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Volunteers drive South West Parkinson’s disease event

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Patients and research staff from across the South West gathered to learn about local achievements and opportunities to take part in Parkinson’s disease research.

The NIHR CRN South West Peninsula welcomed over 120 members of the public and staff to a South West Parkinson’s Disease Research Event in Plymouth. ‘Bringing research closer to home’ was the theme of the regional event that was set up to share information about the exciting research Parkinson’s research taking place across Cornwall, Devon and Somerset.

The event was planned in collaboration with Parkinson’s UK and the programme was designed with volunteers from PenPRIG (The Peninsula Parkinson’s Research Interest Group). Their views were used to ensure the event gave the  up to date relevant information to people with Parkinson’s disease and carers.

The one-day event offered attendees the opportunity to meet their local research teams, hear from and pose questions to an expert panel and even sign up to take part in local research, with a third of attendees signing up to do so.

Ulli Funken, a PenPRIG volunteer and one of the event coordinators helping CRN SWP, commented: “Parkinson’s research covers a wide variety of areas, such as finding new medication to manage symptoms and ease daily life, discovering new ways to detect Parkinson’s early, and the desire to find a cure. It’s easy to see how research is important to people with Parkinson’s and their family or carers, touching pretty much every aspect of our lives.”

Ulli continued, “[The] conference intended to bring research closer to home for the people of the south west peninsula. We brought together about 100 people affected by the illness with representatives from both local and national study groups. This allowed for an overview of all research initiatives currently in progress in the region as well as a preview of upcoming studies.”

The NIHR CRN supports patients, the public and health organisations across England to participate in high-quality research to improve the health and wealth of the nation.

Claire West, Research Delivery Manager in the CRN SWP added, “It was pleasing to see the impressive attendance for this event. It was a perfect opportunity for people to learn and show interest in studies being carried out in the local region and to engage with the local research teams.”

If you or a member of your family has been affected by Parkinson’s disease and you would like to find out more about the research opportunities available to you, please contact us at

Parkinson’s Research in the South West Peninsula (PenPRiG) host a peer support Facebook group for members of the public in Cornwall and Devon affected by Parkinson’s and interested in research.

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