This week has been awful. The terrorist attack which killed 22 young people and their family members has devastated Manchester and the surrounding areas, also I’m sure the whole country feels this way.
We had to do our weekly demo because people still need help, the DWP doesn’t stop their persecution of claimants even in the event of a terrorist attack. One lady I spoke to was told that she had to go to Manchester for an appointment even though the area that they wanted her to go to was still cordoned off. You really couldn’t make this up could you.
Out of respect to the victims and their families we held a 2 minute silence, and we lit a candle to remember the people that were lost.
We did approach Ashton Jobcentre and asked if we could stand united with them for this silence. They refused. Says it all doesn’t it.
I was five minutes late today because I was advising a lady in the café that I frequent before the demo about the benefit cap. She’s just had a baby and now her rent payments have been stopped. This is a scenario echoed up and down the country. I advised her then arrived at the Jobcentre.
There was once again a queue of people outside the Jobcentre waiting for a food parcel. Some of those waiting are affected by the benefit cap. We were very lucky today because as well as the food parcels we had been given a big bag of bread to hand out! Fresh bread feels like a luxury when you have nothing.
As we were handing food parcels out I noticed a few women enter the Jobcentre carrying Avon bags, booklets and order forms. Now, Avon to put it simply is pyramid selling and no one ever really can make a living from it. The Jobcentre won’t see it like that though. They will most likely expect a person to be able to live off the meagre amount earned. Besides this Ashton and the surrounding areas are poor areas and most people don’t have the money to buy their products anyway.
My heart went out to the people inside the Jobcentre who would have been forced to sit through a lecture on the virtues of selling Avon. Not only is it building false hope up, it’s shameful of this company to want to exploit the poor like this.
Slimming World reps were also entering the building with the Avon reps.
Let’s look at this realistically. Anyone who has the misfortune of being unemployed are very short of extra money. Certainly they have no spare money for fancy diets and slimming world subs. So were they trying to recruit members? Were they trying to sell their diet plans?
Either way, this didn’t sit well with me. It’s hard enough being unemployed without someone dressed up to the nines insult you on how overweight you may or may not be. People are struggling to survive and that is there priority.
I and others felt disgusted about the representatives from both companies approaching claimants like this. I might have sworn a bit.
We spoke to a lady who had missed out on her pension. this lady should be retired, and we see this a lot. It really does make my heart break when I see older women stressed out and certainly not enjoying the latter years of their life.
As I was taking to a lady outside the Jobcentre another well turned out lady went to walk past me. I asked her if she would like a leaflet. She then asked what the leaflets were for.
I stated that these leaflets are to help people survive their Jobcentre experience, that they are a step by step guide and are very helpful. She laughed and said that people should just get a job. It’s easy. Yes she said its easy.
So I asked her what company she works for and she stated New Charter, one of our local housing associations. No surprise there really. From experience I can say that some staff members attitudes have a lot to be desired.
I then quoted a few facts, and her reply was ‘well you seem to know a lot don’t you’. I replied yes I do, and by the looks of it a damn sight more than you do. She then waltzed off muttering to herself.
I spoke to a lady who suffers from tinnitus and a an inner ear illness which causes her to loose her balance. She is in constant pain due to headaches and failed her ESA medical. She is appealing though.
She said that she should take her medication, but can’t because she is too scared of missing her Jobcentre appointment. How awful is this. Of course the Jobcentre don’t care at all. Instead they sent her to a place locally where they gave her a booklet on stress relief. Yes they actually did that. To add insult to injury every suggestion on that list had some amount of financial cost applicable to it.
Here’s an idea. Why not start treating people like humans, showing compassion and understanding. But that would be too easy wouldn’t it.
As we were packing up to go, we spoke to a man who is at his own admission an alcoholic. He had recently lost his father and the terrorist attack was just too much for him. He had a drink to steady his nerves before he went to the Jobcentre. He also suffers from anxiety.
He arrived at the Jobcentre not overly drunk and sober enough to have a decent conversation with. He told us that his advisor had refused to see him and they escorted him out of the building.
They didn’t advise him that he should be claiming ESA nor did they offer him any sympathy. I swore again I think. Today has been a bit stressful.
Today was hard for many reasons, it was hard going despite the hot weather. My friend who came to keep me company tried to cheer me up but it wasn’t happening. Time after time we are seeing suffering that shouldn’t be happening.
Today was a bad day hopefully next week will be better but I doubt it.
Many thanks to everyone who came along to help and provide support. The team are amazing.
Today we handed out six food parcels, extra bread, help, advice, a shoulder to cry on a listening ear for anyone wanting to have a rant about their ill treatment. The list goes on. I just wish that we didn’t have to do this but we do.
This has become a full time job for myself, it never ends. Please can you share my blog, talk about it, tweet it, tell your local politician etc. Also there is a donation button below. Every penny helps! Many thanks to everyone that already do!
Thank you and you are all amazing people!
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