Hi readers, for once the blog is relatively on time so I don’t need to apologise this week. Its the school holidays so there’s no need for me to hang around waiting to collect my daughter.
Huzzah! We had sunshine albeit still cold, which was far more welcoming than the awful rain that keeps coming our way. We were still low on numbers this week which was a massive shame. Its hard work but the appearance of comrades from Shaw cheered me up. If you are local to Ashton Under Lyne please come and say hello!
A bit of good news, our latest run of leaflets should be with me next week, I’m running extremely low on these and today was a close call.
We also handed out six food parcels to everyone that needed one plus four extra from our Shaw comrades.
As usual I will go through in list form of the problems that we encountered today and the people that I spoke to. Please note that I do refer people to local services if possible, if not their local MP etc. We are lucky in the respect that we have three very good MPS but I realise that this isn’t the case in many areas. We never leave anybody after speaking to them with no support or not knowing where to get that support.
The first thing that I noted was the increase of women and very young children having to use the Jobcentre today. It’s currently the Easter school holidays here in the UK, so that explains the increase. What an awful place to have to bring children to, especially as they have no facilities for them, and the management won’t allow the public to use their toilets. Nor will they allow food, drinks and the use of mobile phones.
I spoke to a man who has COPD and had been sanctioned. He had no idea that he was able to claim ESA, he was obviously struggling. I advised him of what steps to take. He should have been given this advice. He was hungry so I gave him a food parcel and he called me an angel which was lovely, but life shouldn’t be like this should it.
I spoke to a man who has been lodging with a friend for a long while. He was paying his friend rent, but his friend hadn’t been paying it so they both will be made homeless in the near future. I’m very worried about him because he has several health issues and I’m not sure that he could physically survive life on the streets. I signposted him to local organisations and told him to contact them as a matter of urgency. He told me that he would do, so I’m hoping that he does do this.
I spoke to a man who was clearly struggling. He told me that he hadn’t eaten for days and that he had been sanctioned, although he hadn’t been told the reason for this. He entered the Jobcentre to attend an appointment to discuss this but was told at the front desk that his name wasn’t on the list so he wasn’t coming in.
How devastating is this, its literally soul destroying. He knew that he had an appointment yet was denied entry by the front desk, and I can add that he wasn’t inside the building for more than five minutes. There’s no way that they had checked properly in that time period. Now he is worried about having another sanction on top of this one because he hasn’t attended. Dear gods it’s cruelty at its worst.
I referred him to local organisations for help and gave him a food parcel. This man is now literally going through hell, and all because no one checked his appointment time correctly.
I spoke to a young man who spoke English as a second language. He told me that he’s going to lessons to improve his language skills, but his advisor has told him to attend a local work programme organisation to learn computer skills.
Sounds good doesn’t it….. Only it isn’t. I’ve had personal experience with Standguide and to put it bluntly they are awful I wished him the best of luck and advised him of what to do.
I spoke to a young man who had recently been made redundant from his job. He has a masters degree and his area of employment is specialised. He told me of his experience of having to use the Jobcentre and how he has been treated. His experience is not unusual by any means, but for someone who hasn’t had to use a Jobcentre for many years it was a shock to him.
He told me that “They make you loose all pride and they hold you to ransom. Everything that they do is nonsensical. I do everything that they ask me to and yet they ask me to do the same tasks time and time again. It’s wrong that they have shifted all the blame on the claimants, it’s not our fault that the system doesn’t work properly. The inefficiency of the system is inept.” He went on to tell me that he also remembers the days when the Jobcentre actually cared and helped people to find work.
Everything that he said is correct, and I wish this lovely man all the best in his quest for work.
I spoke to yet another older lady who has noted that her advisor is messing her about with appointment times. Most likely to keep her on her toes and to remind her of who’s the boss.
I overheard a young woman on the phone who was having a conversation with someone at the side of the Jobcentre. Her friend was worried about asking for help with their situation in case the Jobcentre found out. Sickening that anyone should feel like this because I remember the days when they actually helped people with this.
I spoke to a man who was using crutches because he told me that he has a bad hip. He told me that he’s on Universal Credit and because his money is paid monthly and he has to pay more rent etc he isn’t coping. He hadn’t ate etc so I gave him a food parcel etc and signposted him. The DWP just don’t care how vulnerable, ill or disabled a person is. it’s a travesty that they are allowed to act in this manner, but the government employs them so it’s to be expected.
I spoke to an older lady who was upset about the ESA changes, for heavens sake she should be enjoying her retirement but has been prevented from doing so by the government.
I noticed a lot of older men having to use the Jobcentre today. They should be allowed to slow down and not forced to comply with countless pointless DWP tasks.
I spoke to a man who was struggling to walk even though he was aided by a walking stick that he was depending heavily on. He told me that he had to give up work due to illness. He has blood clots, has had three strokes so far, has cysts in his brain and also suffers from fluid on the brain. He also has mobility issues.
He attended his ESA medical and they declared him fit for work. He really isn’t fit for work, far from it and takes a lot of medication on a daily basis to just keep going. He’s going through the process of appealing this decision and is getting the help of one of our local MPS Andrew Gwynne. I really do hope that he wins his appeal and gets all the money that he’s owed.
To say that the government is cruel is a vast understatement, they are beyond cruel. The very presence of a brown envelope through the letterbox sends people into a state of panic and despair. No one knows if it will be their turn tomorrow and it’s a worry that many people can’t cope with, and I’m not sure how long we can cope with being persecuted like this.
This all happened in the space of two hours, yes two hours. Can you imagine how many more problems we would have encountered if we had stayed all day? Please spare a thought for everyone who has to go through this day in, day out. Be kind to folk, spare time for them because sometimes a friendly face makes all the difference to someone.
Thank you to everyone who came along today, it really is appreciated.
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