When I heard about this project, I honestly didn’t have much idea how it would go or play out but, I wanted to be a part of it as I wanted to step out of my comfort zone. Hearing that I may have to interview people I’ve never met or spoken to before scared me. Hearing that I would have to be on weekly zoom meetings, where I may have to talk in front of others, frightened me.
Even actually meeting and engaging with new people scared me. However, I reminded myself I wouldn’t grow unless I do new things and get out of my comfort zone and sometimes you have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Being part of this project and getting into it properly has been a fantastic experience however, sometimes, I feel bad. Overall though, I’ve found it amazing, and I'll tell you why.
Through this project, I have grown as a person and developed skills I didn’t know I had, met amazing people and made new friends. I also learnt a lot in general. However, I had an assumption at the start of this project which was this cost of living crisis ‘only affected the poor’ (I was very wrong). I quickly realised it’s affecting other classes, and the middle-class, in some cases, were a lot worse off than the poor as they had less access to certain benefits.
Belonging to a middle-class household, I have seen and experienced some of these struggles first-hand. Hearing this from participants, whether it be through interviews or focus groups, brought a deep sense of sadness over me. Some of the struggles people are going through and the things they had to sacrifice just shocked me entirely as I was oblivious at the time. Hearing from participants who struggle with Multiple Long-Term Conditions (MLTCs), receiving minimal help and still having to juggle everyday life, brought a feeling of sadness over me.
I just didn’t believe this was right and believe more support should be given. So yes, this project has been amazing and I’m proud to have been a part of it. However, the reason I said I feel bad is because of the sadness I feel for other people’s stories and situations, and there being no instant solution to fix it.
Out of all the stories and of people’s circumstances I heard, there was one that stood out for me and affected me the most. One of our participants has a partner with MLTCs and medication for this is expensive, with the current crisis on top. They had to make a very tough and sad decision to send their kids to Africa to live with grandparents as it was cheaper, and this way, they could afford the medication needed.
I just feel this isn’t right. How is it that it’s got to this and this sort of decision is having to be made? It's bad enough listening to all of this and thinking how this couple must feel but, then not having a solution made me feel worse.
This story has made me appreciate a lot more in my life as I found myself moaning and not satisfied, which really and truly doesn’t mean much. Not anymore! I have a deep sense of gratitude for all I have and all aspects of my life, even the so-called ‘negative’ aspects. And even though this story is a very sad one, it’s made me grow into a better person and become more empathetic.
This project has massively changed me and how I now view things. The biggest one being not to judge people. It’s so easy to judge someone you walk by or speak to and make an assumption but, the truth is you probably don’t know anything about them or what they are going through. So regardless, I just try my best to be a better and kinder person in general, listening to people when they need someone to talk to, saying hello to people in the street, giving genuine compliments to people and more. This project has taught me never to stop doing good, even if you have been treated badly.
Overall I would love to see further focus groups, as these really brought joy to the people and it brought the community together. I would love to see solutions and a way out of this crisis.
You can also subscribe to our YouTube channel for further content, including short clips and documentary.
Feb 24th 2023
Paul Addae and Dr Shaun Danquah -Read More
Feb 24th 2023
RAQUEL CAIRES JANUAIRO - PROJECT MANAGERRead More
Feb 24th 2023
RAQUEL CAIRES JANUARIO - PROJECT MANAGERRead More