Eleven-year-old Edward had pitched a tent in the far corner of his garden, surrounded by a sleeping bag, walking poles and camping chair. 

Then, when the shot was ready, Edward held up the most prized prop – a photograph of all the vegetables he had grown during lockdown to earn his farming badge.

The visual concept for the #NeverMoreNeededfilm shoot was to capture each contributor surrounded by people or objects showing the nature of their connection with Scotland’s charities, all of which have been a lifeline during the challenging year of Covid.

Our task was to highlight the importance of charities and how we all benefit from their work in our daily lives, sometimes when we don’t even realise.  In the weeks of planning, we worked with Susan and Sian from SCVO to source contributors, young and old, from across the country, and from different types of charities.

We wanted everyone’s story to be told in their own words, so we interviewed them over Zoom, finding out what the past year had been like for them.  Later we recorded their voice overs remotely too.

For the media co-op team, the Never More Needed shoot would be the first time we had worked together in person for over a year, and we worked hard to ensure Covid-safe working practices: PCR tests prior to the shoot, lateral flow tests each morning, gallons of hand sanitiser – and of course masks and social distancing of were already part of everyday life.

Documentary filmmaker Darren Hercher, who is well known for his intimate cinematography, was our Director of Photography.  For this project he was filming in slow motion and using a gimbal with his camera to create striking shots with natural, smooth movement as everyone reflected on the impact of their charity’s work.  As the camera was set up at each location, it was a real joy for my colleague Vilte and I to spend time with our stars face-to-face. 

The Scouts, for example, had kept up a full programme of virtual activities at a time when children and young people were coping with home schooling and a lack of face-to-face contact with their friends. 

Meanwhile a real friendship had developed between 86-year-old Norman and Food Train volunteer Andrew who delivered his weekly shopping. 

Alyson got as much out of volunteering for Home Start as she gave support to a young mother struggling to cope. 

And it was great to see 23-year-old Lewis loving his job as a care worker with Cornerstone, making sure the residents lived a full life despite Covid restrictions.

One of the most poignant moments was meeting Nikki on Aberdour Beach in Fife. It was early in the morning, the sun was fighting to break through a heavy sky, and despite the temperature, a group of open water swimmers were out for a bracing dip.

For this scene, the only prop was Nikki’s mobile phone. It had been her connection to mental health charity Penumbra and it had saved her life. She, perhaps more than anyone else, was keen to share her story about the impact of charities in difficult times.

With the penultimate scene of the film, we wanted to celebrate with style, and what better way than to bring members of the Joyous Choir together at the riverside in Glasgow?

While Covid restrictions meant we couldn’t film them singing together, we recorded them separately and remotely, bringing the voices together in the audio mix.

While the charities featured in the film celebrate the work of all Scottish charities, we were still keen to find a way to showcase more of the organisations who’d worked tirelessly to meet the huge increase in demand for support.

For the final scene, we created an exhibition of photographs taken during the pandemic highlighting the wide range of work charities do and the people they support. 

We hope you agree the display in the window of SCVO’s offices in Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Street is a fitting tribute to them all.

Watch the film:

Behind the scenes!