Tag: humiliation

Laughed at for wearing a face mask.

Dear readers it’s Thursday once again. I hope that you are all as safe as you can be.

Good news! So far I haven’t rebounded again and I’m praying that I’ve seen the end of my Covid 19 battle. However I am aware that I can potentially catch it again.

My daughter came home from school last Friday with a virus. Thankfully it wasn’t Covid-19 but it quite easily could have been.

Viruses are free to travel around the school corridors and classrooms. There’s no way that schools can contain it.

Yesterday I spoke to one of my daughters teachers and she was very worried about working in this environment. It’s hard getting the balance right.

Children need to be educated, they need that contact with their friends at school but they shouldn’t be at risk of catching covid 19 and passing it on to family members and friends.

There’s no ideal solution, I wish that there was. So many people are at risk of catching covid 19 and I’m sure that I’m not the only person to be concerned about this.

Yesterday I had to go to my local town to do some errands. It exhausts me, but needs must so off I went.

I would do online shops but I can’t afford to do this.

I was happy to see more people wearing masks, but so many wernt. It’s so frustrating.

A friend of mine said that it’s good manners to wear a mask and it also shows consideration for others.

I have to agree, it is and more need to wear them.

As I was walking towards a shop that I had to go into a man looked at me, laughed and said that I was an idiot for wearing a mask because they do nothing.

I didn’t get the chance to reply because he walked off pretty quickly and I’m not exactly going to go chasing him down the street. I don’t have the energy.

This persons attitude isn’t unusual though. So many people are saying that covid 19 is a conspiracy, that masks don’t work etc.

I’m sure that you’ve all heard and seen comments like this.

I wear a mask because I’m bloody petrified of catching covid 19 again. It’s taken me months of struggling to get over it and my long covid battle isn’t over yet.

I also wear a mask because I don’t want anyone else to catch any viruses that might be walking around with me. I want to be responsible and help as much as I can.

I also wear a mask because Tameside is now in the double red zone and is heading for another lockdown.

Now going back and to the man that laughed at me for wearing a mask. I’m certain that he will change his mind about wearing one of he catches it.

It’s impossible to get a covid 19 test at the moment. The government has completely failed everyone. The testing process is a shambles and don’t get me started on their rubbish track and trace scheme.

We have all been failed by the government, I and others expected this though.

In other news, my local hospital Tameside Hospital has been in the news again.

Sadly its a hotbed for covid 19 and patients on non covid wards have died from it.

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/sep/16/tameside-hospital-covid-deaths-are-canary-in-the-mine

Maybe this was caused by people not adhering by the government guidance for wearing masks and keeping hands clean. Who knows but I’m sure that they’ve played a part in this.

My thoughts and prayers are with everyone that has died from covid 19 and their families. It’s heartbreaking especially when so much of this was completely preventable.

Yesterday I cut my hand on a tin in my rubbish bin. It was totally my own fault, I wasn’t paying attention.

It looks like it could do with a couple of stitches but there’s no way that I was going to go to the hospital after this weeks covid 19 news.

I cleaned it and have bandaged it and I’m sure that it’ll be ok.

This did get me thinking though.

How many people are choosing to stay at home rather than seeing a doctor when they need to?

It’s a scary thought.

How many people have absolutely no support and are trying their best to get through this nightmare which is covid 19?

The government has been extremely negligent in providing support for people. They don’t care and it appears that they’re quite proud of their attitude regarding covid 19.

This leaves us living in some kind of limbo waiting for covid 19 to catch us.

All I can suggest is to keep yourself as safe as you can do. You know yourself better than anyone else.

Don’t let anyone else judge you for the decisions that you have been forced to make to keep yourself safe.

I really hope that you all manage to keep safe and as well as you can be.

Please read, share and tweet my blog.

A massive thank you to everyone that supports my blog and my campaign.

I couldn’t do this without you. Your support means the world to me.

I receive no funding for anything that I do and it’s a struggle to say the least.

This week I helped four families.

For anyone that would like to donate there’s a donate button at the top and side of this blog. Thank you x.

Too soon to re open schools? I have concerns.

It’s Thursday yet again, it appears to creep up on me far too quickly. I really hope that you are OK, well and safe.

This week has been a mixed bag for me, some good days mixed with some awful ones. I bet that you can relate to this.

Being poor and recovering from Covid 19 is no joke. Suffering from long covid is no joke either, especially when the highlight of the day is beans on toast when you can muster up the strength to make it.

We struggle on though. There are some fantastic Long Covid groups on Facebook and we support each other. It’s a good job that we do because not many other organisations do.

I am worried about a second wave coming in September when we have been told that we have to send our children back to school.

So many people still believe that children can’t catch Covid 19. They can and they do. Many unknowingly will be symptom free and will be at risk of passing the virus onto their loved ones.

Are our children going to be used as some type of sick experiment by the government?

My daughter attends a secondary school, her school has decided to keep lesson time to the very basics therfore her hours at school will now be from 10 until 2.40pm.

This won’t stop the spread of covid 19 though. Her school is a new school but they don’t turn the air conditioning on and many of the teachers don’t open the windows either.

Children will be stuck in this hot, sweaty environment at a very close proximity to their friends.

The school hasn’t suggested that children should wear a mask, but I’d challenge anyone to get all of the pupils to wear a mask all day. It’d be a challenge to say the least.

I am very concerned though. I don’t think that the government has thought this through, just like they didn’t put enough thought into pubs reopening.

As we’ve seen in the news lots of people have contracted Covid 19 from a visit to a pub. I’ve no doubt that it’ll be the same when our schools reopen.

