Today I was waiting for the bus home with my daughter when I bumped into an old school friend. I hadn’t seen her for a long while so we had a lot of catching up. She has learning difficulties and she struggled through school not passing any exams as there wasn’t the support in schools then as there is now.
When she left school the social security department as it was called then were very sympathetic. They encouraged her to be on the sick as they called it because her options for work were limited. They also encouraged her to take up voluntary work to improve her social skills and to give her a focus. As a result she was volunteering for a local organisation off her own back and did so for 24 years. She loved it and thought she would never have to leave. Then the Tories got elected.
She was told at a Jobcentre interview that she had to start claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance. They also told her that she had to leave the place where she had volunteered for so long and volunteer at a place of their approval. She was very upset, but did it because they had told her to. Before anyone states that she shouldn’t have done this I must add that she didn’t feel that she could. In her eyes what they say goes and she hasn’t got a lot of self confidence.
She started on the work programme and was given the usual countless tasks that everyone is given. She struggled through it but managed and lasted the full two years without a sanction. Her love of routine and checking her actions constantly helped her. She said it drained her but because a job wasn’t found they were sending her to a work programme in manchester. She has to sign on there every week instead of the local Jobcentre and has to borrow money off family to get there. Her family have no money either. She can’t comprehend why they won’t send her to the local Jobcentre, and I did try to explain but it was too complicated for her to understand. What they say goes she says, it’s not right but it’s how she sees things.
Whilst attending the work programme so far she says that she has applied for 424 jobs and only 2 prospective employers got back to her. She finds this difficult to understand. She said why don’t people have manners? I agree with her on this issue, even an automated reply would do. I tried to explain.
She’s now stuck in a so called voluntary position at a local charity and I’m disgusted that this charity are using workfare, using free labour and gaining financially at the cost of vulnerable people is never good in my eyes. She has to attend everyday but she cares for her mother one day a week. The Jobcentre have told her to stop doing this, the workfare placement must come first. In this lovely ladies eyes and my eyes also her mum does come first. She’s very old now and needs her shopping taken care off etc. I did try to explain about carers allowance but she didn’t understand, she is so confused but she did say to me that she stuck up for herself in the Jobcentre and said no. I really do hope that she doesn’t get sanctioned for this.
In my eyes this lady should not be in this position at all. Yes she can do work that isn’t challenging but she’s got a lot of difficulties and just tries to do her best and to live independently. The DWP have knowingly taken advantage of a very vulnerable lady and made her already difficult life even harder. She told me that she never used to drink because it’s bad, but she has started to. The reason why? Because she is so stressed she’s finding life very difficult.
There must be thousands of people like this lady being victimised by the DWP. She should be able to live her life in peace, but the DWP and the Tory government have put a stop to this. Please spare a thought for everyone in this position. Please don’t judge anyone because they may appear a little different than yourself. Everyone has a heart, everyone has feelings. Of course we know this but the Tories ignore this. Why? Because they sold their souls to to the gods of capitalism, tyranny and bankers many years ago.
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