#GlobalDonutDay in Milton Keynes

Our GDD event attracted members of the public, community volunteers, council officers, business leaders and others.

Milton Keynes Global Donut Day was run by the Milton Keynes Doughnut Economics Group (MKDE) who were established in February 2023 as an affiliate of Transition Town Milton Keynes. MKDE has a vision for a thriving, safe Milton Keynes for all, which functions within the planet’s boundaries. Our mission is to connect change agents within MK who are enthusiastic about the doughnut economy and want to put it into practice together through the following objectives:

  1. To work towards the vision through the promotion and celebration of the concept of the Doughnut, and the seven principles of 21st century Doughnut Economics here. 
  2. Using the tools and approaches encapsulated with the Doughnut Economics Action Lab (DEAL), to involve communities across MK in activities that educate and empower residents to develop strategies for environmentally transformative living in their locality. 
  3. To collect data in all forms, including information and stories, to develop and regularly update a City Portrait 
  4. To increase participation in, and contribution to, the strategic planning that affects MK residents by public and private sector bodies through the adoption of the Community Development principles of Educate, Enable and Empower in all our activities.


The event was hosted by Camphill MK Communities, an organisation that provides support and a meaningful working life for adults with a wide range of learning disabilities and who have been putting ‘Doughnut Economics thinking’ into practice for many years.  On the day itself, the Chrysalis Theatre at Camphill worked perfectly, from the help we received with setting up/taking down to the warm welcome provided by the residents, to the bright, open, and flexible space that enabled us to move so easily between workshops and communicate with so many citizens, friends and colleagues. The limitless supplies of tea, coffee, and water also helped us all power through.  We are also grateful to the event funders, Lush Charity Pot Funding and Transition Town Milton Keynes.

Between midday and 1800 our drop-in event was very well attended. The audience included members of the public, community volunteers, council officers and councillors, business leaders and others all keen to find out more about Doughnut Economics.

The event began with a practical workshop - #StepintoTheDoughnut  -  exploring the concept of the doughnut with everyone,  before a second workshop which presented the findings of our first draft City Portrait for Milton Keynes.

The #StepIntoTheDoughnut Workshop generated lots of discussions


The workshops were very interactive and yielded further data to inform our next City Portrait as well as identifying new change agents interested in working with us in the future and offering advice on areas we can contribute to in the future (e.g. to the Milton Keynes City Plan workshops taking place in early 2024).

There were many new faces at the event, there was a palpable buzz in the room and people stayed on after the workshops. There was a lot of interaction between people and the interactive opportunities worked well.

The two #StepintoTheDoughnut  workshops took 40 mins and each had 25 people engaged in them, some of whom were new to the concept. Everybody appeared comfortable and engaged with the activity and spoke to other attendees as well as the workshop leader.

We received feedback that people learned a lot and they felt emotionally engaged. Two or three people did the workshop a second time – so they could learn more from other participants.  It was an excellent example of learning with and learning from each other.

When the doughnut was unrolled during the City Portrait Workshop it was great to have the portrait shown on a very large screen on the theatre stage. This enabled conversations to take place in front of the screen.  It got people debating as opposed to merely viewing the portrait. That was the conduit for the debate and discussion.

People were also invited to move around the large media wall which showed further detail on Doughnut Economics theory and examples of indicators from the social foundation and ecological ceiling indicators that we have used in the Milton Keynes Portrait.  People were invited to post their comments on the Media Wall using post-it notes.  It was during the discussions about City Portrait that people were prompted to revisit the Media Wall to record an opinion or a comment on there. Viewing the Media Wall also facilitated people who did not know each other to start talking.

The venue at Chysalis Theatre, Camphill MK Communities was a brilliant event space.


Our group hadn't planned to publish the results of our activities until 2024. However, the opportunity to take part in GDD prompted us to bring forward the publication date. We had to abandon the idea of creating custom designs for our publications due to constraints arising from a short production lead time and limited funding. We overcame these by bootstrapping the production of the publications and a large double-sided Media Wall by doing the layout ourselves  - with graphic design support from one of the group's spouses (thank you!).

The Media Wall is visible in the distance in this photo and shown in detail below:


Media Wall Side 1 - the local social foundation


Media Wall side 2 - the local ecological ceiling


We held true to Doughnut Economics principles and reused the Leeds City Portrait design with help from Jenny Bull, the designer from the Leeds Doughnut Coalition. We were also inspired by the Civic Square Doughnut Group’s Good News of B16 newspaper so we adapted their format and creative commons content from DEAL and Rob Shorter. Thanks to all of you.

Reusing these meant that on event day we were able to launch The First Milton Keynes Doughnut City Portrait,  which is intended to be a work in progress for further development over the coming year:
   

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We also launched Issue 1 of Good News of Milton Keynes:


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These publications are both available on YouTube and our Wiki. We printed 200 copies of the Good News of Milton Keynes which unfortunately arrived too late for the event itself but is now providing a vital follow-up to Global Donut Day with its focus on the many change agents already bringing Doughnut Economics to life in Milton Keynes. The newspaper has been well received and has helped us to strike up relationships and conversations with new people in the community. The event has resulted in a 21% increase in our maillist subscribers and we have a list of organisations whom we intend to interview for Issue 2 of the newspaper.

 
We are now planning our activities for 2024, where we will be following up with all the event attendees to continue developing our City Portrait and gathering more good news stories. We are also planning some outreach events with parish councils, local businesses and green business networks, to offer them support in applying the Doughnut Economics in other communities across our City. We feel optimistic about what we can achieve by Global Donut Day 2024. Watch this space!

# GlobalDonutDay hashtag_lookup:#GlobalDonutDay 

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    Ernest Hughes

    Seattle, WA USA

    How can we accelerate innovation and change for the future?

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