I, like most parents want the best for my daughter. I want her to be able to have all of her lessons, to he educated and to do well in life.

Sadly, it looks like she doesn’t stand a chance of that the way that things are planned at the moment.

Educating children online isn’t the answer either. Thousands of families don’t have the Internet or don’t have a device to watch the online lessons on.

So what’s the solution then?

I do think that having a dedicated television channel for lessons would be beneficial. Children can often learn more visualy and some good results could come from this.

We could also learn alot from the parents of home educated children. They’ve been doing it for years, and so many home educated children go to college and university.

They rock this!

But I’m aware that I’m missing one important point.

I’m sure that my daughters school isn’t the only one that will be reducing their teaching hours and lessons.

What will the parents of these children do when they have to go to work? You can’t just leave children to their own devices, to rely on them to go to school without prompting.

I know for a fact that I wouldn’t have gone into school if my parents weren’t there to make sure that I did.

This puts parents in a very difficult situation. Childcare is expensive and not everyone has family members that they can ask to help.

People are desperately trying to hold onto their jobs if they’re lucky enough to still be employed. They can’t rely upon their employers to be sympathetic either.

What I do know is that if their children are absent from school, their school will soon be chasing them up and threatening them with legal action.

This isn’t at all fair though. Those making these decisions have absolutely no idea about what life is really like.

Then we have school uniforms to buy.

School uniforms are very expensive,

I know that I can’t afford to buy my daughter a new uniform this year. Thousands of parents will be in the same position as me.

My daughter has sensory issues so buying her school uniform is difficult at best.

To say that it’s humiliating and depressing to not being able to provide necessities for our children is an understatement.

Hopefully my daughter will never experience this when she has children.

When you’re left with no choice but to have beans on toast once a day how on earth can they demand that you buy a school uniform as well?

In my area there are no school uniform grants available which is shocking.

My daughters school, and most secondary schools send home pupils that aren’t wearing the correct uniform.

Once again discriminating against children living in poverty.

We will try but it’s not going to be easy.

So whilst it’s easy to congratulate the fact that schools are re opening on September, please consider the above.

I don’t want my daughter to catch Covid 19, I don’t want her friends to either. I also don’t want to catch it again.

I want my daughter to have a good education, but the very idea of that is seemingly impossible at the moment.

Will the government give out children time to catch up with what they’ve missed? I doubt it. Working class children aren’t high on their priority list, if at all.

Will the government give parents free access to online and in print learning materials?

Will the government push to dedicate a TV channel in the daytime for the visual education of children?

I doubt this very much.

Once again it’s left to us, as parents and carers to do the best that we can under very tough circumstances.

I do think that schools are re opening too early.

It’s easier to distance primary school age children from each other than it is a group of teenagers.

This is also going to be very tough and challenging for teachers.

Teachers in America have been advised to make a will just incase they catch covid 19 and die.

I’m certain that many teachers here in the uk will be doing the same thing.

I can’t imagine what could be worse than stuck in a hot, sweaty classroom with children for hours knowing that viruses, germs and bacteria thrive in environments like this.

How many teachers and children will become ill or worse because of the government’s decision to re open schools?

Will the government make the decision to shut the schools again if mortality rates from Covid 19 increase?

I doubt it, once that open they’ll be expected to stay open.

We have a government incapable of putting any positive plans into action. They blatently show their hatred of the working classes by the actions that they’ve taken and not taken.

The government has blood on its hands for more than one reason. They’re up to their necks in it.

It’s up to us to keep reminding them that we are important, that our life’s do matter and our children are valuable.

Don’t get me started on this idea. Covid 19 tests are very unreliable and weekly tests are just not doable. No doubt they’ll expect already hugely burdoned teachers to do this as well.

Please read, share, tweet and email my blog. I really do appreciate everyone that does this for me.

I don’t get paid for anything that I do and it is a struggle. For anyone wanting to donate there is a donate button at the side and top of this blog.

Thank you so much to everyone that does support my work and campaign. I really can’t thank you enough xx.

Surviving is an act of civil disobedience. My Covid 19 journey and recovery.

Dear readers I hope that you are OK and well as is possible. I apologise for rambling on about my covid 19 experience but it’s been my reality for what seems like a long time now.

I had contracted bacterial pneumonia after starting with my covid symptoms and I’m now on my third lot of antibiotics because it just wasn’t shifting.

Last week I ended up having to go back to the covid clinic near me. It’s a strange place to have to go to and you have to attend by car which rules out anyone that doesn’t drive. Luckily I could ask my friend to take me.

After following all the instructions I eventually managed to see a doctor. She was very nice and she was very patient with me because I really didn’t feel well at all.
After examining me she told me that my lungs were still crackling, especially my right lung.
She prescribed some different antibiotics and they hopefully appear to be working.

Whilst the covid 19 clinic system does work its not without its faults.

To obtain an appointment at the clinics you have to phone 111 and then go through a couple of phone calls with their telephone operatives.

The first person that I spoke to wanted an ambulance to attend but luckily after speaking to a paramedic I was then directed to the covid clinic.

If you don’t have access to a telephone or you don’t have credit you can’t do this.

I then spoke to someone from the covid clinic who then informed me that they would be phoning me back with an appointment time.

They did phone me back after a hour to give me an appointment in twenty minutes time.
Luckily my friend lives nearby and could do this.

If you don’t have access to a car you can’t attend.
My recommendation if you don’t have a car to attend a covid 19 clinic would be to go to hospital if you feel really ill. Don’t mess around I wish that I had done this in the first place.

