Volunteers receive Impact Award for involvement in PREPARED research study

June 2024

Hazel Partington and Janet Garner

Volunteers who contributed to a PREPARED study on the experiences of disabled people and their carers during the COVID-19 pandemic had their efforts recognised with a ‘Service User and Carer Impact’ award.

The award was presented on 24th April 2024 at the University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLan) Centre for Volunteering and Community Leadership annual awards ceremony.

The volunteers, who are part of the Comensus group, regularly share their lived experiences as users of health and social care services in the UK with students on UCLan professional courses and researchers. The PREPARED team drew upon Comensus volunteers’ perspectives of the COVID-19 pandemic through the lens of living with a disability or chronic health condition.

Awards are given to students, volunteers and community leaders

The Centre for Volunteering and Community Leadership recognises the achievements of UCLan students, community volunteers and community leaders from across Lancashire, UK, at their annual celebration event. The University’s Vice Chancellor, Prof Graham Baldwin, and other senior colleagues distribute awards to the following:

  • Students who have accrued hundreds of volunteering hours.
  • Community leaders who have offered volunteering opportunities to students.
  • Projects involving Comensus members.

The 2024 event was attended by over 150 people. Nominations for the Comensus impact award included the collaboration with PREPARED and various submissions from other research teams.

The outcome was kept as a surprise

Janet Garner, Comensus co-ordinator, attended the ceremony with colleagues and volunteers who had contributed to the project. Janet said: ‘It was fabulous to be able to dress up and celebrate volunteering across the institution, and also to enjoy a social event together’.

Light refreshments were offered to all attendees and a photographer captured special moments. ‘It was lovely to see family and friends celebrating with nominees’, Janet noted: ‘we kept the outcome as a surprise for the volunteers, who were thrilled when the award was announced’. One of the volunteers also commented: ‘I felt honoured to be a member of the group who won the award [for their contribution to PREPARED research]. It’s nice to be appreciated for the work we do’.

Hazel Partington, who worked on the study with PREPARED colleague Kate Chatfield, commented:

‘It is fantastic for the PREPARED team to see the contributions from Janet and the Comensus volunteers who participated in the study recognised with this award, which is richly deserved. We are very grateful for their valuable contributions to our research’.

Read the PREPARED report, which is based on the collaboration with Comensus, below.