Dear readers, a miracle occurred today! It wasn’t raining! This was fantastic because we’re a tad fed up with the constant rain.
It was quiet busy today and we handed out almost all of our survival guides and distributed our food parcels to people needing them. It’s an absolute travesty that they’re needed in the first place, but it’s only going to get worse, and I hate saying that.
Yesterday evening I spoke at a local NEU meeting about universal credit, poverty, children and young people. It was an excellent meeting I just hope that I didn’t depress them too much.
The sad reality is that for the poorest life in the UK is extremely hard, gruelling and punishing and it’s no surprise that the mortality levels keep on rising.
The effects of living in poverty will become all apparent in the future when the children and young people reach adulthood. Poverty really does take a toll both physically and mentally even if you don’t realise at the time and often surface later on in life.
Today I spoke to lots of people, most of them were disabled and struggling to cope. I saw tears, frustration, anger and people that are very close to giving up. What right does the government have to treat vulnerable people in this way? It won’t be stopping anytime soon either.
As usual I won’t be revealing a persons real name. Everyone that I spoke to received help, advice, food, signposting and solidarity. It’s extremely vital that we are able to continue our important work.
The first person that I spoke to had arrived at the Jobcentre with his bicycle and he wasn’t allowed to take his bike inside with him whilst he attended his appointment so we offered to look after it for him. He’s a lovely chap just trying his best to cope in a very difficult world.
It was then that I spotted a woman leaving the Jobcentre with her partner. She was visibly upset so I walked over and asked her if I could help her. This is her situation.
Janet is a mother of four children, she suffers from memory loss which she says it getting much worse. She forgot to attend a meeting at the Jobcentre because of her memory loss but when she saw that she should have attended a meeting she dashed down to the Jobcentre with her partner.
Janet was then met with the words ‘We’re going to sanction you because you didn’t attend a meeting’. She tried to tell them that she’s not well and suffers from memory loss and she said that they weren’t interested, she was going to be sanctioned and she was told to leave.
Janet should be receiving lots more support than she is at present. She hadn’t been advised about anything regarding her disabilities and nor did they care. I then advised her about what to do, I also advised her partner about what he can do to help her regarding this situation. I also signposted them to their local MP for help, I really hope that they’ve telephoned their office.
We also gave them a food parcel and stood with her whilst she was crying wondering how on earth she would manage to look after her children, because she’s not going to be able to buy them any food etc. She feels like a failure to them and everyone.
I hope that my words of support helped her and showed her that we do care and she is loved.
Sanctions appear to have gone under the radar until this week, indeed I’ve been campaigning against them for years as have others. I tell people that sanctions kill people, some have called me an extremist for saying this but it’s far from extreme isn’t it.
We need to continue to put pressure on the government, and remind them that they need to stop withdrawing the means of survival from vulnerable claimants. They shouldn’t be the ones to decide if a person lives or dies.
It was then that I spotter ‘Irene’ walking towards the Jobcentre with her friend.
Irene has been waiting since May for a decision about her claim for universal credit. She’s trying to survive on her sons pension. Her son died a few years ago.
Most of this pension money is spent on paying her rent, and she’s left with about £15 a month to live on.
So far Irene has been sent to three different Jobcentres by the DWP and not one of them have helped her so far, meanwhile her friend is buying her food etc.
For various reasons Irene isn’t able to use a computer, both herself and her friend had already told the DWP this and it was noted, but it didn’t stop a DWP telephone advisor from telling her to “GET A GRIP AND USE A COMPUTER”.
Of course this upset Irene and she just didn’t know what to do.
I advised her to telephone her local MPs office and ask them for their help. She really needs their support because MPs are really good at this, well our local MPs are and I appreciate that we’re lucky.
Irene was so thankful for the help, she’s so fed up with being messed around by the system. Lets hope that she gets some good news soon.
We then spoke to a man that has been waiting since May for a decision from a DWP decision maker. He told us that the DWP owed him money and this is probably why they’re taking their time in responding.
He’s probably correct. The DWP are extremely quick at taking money away from people but extremely slow at repaying money back that they owe.
Remember Amber Rudd telling everyone that universal credit is wonderful for everyone that has been in prison? Tell this to Dave, he can’t get a job because of his criminal record and can’t afford to become self employed either.
Amber Rudd you’re a liar and you know it don’t you.
It was then that we had a conversation with Gill and her partner. Gill is disabled and has fibromyalgia and other health problems.
Gill and her partner were forced to make a claim for universal credit which took ten weeks to be processed. Yes ten weeks, she’s disabled for heavens sake.
Gill recently failed a DWP medical assessment and is in the process of appealing.
Gill and her partner are now in debt with everyone and is forced to attend the Jobcentre for ‘meetings’. Are they going to magically cure her? I doubt it but they will make her even more unwell.
Quite understandably they’re extremely frustrated and depressed. This government really hates people with disabilities.
I had a short conversation with a woman about her council tax and how much of a struggle it is to pay it. I can totally relate to this.
Just before we left Gordon asked a young man if he needed any help. He told us that he was ok but they (the DWP) really hate him in there (the Jobcentre).
To be fair the DWP don’t like any of us do they.
We will be returning next week as usual, but we really need more support and we would love more people to join us. There’s only two of us now and I was going to organise our yearly anniversary demo, but there’s not much point if no ones going to be there.
I really hate to have to ask and I apologise for doing so.
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Help a stranger, become a friend and understand that this could well happen to you. Most of my readers do realise this.
I’m a skint single parent just trying my best to help others. I’m also going to be moved onto universal credit in the near future.
A massive thanks to all my readers and to everyone for supporting my blog. It means the world to me and the people that we help.