Comensus involves service users, carers and the wider community in scholarly activities across a number of Schools at the University of Central Lancashire. Comensus has been developed to embed service user and carer voices within health and social care practice. We provide a central hub for co-ordination and facilitation of user and carer involvement.
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 Janet Garner and Steven Seymour, Service User and Carer Involvement Facilitators. Comensus members are a community of individuals from diverse backgrounds with a wide variety of health and social care experiences. The Comensus Strategy Group (CSG) meet regularly to plan project development, drive strategic involvement and oversee all of our activity.
Comensus get involved in many local community events throughout the year, including the Health Mela, the Open Mind Festival and the annual Disability and Carer’s Rights Festival at Preston Minster. We also attend community events in Preston and its surrounding areas.
The Comensus Group was set up to inform the project in 2004. It has now evolved into an Engagement group made up of academic staff members with an interest in user involvement; representatives of third sector community groups from Lancashire, representatives from Lancashire Care Foundation Trust, Preston City Council and service user/carer representatives from Comensus. Meetings are held quarterly and community partners often give presentations about their work with service users and carers. The groups also discusses opportunities to promote user involvement in teaching and make valuable links between the different stakeholders members. The back bone of this group are our service user and carer community members.
Please contact Stevie Seymour if you are interested in attending one of our Engagement group meetings at email@example.com.
We offer a range of opportunities at Comensus including:
Now in its 14th year, the UCLan One in Four Film Festival is the only service user and carer-led film festival in the UK. It will run from 3rd to 5th March 2020, with the 5th March marking University Mental Health Day, and aims to bring mental health issues to a much wider audience.
The film society are showing film screenings throughout the year to celebrate or raise awareness around certain key topics in society.
Janet has worked with the Comensus community engagement and service user group since 2009 and with the School of Social Work’s service user and carer advisory group, SUCAG, prior to that. She has supported service user and carer involvement in multiple areas of professional health and social care, including Social Work, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy and Health Sciences.
Janet works with academic colleagues to co-produce health and social curricula and ensure the service user and carer perspective is embedded in the design, delivery and assessment of professional programmes. Janet helps to co-ordinate a group of over 100 volunteers who support the ongoing success of the Comensus group.
Steven started his post in July 2015 after working as the Education Officer at the Students’ Union. Steven graduated from the BA Social Work programme two years ago, meaning that he was taught by the Comensus volunteers throughout his degree.
Steven works across the Schools of Social Work and Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences. He firmly believes in service user and carer involvement in health and social care and has developed this through his core social work beliefs and values. He also has the tidiest desk in the office.