Upon attending you have to buzz in at the door. You are then answered and told to go and wait in the car for a phone call from them to go to the door to be seen.

I waited, received the phone call and was let in by a lovely nurse wearing full PPE. She asked me to put one of their masks on which I did.

I was then ushered into a room to wait for the doctor. Once she arrived she examined me and told me that my lungs were crackling, my heart was racing and my temperature as up again.

I explained to her what had happened and she told me to go and wait in the car for another phone call to discuss my treatment etc.

I then went to wait in the car and was prescribed a different course of antibiotics. She told me that if I become worse to either attend again or go to the hospital. Whilst this service is brilliant it’s not the easiest to access if you don’t drive. I doubt that a taxi driver would want to put themselves at risk from catching it and who can blame them.

It’s been a very long journey for me and thousands of others. Our stories are being largely ignored.

Recovering from covid 19 symptoms is extremely hard and it’s a very long journey.

I’ve been asked by lovely people if I was better after a few days of becoming ill. Of course I wasn’t but there is a distinct lack of education regarding covid 19 recovery and the complications that often occur.

Whilst everyone is saying that you must get a test these tests are very unreliable. So many people are getting false negative results.

Please don’t rely on these tests. If you have symptoms then self isolate yourself and everyone that lives with you. This is extremely important, it can save life’s.

Yesterday 324 people died as a result of contracting covid 19 and still the government is relaxing the quarantine restrictions.

The only reason that they’re doing this is to enable their friends to make money.
They worship at the feet or commerce and profit and care nothing about the risk to life.

Like my friend Keith Ordinary Guy says ‘Survival is an act of civil disobedience’.


When I say that they don’t care if we survive they really don’t. As long as some people remain for them to profit from their happy.
The irony is that alot of people that would have voted for them have died or are extremely ill.
You’d think that they’d care about this wouldn’t you.

I’ve been ill for that long that I’ve lost count of the days.
I’ve gone from a fairly active person, always out walking and doing something to being stuck at home reliant upon the kindness of friends and the delivery of a weekly food parcel.

Whilst food parcel food is keeping me going it is by no means really good for you and full of vitamins.
Maybe this is why I keep rebounding. Who knows?

I really don’t want this blog to turn into my weekly moan, but so many people are going through the same as I am.
I’ve tried to carry on and be productive. Yesterday I cut a few weeds down in the garden and today I’m exhausted.

It is what it is and I have to accept that.
My thoughts and prayers are with everyone dying and suffering from covid 19 and their families.
Please can we all continue to talk about them, to remember their names and not forget them.

The reason why so many people are dying is because the government has totally and knowingly neglected to protect the public.

Their social distancing rules are extremely unclear and hard to follow.

Remember that they’re still practicing herd immunity by stealth in plain sight.


I can bet that you’ve all seen the queues for IKEA reopening the other day.

When I went to Asda to get my prescription dispensed I was the only person wearing a mask.

It’s sickening to see so many people gathering together like this wearing no face masks etc.
Maybe they think that they’re invincible and aren’t going to catch it.
It’s now become not of they catch it but when they catch it.

So many people are going to become very ill or die as a result of this. It worries me deeply.

Remember that the government is relaxing the rules not because its for our own good but because they want to profit from us.

Each and every person has a price over their heads and the government loves to exploit this.


Whilst the government has left a trail of death, distruction and failure behind them let us leave a trail of love, kindness and solidarity.

They can’t keep their power for forever and we must remember this.

Please keep safe, I think about you all each and every day.

Love to you all xxx.


Please read, share, tweet and email my blog. A huge thank you to everyone that has and does this xx.


I run this blog and campaign on next to no money at all, especially since I’ve been ill.

For anyone wanting to donate there’s a donate button at the top and side of this blog. For anyone needing my PayPal ad it’s seercharlotte@gmail.com

A huge thank you to everyone that has supported the blog and myself. I really can’t thank you enough xx.

Not a merry Christmas for the victims of the cruel DWP regime.

Dear readers the blogs late. I apologise for this once again.

As many of us have dreaded Christmas has arrived again, this is a stark reminder of how poor we are, what we don’t have whilst we watch those that can afford to buy lots of things that they don’t need on TV and YouTube.

Many of you will be spending your first Christmas without a loved one, being alone for the first time is a scary thing.

I hear you, I’m with you. Hang on in there it will get easier.

For everyone dependant upon food banks for food over the Christmas period. I’m with you, I’m doing the same. It’s hard to piece a meal together from the contents of a food parcel, I hear you, I’m doing the same.

Hang on in there, I’m here for you, we’re here for each other.

Yesterday was our annual Christmas Demo and it was a huge success despite Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre and the building manager of the Tameside One building being rather disgruntled at our being there. We had to agree to take our banners down but we marched around the market grounds with them, making more people aware of our campaign and our advice service.

We also laid a wreath in memory of everyone that has died as a result of the government’s cruel austerity measures and their inhumane DWP regime. We do this every year, it’s important to remember everyone that has died, hoping that one day we will get justice for each and every person and their families.

A huge thank you to everyone that came to support us yesterday.

0ust last week we lost our only chance for at least five years of ending this cruelty.

Working class voters were tricked into lending their votes to the Tory party, believing the lies that Brexit will ‘be done’ straight away.

Brexit won’t happen overnight like they thought though, more fool them.

The Tory party has already broken some of their promises made in their election campaign. They’ve got absolutely no intention of keeping them either.

