I started to write this blog a number of years ago due to the onset of Universal Credit. Myself and the team could already see how bad it was going to be for the poorest and most vulnerable in society.

I never really expected this blog to take off, no one would read it I thought. I was wrong. From the moment of publishing this blog it sparked an interest because there was nothing exactly like it already published. It was a first.

This blog documents the weekly happenings outside Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre. I felt that it was important to document this because one day it will be a part of history that no one will ever forget, especially the people that I talk to and help.

We don’t belong to any large organisation, the group runs fluid and it works well like this. This means that volunteers can come and go as they please and no pressure is put upon them because it is hard work.

I write and run this blog by myself, because as a single parent I, myself am affected or have been affected by many of the issues that I write about.

I feel that it’s important to help everyone, despite of circumstances etc. No judgement is made.

The team and myself are mostly self employed and retired and almost all of us are fully trained in advising people with the issues that they are dealing with. Indeed, some are ex welfare rights and citizens advice workers.

Everything  in this blog has been fully researched before writing and these are not stories picked out of thin air.

The reality now is that this is happening at many Jobcentres throughout the country, and at the moment there is no sign of it stopping.

Comments are always welcome in the comment section underneath. I have zero tolerance for abusive comments and they will be deleted and the user blocked straight away.

Media related requests please email me at thepoorsideoflife@yahoo.com

Thank you.

36 thoughts on “About”

  1. Hello, Congratulations. I came across your blog and I am impressed by all what you’ve done so far. As a Journalist, I am very interested to speak with you. Could you contact me (gregoire.lamarche@gmail.com) ?


  2. Dear Charlotte, I’ve messaged you on twitter but am fairly new so not sure if you’ll get it. I am distraught at Ryan’s plight and, like Chas, would like to help him in some way. I don’t know if you’re the person to ask but if I can be of use or offer Ryan any support please contact me .mrsthreadneedles@gmail.com

    How can this be happening in the C21st?

    I’ve tweeted JC, Angela Rayner & James Timpson in the hope that they can offer some help.

    Thank you for everything you are doing.


  3. Hi Charlotte, Well done on your work on behalf of the homeless in your area. I am concerned about homelessness and I already support a few homeless charities but I was particularly moved by the plight of young Ryan when I saw him on TV today, He is only a couple of years younger than my own daughter. Is there a way to help him in particular. Please email me on chas376@btinternet.com if you’ve any ideas how to help,




  4. Thank you so much for writing this blog! I am living in Finland where our government is planning to create similar system for social security as you have with this UC. Me and other people working against this horrific model of “social security” are very thankful to you for having this kind of arguments to tell. Let´s make this bad dream to stop!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. for all those in despair ones got to find the will to keep going it isn’t a fair fight Wirth this government .so even going into the jcp/dwp centre brings chills but I used a recorder to record their whistling ons no worries its legal can be used against them when its needed to but esa for those having to claim it always ask for it to be recorded on the day get the highly trained hcp name and number after the joking medical assessment get home then email the dwp asking for all they used in assessing you its called a sar at least they now know by now that ones knowing how to fight back against this crap there plenty of help for those who nows how to look for it jeff3


  6. Your space problem. get another free WordPress one and move all the 2016 and before blog post to it. Then have a link to the archives. Do this as often as you need to.


  7. Has anybody else noticed that bad news benefit letters come at weekends when there is f all you can do about them till the next working day. BTW if benefit letters are stuck in the post and you are sanctioned. As it royal mail fault. Can you sue royal mail


  8. Hello,
    Hope you don’t mind me commenting – I am a reporter at BuzzFeed News. I came across your blog the other day. I’d really like to speak to you about some of your post (esp. your most recent as am working on a similar sounding story atm). Please drop me an email, if you’d be happy to chat. Thanks!


  9. Hi, from Sale originally, I live in Northern Ireland now. What I’m certain of is that unfortunately it is not what we have had so far that is the worst of it. It’s what is to come. I’ve started posting YouTube videos, not that articulate but I am improving. Through Universal Credit the sanctions regime will hit nearly all the working class. How is a rent or mortgage payer on minimum wage expected to keep the roof over their head if they have had all their tax credits stopped?. Because even if they work full time, conditions will require them to look for more hours to pay rent on their own.
    Basically, only a couple with no children working on minimum wage will have a degree of security in their housing situation. Working families with children or single people will no longer be secure especially when rent makes 2/3rds of people’s income. All it will take is is an online work coach to say you “are not doing enough to find 100hrs p/w. Surely this will be flashpoint


  10. Hi is there any way i can make contact with you privately to tell you what the dwp and atos are doing to me. I dont want to discuss on an open forum with my name attached for obvious reasons.


  11. Please, help me!!! I am sentenced to death by Department of Work and Pensions. 
    I am 62 years old. I am waiting for kidney surgery but my health status have caused that term of surgery was moved three times. Doctor considered surgery is too dangerous for me now and I should be very well prepared for it. 
    I have diabetes and problems with mobility because of spine injury in the past. I am after heart surgery also.
    Five weeks ago I applied for Employment  and Support Allowance. I was awarded but I have no payments until now. Why? When I applied for it, my wife was with me but she was forced to leave me by DWP – after 40 years of being together.  Somebody in DWP considered that she is not “prospective employee”. We were at joint claimed Jobseeker Allowance and do every effort possible to get any job which could be undertaken in our age and health. Because my wife was considered as not “prospective employee” JSA was stopped both for her and for me. We had no choice. We have no relatives. My wife borrowed some money and went to her friends in Germany to survive. I stayed  because I waited for surgery and had not enough money for travel. Besides, my wife’s friends in Germany are not wealthy enough to keep two persons. When I had informed DWP that my wife  left me  – they sent me a letter that my payments were stopped ( however I got nothing until that letter) because my circumstances were changed. They sent me a special form – I resent it immediately and got information that decision would be undertaken during two weeks.  A week ago I got another form – I had to proof my right to residency in UK.  Of course, I resent it immediately and after a week I got text message from DWP that decision would be undertake after two weeks. I suppose it will be in July. 
    During all that period I am without any income. One of my friends gives me 10 – 20 quid from time to time so I am able to buy fresh food. I need it because of my diabetes. All my bills are unpaid, at 02/07/15 my phone and broadband will be off. I have old car which helps me to move – I have Blue Badge. I have to pay funny quote 25 quid for insurance but I have not it and 26/06/15 it will be cancelled. 
    I tried to start with self-employment but without funds it is impossible. I tried to get funding for new business but my application was refused.
    I am not British. I am living here 10 years and worked very hard during that period. My age and health do not allow me to undertake physical efforts – so I have tried to get job as receptionist, car park attendant, administrator or in customer service. I am interpreter also and I am registered in some linguistic agencies – but number of orders in my area is next to nil.  I got three orders by last three months. 
    I  feel despaired. I have nowhere to escape, I see no solutions for me. Help me please – I try to survive.


  12. Can you please contact me by email as I have some important info regarding JSA that I would like to send you so that you can share with people at your demonstrations.Thanks.


  13. Hi there, came across your blog the other day. I’m part of an anti-capitalist group in South Manchester and just wanted to say keep up what you are doing. Feel free to email me, perhaps we have some contacts and connections to share!



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