Words by Steve Sharma, photography by Ed King
The Erdington COVID-19 Taskforce, established in April, has raised almost £400,000 to support the district’s vulnerable residents.
The Taskforce has also mobilised an army of 244 volunteers to ensure the level of support, care and provision people have required during these unprecedented times is delivered via a co-ordinated, targeted and strategic response.
A total of 9,575 food parcels have been distributed to the elderly and needy across the constituency while online and bespoke support services have also been rolled out to safeguard people’s mental health and wellbeing.
Erdington Local, which houses the online address book of local support compiled by the Erdington COVID-19 Taskforce, has reached over 27,325 people since the database was first published on 7th May – seeing over 2972 people engage directly with the newspaper, looking for essentials services and help throughout the coronavirus crisis and lock down.
Established to create a united community-based response against coronavirus, the Taskforce has connected numerous local groups, networks and organisations in order to assist those in need. A total of 1,437 residents have been supported.
As well as distributing food and household supplies, volunteers have been submitting and collecting medical prescriptions for people and providing befriending support, advice and guidance – delivering 7,154 wellbeing activities such as telephone calls and online support sessions.
Witton Lodge Community Association is a member of the Erdington COVID-19 Taskforce and facilitates delivery of its services.
Chief Officer, Afzal Hussain, said the success of the Taskforce is an example of what can be achieved through collaborative and partnership working.
“From the beginning the Taskforce has been focused on delivering proactive and responsive services where the need is greatest,” he said.
“Every member organisation has demonstrated commitment and resilience to collaborating and co-ordinating the kind of support and activities which people have needed to be safe and healthy.
“This united approach has helped the Taskforce to achieve such an outstanding impact.”
Meanwhile, Erdington MP, Jack Dromey – also part of the Taskforce – and whose office has directly supported 480 COVID19 related cases since the outbreak of the pandemic, said his constituency is full of heroes.
“The Erdington Task Force has been a vital lifeline for thousands of local residents in their hour of need,” he said.
“COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on the most vulnerable in our community and the work of the organisations and volunteers involved has provided crucial support.
“The commitment and dedication of all those involved has been outstanding, and the Task Force demonstrates the fantastic community spirit that is alive and well here in Erdington.
“I am proud to have been involved with the Taskforce throughout this crisis and I want to pay tribute to all those involved for their heroic efforts.”
‘We’ll be there for you’ – Erdington COVID-19 Taskforce
To visit the COVID-19 Local Support database and address book, visit www.erdingtonlocal.com/covid-19-local-support