage with your local area’s history, learning more about the war dead looked after by CWGC in your local area is a great way to further understand your home town and remember their sacrifice.”

To increase awareness of the war dead buried and commemorated in the UK, CWGC is in the process of installing signs outside thousands of churchyards, cemeteries and burial grounds. The signs highlight where there is a Commonwealth War Grave and to date more than 3,500 have been installed across the UK, with thousands more pending.

For more information about hosting a local project connected to a CWGC site please contact To request a sign is placed at your local churchyard, cemetery or burial ground to highlight a Commonwealth War Grave please contact To become a supporter of the Commonwealth War Graves Foundation see:

Special Guest in MK for UK Parliament Week

Last week the UK marked 100 years since the first women gained the right to vote by celebrating Parliament week. Schools across Milton Keynes took part in activities to find out more about our democracy.

One school received a special guest. On Friday (16th Nov) Giffard Park Primary School hosted the Secretary of State for Education Damian Hinds MP.

The Secretary of State was given a tour by two members of the School Council. He joined few classes to see their Parliament Week activities which included voting on whether ‘it was fair to be given homework’ a shock result saw the class agree it was!

He was then joined by local MP Mark Lancaster taking questions from year 6 students.

Mark said:

“I was delighted to welcome the Secretary of State to Giffard Park Primary School. We were both incredibly impressed with how students were engaging with our Parliament and democracy. The questions they asked were very well researched and challenging!

“I think, given the important 100 years milestone, it is important we take time to appreciate our democracy and I was pleased to see so many schools, Girlguides, Scouts and local groups taking part.”

Headteacher of Giffard Park Primary School, Miss Emma Donoghue added:

“The staff and children very much enjoyed the opportunity to ask pertinent questions to the Secretary of State and MP Mark Lancaster, at such a poignant time in UK politics.  Both of our visitors were highly complimentary about our children’s knowledge, behaviour and their use of IT.”  

This year’s UK Parliament Week festival was the largest ever and saw more than 7,000 registered events with over 500,000 people taking part. Participating organisations include Scouts, Girlguiding, and the British Youth Council.