I’d like to start my blog today by saying a massive thank you to Gordon, Jill and Christine for helping today. Also a really big thank you to a long time supporter Jan for coming to say hi and treating us all to a cuppa. Also thanks to my friend for making lots of warm curry to hand out and a thank you for the food parcels. The reason why I have started my blog like this is because the weather was awful last night and early this morning. We had an unexpected heavy snowfall and inches of the horrible stuff were lying on the cold ground within half an hour. Luckily it started to rain in the early hours of the morning and when I had to walk to school so almost all of the snow is gone, although I expect there to still be a little near my home. My thoughts go out to everyone who are street homeless, sofa surfing and living in their own homes unable to afford to turn their heating on.
I really expected to be on my own today because of the weather and illness but thank goodness I wasn’t. I was met almost immediately by Gordon with the food parcels, then Rose arrived to come and chat. We helped her along with members of Unite Community from Manchester a while ago and when she is feeling well enough she comes to join us. I love this lady so much.
Before Gordon arrived I spoke to an older chap, he told me that he was disabled and to be honest he was really struggling to enter the Jobcentre. The doors are extremely heavy and they turn off the automatic door opening on Thursday mornings especially for us. I suppose they think that we might charge through the doors or something… Well we have not done this in over four years of demonstrating and helping and we aren’t about to start now are we. Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre please respect your disabled job seekers and parents pushing prams. Turn the automatic door opening back on please…
I advised the chap of what he should do to remedy his situation, told him that he wasn’t alone and that it’s scandalous that he is even being asked to do this. The combination of his age and disability will make it near impossible for him to find work and no amount of courses will improve this will it.
To say it was cold is an understatement so when Jan arrived with the cuppas we were more than ready for them. I didn’t have our big hot water container today because Roy isn’t feeling well so couldn’t attend. Get well soon Roy!! We missed you! The large flask was donated by my friend Ray Woolford when he came to visit us one week. Thank you so much!
I spoke to a lady who was fed up to say the least. She told me that she was sick and tired of being put though the mill (as us northerners say) and is feeling tired and angry. She told me that she isn’t being given a minutes peace and quiet from the DWP. They are constantly hounding her, her life isn’t her own anymore. She said ‘Why can’t they just leave me alone to get on with things? I do everything that they say but still they hound me, I feel like giving up’. I had a good chat with her, gave her a copy of our survival guide and informed her of her rights concerning the DWP. She was very grateful, because like she told me ‘They tell you nowt in there do they, except that they will sanction you if you don’t do everything that they say’.
She is correct in saying this. Job coaches inside Jobcentre’s certainly do not sit at their desk with the rule book next to them. Good advisors will do things correctly and with compassion, the less scrupulous ones often make the rules up as they go along and I have heard of some rather bizarre rules that they have made up. Only this morning I was told of one claimant being told that they have to have a Twitter account when applying for their Universal Credit. There is nothing in the rules that states a person has to have a Twitter account at all, and they can dispute this. Please folks, its important not to simply agree with everything that they say. Research your rights if you can, and then get a reasonable Claimant Commitment drawn up because believe me they will try and get unreasonable rules in so that it makes it easier for them to sanction you.
REMEMBER WHEN DEALING WITH UNIVERSAL CREDIT RULES ARE OFTEN IGNORED.
I spoke to a lady who is sofa surfing at the moment because it has become too cold to live in her tent. I have signposted her again to a local organisation that will help her if she access them. I really urged her to do this.
I spoke to a young man who is homeless, but because the temperature has once again risen above 0 he is now back to living on the streets. He does access emergency accommodation when the weather is deemed cold enough. I asked him to try and access a local organisation so that they can help him access some temporary accommodation. Homelessness is a complicated issue, and therefore I would appreciate it if people would stop judging people that are forced to live on the streets. I do wish that their critics and trolls would actually take the time to talk to them and help them.
I spoke to a man who was waiting for his ESA claim to go thorough. Thankfully it won’t be long now, but I gave him a food parcel, and signposted him to a local organisation as well.
Christmas is round the corner and as usual this is the time when claimants tend to be sanctioned more either by the Jobcentre of a Work Programme operator. Also claimants that have applied for Universal Credit in the last two weeks or so will not get a payment until at least the 28th of January. Yes I know that they can get a ‘Loan’ but these loans come at a great expense and can put a person and family into extreme poverty for months to come. These advance payments should not be loans, they should be given to people because it is money that they are rightfully entitled to receive to survive on and it’s scandalous that the government actually does this in the first place, and that many in society accept this as they way it should be. It should not be like this, never and I won’t accept it.
Sadly I had to leave half a hour early to accompany my daughter to her Christmas dinner at school. It’s her last one at primary school so therefore was very special to us.
We will be outside the Jobcentre next Thursday as usual, although next week it will be our special Christmas demonstration. We will have extra food parcels and special Christmas ones. Thanks to Pauline for these and the group We Shall Overcome.
We will also be there the week after as usual because people still need help even after Christmas, all year round in fact.
I will be honest I was despondent this morning I was fed up with the weather, and the general mood of the country. I just don’t know how much more suffering that people can take, thats a thought that never leaves me.
Please read, share and talk about my blog. Send it to your local MPs even your Conservative ones, they need to be made aware of the reality of the situation regarding Universal Credit and real life.
Hi folks, please help me to continue with my blog and campaign work. Thank you!