As a result things are going to get a whole lot worse than they are now.

Unemployment will rise, homelessness will increase, the DWP regime will become a whole lot worse, communities will become even more divided.

I could go on for forever but remember this.

If you voted for the Tories then you voted for more poverty, a decrease in your wages etc. Own it.

If you have children and they find out that you effectively voted to ruin their futures they’re going to be extremely angry.

Good luck with that.

We’ve handed out possibly hundreds of food parcels out this year, I personally have bought shopping for people, sourced prams, baby clothes and household basics for others.

As I was handing a food parcel to a young woman yesterday she turned round and shouted to the public “This woman has helped me when no one else would. She got a pram for my baby, she fed us, she’s helped me so much. I can’t thank her enough for this, I don’t know what would have happened to me if she hadn’t done this”

This nearly brought tears to my eyes. She’s wonderful, a survivor currently battling her awful social housing landlord.

Yesterday all of our special Christmas food parcels were taken as soon as they arrived.

We put two pasting tables outside the Jobcentre and filled them with free coffee and tea, biscuits, mince pies, cakes and leaflets.

A

s usual Ashton Jobcentre staff didn’t like us doing this, maybe they took offence to the Christmas music that we were playing. After all the DWP doesn’t believe in Christmas.

It’s hard to say what has been the most heartbreaking story that I’ve heard, they are all equally heartbreaking. Please read through my blog you’ll definitely agree with me.

I’d like to say Merry Christmas to all my readers and supporters. Your support has kept me and the campaign going this year.

For anyone struggling to celebrate Christmas please take solace that it will soon be over, the reminders of opulence will soon be gone and life will continue as normal.

For everyone suffering under the torturous DWP regime remember that you’re not alone. We care, lots of people care. Keep strong and don’t let the b######s grind you down.

We shall return after Christmas stronger than ever ready to continue our fight against the government and the DWP.

Please read, share, tweet and email my blog. A huge thank you to everyone that has already.

Please donate if you can. I live on an extremely low income and am having to collect food parcels myself.

Thank you so much to everyone that has already this year.

Forced to attend DWP course dispite having multiple disabilities.

Dear readers and supporters once again I have to apologise for publishing this blog late. I’ve been out campaigning for my local Labour Party.

Anyway today was pretty dire, it was raining, in fact it still hasn’t stopped.

It was also cold, deadly weather for street homeless people and anyone that can’t afford to heat their homes.

Once their clothes become wet, they can’t dry them so they become very cold and hypothermia can set in. This can be deadly so please spare a

thought for people in this situation.

As usual all the food parcels were gone as soon as I handed them out. Most of them were needed by people having problems paying their council tax and extra top up rent. If they can’t pay the council will take the money directly from their universal credit payments. Their social housing landlord will also threaten to evict them even though the person that I spoke to owed less than £100.

New Charter housing certainly don’t give a toss about their tenants but that’s another story.

We spoke to lots of people today but sadly we had to end the demo early because we were drenched and cold.

I had a conversation with a man that has several disabilities which prevents him from applying for many of the jobs on offer.

Dispite this his job coach has told him that it would be in his best interests to attend a so called wellbeing course.

Wellbeing is the latest buzzword being used by the DWP. They like to pretend that these rubbish courses will help people, especially disabled people.

They don’t however tell the person being forced onto these courses that they (the DWP) gain financially from sending people on these courses as do the course providers.

We are seen as a pound sign, a number of which they can profit from.

What they forget is that most people have enough commonsense to realise that no one can ever be cured by attending a course. They’re another reason to harass a person more, to sanction them if the course provider advises them to.

The whole system is crooked, people are being harassed so much by the DWP that they can’t see a future for themselves and they take their own life. Meanwhile the DWP will still send letters out to the families of the deceased.

It’s Orwellian in nature, they control a person’s life to the extent that they can cut off their very means of survival with the click of a button on a computer.

I spoke to three people that are having problems with their housing benefit claims. Our local housing benefit department at Tameside Council aren’t the best.

Please can they start talking to people as if they’re human beings, with respect and not disdain? It’s not too much to ask is it.

I spoke to a single parent that had been asked to attend their first back to work interview because their child is now two years old.

They were understandably nervous and had no idea of their rights regarding job searching etc. Thankfully we were able to help them and we handed them a copy of our survival guide.

Call me old fashioned but I’m a firm believer that a parent or carer should be able to stay at home with their child until their child reaches school age or older. Obviously parents that want to work should do so but the option should be there.

Children need their parents, it’s vital for their development.

Children also need to be able to eat good, healthy food and live in a warm house. These very basic things are denied by this cruel government.

I write this on the eve of the general election, the most important General election in many years. Let’s hope that we get a good result. If we don’t many of us won’t survive another 5 years of this cruelty. I can’t stress this enough.

We will be back next week for our annual Christmas Demo. I will be making a wreath unless I can get a volunteer to help me. I’m also needing to buy non alcoholic mince pies and other Christmas foods to hand out to the public.

We will also be handing out extra Christmas food parcels so if you need one please contact me so that I can save one for you. If you don’t it’s a first come first served basis.

Also please come and join us it’s at the same time 10-12 outside Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre. Please come and say hello and maybe sing an appropriate Christmas Carol or two.

I’ve got £3 to last me for a week. Universal Credit strikes again

Wow I can’t believe that it’s Thursday again. It’s definitely a lot cooler out there so wrap up if your going out.

The cooler weather also highlights the inability for thousands of people to choose between heating and eating. Of course the government don’t want to rectify this, I’m convinced that they’re trying to kill us off.

