Latest Local News from in and around Milton Keynes

With so many news stories from local businesses, charity groups, clubs, our local MP’s and societies it is hard to keep up with all the happenings.

Here is a collection of the stories we have received and were unable to print in yourlocalflyer

Gruffalo arrives in MK for 1st Birthday

The Gruffalo and Pre-School Children celebrate The Childcare Hub’s First Birthday

On Saturday 14th July at 10:30 am, The Gruffalo will host an exciting birthday party for the 1st birthday of The Childcare Hub in Knowlhill, the home of nature-based play.

With over 100 Pre-Schoolers on the Guest List, the event will be packed full of giant sized Gruffalo fun.   After meeting The Gruffalo,  children will be able to join in special Forest school activities, listen to Gruffalo stories, and have their faces painted.  With the finale, being a Tea Party with themed birthday cake and special guest, The Gruffalo.

Said Sharon Elliott, Childcare Director “The Childcare Hub has been a fantastic venue over the last year, giving children a great opportunity to learn more about our natural world.   The Gruffalo seems the perfect special guest to host our children’s birthday party.”

The Childcare Hub is the home of nature-based play and opened to the public in July 2017. The newest venue for Kids Play Childcare, this site really is the beacon for their ethos of nature-based play. The Childcare Hub plays host to Forest School sessions for all MK nurseries, has natural resources for all ages of learning and a rooftop garden!  At the event, the children will also have the opportunity to wear their best Gruffalo fancy dress costumes.

Sing with the Danesborough Chorus this autumn

Good news for local singers! The Danesborough Chorus is keen to recruit you, whether you’re soprano, alto, tenor or bass.

Our popular amateur classical choir is midway through rehearsals for Karl
Jenkins’ inspirational work, The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace..Come and join us on Wednesday 5th September when we resume rehearsals after the summer break, or hear us sing this piece at the concert which we’re performing jointly with Bedford Choral Society and Milton Keynes City Orchestra  on Sunday 14th October in Milton Keynes Theatre.

Then it’s nearly Christmas – yes, really!  Starting Wednesday 17th October, the choir will be rehearsing new music, including a varied programme of Christmas music, with some traditional carols we’ve loved since childhood, and some less familiar songs, with perhaps a touch of ‘classical’ as well. If you haven’t sung for a while, and you’re feeling rusty, what better way to start exercising those vocal cords than singing carols with us?  Our Christmas concert takes place in Woburn Parish Church on the evening of Saturday 15th December.

The Danesborough Chorus meets each Wednesday in Aspley Guise Village
Hall from 7.45 – 9.50 pm.  You can talk to our membership secretary, Carol
Yirrell, by phoning 01296 680328 . You can also find out more about the choir
and our next concert by visiting  

Arriva kicks-off Catch the Bus Week alongside Milton Keynes MP

Conservative MP for Milton Keynes South, Iain Stewart, joined the team from Arriva Midlands at its depot on Colts Holm Road to officially launch the sixth annual Catch the Bus Week.

Running from 2nd to 8th July, Catch the Bus Week is an industry-wide initiative being supported by sustainable transport group Greener Journeys, which urges people to try using the bus instead of their car by challenging the preconceptions of bus travel.

Donning a giant green promotional foam hand, Mr Stewart took a tour of the Milton Keynes depot to find out more about how the business is actively working to promote the social, economic and environmental benefits of bus usage to passengers.

Simon Finnie, Area Managing Director for Arriva Midlands South, said: “Catch the Bus Week is a fantastic opportunity that helps celebrate all the benefits of bus travel. Buses offer communities much needed lifelines – reducing congestion, getting people to work and driving economic growth, and we are delighted to have been able to welcome Iain along to our depot in Milton Keynes to see first-hand the commitment and dedication we have to delivering those all-important services to the people within her constituency.”

Iain Stewart MP, added: “I am very grateful to Arriva for inviting me to visit their MK bus depot today to help mark Catch the Bus Week. Bus travel is too often the unsung part of our transport system but millions of people across the country rely on them. Parliament’s Transport Committee, of which I am a member, is about to start an inquiry on how we can make bus travel even better for passengers.

