University professor has been honoured with a Point of Light Award by the Prime Minister for her work within the Exeter community.
Dr Johanna Harris of the English department founded the ‘Care Homes Reading Project’ after joining the university five years ago.
The project involves student volunteers reading to elderly and vulnerable people in nursing and care homes across the city.
Putting the award down to the ‘enthusiasm and dedication’ of the students themselves, Dr Harris expressed her hope that the project had given students the opportunity to engage with those outside their ‘generational bubble’.
Awarded daily by the Prime Minister’s Office, the Point of Light Awards celebrate outstanding individual volunteers who are making a positive change in their community.
Prime Minister David Cameron praised Dr Harris’ vision to bring together young and old people and acknowledged the ‘real difference’ the students had made to the lives of those they had spent time with.
Dr Harris, who now plans to expand the project into local schools, stated that she hoped the award would encourage more students to ‘get involved in volunteering’ and build stronger links with the wider community.