It was good to be reunited with my participatory appraisal training mates yesterday. When the facilitators asked how I was, I took the opening lines of Fascinating Aida's I Like Me song.
"I'm feeling dejected, downcast and depressed," I said, not looking or sounding particularly dejected, downcast or depressed. "Oh housing, didn't get the flat I bid on," I explained in response to their query. One told me I looked great. "Makeup!" I smiled, but I didn't burst into song.
Dee was there! Billie couldn't make it as she's volunteering at a school. Fifi (I hope she doesn't mind me calling her Fifi...) came over and sat beside me. She has three children, one of whom is doing her gcse's, though you wouldn't guess it as Fifi doesn't look a day over 21.
We gathered to talk about our fieldwork results and to organise ourselves into teams to go and interview 'stake holders' - the executives working for the police, social services, nhs etc.
What we discovered about the communities we spoke to is that hardly anyone has heard about, or knows anything about safeguarding services. There's a lack of awareness about where to go for information and difficulties in accessing information. There is also a deep mistrust of some service providers.
We are now going to talk to these service providers, though not front line staff, and ask them why people can't access information or services and how they can improve on this.
I don't care who I interview but the facilitators thought it would be best if I wasn't part of the team talking to the managing director of 'Housing and Adult Social Care'. They are quite right as there is a need for me to be impartial, not reach over a desk and lamp the person if they claim to be helping people. I can always make enquiries of my own....
I'm in a team with Dee and Billie again. I told Dee not to get the giggles and set me off. I do love those two women. They have been friends so long they bounce off eachother in very funny ways.
After these interviews have been collated a report will be written up. I have asked if I can help with this and the facilitators have said yes! Whoopee for me!
As for Fascinating Aida's song, it's SO good!!
The beginning goes like this:
I was feeling dejected, downcast and depressed
The world was my clam shell, I'd run out of zest,
All alone with no-one to caaaaaaaaaaaaare.
The people I worked with were all
And beneath the facade you'd never have guessed
I was poised on the brink of despair
Then out of the blue
It all fell into place
The answer was staring me
face (ping ping on the piano)
I like me!
I like the me that I see when I brushing my teeth in the morning
I like me
I find we always agree
It's the others who set out from yawning
Who is the sweetest, completest companion by far?
Who do I long to be with more than justement en peu?
And on it goes, fantastically! Go to their website (www.fascinatingaida.co.uk), listen to the whole thing and others, go to a show! I so want to go to their show!