Smart, new buses are being introduced on many routes in MK. If you haven’t tried one in a while, hop on board!”

For more information about Catch the Bus Week visit To find out more about Arriva Midlands’ services in Milton Keynes please log on to or download the free Arriva Bus App on iPhone or Android device.

Destination MK goes from strength to strength

Tourism and information organisation, Destination Milton Keynes (DMK), has had a productive few months with no fewer than seven new companies joining up and discovering the benefits of being members.

The new members are an eclectic mix of companies covering different aspects of the tourism and leisure offer in the city.
Brewhouse & Kitchen and Popworld both recently opened in 12th Street and they could both see the value of joining DMK to spread the word of their offer to the wider MK population since their opening.


Stantonbury Theatre and Ride High Equestrian Centre are both long-standing organisations in Milton Keynes but wanted to raise their profile both locally and regionally, and DMK membership does this via reach through the website and their vast social media channels.

Orcars is a new App-based taxi firm taking MK by storm, and whether its clients are residents or visitors, DMK membership is helping them to spread the word. Aqua Parcs is the new inflatable water-based playground based at Willen Lake for the summer and they approached DMK about a bespoke membership allowing them to get the maximum exposure for the short length of time they are open, all of which could be catered for by the DMK team.

Business-to-business focussed companies also see benefit in DMK, with MK-based global events company Events Together also joining the ranks, with a view to promoting their upcoming LGBTQ+ conference being held in MK in October.

Steven Gordon-Wilson, CEO at Destination MK said, “It’s great to see such a varied range of companies discovering the benefits membership can bring them. We are a not-for-profit organisation, so rely on our membership to allow us to continue promoting Milton Keynes as a leisure and business destination.”

If you think your business could benefit from DMK membership talk to the team, email

Mark Lancaster MP and ABTA warn holidaymakers from Milton Keynes against travelling without the necessary insurance

As many as one in three people (36%) from the South East travelled abroad in the past 12 months holidayed without the right cover, took part in activities which may not have been covered, or didn’t have any insurance at all, according to ABTA – The Travel Association1.

As the Bank Holiday signals the start of the holiday season, new research from ABTA shows that many British holidaymakers jetting off this year could be putting themselves at risk by travelling without the necessary travel insurance.

Ahead of the summer holiday, Mark is backing ABTA’s call for holidaymakers to take out travel insurance which covers their circumstances and the activities they are planning to do. This will avoid potentially costly medical bills should something go wrong.

As peak summer holiday season approaches, almost one in three (29%) people reported travelling on some holidays completely uninsured in the past 12 months – significantly higher than the national average of one in five (22%). Over one in four (25%) risked invalidating their insurance by not telling their insurance companies about pre-existing medical conditions or by taking part in activities without checking they were covered under the policy.  An insurer can reject a claim in either of these situations.

The most common reason for not buying travel insurance was that people felt it wasn’t needed – e.g. that the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) would provide sufficient cover. While it is important to have an EHIC card when travelling in Europe, the EHIC only provides access to state medical care and does not include repatriation to the UK if you are seriously ill. This can be extremely costly should you require an air ambulance, for example.

ABTA is also encouraging people who have travel insurance with their bank to check that it covers their requirements as there may be restrictions around age, health, destination and activities.

While the average cost of a travel insurance claim is £1,2962, the cost of medical treatment or repatriation can run into thousands of pounds, leaving people extremely vulnerable abroad. Without sufficient cover, many families are having to raise money for treatment or repatriation, with some resorting to crowdfunding.

Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive, said:

“Every year we see cases of people falling into difficulty due to travelling without sufficient travel insurance. While many people are still choosing not to take out travel insurance at all, others are travelling unaware that their insurance policy is not protecting them as they expect.

“While not declaring existing medical conditions or taking part in activities that aren’t covered are easy mistakes to make, they can be very costly, leaving holidaymakers and their families with expensive medical bills which run into thousands of pounds. I would urge all holidaymakers to make sure they take out travel insurance and check that it covers their circumstances and holiday plans.”

