This journey came from a casual meeting with a not-so-local community group which the 2020 Covid 19 worldwide pandemic stopped in its tracks. It shunted me into another more pressing direction. I was on my way into community research. Older. Retired. Comfortable – ish. Did I need to be ‘Raised Up’?
Community research. This was new! I’d never heard of it but had carried out research and interviewed many people in a former life working for local government.
Training, ethics, humanity, perseverance and overcoming challenges, yes, okay. Problem-solving, alternative ways and means and working with a richly diverse and energised team, focusing on the same objectives. All of us searching out those who are deeply affected by the turbulent air and the old and tired ways of research extraction, to offer what we can and some small hope. What’s not to love?
Technology, my most favourite thing. Not. Yet I learned its value via researching and connecting with many agencies out there, big and small, who could help us, help others. Zoom calls. Teams talk. Audio transcribing, connections across the whole county and further afield. I can do this!
I/We listened to amazing individuals speak on their struggles, resilience and the triumphs of raising children, reduced incomes, battling illnesses, feeling isolated, household tensions, job/housing insecurity, Covid anxieties, practicalities of getting shopping in, running out of toilet rolls, not having direct contact with those you care about and essential workers juggling all their responsibilities and fears while keeping on.
Centric and its principal partners have worked hard to re-make, re-shape and re-claim the way that community research is carried out and returned to communities with their full agreement and involvement. This method has localised understanding, investment and outcome at its core. It is providing tangible proof and belief that longevity and change not only can but, is happening.
Boy, am I glad to be part of this personal and professional journey!