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Lecturer nominated for community award

12 May 2020 9:45AM

A lecturer at the University of Suffolk has been nominated for a Community Action Suffolk award. 

The awards have been set up to recognise individuals who are acting as ‘community heroes’ during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Lecturer in Criminology and Psychology, Laura Polley, has been nominated by Anglia Care Trust (ACT)-  a charity she has volunteered with since being a student at the University. Laura has volunteered in their housing team, as a mentor and as an Appropriate Adult (AA), supporting juveniles and vulnerable adults whilst in custody.  

After studying Criminology at the University of Suffolk, Laura went on to become a senior prison officer - she was just one of 47 to be offered the post out of over 1,000 applicants. Since graduating Laura has returned to the University as a lecturer. 

Laura’s colleague, Dr Martin Hine, Associate Dean for Business Engagement in the School of Social Sciences and Humanities at the University, said of the nomination “Our students find volunteering extremely worthwhile. Laura’s work with ACT allowed her to gain experience to complement her degree and subsequent appointment - it’s a win win for the students and the charity.” 

During the coronavirus pandemic Laura has increased her shifts as an AA and she has helped to set up ACT’s food and hygiene parcel emergency assistance scheme, providing vulnerable service users with essentials during lockdown.  

Laura said “I’m delighted to be nominated by ACT as a Suffolk Community Hero - I don’t feel like a hero; I’m just happy to help. When I first started volunteering for ACT, I knew I would be in it for the long haul - Anglia Care Trust are a fantastic charity and, with such a wide range of services, they really make a difference to the lives of their service users. I feel lucky to have a career that I love at the University of Suffolk, and volunteering that allows me to help vulnerable people in our community. Here’s to all of the heroes out there - I’d like to thank all of them!” 

Lisa Miles, Volunteer Development Manager at ACT said “Laura has been on the front line, shopping and delivering parcels on a daily basis and does so with a level of enthusiasm and a bubbly personality that is simply inspiring and uplifting to all. She is an absolute hero - I’m just not sure how she will feel about a cape! Humility runs alongside her awesomeness and she is ever grateful to be able to help, which she does with a huge heart and the kindest spirit.” 

If you’d like to find out about volunteering with Anglia Care Trust please email: or telephone Lisa on 07918083632 


University of Suffolk Press Office
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