Author - Stuart | YLF

New MP Ben Gets Stuck In To Keep MK Clean

Milton Keynes North MP Ben Everitt swapped the green benches of the House of Commons for the green parks of MK by helping a local community litter pick in Brooklands.

The community litter picks, run by local groups Broughton and Brooklands Community Connectors and The Parks Trust, have been running for two years now and in 2019, volunteers collected a total of 100 bags of litter during the Broughton and Brooklands community litter picks.

Ben and his family at Brooklands Meadows Park took time out of their weekend to help make sure the green spaces in the city remain clean.

He commented: “We’ve got some beautiful parks across MK. It was great to be able to get out in the fresh air and help keep MK looking green.

“We’re lucky to have so many amazing green spaces across MK so I really would encourage anyone to get out and get involved with any local litter picks. Even an hour or so can really spruce up an area!”

If you would like to get involved, please contact The Parks Trust via email or follow Broughton and Brooklands Community Connectors on Facebook

Local Charity Raises Over £88,000 to Help Support Families Battling Childhood Cancer

Milton Keynes based charity The Henry Allen Trust are delighted to announce that throughout 2018 they raised a massive £88,729 and on target to beat that this year. 

The Henry Allen Trust was formed after Henry Allen, aged just 4 years, said that he wanted to help other children with cancer. 

Dawn Allen, Director of The Henry Allen Trust said: “Henry made so many friends in hospital and you do become like a family. This meant that we could share experiences whilst in hospital and everyone had the same frustrations and concerns, this is where we chose to build the foundation of support that The Henry Allen Trust provides.”

Throughout 2018 The Henry Allen Trust used the funds raised to;

  • Fund the first “Trained by Henry” nurse, a programme that funds extra specialist training for Children’s Oncology Nursing Team,
  • Provide a monthly support group meeting and online hangout for families battling childhood cancer to share their experiences and give the children a chance to meet and play with other children without feeling out of place or different. 
  • Present papers to steering committees within health services to help improve the services offered within Child Oncology Services and provide a framework for medical professionals to understand the patient journey. 
  • Provide treats and wishes to give some respite and help families create special memories and realise dreams. These included ipad, laptop for schoolwork, family holidays, pushchair, treats whilst having treatments abroad, VIP trip to the zoo, merlin passes and driving lessons.
  • Support families with grants to ensure that they had the money available to cover travel and accommodation expenses, rent or mortgage payments, purchase of passports for treatment abroad, white good appliances, fridge freezers, washing machines or emergency repair bills. 

“It is natural to think that what we can’t do today can be done tomorrow, when you have a child with cancer you do not know how many tomorrows you actually have. Being able to create a special memory where it is you and your child rather than a patient is immeasurable.” Said Dawn Allen, Henry’s Mummy and Director of The Henry Allen Trust. “Henry was too young to have his wish granted by a national charity and by the time he was old enough it was too late. We know first-hand how important those special moments are to parents and that is something we are truly dedicated to building.”

“The work we do and the feedback from the health professionals we work alongside as well as the families we support is truly exceptional” Said Nicola Case, Trustee for The Henry Allen Trust. “But this all comes at a cost, for less than a cup of coffee a month the adult population of Milton Keynes could fund our treats and wishes programme for a year. We have just announced our Christmas Pledge Appeal to help fund our work, all we are

adult population of Milton Keynes could fund our treats and wishes programme for a year. We have just announced our Christmas Pledge Appeal to help fund our work, all we are asking is for people to spend 30 seconds to donate £2, or what they can afford, between now and 24th December.”

To help spread some Henry’s Happiness you can Text THAT4 £2 to 70470. 

The oldest volunteer in north Bucks?

Having recently celebrated her 95th birthday, Joan Rose is probably the oldest volunteer in north Bucks;  maybe even in the whole county!

After she was born in Plymouth in 1924, Joan spent time in a children’s home in London before she was adopted at 10 months old by a family in Coventry.

She moved to Newport Pagnell when she was 16, to avoid the bombing of the Midlands’ city. She met her husband, Sidney, in the town and they had six children; five sons and a daughter.

Her volunteering began when she helped to set up and later run a mother and toddler group at the town’s United Reform Church. She was involved in the group for seven years and went on to volunteer at Pagnell Grange (now Westbury Grange) before starting at The Brooklands Centre nearly 40 years ago.

Joan has been volunteering at the Centre ever since. She still lives in Newport Pagnell and donates her time by helping out at the Monday Day Club, a social group for elderly residents of the town, most of whom are much younger than Joan herself!

She’s picked up at 8 o’clock in the morning and works until about 4 o’clock in the afternoon, preparing the lunches and serving refreshments. Joan is known at the club as the ‘onion lady’ as she’s the only one who can peel and chop the onions without crying!

