Thursday, January 17, 2019

Focus, Please

Tonight I did something absolutely magical. It involved:

1. Eating free sandwiches and drinking free herbal tea.
2. Giving my opinions, of which I have a lot to give.
3. Being done with the whole thing in 90 minutes.
4. Receiving £40 before I walked out the door.

If you hadn't guessed by now (and I think you probably have), I participated in a focus group this evening. I've never been part of one, so I didn't know just what to expect, but this was a very good experience. I was told ahead of time that it would be regarding the local area and community, so that gave me a positive impression. (Though for the record, I would have a positive impression of giving my opinion about carpet lint if they were offering me free food and cash.)

I was in a group of nine people who are all residents of the borough we live in, and it was an excellent representation of the diversity of the population. We were asked questions about our community and how we feel about it, then about airports. The facilitator made a joke about making us work for our "pocket money," but it was honestly a very easy and gratifying experience.

I loved hearing everyone's responses and learning more about the different areas of our borough and the people who live here. I was pleased to hear that, like me, the others love living here, too. People used words like open and welcoming and kind to describe the people who live here. We all agreed that the diversity of race and culture is part of what makes us happy with where we live. I absolutely love this. I walked out of the room £40 richer, but also with a renewed sense of gratitude for my community and for the privilege of living where I do.

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