The COVID-19 lockdown is impacting on all our lives and some people require support they have never needed before with food and medicine.
Very quickly the good people of Erdington stepped forward and offered help with errands in response and now the growing team of volunteers are now providing deliveries on behalf of local agencies.
This includes taking food parcels and fresh hot food deliveries out to those on the shielded and vulnerable list, collecting prescriptions from pharmacies, plus buying and delivering shopping not in the emergency food packages.
We at Active Arts, who run the Erdington Arts Forum, have also looked at what we can do to help in this time. Jobe and Claire both supporting with local coordination and using their creative problem solving skills where needed.
As we have become more organised locally, Active Arts has supported communication through launching a new community newspaper and working with our team of artists and media professionals to develop ideas.
Our big challenge is not the what and how but financially supporting these endeavours. Currently volunteers - many who have been financially hit - are spending their own money to cover the cost of petrol and shopping. The artists who have the skills to support have lost their livelihood and are ready to help.
Active Arts has offered to support David Owen and Jo Bull, the founders of the volunteers response team, with fundraising and support to ensure volunteers receive expenses and be identified as official with t-shirts. We also want to provide a contribution to artists to make advice videos to help get the right messages out about benefits, employment, wellbeing and crisis support to reach more people in our community.
Many people of Erdington have always considered this an area of joined villages with a central High Street and in this time of crisis the people have come through demonstrating that local community spirit.
We are not asking for much - but what we can raise will make a difference.
(And just for clarifying when we say Erdington it is the whole constituency: Erdington, Castle Vale, Pype Hayes, Perry Common, Gravelly Hill, Kingstanding, and Stockland Green.)