Joan has also run stalls and tombolas for the Centre and was The Brooklands Carnival Queen in the 2018 Newport Pagnell Carnival when she took up her regal position in the front seat of the Centre’s mini-bus in the parade.

In 2012, she was one of four ‘Golden Girl’ Brooklands volunteers presented with the Milton Keynes Pride in the Community Award.

Joan takes a rest from her volunteering (but not from The Brooklands Centre) when she has lunch each week at the Centre’s Tuesday Pop-In. She enjoys meeting her friends there and being waited on by some of the Centre’s other 70 volunteers.

Joan has a sharp mind and is a sprightly 95-year-old. She said: “The Brooklands Centre is a wonderful place to go. It’s so friendly and full of smiling faces; there’s such a fantastic atmosphere. I get on well with the other volunteers and I love to help out.” 

Nurse Naomi raises funds for new artwork to support dementia patients at Milton Keynes University Hospital

A celebration was held this week at Milton Keynes University Hospital to mark the installation of a mural, funded purely through fundraising and donations.

Naomi Avery, senior sister on Ward 23, set herself the incredible challenge – and succeeded! – in running 2018 kilometres in 2018 to enhance the experience of patients on her ward. She raised an impressive £3,441 as a result.

All the money raised was then matched pound for pound by Milton Keynes Hospital Charity and has funded a set of nine murals, featuring scenes and landmarks in and around Milton Keynes; culminating in the final picture of Buckingham Palace, where Naomi was invited to a garden party to celebrate her fundraising success.

The artwork was designed by artist and illustrator Rob Cowan, who spent a considerable amount of time talking to patients about their local memories, and to Naomi about what she wanted included in the murals.

Rob said: “It was fascinating to hear so many stories and memories from patients, including people who had actually worked at places like Bletchley Park and the Wolverton Works. The nine murals can be viewed on their own or patients can follow the journey round the ward – the idea being that each one is a talking point of familiar landmarks, to help patients reminisce and to give them a stimulating focus during their stay on the ward.”

Says Naomi on her fundraising and the difference it has made: “When the murals were installed, we immediately saw a change in the patients on the ward – they were so much calmer. Patients can walk around on their own, with family, staff or carers, and we’ve provided activity cards and colouring packs based on the murals for them too.

“It’s great to see that the hard work has paid off; the murals have already made such a difference. Thank you so much to all my family, friends and the hospital charity for their support. I couldn’t have achieved all this without them.”

For more information on how fundraising for Milton Keynes Hospital Charity enhances patient care and experience, people can visit

Our picture shows:

(L-R) Artist and Illustrator Rob Cowan, MKUH Chief Executive Joe Harrison, Mayor of Milton Keynes Cllr Sam Crooks, Ward Sister Naomi Avery and her colleagues, friends and family officially open the murals.

Media contact

For more information contact Vanessa Holmes on 01908 996220 or email

Maaya chef wins Best Indian Chef at the Euro Asia Curry Awards 2019

Maaya Indian Kitchen & Bar’s very own Head Chef has been crowned Best Indian Chef at the Euro Asia Curry Awards 2019.

Shanoor Miah, scooped the prestigious award at a ceremony at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel in London on Monday 11 November.

The annual Euro Asia Curry Awards are committed to celebrating the success of the curry industry and the people behind it. They were established in 2015 and aim to boost the UK economy, shout about the success of small businesses, support up and coming business stars, and celebrate diversity in the food industry.

The good news comes just weeks after the multi award-winning Maaya Indian Kitchen and Bar was a finalist in the ninth English Curry Awards 2019 and has been shortlisted for the British Curry Awards 2019, which take place on Monday 25 November.

Judges selected Shanoor for his outstanding passion, creative approach, unrivalled skill and constant dedication to creating the best and most delicious Indian food.

Mo Abdul, joint owner and manager of Maaya, said: “We are so proud of Shanoor! We only employ the very best chefs here at Maaya. Shanoor’s heart is truly in his food and his Best Indian Chef title is fully deserved. We are very proud!”

To find out more about Maaya, visit

The Big Chill Sweat Studios invites you to de-stress and relax

Feeling exhausted, stressed, over-wrought, in need of a rest but struggling to sleep? Then award winning, independent yoga business, Sweat Studios, has the perfect workshop for you! ‘The Big Chill’ takes place on Sunday 17 November at 3:30pm – 5:30pm, at their new Buckingham studio, and is designed to reduce stress and anxiety.

