Community Engagement and Service User Support

  • Comensus is a way of involving service users, carers and the wider community across specific Schools at the University of Central Lancashire.

Comensus is service user and carer led and has been developed to embed their voices within health and social care practice. We provide a central hub for co-ordination and facilitation of user and carer involvement in the Schools.

Community Members

We support students to be the best practitioners, researchers and educators they can be, and our aim is to provide a new dimension to the student experience at UCLan. Our volunteers are supported by a co-ordinator, Lisa Malihi-Shoja; Service user and carer involvement facilitators, Chris Essen and Janet Garner, Project Support Officer Steven Seymour and volunteer peer mentors, Ernie Mallen, Peter Sullivan and Angela Melling.

Comensus members are a group of individuals from diverse backgrounds with a wide variety of health and social care experiences. The Community Involvement Team is our core group which meets monthly to plan their involvement strategically across the Schools, meet requests from academics for service user and carer involvement in their teaching or assessment or passes the requests to our community colleagues.

We are happy to pass on details of our members on request, please email us at

Community Engagement

Comensus get involved in many local community events throughout the year, including the Health Mela, the Open Mind festival promoting Mental Health and the annual Disability and Carer’s Rights festival at Preston Minster. We also attend Open days at the University, conferences, and community days in Preston and surrounding areas.

We were honoured to have Sir Tom Finney as our patron from 2006 and were very sad to hear of his passing in February 2014. Comensus held a celebration event back in 2006 at which they welcomed Sir Tom and introduced him to members of the group.

Comensus - community engagement

Comensus group

Comensus - community engagement

Commnity engagement

Comensus - community engagement

Community engagement

Comensus Engagement Advisory group

The Comensus Advisory group was set up to inform the project in 2004. It has now evolved into an Engagement group made up of academic staff members from various Schools with an interest in user involvement; third sector community groups from the local area, representatives from Lancashire Care Foundation Trust and service user/carer representatives from Comensus. Meetings are held quarterly and community partners are invited to give a presentation about their work with service users and carers. The groups also discusses opportunities to promote user involvement in their teaching and make valuable links between the different stakeholders members.

Dates of 2016 meetings

3rd May 2016, 11-1pm

Please contact Janet Garner if you are interested in attending one our Engagement group meetings at

Some of our partners include:

  • Lancashire County Council
  • CARERS groups
  • British Red Cross
  • Travellers
  • Headway
  • Health watch