Today was a mix of differing problems and as usual I will not be naming anyone. I hope that you understand why.

The first thing that I did today was to hand out the food parcels. We had six and within five minutes there was only one left.

The remaining food parcel was taken by a woman struggling to get by. She was claiming Universal Credit and unbeknownst to her the DWP had shut her claim down without telling her.

The DWP claim that she hadn’t signed her claimant commitment but she was adamant that she had done. This resulted in zero consultation with her and now she’s having to appeal this.

The DWP however have told her that she has to make a new claim for universal credit which means that she’s going to have to wait at least five weeks for her first payment.

She also has children and is understandably concerned about how she’s going to feed them.

Don’t expect any sympathy from the DWP though. They’ve got a cast iron weight instead of a heart.

It never get better hearing people’s DWP stories. But thank goodness we were there to help her. She’s going to appeal the DWPs decision.

I then had a conversation with a chap that I usually speak to every week. He told me that he had waited for over a hour for the bus to get to Ashton.

I can confirm that this is the norm in Tameside at the moment. Lots of our bus routes have been taken off and the ones that remain cost a lot more.

I’ve spoken to elderly and disabled people who have been housebound as a result of this. The bus used to stop right outside their houses and they can’t manage the walk to the nearest bus stop. It’s too far for them to walk etc.

If anyone from the Tameside area is reading this please join in with the Better Bus campaign.

I then spotted a woman leaving the Jobcentre. I offered her a leaflet and immediately she told me that she hates universal credit. I asked her why and she went into her pocket and got out some coins amounting to approximately £3. She said “This is all that I have until the end of next week. How on earth am I going to manage on this amount of money. ‘

Of course I advised her and signposted her to local organisations etc where she can get a food parcel from because we had ran out of them.

This is the reality of life whilst claiming Universal credit and its the same for thousands of people.

Far too many people have become accepting of this though. Many are resigned to their fate, they know that they’re going to be hungry and they think that no one cares about them.

Lots of us do care though, this shouldn’t be happening but we all to our best to help people.

We signposted quite a few people to CAB for advice and once again people having trouble with their council tax payments was mentioned. The poorest shouldn’t be made to bear the brunt of this.

We then spoke to a person that had recently been declared fit for work. They’ve got numerous disabilities and illnesses but don’t expect the DWP to care. They’re going to appeal this decision but in the meantime he was told by his DWP advisor that he’s no longer allowed to hand fit notes in.

Apparently the DWP know better than a doctor and a specialist doctor. They want everyone to look for none existent jobs despite the fact that many aren’t able to work.

As regular readers will know this is far from unusual but it never gets easier does it.

I advised a woman who’s son is being moved over from DLA to PIP.

We had a lovely conversation with a man who’s being sent on what feels like constant courses ran by and on behalf of the DWP. The latest course that they’ve been told to attend or be sanctioned is supposed to motivate people.

It’s a bit hard motivating people who are hungry and who’ve got the threat of being sanctioned hanging over their head. But hey every person that attends these courses are worth a fortune to the DWP. Not only does the DWP receive funding for these courses they also pay the providers quite a lot of money per person attending.

Wonderful isn’t it… Not. We can never forget that we’re just a number to them and we can and are exploited by the DWP at their whim.

We then had a conversation with a man that’s been having problems with his employer.

His employer is totally abusing the fact that there’s so many people looking for work. He pays people less than their long term staff. When people complain they tell them that they can walk, it doesn’t matter because they can fill the position straight away.

There’s far too many awful employers like this and it’s about time that something was done about this isn’t it.

Today we helped lots of people, provided support and gave out food parcels. We’ve been doing this for around six years now and it’s getting worse.

Please read and share my blog. Tweet it as well, email it to your local Tory MP.

I’d like to thank Gordon for all of his help today. I’d also like to thank you all for supporting the campaign and my blog.

This has become a full time job and every penny helps me to continue with both the campaign and the blog.

We’ll be returning next week and I’ll be blogging as usual.

Five year aniversary of blogging and the suffering continues.

Dear readers it’s been five years almost to the day since I started writing this blog although I’ve been campaigning for much longer.

A friend encouraged me to write it but I honestly didn’t think that anyone would read it. I was proved wrong though, it took off straight away.

Back then we were chosen to be a trial area for universal credit along with Oldham and Wigan.

Hardly anyone else was documenting the day to day cruelty that universal credit and the benefit reforms.Most likely because it wasn’t happening everywhere and lots of people weren’t aware of this

We were ignored and called liars and suchlike.

Myself and other groups continued to fight against it even though every door was being slammed in our faces. No one wanted to know.

Through perseverance and determination we continued, we weren’t letting this go. People were and are dying as a result and that was and is unacceptable.

DPAC have been consistently supportive and they’re amazing. The work that they have done and are doing is outstanding. I can’t thank them enough.

When I started this blog almost everyone that I spoke to outside Ashton Jobcentre was or had been sanctioned.

Pregnant women were being sanctioned for three years, suicides of people that we had spoken to were a constant worry. I’ve lost count of the people that we have lost.

It breaks my heart and I’ve always got them in my thoughts. Thanks to Black Triangle for their work collecting this info and publishing it.

At the the time the DWP were a law unto themselves, they still are. I’m certain that they were given orders to sanction as many people as possible (remember Sandra’s stars anyone?).

I’m certain that they still have these targets but they’re not so open and brazen at displaying them. People are still being sanctioned and it’s abbhorant that this is continuing to happen. Being sanctioned can and does kill people.