Mark said:

“It is simply not worth the risk to travel abroad without the right travel insurance. Going without any travel insurance, or having insurance which doesn’t cover your circumstances, could prove very costly if you were to fall ill or have an accident while on holiday.

“I’m encouraging my constituents to buy travel insurance now if they don’t already have it and, if you do have insurance, to check before you travel that it covers your circumstances and the activities you plan to do when you are away.”

Five things you may not already know about travel insurance:

  1. It’s important to have both an EHIC and travel insurance before you travel in Europe. EHICs expire every five years to make sure your EHIC hasn’t expired before you travel.
  2. Always tell your travel insurer about any pre-existing condition– if you have an annual policy you must inform your insurer about any changes, even if they seem minor. Don’t be tempted to leave anything out, by not telling your insurer then your insurance may be void.
  3. Activities as seemingly safe as cycling may require a higher level of cover. Before you travel, always check with your insurer if you are covered for any activities you may participate in while on holiday.
  4. Travel insurance offered for free through bank accounts or cover offered through credit cards often provides limited protection. Always check your policy to see if there are any restrictions.
  5. European cover is generally cheaper than worldwide cover; however remember that popular holiday destinations like Turkey, Dubai, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia, where thousands of Brits travel each year, will not be covered by a European policy.

For more tips on choosing the right travel insurance policy visit

Councillors go the extra mile for Cancer Centre Appeal

A team of four Conservative Councillors are taking on 72 Holes of Golf – more than 22 miles of walking – in one day to support the new Cancer Centre Appeal for Milton Keynes Hospital Charity.

On Friday 13 July the four golfing heroes will spend their entire day at the Abbey Hill Golf Centre raising funds and playing four rounds of golf for the charity – which amounts to over 15 hours with no buggies allowed.

The plan to raise more than £1,000 leading up to and on the day.

The Cancer Centre Appeal is raising £2.5 million for a new cancer centre – based at Milton Keynes University Hospital.

The new cancer centre will mean that the hospital can better support each and every cancer patient. It will be a purpose-built, dedicated space offering treatment, information and support services to anyone affected by cancer, in a more spacious, comfortable and welcoming environment. 

All the Councillors taking part have worked closely with Milton Keynes University Hospital or had a personal experience with the outstanding care it delivers.

Councillor Alex Walker, who has organised the challenge said: “Last year my younger sister, like hundreds of others in Milton Keynes, went into battle with cancer. The care she received from Milton Keynes University Hospital was outstanding, she was operated on within a few weeks of diagnosis and received all the support she needed.

“With all that said, we know MK’s population continues to increase as does the number of people diagnosed with cancer. We need to make sure Milton Keynes University Hospital has the ability to offer the cancer services that our population needs. Like others, part of my sister’s treatment took place at Northampton Hospital and other patients may go to Oxford or even further afield.

“We have an amazing opportunity to offer everything here in MK and I am delighted to be able to support that along with the outstanding team of Councillors who also have their own experiences and connections with the hospital.”

Head of fundraising Vanessa Holmes said: “On behalf of the hospital charity, I’m just delighted that Alex and his fellow councillors have decided to support us. Support like this is just so important and we can’t thank them enough. Let’s hope the sun is shining for them too!”

People can support the challenge by making a donation at

For more information on the Cancer Centre Appeal, people can visit


Milton Keynes Neonatal Unit connects parents with their child using vCreate App

The Neonatal Unit at Milton Keynes University Hospital has become the first in the region to launch vCreate, thanks to funding from Milton Keynes-based charity, Emily’s Star.

vCreate is a web-based application that allows nurses to record video diaries for parents of babies who have been born too early, too small, and are too poorly to go home.

