Sorry the blog is a bit late today, I’ve had an extremely busy week and I haven’t had time to think about much else other than Universal credit. You see the campaign doesn’t end when the demo finishes and I’ve published my blog. There’s so much more that goes into it, and anyone that runs a campaign will verify that.
I haven’t been sleeping well, which doesn’t help. I’ve been suffering from bouts of insomnia lately, but I can’t grumble because at least I’m lucky enough to have a bed to sleep in, thousands haven’t.
Anyway enough about me, I’m sure that you don’t want to hear my worries but I needed to vent a tad.
I arrived slightly early, and it was cold, really cold. It was a sharp reminder that winter is here and my heart goes out to everyone who is homeless or cannot afford gas and electric. This is going to be an even bigger problem this year with more and more people stripped of any money that they might have spent on this. There are energy banks in existence, but sadly I don’t think that there are any in the area where I live and help out. This needs addressing asap.
I was immediately stopped by an older gentleman, he didnt need any help he just wanted to say hello. He told me to keep up the good work. I thanked him and he went on to tell me that he used to work in a Jobcentre. He really enjoyed the job and liked helping people. He told me that was the job remit then.
He went on to say that as time moved on things started to change for the worst, and he was put under a lot of pressure. So much so that it made him ill. He made the decision that he had to leave, it was either that or his sanity, he couldnt cope any longer. He told me that it’s esssential that we carry on our work because now the system is all about punishing people and not helping them. We said goodbye and he left.
I spoke to a lady who had made the mistake of attempting to take a drink into the Jobcentre. Remember folks, they will make you take a drink outside and they expect you to turn off your mobile phone if you are lucky enough to have one. This is wrong and is clearly a tactic to undermine people.
Gordon dropped off the foodparcels which were taken very quickly.
A young man dressed in inadequate clothing for the weather was standing a few yards away looking at them, I could tell from his whole demeanour that he was hungry and needed help. So I walked over to him and had a chat. His circumstances are pretty dire, and he is waiting for his failed ESA medical appeal to go through. The Jobcentre have deemed him too unfit to claim JSA or UC in the meantime so he’s in limbo. Many people are and it’s awful.
I had a chat with him and explained what we do to him. I also informed him of the local organisations that he can access so that he won’t be as isolated, Isolation is a huge problem. He listened, and took a food parcel. I Hope that he is ok.
I spoke to the lady whom I accompanied to her ESA medical the other week. She was smiling and told me that she has been put in the support group. That did make me happy and I explained to her what that means.
I spoke to an elderly lady who has been waiting a long time for the attendance allowance that she had applied for. I told her that she needs to go and see her local MP asap because she shouldn’t be in this situation, and it sounded like they are giving her the run around. I really do hope that she contacts her MP who is a very good MP.
I spoke to a lady who is on Universal Credit and is working part time at a school as a teaching assistant. Because she is claiming Universal Credit she still has to sign on. It’s awful because the DWP see a person working like this as underemployed and of no value at all.
She told me that her advisor had been particularly cruel today. As soon as she sat down to talk to her advisor, the advisor started to speak in an aggressive tone giving her orders. One being that she should leave her job as a valued teaching assistant and get a job as a cleaner instead. The lady told me that she couldnt believe what her so called advisor was telling her to do. She was also told to complete various other unreasonable tasks.
I gave her my sympathy and also told her how to make a complaint about her advisor and how to request a new one. Everyone has a legal right to do this but they won’t tell a claimant this.
I spoke to an older lady who has been living in a tent locally with a friend. She told me that she has ran out of places to sofa surf so shes now living full time in a tent.
I have spoken to this lady before, but she hadn’t been living in a tent then. I had a good long chat with her and told her that she must access the help of a local organisation today. Shes vulnerable and no one should have to live like this. She told me that she would do so I hope that she has done.
Homelessness amongst women is a huge problem. The reasons for this vary largely but many women are homeless because they have fled a violent relationship and I’m appalled at the lack of facilities for homeless women, and street homeless women in this country. But for the grace of god I’m not in this situation. Please spare a thought for anyone in this situation.
We spoke to lots more people, far too many to mention here and every person was dealt with the upmost respect and love. Remember this can happen to anyone and I mean anyone. Don’t judge someone because they are going through a tough time, try and become their friend instead because thats what they need instead of judgement.
Regardless of the weather I and other memebers of the team will be returning next week as we always do. Please come and join us if you can we would love that.
Many thanks to all the members of the team, everyone that reads my blog, shares my Facebook posts, tweets my tweets on twitter, and who puts up with my moaning.
Also many thanks to The Peoples Assembly and Manchester TUC for putting up with me for many years now.
I’ve been so busy this week like I said. It’s been a week full of meetings, writing and telephone calls. And I’m equally as busy this weekend so if I’m slow at responding that is why and I apologise.
Please read, share, tweet and email my blog. Even print a copy out and send it to a Tory MP or email them a copy. We need to keep reminding them of the cruelty that they are inflicting upon the most vulnerable in society.
I’m still having problems with my donation button, so here is my PayPal add. Thank you to everyone that has supported both the campaign and myself so far. It mean the world.