Explaining a little known but poignant London monument, launching reading groups in prison and helping those with Parkinson's - Roehampton university staff have been recognised for their contributions to the community.

John Price, Jenny Hartley and Sara Houston have made it to the finals of the Engage Awards run by the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement and designed to celebrate the work of university workers.

The winners will be announced at the Natural History Museum on Wednesday and will receive funding and the opportunity to showcase their project at events such as the national Engage conference in December.

Dr Price, who lives in Putney, has spent a decade researching the Watts Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice in Postman’s Park in the City of London to create a mobile phone app The monument is a display of 54 ceramic tablets commemorating 62 individuals who died attempting to save another.

Dr Price's app, The Everyday Heroes of Postman’s Park, uses image recognition technology, so visitors can point the camera at a tablet to access information including maps, photos and genealogical information.

The Prison Reading Groups project led by Professor Hartley and colleague Sarah Turvey has set up and supported more than 40 groups in 30 prisons across the UK over the last decade.

The on-going nationwide Dance for Parkinson’s research project led by Dr Houston has spread the message of the benefits of dancing to sufferers, as a way of putting aside their illness and encouraging them to move their bodies in different ways.

A pilot project found physical, social and mental improvements among sufferers, and gave them chance to meet others with the disease. Individual dance sessions are led by the English National Ballet, with Dr Houston providing the research and expert background work.