Around a month or so ago we spent three weeks filming with a journalist and film maker from The guardian. Having worked with The guardian before I held a certain level of trust with them because they have always been nothing short of brilliant. Always giving a fair and honest opinion and treating both ourselves and the claimants with the respect we all deserve.
I’m not sure that John and his team from The guardian knew what to expect. They had a remit which was to make a film that backed up Ken Loaches film I, Daniel Blake. To counteract the naysayers and the right wing that would say that its just a piece of fiction. And I was proud to have been asked. After all Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre is one of the worst in the country. A reputation very much deserved.
So for three weeks they joined us and spoke to Melvin, a man who due to redundancy and ill health found himself a victim of the DWP regime.
There was also lots of other footage taken, but they didnt make the cut.
Watch the film, its very powerful. It might make you cry. It might make you angry.
But one thing is for sure, we hear many more awful stories each and every week and our work has become invaluable. This week all of our food parcels were handed out within ten minutes, which has got to be record timing.
It’s getting cold, and people are becoming more desperate. Also as we move towards the Christmas season we notice a sharp uptake in sanctioning levels. We have already noticed a far higher level of disabled and sick claimants being turned down at their ESA medicals. We know the reason for this and its awful.
We do rely on your support to keep going. At times our morale can be very low, because the stories that we hear are very harrowing.
Please donate if you can. This has become a full time job for me and it doesn’t just stop outside the Jobcentre every Thursday. I spend my time lobbying, writing, attending meetings, informing people and campaigning. As well as planning our demos.
This week we held our special I, Daniel Blake demo which was a resounding success. The Jobcentre asked us to remove our banner. We politely declined their request.