A community council in one of the most poverty-stricken areas of MK has beaten thousands of other authorities to be shortlisted for the national 'Star Council' award.
Woughton Community Council (WCC) is one of only three bodies to shortlisted from all 9,000 parish, town and community councils in England.
It covers Leadenhall, Eaglestone, Peartree Bridge, Coffee Hall, Beanhill, Netherfield and Tinkers Bridge – an area that falls within the UK's top 10 per cent of the most deprived wards.
“Whilst financially poor, the parish is strong in community spirit, determination and passion for change,” states the Star Council award description.
WCC organises community food projects to ensure residents never go hungry, and its youth service provides meals and cooking classes to young people.
A Community Café is building upon the sessions provided by local groups, providing hot food and social contacts within local venues.
And a Community Fridge which opened in October has already seen over three and a half tonnes of food saved, with more than 2000 visits to the fridge.
WCC also runs an advice service to focus on those most in need.
“With evidence that mental health was a significant issue within the parish, the council employed a specialist mental health worker and created a dedicated Wellbeing Room,” states the application.
It also has strong provision for young people, with sessions for those with special educational needs, young carers, young parents and the LGBTQ+ community all held within its dedicated youth centre, which also houses a recording studio and a new community gym.
Dance, street art, open sessions and the new Play Rangers service, offering family play in green open spaces. are also part of this provision.
Councillor Sue Smith, Chair of Woughton Community Council said: “Being shortlisted reflects the hard work that the council does in trying to address some of the biggest issues for Milton Keynes – youth services, the environment, supporting those most in need, and taking action to reduce the impact of ‘austerity’ in a parish that has seen many affected by the cuts.”
Milton Keynes councillor Moriah Priestly, Cabinet Member for Community Partnerships, said: “This is fantastic news for Woughton and for the whole city, reflecting the essential role that parish and town councils play within Milton Keynes.”
She added: “Congratulations to Woughton on being shortlisted. Colleagues across Milton Keynes Council will be voting and we encourage everyone across the city to support our parish sector by doing the same.”
You can vote for WCC to win the Star Council award online here.