Every year over 400 babies are admitted to the Neonatal Unit at Milton Keynes University Hospital, and they need specialist neonatal care. Karen Rice, Neonatal Lead Nurse, explains why the nursing team decided to introduce the service: “Parents of babies receiving care on the unit are often very anxious and worried about their baby’s progress so we decided to research what digital solutions could help us to reassure parents of their baby’s wellbeing when they weren’t in the unit. We chose vCreate because it was NHS approved and it was the only video system that allowed parents access to a historical record of their child’s progress for download once their child has been discharged.”

The neonatal unit held an official launch for the vCreate service on Wednesday 20th June that parents could attend to register for the application. The launch was also attended by representatives from Emily’s Star, a Milton-Keynes based charity, that provides families affected by having a child that is premature or underweight with a neonatal box to over 20 hospitals across the UK.

Emily’s Star has been a long-term supporter of the hospital, providing help to parents on the wards, medical equipment and training for hospital staff.

Katie Elmer, Founder of Emily’s Star, explains why the charity decided to fund the vCreate Neonatal Video System for the unit. “When we heard that there was an app that would allow nurses to record video updates for parents so that they could stay connected to their baby’s progress, we wanted to help by funding the system so that the service could be free to parents and to the hospital. We believe this service will be a massive boost for worried parents who can access the video diary whenever they feel anxious.”

Karen added: “I would like to say a huge thank you to Emily’s Star for funding vCreate for our unit; we see the video diaries as a way of providing additional support to parents at a stressful and emotionally draining time in their lives.”

“I think it’s a wonderful new initiative,’ says Michelle Boland, whose daughter Ophelia is currently in the hospital’s Neonatal Unit. As a mother, you want to be with your baby all the time so any additional access you can get is great. It is so good to be able to receive video updates when I am back at home and it eases the awful guilt you feel at having to leave your baby.”

Staff in the neonatal unit plan to introduce video updates to all parents by the end of the month. Video diaries will be recorded on hospital-owned tablet devices and sent securely to parents own smartphones via a secure private account.

Catch all the highs and the lows of the beautiful game at intu Milton Keynes

Whether you’re egging on England, fancy France or banking on Brazil, you can catch every moment of every game in Oak Court at intu Milton Keynes this summer.

The GRATE Outdoors bar brings live action from Russia to MK for the next month, all the way up to the cup final. Grab a seat, kick back, relax and enjoy a drink and a snack from the bar, including craft beer, a cheeky G&T, and soft drinks too.

“The GRATE Outdoors creates an amazing family atmosphere during the games for all ages, and it’s free for all to enjoy,” said marketing manager at intu Milton Keynes, Kirsty McGiff.

She adds: “It’s been lovely to see the smiles on our visitor’s faces when they see we’ve created an environment for football lovers. Now shoppers can truly have a great day out, whether it’s shopping or watching a game whilst “looking after the bags”! We wish all the teams the greatest tournament possible.”

Byron Redman, owner of And Union and the GRATE Outdoors said: “We’re so excited to be in Milton Keynes and to bring the bar to shoppers and workers in the city centre. We have non-alcoholic beers, craft beers, and soft drinks to quench people’s thirst during the drama of the tournament.”

Only food and drink purchased at GRATE Outdoors can be consumed in the bar.

To stay up to date with intu Milton Keynes and to be the first to hear about up and coming events and news, sign up to their newsletter here.

Action4Youth’s summer NCS programme takes young people on a journey they’ll never forget

This summer, Buckinghamshire based charity, Action4Youth, in partnership with the National Citizen Service (NCS) and The Challenge Network, will give 16 and 17 year olds the chance to take part in a three week challenge that will develop their skills and confidence, while having the time of their lives.

Working closely with its outdoor education centre, the Caldecotte Xperience in Milton Keynes, Action4Youth’s NCS programme will encourage young people to improve their community, learn new skills, work with others and take on new and exciting challenges.

This exhilarating and rewarding opportunity is open to more than 450 young people within the local area. After initial introductions and getting to know one another, the first week is an Away Residential, which includes four nights of camping in Gloucestershire, experiencing a mix of water sports, land based outdoor activities and mental challenges. The second week is a Home Residential at Action4Youth’s Caldecotte Xperience, the young people are grouped into teams (usually of between 12 and 15), where they learn new skills, put these skills to the test and find out more about the local area. The young people also complete their first aid qualification during this week.