A 2018 study* commissioned by the Mental Health Foundation found that almost 74% of UK adults said they felt so stressed over the previous year that they were overwhelmed or had been unable to cope – The Big Chill is a two-hour workshop focused on helping you find relief from the busy, stress-filled lives many of us lead.

The session will begin with some light mediation and breathing techniques designed to help calm your body and mind. You’ll then have an opportunity to learn and practice some slow, restorative yoga poses which can help reduce stress and anxiety, before the session concludes with a long, guided relaxation.

The workshop also offers you an opportunity to talk to your instructor, Lucinda Memery, who will explain the benefits that this type of yoga practice has on you physically and mentally. She will also share with you tips to enable you to take the learnings from the day into your daily life and leave you better able to manage stresses and anxieties.

Sweat Studios owner, Kirsty Lowe, said “Many people tend to think of yoga as an activity that just stretches muscles, however there are a series of yoga poses that are designed to work with your central nervous system to reduce your fight or flight response, which is what kicks in when we are stressed. The Big Chill workshop has been created to help you reap wellness benefits during the session, so you will leave feeling much calmer, as well as teaching you techniques you can use day-to-day to help make feelings of stress and anxiety a thing of the past.”

The Big Chill takes place at Sweat Studios Buckingham studio, 28 Candleford Court – free parking is available in Cornwall’s Meadow Cap Park, a one-minute walk away.

As well as The Big Chill, Sweat Studios are introducing a new class to their winter timetable: Candlelit Chill-Out. These take place in their Milton Keynes studio on Mondays at 8pm and Buckingham on Tuesday at 8pm. This seasonal class is perfect for all abilities and is designed to help beat the winter blues. It comprises slow, floor-based, simple-to-do yoga poses to deliver the benefits of rest without the sleep.

Classes are easy to book online, and Sweat Studios is a contract-free zone. You can sign up for a group of classes or just drop in and pay for each class as you go – offering you maximum flexibility to tailor your workout times to suit you and your lifestyle. Sweat Studios also provide everything you need for a yoga class, including yoga mats, climate-controlled studios and cushioned flooring – all you have to do is turn up!

To find out more, or to book your place at The Big Chill visit, or call 01280 823220.

Salt Shack takes up permanent residency at intu Milton Keynes!

Salt Shack – a business which has been taking part in the Etsy MK Artisan Market since the markets began – is joining intu Milton Keynes for good as a result of the incredible success it’s had at the events.

From 4 November, it will be in its new spot between Superdry and Levi’s, selling Himalayan salt lamps and other products, all of which are genuine, fair trade and beautifully made items. With prices starting at just 99p, the lights make brilliant Christmas gifts.

Luke Timberlake, who runs the business with his partner Dannielle Beale, said: “We thoroughly enjoy the Etsy MK Artisan Markets at intu Milton Keynes and each one has been very successful for us. It’s really exciting to be taking up a permanent spot!”

Shelley Peppard, general manager at intu Milton Keynes, said: “The right businesses really can flourish here at intu Milton Keynes. By taking part in our Etsy MK Artisan Markets, small retailers are able to gauge what kind of success they might have. Salt Shack has always been so popular at the markets, so this is natural progression. It’s a wonderful business. We wish them every success and can’t wait to have them on board!”

Luke and Danielle’s passion for salt lamps began when their son, Tristan, was born six years ago. Along with Down syndrome, poor hearing and eyesight, and a serious heart condition, Tristan was also born with a disease that affected his airway. After Danielle bought him a salt lamp to help alleviate his symptoms, she was inundated with interest in it and decided to start selling them. Salt Shack has now been up and running for three years.

Salt lamps are thought to: cleanse the air; reduce asthma and allergy symptoms; ease coughing; increase energy levels; improve sleep, mood and concentration.

Find out more about Salt Shack at or

The Etsy Christmas market returns on Saturday 30 November and Sunday 1 December, giving local businesses a place to showcase their products and for shoppers to buy unique gifts.

The Etsy markets will be returning in 2020 and more details about how to take part will be announced in the New Year. If you want to register your interest in getting involved now, you can email the Etsy MK team on

Or for more about intu Milton Keynes, head to

Joe Pasquale confirmed for biggest ever City Centre Christmas Light Switch On

This year’s city centre Christmas Light Switch On, organised by MyMiltonKeynes, will take place on Saturday 16th November and it’s now been confirmed that comedy favourite Joe Pasquale will be switching on the lights alongside Father Christmas and the Mayor of Milton Keynes.

The free event will take place at the front of intu Milton Keynes from 4.15pm with an hour of live entertainment before the main switch on. Performances from two local dance schools; Romeo Academy and Dancebox Studios will get everyone in the festive mood, plus local singers and local school children will perform with Salvation Army brass band to truly raise the Christmas spirit.

