Words by Steve Sharma, original photography by Ed King
A new music video promoting the work of the Erdington COVID-19 Taskforce has reached out to thousands across the constituency – directing those in need to a database of vital support services.
Produced by Active Arts, the video is a reworking of the theme tune from the TV show Friends – tweaking the world famous title to ‘We’ll Be There for You’.
The Taskforce hope the ‘fun, catchy tune’ will encourage individuals and families who have remained ‘cut-off’ during the coronavirus pandemic to seek help and advice – promoting an address book of support services for finance, housing, access to food and essential items, employment, mental health, and more.
Afzal Hussain, Chief Officer at Witton Lodge Community Association, which facilitates Taskforce operations, said:
“We are aware, from conversations that take place during our weekly Taskforce meetings, that there are people out there – isolated individuals – who are unable to access mainstream support.
“There can be a number of reasons for this, such as a chronic long term health conditions, disability or poor mental health.
“Throughout the pandemic, such people have remained cut-off from support services, have gone under the radar. But we are determined to not only reach these individuals but to give them the critical help and support they need.
“We hope the video will stir people to help us identify anyone in their community who may be vulnerable and isolated.”
Comprised of several prominent and active community organisations, voluntary groups, public agencies, councillors, and volunteers – the Erdington Taskforce has so far raised over £450,000 to help local residents affected by the COVID-19 lockdown, alongside delivering almost 10,000 food parcels and over 7,000 wellbeing activities.
The online address book of support services has reached over 27,325 people, since first published by Erdington Local on 7th May – seeing over 2972 people engage directly through the newspaper, looking for essentials services and help throughout the coronavirus crisis and lock down.
The ‘We’ll Be There for You’ music video, performed by local artists as sourced by Active Arts, hopes to keep the message of community support alive – even whilst some lockdown restrictions are redacted.
“We wanted to find an effective and fun way to communicate how people can get support locally,” tells Claire Marshall, Project Director at Active Arts and a member of the Erdington COVID-19 Taskforce, “it has been inspiring to see how the different local agencies have pulled together to make a difference for people in need.
“At Active Arts we have a pool of talented artists through the Erdington Arts Forum that we can draw on and the idea for ‘We’ll Be There For You’ flowed very quickly with these artists, supported by members of the Taskforce, getting behind the idea. As you can see it is a fun, catchy tune that gives a snapshot of what support there is.”
Singing lead vocals in the video is Sandra Daniels – alongside a backing track performed by local musicians Reuben Reynolds, Jobe Baker-Sullivan, and Paul Withers.
The ‘We’ll Be There For You’ music video also includes personal appearances from Erdington MP Jack Dromey and Birmingham City Councillor Robert Alden – alongside members from organisations like The Pioneer Group, The Active Wellbeing Society, Urban Devotion Birmingham, Erdington Community Volunteers, and Erdintgon Local.
“The Erdington Taskforce is a fantastic initiative,” tells Sandra Daniels, “helping so many people in so many ways during what has been a very difficult time for many.
“I was thrilled to get the chance to support them (with this project) and the work that’s being done.”
‘We’ll Be There for You’ – Erdington COVID-19 Taskforce
For contact information and details on the Erdington COVID-19 Taskforce, and to visit the COVID-19 Local Support database and address book, visit www.erdingtonlocal.com/covid-19-local-support