Dear readers, it’s freezing cold out there and the wind chill certainly isn’t helping. Today I woke up to snow but it quickly melted and at the moment the sun is shining. We’ve had endless rain so it’s so good to see it.
As usual we handed out all the food parcels and we gave everyone help and advice to everyone that required it. We gave everyone a copy of our survival guide as well.
It was a strange morning, quiet at first, most likely because of the snow. Needless to say we still spoke to lots of people. Some needed help, others needed someone to talk to. You wouldn’t believe how many people don’t see anyone to speak to from week to week.
The first conversation that I had was with a woman struggling with her housing benefit and the council. She was patiently waiting for her son to arrive to give her support.
Asking for help sometimes takes a whole lot of courage and having to put your pride to one side can hurt like hell. The realisation that you need help can be very depressing. Most of the people that we speak to feel this pain. Please keep this in mind when you’re trying to persuade someone to accept help.
I had a conversation with a man that I’ve spoken to on quite a few occasions. He’s struggling with homelessness and is finding it hard to accept that he needs to accept help from the bed every night scheme.
Life is very complicated for many, and I hope that he does access this help. It’s not perfect by any means but it’s a roof, shelter and a warmer place to stay. Let’s hope that he changes his mind.
I had a chat with a man who was in need of a food parcel. He’s waiting for his universal credit claim to be processed.
Earlier this week he asked his local food bank if he could have another food parcel, they refused saying that he’d had his quota and has to wait another month to get another one.
I handed him a food parcel and a copy of our survival guide which has all the links for most of the local organisations that will offer him help.
Thanking me he said that he’s been forced to live off plain pasta with salt and pepper on it to give it some taste. Feeling very relieved that he now had some food he couldn’t thank us enough.
It beggers believe that people that are desperate for food are refused extra food parcels. Many food banks do let people take extra parcels but its important to remember that many don’t either.
Let’s not forget the medical implications for people trying to survive like this. Their bodies will be trying to survive on zero vitamins and very few nutrients.
How on earth can people be expected to live like this? They have to fulfil the requirements that the DWP pile on them with little or no energy.
I’ve asked if food banks could hand out vitamin tablets with their food parcels and I was told no, no they don’t.
It’s very worrying that with mortality rates increasing every year and I doubt that anyone that I’ve spoken to over the years will live as long as the generation before them. It’s very reminiscent of victorian times in more ways than one.
We had a conversation with a man that was being messed about by the DWP.
The DWP had forgotten to send out an important email for him and as a result he hadn’t been issued a payment. Having no credit on his phone meant that he couldn’t phone them either.
This resulted in a series of conversations with the DWP and lots of messing around all of which should have been prevented.
I just hope that he’s OK and that it’s now sorted out for him.
I asked a man how things were going for him and he said ‘crap’. Yep that just about sums things up doesn’t it.
We spoke to a woman that has been waiting for her universal credit claim to be processed. She’s been waiting five weeks now and she’s struggling.
I offered her some advice and I’m hoping that she gets her payment ASAP.
We spoke to a woman that was told by her advisor that £900 had been paid into her bank account only she certainly hasn’t received the money yet. Let’s hope that it’s with the bank and is being processed, otherwise that’s a whole new battle that she’ll have to fight.
We asked a man how he was and if everything was OK with his claim. He told us that its shit, it’s all shit but he has no choice but to go through this week in week out.
It’s very clear that universal credit isn’t fit for purpose. Most people aren’t given enough money to survive on. Combine this with a rise in council tax, the bedroom tax and repayments of DWP and its a hellish nightmare.
Many people, in fact most people become depressed not only because of the stress that the DWP piles on top of them, but also because of the lack of nutrients in their diets.
Once again I’m positive that this is going to have serious ramifications later on in life. I worry so much about everyone trying to survive this cruel and inhumane system.
We aren’t just a number to be thrown on the floor like yesterday’s paper. We are people with dreams, hopes, ambition and everything else that comes along with that.
Be kind to each other, help each other and be thoughtful of others. Everyone’s path in life might be different but that doesn’t make them a lesser person than you or I.
We will be returning again next week as usual.
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