Community Engagement and Service User Support (Comensus)
The Comensus service user and carer involvement group has been part of the University since 2004.
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
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.
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.
Investing in Volunteers (IiV) 2022 - 2025
Comensus, with their partner organisation, CVCL, were thrilled to be awarded an Investors in Volunteers award in March 2022. Following a robust assessment, Comensus were deemed to have met all targets in six quality areas, which included Supporting Volunteers and Valuing & Developing Volunteers. Volunteers were very positive about the amount of further training they could access, and that staff encouraged them to learn new skills. The award covers the period 2022-2025.
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.
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.
Comensus public engagement
The Comensus group regularly host public events like the Open day at UCLan in May 2022 for their volunteers and community partners. We were able to celebrate being able to meet again in person and showcase some of the University’s new facilities such as the new Student Centre and Skills areas for teaching and learning practice.