50 reasons to feel birthday pride in Milton Keynes

50th birthday of MK

50th birthday of MK

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You might have heard but it just happens to be Milton Keynes’s 50th birthday next year

But half a century of history hasn’t stopped the new city from being a forward-thinking place – which is why local leaders are looking forward to new challenges as they celebrate the anniversary.

MK’s business, political and social chiefs have made a variety of social justice pledges around the theme of 50.

As a result the city will have 50 new employers accredited as paying the Living Wage, 50 town and parish councils will be advised on renewable energy, 50 MK organisations will take part in events run by the Weaving Trust, and over the course of the current Parliament, 50 refugee families will be welcomed to Milton Keynes.

Lucian J Hudson, chairman of Citizens:MK and director of communications at the Open University, said: “Citizens:MK is building enormous momentum through the initiative and commitment of its members.

“This was one of our best assemblies yet.”

The pledges were made at the sixth annual Accountability Assembly of Citizens:MK, a group which brings together various faith, education and other community organisations.

The event was held at Christ the Cornerstone Church, where 260 people from 17 member groups heard personal testimonies of problems facing communities whose voices are not normally heard.

One speaker was care worker Jayne Meadows, who talked about how her life had changed since receiving the Living Wage. Another was Syrian refugee Nour Sakr, who spoke about her experience of being welcomed in Milton Keynes.

Headteacher Helen Hann talked about the benefits to Wyvern First School community of being involved in a community energy scheme, while Hala Rafify of MK Muslim Association talked about her positive experience of welcoming non-Muslims to a Weaving Trust event, in which guests have a series of short conversations with hosts at the Islamic Centre on Coffee Hall.

Several prominent MK businesses, including Network Rail, Santander, KPMG, Dentons and IKEA, took turns to talk about the business benefits of being accredited Living Wage employers and urged others to join the Living Wage accreditation campaign.

The Living Wage Business Network presented a Special Contribution To The Community Award to Julia Upton, who is retiring from her post as chief executive of MK Community Foundation, for championing the idea of Milton Keynes as a Living Wage city.