Title ID 5105Collection ID722
TitleToday and Tomorrow: Some Problems of Modern Society
Date[ca. 1960s]
CollectionH.K Lewenhak
Genre/TypeProfessionalTelevision companyNon-fiction
ThemeWorking Life
KeywordsChildren Health Services Communities Hospitals Outings Old Age Shopping Social Problems Houses Handicrafts
RegionalWest Midlands
NationalEngland United Kingdom
ProductionH. K. Lewenhak
Commissioning bodyATV Midlands
FormatBlack & White Sound
Duration11 min.
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details


Produced by H. K. Lewenhak in the West Midlands for ATV Midlands, the film follows a group of young volunteers at a committee meeting, reporting on the work they do in the community. Narration reflects on what the volunteers can learn from working with elderly and disabled members of the community.


Views of housing blocks open the film. These switch from positive to negative images. An elderly woman sits with a young man, he signs on her hand. "Who cares about the plight of the old, the deaf and the blind, often forgotten in odd corners of our community?," asks the narrator. A committee is in session in a sports hall. The committee organises around 300 school children at Collyhurst schools. The secretary finishes reading the report for the last meeting. Derek reports on the decorating of a woman's house, carried out by volunteers. They are seen cleaning the property, using a blow lamp to clean the paint off a door, sanding the walls and making curtains for the living room. Two boys paper the ceiling. The owner looks up at the boys working, smiling. "We have to do the job well, otherwise the wallpaper falls around everybody, but not to forget it's being done for somebody, and therefore any little thing the person who owns the house can do will be good for them and the whole process. Washing brushes, making tea, that sort of thing, helps them to feel that they are doing something too," explains the narrator. Two boys spread paste onto a length of wallpaper in the garden before taking it inside.

The committee turns to problems surrounding a special school; "Nobody turned up on Saturday or Sunday, and on Tuesdays people are only coming every other week," says one girl. "They should be working, has anybody got any suggestions about what we could do about this, it seems to be a rather serious problem. We promised to send volunteers everyday. Any suggestions?," asks the secretary. The narrator explains that the special school was the first place the volunteers visited. "It was the first time there were social problems that I could help with and learn from," he explains; "We do the football and the girls do the bathing and tea and that sort of thing." A volunteer bathes a young girl, puts her clothes on and helps her to walk. The volunteers are seen helping older people with disabilities. Two boys visit a man twice a day so he can bathe and get into bed, "It is vital to do what you promised you would do." The girls put the small children to bed.

Talk turns again to an art group at a mental hospital run by volunteers. Participants take part in handicraft and free painting. One boy helps a group of men sitting at a table, another visits a man working at an easel. "the patients and and volunteers enjoy it immensely," explains the narrator. The secretary reads out instructions for volunteers helping during a shopping expedition to Birmingham. 400 volunteers will take 400 elderly and handicapped people Christmas shopping. Scenes of the shoppers and volunteers arriving and alighting buses follows. "Everyone gets involved," says the narrator, including the parents of the volunteers, shopkeepers and members of the community. The trip gives them the opportunity to buy presents for others, "rather than always being on the receiving end of charity." Children help them pick out Christmas decorations, push their wheelchairs and help to them to walk around the shops. "It always ends up with a cup of tea." Volunteers and the people they have helped sit together at tables in a department store cafe. "Mundane jobs are of great importance." At a retirement home, volunteers and residents sing songs in the conservatory after tea. They sing the Hokey-Cokey, dancing and smiling at each other. The song ends in laughter from all involved.