Yes I know that I keep mentioning this, but it was freezing again and numbers were very low. I know that its a lot to ask people to stand outside for two hours, but if anyone is ever in the area then please come and join us. . A massive thanks to everyone that did come along, and also to everyone online on Facebook and Twitter who sent messages of support. I haven’t had time to reply yet and neither have I had time to reply to emails etc, but I will endeavour to do so this weekend.
The food parcels arrived, and left almost as soon as they arrived. Things are become ingrained much worse for people out there, and it’s easy for those in power to either ignore this or to carry on contributing towards it. I honestly don’t think that I’ve ever seen so many people in such desperate need, its rotten to the core.
I was talking to fellow blogger (Kate Belgrave) and we agreed that people have stopped communicating anymore. Most of the people that we see walk around with their heads down, afraid of what’s around the corner and of who might or might not be watching them. Big brother is watching but in the guise of the DWP. Please check out her blog, we write about the same or similar issues depending on what we’ve encountered that week. I love what I do, but I do get tired. Being an insomniac does not help.
Today I spoke to an older gentleman who is a year away from retiring. Yes a year. Instead of going easy with him, knowing that the chances of him finding employment at his age are very low, they have decided to be tough on him. His advisor has told him that he must apply for jobs in Liverpool, yes Liverpool. Come on folks, get google maps out, Liverpool is miles away from Ashton under Lyne and it would cost him more in train travel than he would actually be paid. Sometimes I think that the DWP are actually insane, but this is done purposely. Needless to say he objected to this and reminded them of the expense etc. Their response was to tell him to continue looking. Nice.
I then spoke to a few people that I have had ongoing conversations with for a while now. They told me how much they hated the system, that they feel that they are being ersecuted by the DWP. To be honest they aren’t wrong are they. They are because the government sanctions this behaviour.
I then spoke to a woman with three children who is struggling with the benefit cap and a failed ESA examination. She didn’t know that she could appeal, so advice wa give as well as sympathy. Its not surprising that a lot of people did not know that the benefit cap was in existence until they had a baby and were informed that they wern’t allowed to claim any money for that baby and they had to pay top up on their rent. It’s basically left a lot of people in the crap. Excuse the language.
I spoke to another lady who came over to have a chat and to let me know that she was ok and is in a good place at the moment. She had previously been admitted to hospital and wanted to let me know that she was much better now and is claiming all the benefits that shes entitled to at long last. As you know these things take time and it isnt easy.
I spoke to a woman who’s case is very complicated. She had previously been living in a womens refuge and had been moved to social housing when they found her a home. That was good news. The bad news is that she didnt know about the benefit cap at first and was only having part of her rent paid for her. She then had to find an extra £45 a week. Because she didn’t know about this she fell into arrears and the housing association are expecting her to pay an extra £35 a week on top of this. Paying this will take away most of her already very low income and feeding her children will be difficult.
The local housing association have decided to take her to court over this and at first refused to do an income and expenditure form. She argued her case and eventually managed to get them to do one, but was told that they would only take heating, lighting, food and the basics into account. She was told that children’s clothes are a privilege and not essential so therefore she shouldnt be buying them so therefore can’t be accounted for. Even I know that this is wrong, so I referred her to the local Law Centre and I really hope that she does telephone them. She desperately needs their help.
What does this housing association want her children to do? Walk around in rags or naked? Where has their compassion gone? I know that they used to have some.
I spoke to a woman who is being messed around with her signing on days. She never knows from week to week when she is going to have to sign on. Shes an older lady who should be receiving her pension but the government stopped that. She was worried about missing out on a food parcel but I reassured her that I would find her if we didnt see her.
I spoke to a young woman with children who is also affected by the Benefit Cap. She told me that because she cannot afford to eat properly herself she has lost over a stone and half in weight, shes worn out, malnourished and can’t see a future for herself.
I spoke briefly to a young woman and offered her a leaflet. She told me that she was ok, she knew what to do because she used it work for them….. I’ll leave that there.
I briefly spoke to a man who had been sanctioned and wanted a leaflet to help him out of his situation. I advised him and I hope that he’s ok.
This all happened in two hours folks, just two hours. Imagine how many more people that I would encounter if I was there all day every day. Sadly people are seeing this as being the norm now, and there are very few of us fighting against this. Groups like mine, DPAC, and fellow bloggers are all doing their best, but we do need more support from official bodies. It feels like sometimes I’m fighting an uphill battle and I haven’t got a clue where the end is. And who is representing the people that I and others help? Unemployed people are still important and deserve help. Support and compassion. I just don’t have the time and resources to help everyone. Its a struggle doing what I do.
Please come and join us next week between 10-12 outside Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre on Thursday. If you can’t join us tweet me, Facebook me etc. It all helps.
Big shout out to my readers and fellow bloggers and campaigners, also to those who already support my blog. I’m a single parent so every bit of support helps. Thank you!
Hi folks, please help me to continue with my blog and campaign work. Thank you!