The suffering continues and every week I’m told yet more awful stories from claimants about their experiences whilst on universal credit and other benefits.

Today a man told me that he’d been barred from the Jobcentre for loosing his temper when he was told that he’d been sanctioned.

When he was allowed back into the Jobcentre he had a G4S guard to escort him to his appointment and to take him out again.

The stress of this took its toll on him and he started to pull his hair out. He can’t believe how horrible this system is. Thanks to the DWP he’s mentally scarred for life.

The system hasn’t got better the DWP and government have become more devious, constantly putting unrealistic demands upon people that they know won’t be able to keep up with it.

We’ve handed hundreds of food parcels out because people were and are literally starving. I’ve watched a family open the tins of food and eat it because they were so hungry.

It’s hard to tell you what the worst thing that I’ve seen is. Everything about this system is awful. It persecutes children, women, men, women who should be receiving their pensions but were conned out of them. The DWP won’t leave anyone alone.

The fight continues though. The Labour Party have at last commited to stopping, scrapping universal credit. They’re going to replace it with a caring system and I know that they’re going to do this. The Labour Party have been working very hard on creating the new system for quite a while now.

But the changes won’t happen overnight and until they’ve been elected nothing will change its going to become a whole lot worse.

Every week we speak to disabled people who have been found fit for work. They aren’t fit for work though and we help them to start the appeal process.

We’ve handed out thousands of copies of of our survival guides. They’ve proved to be invaluable and have helped a lot of people. Thanks to Roy for your help with this.

The blog doesn’t end after I’ve published the blog on Thursdays though. It’s become a full time job. Myself or members of the team don’t get paid by anyone either. We do it because we care.

The fight continues week after week. We’ve had abuse from G4S, I’ve been spat on called a scrounger and worse.

The DWP have unsuccessfully tried to move us from outside the Jobcentre. We aren’t going anywhere, we aren’t stopping until the suffering ends.

Whilst the suffering continues we will continue. I made this commitment all those years ago.

I want to thank you all for reading and supporting the blog for these last five years. Its been a massive comfort to know that you all support this blog and the campaign.

I’ll end the blog here this week. I know that it’s a bit different than my usual blog style but I really wanted to thank everyone that’s helped along the way whether it’s on foot at the demos or online. Both are equally as important.

To everyone that does come and help though thank you so, so much. We’ve had a lot of physical support from Stockport Against Austerity and I can’t thank them enough as well as Gordon, Roy, Carol and everyone else who I’ve met along the way.

My local Labour Party and my MP Angela Rayner have also been hugely supportive even though I’ve been a pain sometimes.

Can I ask you to continue to read, share, tweet and email my blog. Thank you to those that already do.

There’s also a donate button at the top and side of this blog. Every penny donated ensures that the campaign and blog can continue. A massive thanks to those that have.

I’ll be back next week with my usual blog. Thank you for the five years of support and thanks to Mike for persuading me to start this blog.

Don’t worry I’ll be writing next weeks blog in my usual style.

DWP refuse to pay for DBS check but will pay over £200 for a course.

Dear readers I’m extremely sorry for the delay in publishing my blog.

This weeks demo was extremely busy, as usual the food parcels were taken as soon as they arrived. I really wish that this wasn’t the case but it will be for the foreseeable future.

As usual I will list some of the conversations that I had today, identities won’t be revealed either.

As I arrived at the spot where I pick the food parcels up from I was greeted by a chap who I had a conversation with last week. He had followed my advice and as a result he managed to get hold of some much needed work boots etc.

I’m so happy that I can signpost people, remember we don’t leave anyone in the lurch we always do our best to help everyone.

Here’s a typical example of DWP logic it’s obvious to me that they don’t really want people to find good positive employment.

Jenny spotted us she was leaving the Jobcentre, she asked me if she could have a leaflet. As I handed her a leaflet she expressed her disgust of the whole DWP system. Here’s her story.

Jenny told us that she’s a qualified nurse and she would like to return to work. She asked the DWP if they would pay for a DBS check. You’d think that the DWP would agree to this because they apparently help people into work……

The DWPs answer was this, no they wouldn’t pay for a DBS check but they would pay over £200 for Jenny to attend a door persons job.

If course we advised that a future employer should pay for the check but as we know not all employers will do this.

As I’ve said before claimants are nothing but a number to be bought and sold at the DWPs whim. They profit from sending claimants to these often rubbish courses and until this stops they won’t stop.

I was then stopped by a woman who’s being forced to attend what seems to be endless pointless DWP courses. She told me about the latest course that she was forced to attend.

She told me that she was told to attend an effective job search course for people with arthritis. Telling me about her experience she said “I was stuck in a room with lots of other people. They tried to tell us that we shouldn’t let arthritis prevent us from finding work. Easier said than done when you’re in constant pain.”

If this wasn’t enough enough she was also told that she had to attend a job fair in Ashton as well. The DWP advised her that if she didn’t attend they would sanction her.

The word on the street later was that the job fair was rubbish. Potential employers telling people that they were either too old or unsuitable for the work that they were offering. This didn’t surprise me because I’m told the same every year that they hold this event.

A little later I had a conversation with chap that I’d had a conversation with a few weeks ago. He’s been waiting for over 3 months for his first universal credit payment. He told me that the DWP have informed him that he should receive his first universal credit payment on Saturday. Let’s hope that they do.

Last but not least we spoke to a woman who was very quick to tell us that she was over £600 worse off since claiming Universal credit. She’s gone from being able to being able to cope on the benefits system to not coping at all.

