Communities Get Behind MK50

Date Posted:18/07/2016

As Milton Keynes’ 50th birthday approaches, more than 30 cultural and community groups, businesses and other organisations have all put forward an amazing collection of ideas to the MK50 Project Board for inclusion into the 2017 Birthday Programme.

The MK50 Project Board, made up of representatives from Milton Keynes Council, The Parks Trust, MKCCM, MK Gallery, Bletchley Park and leisure providers 1Life and Hertsmere Leisure, is coordinating an exciting and inclusive programme of activities to celebrate the past, present and future of our amazing MK.

The MK50 main programme, which will tell the story of MK over 50 years, will have its events announced from September and will include high impact, public headline events; a calendar of walks, tours and trails, music, arts, heritage activity and sports, community activity, schools pack and local celebrations throughout 2017; it will also see specialist academic events such as conferences, seminars and tours on Milton Keynes unique architectural and design city status.

Three major city-wide collaborative events have already been announced, designed so that communities, organisations and businesses can all participate and organise their activities to be part of the Birthday Programme in 2017.  They are:

    Birthday Weekend (20 to 23 January 2017)   

To celebrate Milton Keynes’ official birthday on Monday, 23rd January 2017, venues across MK are being asked to open their doors for free (or to give out a number of free tickets), hold an open day, or other event on one or more of the four days.

    Let’s Party Like it’s 1967 (23/24 June 2017)  

Taking everyone back to the 60s when MK was formed and encouraging the whole city to party.  If you’re planning to hold a street party, a party in the park or to rent out your community centre, the board wants to hear about it, and is publishing an online events toolkit to give advice.  Major city centre venues are also planning to organise a big party in Central MK with 60s music and dancing.

    MK50 Heritage Open Days - (7 to 10 September 2017)   

The annual Heritage Open Days event will be themed MK50 for 2017, and the board is looking to add free heritage events to the Open Days programme that celebrate MK’s architecture, design and unique identity; its pioneers, heritage and culture, or MK as ‘Tomorrow’s City’ of innovation.

Contact the board to share your ideas and plans by emailing

The board has been working with MK organisations to encourage bids since 2015 and is currently evaluating each activity and connecting bidders together where two or more groups are developing similar ideas.

To be included in the main programme, events and activities need to meet criteria on celebration, learning and legacy, as well as sensible standards for risk and funding.  (Find more details on the get involved pages of the MK50 website).  

Activities that don’t meet the criteria will become part of an ‘associated events programme’ and organisers will still be able to use the MK50 logo in promotions.

An MK50 Fund has been set up in partnership with the MK Community Foundation and The Parks Trust to support grassroots activity, with a focus on celebrating our parks and green spaces and so that every community in MK gets to feel they can be part of the celebration.

Cllr Liz Gifford, Cabinet lead for Place, which includes culture and events, said: “Now’s the right time for communities and organisations to think about and start planning activities for the MK-wide birthday celebrations, summer party, and heritage open days.”