The final week is Social Action Week, in which teams put their plans to support local community projects and charities into action, as they volunteer and raise funds for their respective organisations. Charity partners for 2018 include Aylesbury Homeless Action Group, Alzheimer’s Society, Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity, Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital and many more.

Emily Davis, Action4Youth’s Programme Manager explains: “The Action4Youth NCS programme is a life changing experience for many young people; they make friends, learn new skills and best of all they have an unforgettable time.

“For many, the three week programme is just the start of their Action4Youth journey. Following this summer’s NCS there will be a celebration event and after that there will be many opportunities for further progression. We are employing 36 seasonal staff this summer, either as team leaders or assistants and around 75% of those are Action4Youth NCS graduates themselves.”

If you are interested in signing up to this year’s Action4Youth NCS programme, telephone 0300 003 2334 and ask to speak to the NCS team. Places are limited, so we would recommend calling as soon as you can.

To find out more about Action4Youth, visit, or find us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.


– intu Milton Keynes rolls out spacehoppers for shoppers to make customers smile –
– 72 per cent of grown-ups say playing makes them happier –
– intu Milton Keynes launches family club for children and parents to play together –

Shoppers will literally be jumping for joy this week with the rollout of spacehoppers for shoppers that let kids and grown-up kids hop while they shop at intu Milton Keynes as part of intu’s pledge to make customers smile.

The ‘Happy S-hopping’ initiative is part of the launch of intu’s new family club, which aims to give parents and children time to play together in its centres. It follows research that play makes people happier, but less than half of parents (49 per cent) find the time to regularly play with their kids and 61 per cent say they don’t think they devote enough time to playtime.

The study also found that two-thirds of parents (65 per cent) would also like their children to play more non-computerised games and take up traditional favourites like Hopscotch, Kick the Can and Red Rover. According to existing studies, active play like hopping on spacehoppers also helps to enhance childhood development by improving balance and cognitive and motor skills.

The research also revealed that Britain is a nation of ‘big kids’ with 63 per cent of adults saying they still get the same thrill and excitement playing childhood games with their children as they did when they were kids themselves. Going down slides, jumping on bouncy castles, riding on rollercoasters, rocking on swings and hopping on spacehoppers were among the top ten things that make ‘grown-up kids’ happy.

Top ten things that make grown-up kids happy
Riding on rollercoasters
Riding a bicycle
Rocking on swings
Jumping on bouncy castles
Going down slides
Colouring in
Building sandcastles
Playing in ball pits
Hopping on spacehoppers

Linda Blair, an associate fellow of the British Psychological Society, said:
“Playing is a fundamental part of human development and a way for children to learn how to engage and interact with the world around them. There are so many benefits to play. It boosts cognitive skills like increasing curiosity about the world and improving creativity, and also physiological skills such as improving balance, hand to eye coordination and motor skills. It’s not just kids who benefit from playing, but adults too. Playing makes everyone feel happier and increases positive bonds in family and friendship groups. The introduction of a family club at intu to encourage parents to take their time and shop, hop and play with their children is a really good idea.”

Kirsty McGiff, Marketing Manager at intu Milton Keynes, comments:
“There is a still a big kid in all of us and our new family club is designed to give parents the time to play with their children when they’re on a family day out in our centres. We work really hard to create experiences that will put a smile on the faces of our shoppers, and by giving families a chance to shop, hop and play we hope we will make the experience a happier, more memorable one. At intu we have something for everyone and whether you’re here for a day out or come with a set shopping list we aim to ensure you leave happier than when you arrived.”

As well as the Happy S-hopping initiative, the family club at intu Milton Keynes will also include exclusive offers for some family retailers, advance notice of events and access to special things for parents and kids to enjoy together at their nearest intu shopping centre like giant swings and hopscotch.

Happy S-hopping zones will be rolled out as part of the launch of the family club in every intu shopping centre across the country. For more information follow #Hoppiness on Twitter or visit to join the family club.