Joe Pasquale is starring with Lee Mead in the pantomime Aladdin at Milton Keynes Theatre this year which opens on 7th December, so he’s flying in for a quick visit – but just not on a magic carpet this time!

Look out for the three giant Kings lit on the roof of Christ the Cornerstone Church, as well as the sparkling parcels and brand-new tree lights along Midsummer Boulevard – bursting into festive life. A spectacular pyrotechnic and laser show will light up the sky, signalling the start of the festive season across the city.

And, don’t miss out on the chance to win £1000’s worth of prizes, join this year’s MyChristmas campaign by sharing your Christmas moments in Milton Keynes on social channels using #MyChristmasMK.

The Christmas lights and switch on event is organised by MyMiltonKeynes (the Milton Keynes Business Improvement District) along with other key partners across the city centre.

The Blossom Room set to bloom in the heart of Milton Keynes

The Blossom Room – a luxurious new bar concept – is coming to the heart of Milton Keynes.

Set to open on Friday 15 November, The Blossom Room in The Hub Milton Keynes is a Japanese-inspired, high-end bar offering a breath-taking opulence and sophistication that you won’t find anywhere else in MK.

From its ceiling adorned with a canopy of beautiful cherry blossom and an insta-perfect flower wall, to its luxe velvet booth seating and muralled walls, The Blossom Room will give the people of Milton Keynes a taste of the ‘Instagram perfection’ usually reserved for London’s elite bars.

With hand-selected spirits, a curated wine list, artisan cocktails and premium gins not available anywhere in the region but here – each of which comes paired with the perfect tonic and delicate garnish to elevate its flavour – this a new taste of class to excite the city centre.

The Blossom Room menu will consist of small plates during the day and into the early evening, created by head chef, Martin Burnside who has worked alongside multiple Michelin starred chefs across the globe.

By day, The Hub Milton Keynes’ newest addition will provide the perfect setting for a crisp white wine over lunch, coffee-fuelled afternoons on the laptop, or a celebration afternoon tea. When the sun goes down, expect The Blossom Room to move to a different beat. Live DJs will spin the decks on Friday and Saturday nights, and live jazz, piano and comedy events will be bring new and exciting experiences to The Hub.

The building – formerly home to Gourmet Burger Kitchen – has undergone a truly fabulous £500k transformation to turn it into the exquisite bar it is today.

Renoire Da’Silva, General Manager at the Blossom Room, said: “The Blossom Room is MK’s hottest new bar. We have spent months planning every tiny detail, so that we can give the people of Milton Keynes the type of bar they truly deserve. From the floral ceiling and the copper top bar, to the plush booths, exquisite menu and even the luxury toilets – the whole place screams glamour. We cannot wait to open our doors so everybody can enjoy it.”

He added: “When it comes to our gin menu, we are confident that you will not find better anywhere else. Our gin-tonic-garnish combinations have been meticulously planned and look just as incredible and insta-worthy as they taste. Prepare to be amazed!”

To enquire about bookings at The Blossom Room, email

Find the bar on social media in Instagram at @blossomroom_mk and @BlossomRoomMK on Facebook.

Christmas shopping starts now – the Etsy MK Artisan Market is back!

It’s back! The Etsy MK Artisan Market is returning to intu Milton Keynes on 28 September, giving you the chance to start your Christmas shopping in style.

Stock up on beautiful, handmade gifts that your friends and family won’t have seen anywhere else and enjoy spending the day at one of intu Milton Keynes’ best-loved and most popular events – one that’s guaranteed to make shoppers smile.

From 9.30am-6pm, local independent businesses will set up shop on the mall outside Hollister and Gap, where they will showcase their creations.

Confirmed stallholders include upcycled fashion designer White Rabbit Apparel, fudge maker Bella’s Fudgery, teething jewellery creator Mummy’s Bubble, leather goods designer Miller & Jeeves, and jewellery maker Park Road Jewellery. They’ll be joined by many other brilliant sellers including Hazey Daze Wax Melts, Little Prints Charming, Ellie’s iPad Art, Salt Shack and Alle Interiors, to name but a few.

Kirsty McGiff, marketing manager at intu Milton Keynes, said: “We are focused on creating compelling events that help our retailers flourish and make our customers smile, and the Etsy MK Artisan Market does both. Everybody loves it! And we love partnering with Etsy to deliver a positive impact for the community, independent businesses, and the local economy.”

It will be the sixth time that the event – which runs in collaboration with Etsy MK – has taken place since its launch in 2017.

The Etsy Made Local Christmas market will also be back for two consecutive days on 30 November and 1st December, with full information being released nearer the time.