Community Engagement and Service User Support (Comensus)
The Comensus service user and carer involvement group has been part of the University since 2004.
Since its initial conception as an action research group, its remit has expanded to include embedding the service user and carer voice across several Schools at the University of Central Lancashire. Comensus staff facilitators organise and support this involvement, which is an essential requirement of professional health and social care programmes and provide a central hub for the co-ordination and facilitation of user and carer involvement.
We work in partnership with academic colleagues to include service users and carers in selection and recruitment, the design and delivery of courses and modules, the development of digital learning resources and involvement in the assessment of learners. Our aim is to add value to the student experience and support students to be the best practitioners, researchers and educators they can be.
What we do
Comensus work with course teams to meet their governing body requirements for service user, patient and carer involvement but offer so much more. They engage in different ways including:
- Sharing their lived experience in a teaching session
- Creating digital resources such as short films or written case studies
- Participating in admissions days and assessments
- Attending Consultations and focus groups
- Engaging with students in history-taking and communication skills sessions
Comensus has developed relationships with many community organisations across the Lancashire area. We host events throughout the year to maintain strong community links, as part of our Community Action Forum. This is delivered in partnership with the CVCL (Centre for Volunteering and Community Leadership), Engage UCLan and our community networks. The events run three times a year and offer an informal space for our colleagues, members of the public and community organisations to:
- Improve community engagement within and beyond our University
- Consider and promote reciprocal benefits for all
- Work together on research, teaching, learning and problem solving
- Celebrate amazing achievements
For more information on the next event, or details on how to get involved please get in touch via email.
How we work with volunteers
As part of our diverse approach to this work we have been developing our approach to remote and digital delivery. The two main ways we do this are:
- Resource library – working with members of the public to design teaching and learning resources such as videos, case studies, infographics and many more.
- Remote delivery – we have a strong commitment of engaging with the public as such we offer remote sessions where people can engage in our work from their own home or any other location.
Become a volunteer
If you or someone you know might be interested in becoming a volunteer, please get in touch. You can be involved with as much or as little as you would like including, teaching and learning, research, strategy, public engagement and events.
All volunteers receive ongoing support and supervision and have access to training, including an induction, presentation and telling your story, digital engagement and many others. All experiences are relevant. No prior training is required, feel free to get in touch for a chat.
Throughout the year Comensus hold and co deliver several events including our One in Four Film Festival, Student Congress Day, Community Action Forum and many others. We also run and celebrate certain events that our volunteers support on an ad hoc basis.