Thursday was our regular demo day and it was freezing. Despite the weather we had a good turn out and we handed six food parcels out as well as packs of toiletries that had been kindly donated. These are essential because when you have no money they aren’t a priority, food and keeping warm is. So these are always warmly welcome.
We spoke to many people and offered solidarity, advice and signposted everyone that needed to be signposted.
Like I have mentioned before, Christmas is not a joyful time for many so seeing a friendly face really makes a big difference.
We spoke to a man, whom we had noticed had been walking in and out of the building. A member of the team asked him what was wrong? Why all the visits? He stated that they had turned him away because he was two minutes early. Yes two minutes.
Come on Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre, this is just petty. I feel this was done to humiliate the poor man, to remind him of where his place where they are regarded truly is.
Some people reading this might think that this is nothing, not a big deal, but it is a big deal. It humiliates the person concerned and strips a person of any self worth that they might have had left. Indeed, I see it as a kind of mental abuse, although some might think I am extreme saying this but I don’t think so. As a survivor of domestic violence it reminds me of something my ex partner used to do to me. Things like this still need to be tackled, because they are part of the much bigger issue and they always lead to more unfair treatment by the DWP.
It was a very peaceful demo as usual, we exchanged cards, hugs, food, compassion and solidarity. This is the true meaning of Christmas.
We will be back next Thursday because the Jobcentre will be open and people will still need help.
I want to thank everyone who has supported us this year, and the past years. You all mean so much. We’ve seen this grow into a much bigger movement which is amazing.
I’m not sure how I would have managed without the support of my readers, comrades and friends who are always there when I need them. I have had a few moments this year when I didnt know how I would manage, or when I have been so upset because of a persons treatment by the DWP.
I also apologise if I don’t respond in time. I’m very busy and that does reflect in my response to emails etc.
So a massive thank you from myself and the team who are amazing. I keep saying this, but they are.
I hope that those who are celebrating Christmas have a lovely time, and for those who aren’t, just try and take it a day at a time and cope in whatever way you feel that you can do. Last year I avoided everything Christmas and it helped lots.
Keep safe and thank you
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