Her story is that she had previously been homeless and she had been rehoused to a three bedroom house. She only needed a two bedroom home but she couldn’t refuse the offer of this property. If she did they would refuse to help her.

As a result shes now forced to pay the bedroom tax and top up rent as well as the council tax supplement. She’s applied for a help with this but she keeps on being refused. She’s also asked to move to a smaller property but this is refused also because she owes rent.

It’s absolutely shocking that local housing providers refuse to help people find smaller properties because they owe rent. Of course they’re going to owe rent they need a smaller home so that they can pay back this debt.

The whole system is geared against the poorest people in society. At every turn they get the door slammed in their faces, are told that they’re not good enough and are used by companies employed by the DWP until they burn out, become ill or disabled and are then left with no support at all.

Poverty is isolating which helps the DWP to abuse these people in whatever way they see fit. Like I said earlier we’re a commodity and we’re bought and sold at the DWP and governments whim.

We spoke to lots of people yesterday and offered help, advice, signposting, food, support and solidarity. We will return next week to help even more people.

Please read and share this blog thank you. Tweet it, email it etc because everyone needs to know the truth behind the DWPs false advertisements claiming that universal credit is the best thing ever.

For everyone who supports my blog thank you so much.

For anyone wanting to donate there’s a PayPal button at the top and side of this blog.

64 year old woman with multiple health condition fails universal credit medical assessment. Living in substandard accommodation. How are people supposed to survive this?

Dear readers, its Thursday yet again. The sun was shining for us today, what a welcome surprise. It was lovely to see. No joy was found from the DWP though, there’s a surprise.

I’ll be listing everything that happened today as usual. No real names will be divulged either. Today we handed out six food parcels and helped lots of people who would have otherwise been left, stranded without help by a system that doesn’t care about them.

Those of you that have been through the system or know people that have will already know that the DWPs flagship universal credit system is cruel, heartless and punishing. It discriminates against everyone but particularly women, children, single parents and people with disabilities.

Universal credit is obscenely complicated and hard to navigate, often DWP advisors don’t know the rules either. Not one department communicates with another even though universal credit is computer driven by default. You’d honestly think that the designers of it would have thought about people that are unable to use computers or don’t have any access to the internet at home. They also didn’t take into account the fact that libraries are shutting their doors or reducing the hours that they’re open because they can’t afford to stay open.

Universal credit is a system that rarely works well for anyone, but it was designed to do this, to reduce the unemployment levels by any means possible. If that means that a person takes themselves off the system because they can’t cope then so be it. No one will try and stop them either. Above the door of every Jobcentre a sign saying ‘Abandon all hope ye who enter here’ because that’s exactly what people do.

 

The first thing that I noticed today was the queue of women waiting for food parcels. It goes without saying that there shouldn’t be a need for us to hand food parcels out but there is, and will be for as long as this rotten government is in power.

As I was handing the food parcels out a young man stormed out of the Jobcentre. I asked him what was wrong and he shouted ‘It’s a pile of shit in there, they don’t give a shit do they’ I agreed with him and handed him a leaflet.

 

Meet Tom. Tom had successfully made an application for universal credit a couple of months ago, thats good you might think. Well, no because it appears that whoever processed his application didn’t quite do everything correctly.

Upon applying for universal credit a claimant is expected to provide ID and proof of tenancy etc at their first meeting, because as you know rent etc is all rolled into one payment every month. Here’s where Tom encountered his first problem. I say first because he’s bound to have more problems as time progresses.

Tom looked confused as he handed me a form that he had just been given by his advisor. As I looked at it he told me that he had already provided them with the ID and proof that they needed. Here’s the letter in all it’s glory.

 

In this letter he’s asked about every single detail of his tenancy, including gas and electricity check certificates and energy performance certificates. Tom has no idea what those are, his landlord didn’t issue him with these. The DWP need to remember that not all landlords actually do this.

Other questions included are ‘Are you up to date with your rent payments? If yes, provide evidence of this.’

‘Would your landlord accept less rent at times if you could not afford to pay the full rent?’

‘Will your landlord accept a lower rent if universal credit does not meet your full rent liability?’

‘Would your landlord take you to court to evict you if you failed to pay the rent?’

‘Would your landlord take legal action to recover rent arrears?’

These questions are totally ridiculous. Landlords rarely if ever lower a persons rent payment to suit the DWP, and of course a landlord will take action to evict a tenant for non payment of rent. It’s ridiculous to think otherwise, and very arrogant of the DWP to suggest that a landlord should back down to the demands of the DWP.

Honestly, the above form looks like something thats been typed out at home in a hurry. There’s absolutely nothing official on this form, no DWP logo either. It’s all very strange.

Tom quite rightly noted that they should have asked for this information when he first made his claim, he’s already received his first payment. He’d already paid his rent with this. Honestly you couldn’t make this up.

To make matters worse he had to make a new appointment just to hand in this form, if he doesn’t attend he’ll get sanctioned.

I asked him if he had moved house and he told me that he hadn’t, his was living at the same address when he made his claim for universal credit.

Luckily I was able to walk him through the questions and signposted him if he needs further help. Poor fella, he was so confused. He thanked me and he walked away hopefully less confused.

 

Tom looks after his sister who is computer illiterate, his sister struggles to get out and depends on Tom to do most tasks for him. Tom attended the Jobcentre a few weeks ago to hand his sisters fit note in. He was told quite bluntly at the reception desk that he couldn’t do this and he had to post it. So Tom posted it using an envelope that they gave him.

