Words & pics by Ed King
Established in response to coronavirus, the Erdington Covid-19 Task Force was set up to support people during the pandemic – reaching thousands of vulnerable and isolated residents with food, essential supplies, financial advice, health and wellbeing activities, and further support services.
Now as Covid-19 restrictions are lifted and communities across the world are looking at life beyond the pandemic, so is the Taskforce – dropping the coronavirus moniker and exploring how it can continue to support people across Erdington.
Renamed the Erdington Task Force, the collective of local stakeholders has issued a new manifesto, with housing, education, employment, and regeneration at its core.
Continuing their duty of care for the vulnerable, isolated, and elderly, the Erdington Task Force want to carry on providing what many have found to be essential support services – finding whilst Covid-19 restrictions are being lifted, people across Erdington are still suffering from the impact of the virus.
To help deliver this programme of support, Erdington Task Force mobilises a squad of almost 250 volunteers to carry out tasks and activities across the constituency.
Chair of the Erdington Task Force is Afzal Hussain, Chief Officer of Witton Lodge Community Association (WLCA). Mr Hussain told Erdington Local:
“The Erdington (Covid-19) Task Force provided a crucial and rapid response to the pandemic.
“Members repurposed existing and developed new services to support our communities by mobilising hundreds of volunteers and co-ordinating vital food distribution and support activities to thousands of vulnerable residents across the constituency.
“The pandemic highlighted and exacerbated deep-seated inequalities, especially poverty and economic hardship, health inequalities and digital exclusion.
“So now is the right time to refresh our partnerships and create a new settlement, which recognises and celebrates the central role of the refreshed Erdington Task Force in the life, prosperity and future of the constituency.”
Comprised of local charities, support organisations, community champions, and politicians, the Erdington Task Force is a collective of local stakeholders who have deep rooted relationships within the constituency.
Facilitated by WLCA, the Erdington Task Force also has organisations including Active Arts, Spitfire Service, The Pioneer Groups, Bethany Foodbank, Erdington Community Volunteers, Urban Devotion, West Midlands Police, and The Active Wellbeing Society as members – establishing a network of support from Castle Vale to Kingstanding.
The Erdington (Covid-19) Task Force was established in April 2020, to support the constituency during the coronavirus pandemic.
To read the new Erdington Task Force manifesto in full visit www.wittonlodge.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Erdington-Task-Force-Community-Manifesto-2022