It was a cold, wet morning and the weather reflected the mood of the Jobcentre very well yesterday. As soon as I arrived the demand for my time, food parcels and general chat started. It’s not easy at all trying to juggle everything.
I had a nice surprise though. A comrade from a different area had had a collection and had put together approximately five food parcels. This was brilliant. They contained hats, gloves, womens products, loo rolls and food. We also collected our food parcels from Pauline who helps us out every week. In total we had approx ten and you’d think that would be enough but it wasn’t.
The demand for them was massive, from people who really needed them. Sanctioned claimants, homeless claimants whom are sofa surfing amongst family members, working people on Universal Credit and disabled people who have failed their ESA medical. I struggled to keep up and it was stressful. Stressful because this demand should not be happening, they should not be hungry, suffering like this should not exist.
People going in and out of the Jobcentre were inadequalty dressed for the weather and were cold, lonely and scared. Many were angry and quite rightly so.
We saw a few people of mixed ages and sexes storm out of the building obviously very angry. One man in particular I was worried about. His anger was very visible and I had no option but to chase after him to see if I could chat to him and see if I could help. Risky, yes but also essential. I didn’t want him to hurt himself or anyone else. I also wanted him to know that we care.
He was shouting at first and I listened. Then I said to him that I want to know what had happened, its important that we access help for him if we can, or at least signpost him if that is what he wants.
He told me that he had worked for over 30 years in the same job, but had been made redundant and now had no choice but to sign on. The Jobcentre had given him the impossible task of producing a driving licence or a passport to enable him to open a claim. The trouble is he has neither. He did however have lots of identification and that’s why he was angry. He said he just wanted help, he’d never done this before and he felt lost. He cannot produce a passport or driving licence, neither can he afford to buy them. His advisor refused to budge even though they can work around this.
I advised him, offered him a foodparcel which he refused, not because he didnt want to but because like he said he’s a proud man. I told him where he could get food and that we would be there again next week with food if he wanted one. By this time he had calmed down, he took the leaflets that I offered him and thanked me.
I could go on forever here, and I just wanted to make things better for everyone yesterday, but I can’t. I really felt like crying, because that man’s story is just the tip of the iceberg. It was awful, and this should not be happening.
For anyone demanding that I, and others do more we really can’t. I can try, we can try but we need support. It’s winter, coming up to christmas and the DWP always become harsher in dishing out sanctions. So I aim to be ready for that, like I have on previous years.
I just can’t get yesterday out of my head, I haven’t seen so many angry, hungry desperate people at once for a while. We were bombarded. This government has alot to answer for and I intend to hold them responsible for every single death, for every single person ill as a result of their actions, for every person made homeless, every person who is cold and hungry, for every parent having to go without food to enable them to feed their children. For every victim of this governments inhumane regime.
For those thinking that I live the life of riley and know nothing about suffering you are very wrong. I’m living that life, dodging bailiffs, missing meals, living very frugally. I know exactly what each and every person is going through in some way.
I know this is a rant, yes I am angry but I will direct my anger appropriately in peace. It’s the only way to do things.
Anyone wanting to contact me can do so via here, or my facebook, twitter or outside the Jobcentre. I will do my best to reply to any requests as quickly as possible.
As Ghandi once said “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
He also said “Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will” and I have plenty of that.
Be kind to each other.
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