I was thankful this morning of having sunshine, yes sunshine for a change and warmer temperatures. It cant be underestimated how much better a day of sunshine can actually make to a person. I just wish that every day could have these temperatures etc for the rough sleepers that I know and for the ones that I don’t. I am thinking of you.
I started my day by buying breakfast for a homeless bloke that I know. Lovely fella and its always nice to say hello to him. I then had a quick cuppa and headed off to the Jobcentre with Roy, a member of the team. I’ve mentioned him before.
As we arrived, the food parcels did. Gordon was dead on time and it was a pleasant surprise because it prevented a queue forming.
We handed a food parcel to a chap who is struggling, but has asked to keep his identity and details confidential. But he’s got a lot of personal issues to deal with so I let him know of all of the local support out there that is there to help him.
One of our regular attendees arrived. We supply food parcels for both him and his girlfriend. He didn’t turn up last week and I was half worried and half thinking that his situation had changed. It hadn’t they had both been ill and were unable to go out. So we helped them with their food parcels. He was very happy to see us and stated that even if his financial situation does improve he will still come and say hello.
He’s a lovely fella and it was nice to see him, not so nice that his situation hasn’t changed though. He is getting help with this though.
As we were handing leaflets out a man approached me, he looked stressed and nervous. He was also looking at the remaining food parcels. I could see that he needed help.
I asked him if he was ok, he said no. His story wasn’t unusual, but that doesn’t make it less important does it. He had received a letter for an appointment at the Jobcentre, and had missed it because the Jobcentre was shut. Yes shut folks. Obviously the DWP either have no idea of their opening times and days, or this was purposely done. Take your guess. I know which option that I would choose.
He said that he has put in his appeal, which is good but he was hungry. Obviously he hasn’t got money for food. We handed a food parcel to him and he couldn’t believe that we were going to help him without asking him lots of questions and judging him. We just wanted to feed him and offer solidarity and advice.
After a lovely conversation, he walked away knowing that at least we care about him. I’m sure that he will be back next week.
We spoke to a man that has had his ESA stopped, he is very clued up, but that’s thanks to people like ourselves putting the information out there for people to read. He is now going for tribunal and he has got representation. He said that if he could he would be stood outside the Jobcentre every week with us.
They are b******s he said, the system is designed to fail us and he was clearly angry with the system. Quite rightly so. He went on to say that he will be voting because he wants to get that lot out (his words).
We spoke to a young mum forced to attend her six monthly single parent interview. The DWP likes to target single parents as if they are useless, have zero intelligence at all and to put pressure on them to return to work. She said that she had always worked, but has fallen on hard times. This can happen to anyone can’t it. Luckily she is on income support so is not getting as much pressure as the single parents on Universal Credit.
I spoke to a young couple that we have been helping for a while now with various matters. If there was a bad luck fairy waving a magic wand it has landed on their doorstep. They’ve had the worst run of bad luck that I’ve seen in a long while. It even rivals mine.
They were in desperate need of a proof of address and income letter from the DWP for their housing benefit claim, this was urgent. They had spent all their phone credit phoning a DWP department from inside the Jobcentre. Why on earth the Jobcentre couldn’t do this for them is beyond me. Their rulings are designed to make people suffer. Instead they were given a number to phone.
They phoned the number given, and was told by a rather snooty person that this can’t be done, they won’t provide a proof of address etc by fax (yes the DWP still uses the fax system) instead it will be posted to them. We know that this is untrue so I let them use my phone. After around 15 minutes on the phone and a long rendition of Vivaldi they got the correct answer. Yes it can be done, yes it will be done and if they gave it a few minutes it would be faxed over.
This highlighted to us all that the system is flawed in more ways than we can mention, and also that some DWP members of staff either haven’t got a clue what they are doing or they choose to give out the wrong information. Take your choice out of the two suggestions. Personally I think that it’s a mixture of the two scenarios.
I got a hug, a big thank you and we all got a massive sigh of relief that they could actually go and sort out their housing benefit.
We spoke to many people today. Some were angry, some complacent and resigned to the fact that it would always be like this. But we told them otherwise. We advised people to use their vote, and to vote the Tory party out because it is they who are making them suffer. We had to explain this though, because many people just don’t understand the connection between government and the DWP. But once explained, we persuaded at least four people to vote. I also have been doing this in shops etc, strike up a conversation with people because it’s the only real way that we are going to change things.
Tia the dog came to say hello. We do have doggy members of the team! Zelda the dog we really miss you!
It’s awful to see a child’s toy found on the floor in the entrance of the Jobcentre. No child and their parent should have to use the Jobcentre. We really hope that it was reunited with it’s owner who was probably missing it.
As for me, its been a bit of a rubbish week, apart from seeing Jeremy Corbyn when he visited Ashton Under Lyne. He’s fab and I’m lucky enough to have seen him a few times already. He’s my daughters hero.
I was promised payment for some work that I did. The payment never materialised so that has put myself out enormously. I don’t know how people can do that to other people. So understandably I’m fed up and annoyed.
Please be patient if I take a while getting back to you though. My credit on my mobile is about to run out and my internet bill might not get paid. Such is life.
Many thanks to everyone that supports my blog, both online and face to face. It’s really important that we do get these stories out there because they highlight the struggles that people are facing. How can we change things otherwise?
Please share or donate if you can. This has become a full time job for myself and I’m on a very low income. Every penny helps! Thank you and a massive thank you to those that already do. You are wonderful.
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