Sheffield contact tracing group launches documentary series

Written by Jack Williamson

A documentary series highlighting the experiences of marginalised groups during the pandemic launches tomorrow afternoon.

‘Seldom Heard Communities’ has been created by Sheffield Community Contact Tracers, a volunteer group that made national news in May 2020, when it set up a tracing service for residents of Sheffield before the government had a national scheme.

Alex Cutts, SCCT communications officer, said the first episode titled ‘Tick Boxes’ explored the lives of members of the BAMER (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and Refugee) community and the difficulties they have experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It will contain interviews with ISRAAC (Somali Community Association), SADACCA (Sheffield and District African Caribbean Community Association) and the Hadfield Institute based in Attercliffe.

Tom Heller, 75, is a retired doctor and founding member of SCCT, worked with Ms Cutts on the documentary series. Mr Heller has prior experience of making films having worked with the Open University and BBC for decades.

The project began after a discussion with the Independent SAGE Group. Mr Heller said: “What really struck us is that people from BAMER communities are often called hard to reach but when you talk to them there incredibly easy to reach. It’s just that when they do speak the authorities don’t listen.

“The film is all about the ways they are informing each other, supporting each other and doing a magnificent job. With food parcels, exercise classes and information sessions which don’t get a lot of publicity and are underfunded or not funded at all by the statutory authorities.”

Two future episodes have been planned to focus on mental health and carers. An episode concentrating on the experiences of students during the pandemic is also being discussed.

Mr Heller was particularly proud of the platform the Seldom Heard Communities series will give to BAMER groups.

“These groups have contributed enormously to the wealth and prosperity of Sheffield but remain unheard, so we wanted honour them really,” he said.

The first episode will be aired online at 4pm, followed by a Zoom Q&A. Access is free and tickets can be attained from Eventbrite:



Written by Jack Williamson

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