Today Tom attended the Jobcentre once more to hand his sisters fit note in. This time they accepted it but asked him where the previous fit note was. He told them that he’d posted it because he’d been told to. Unbelievable isn’t it.

Tom was understandably a bit fed up, saying this system is bloody ridiculous isn’t it.

 

I spoke to a woman struggling to pay the bedroom tax, a man that was sent away fro being ten minutes early and a woman who told me that she claims universal credit and PIP and its bloody awful.

I also spoke to an older woman that cares for her son who’s autistic. He had failed his latest ESA medical because apparently he ‘looked ok’. Obviously the DWP don’t recognised hidden disabilities, they’ve got quite a bad track record of this.

I spoke to a young man that has taken himself off the system because he couldn’t cope with it. I asked him how he managed from day to day, he told me that he tries his best but is dependent upon relatives. He hopes to get a job in the near future.

 

We spoke to a self employed plasterer, he quite loudly told us that universal credit has ruined many of his friends and colleagues. Universal credit made it impossible for them to continue with their trade. He was understandably angry, but angry at the government for doing this to them.

 

I spoke to Bill, bill has been sanctioned because his daughter had been taken into hospital and he missed his signing on appointment. He did telephone the Jobcentre and communicated this through his online journal, he’s even provided evidence of the hospital stay. But the gods of the DWP have decided that he’d be sanctioned so he was.

I told him that he could appeal the sanction decision and he told me that his advisor hadn’t told him that he could appeal. Thankfully hes now going to appeal this and hopefully he’ll win his appeal. He wouldn’t have known to do this if we weren’t there to inform him.

 

Meet Pat. Pat is 64 years of age and has numerous medical conditions, some quite serious. Pat hasn’t been able to work for years because of this. Pat also claims universal credit.

Pat recently attended a universal credit medical assessment, she failed this and was told that she’s now fit for work.

So the DWP gods have performed another miracle haven’t they.

Pat is determined to appeal this decision, so she informed her advisor of this. Her advisor then told her that she now needs to provide medical proof if she wants to appeal.

Pat has now had to pay £15 for a letter from her doctor. This is completely ridiculous, she’s already shown evidence of her medical conditions.

To make matters much worse Pat lives in a home riddled with damp and her landlord is reluctant to deal with it. She told me that she doesn’t know how much more she can continue like this, its becoming all too much for her.

Remember pat is 64 years of age, she shouldn’t be treated like this and she honestly didn’t expect this.

I did everything that I could to help her and signpost her. It’s absolutely heartbreaking when you speak to someone thats suffering as much as this. For gods sake we’re supposed to respect our elders. The DWP respects no one not even their staff.

 

I spoke to a middle aged man who’s in the process of being evicted. He told me that the move over to universal credit has caused this.n

We spoke to a young man that was prevented from attending an appointment with a friend, ten minutes later another man was prevented from entering the Jobcentre with his partner. He wanted to help her but he was turned away. The law states that a claimant is allowed support when attending an appointment but hey, the DWP employees at the front desk of Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre appear to totally disregard this.

 

Today’s conversations all happened within two hours on a Thursday afternoon. Universal credit doesn’t work, its very design dictates this.

We need to stop and scrap universal credit and replace it with a much fairer system that actually cares for people.

 

Please read, share, tweet and email my blog.

Thank you to everyone that turned up to help today, I really appreciate this.

 

Massive thanks to everyone that supports my blog. Without you I honestly don’t know what I’d do. Your support means everything especially when times are hard. As a skint single parent I can relate to everyone that I speak to.

Keep safe, we’ll be back next week as usual.

 

 

£213 a month to live on, and also have to top up rent payments with that. People are struggling to survive on universal credit.

Dear readers, today was grim and the weather didn’t help anyone, let alone the people forced to use the Jobcentre. Yet again we encountered numerous people with all sorts of problems ranging from universal credit, ESA and PIP, housing problems etc.

We handed out all of our food parcels, most were taken by single parents with children and working families. They rely on foodbanks to survive, it really shouldn’t be like this.

Thanks to Gordon for joining me and also Jack. Your help is invaluable and it’s appreciated by everyone.

As usual I won’t divulge the names of anyone that I spoke to this morning. The DWP snoop everywhere and I don’t want anyone that I spoke to being targeted by the DWP. This does happen, but not on my blog. I value everyone that I speak to unlike the DWP.

 

John walked out of the Jobcentre clutching the usual list of phone numbers that they hand out to everyone. I handed him a leaflet and asked him if he needed any help. John told me that he was ok, but thats only because he’s living with a relative that can feed and look after him whilst he’s waiting for his universal credit claim to be processed, saying that the alternative is to horrible to think about.

 

I then spoke to Gemma. Gemma has struggled almost all of her life, she’s 19 years old and to be honest isn’t enjoying anything about her life at the moment. In her short lifetime she’s been homeless twice and has been rehoused not long ago.

Gemma is claiming universal credit and is finding it almost impossible to manage. She receives in total £513 a month total to live on after paying her rent payment. Out of this she has to pay back her rent arrears that she keeps accruing because she’s finding it hard to pay her full rent. She also got into rent arrears whilst she was waiting for her universal credit claim to be processed, “What are you supposed to do, just pay your rent with the loan that they give you? It was impossible for me to pay my full rent because I needed food to eat, and gas and electric to buy. I’ve got no one to borrow money from, and that’d have to be paid back as well.

To make the situation worse Gemma also has to repay her universal credit loan back at £100 a month. There’s absolutely no regulation concerning the repayment of loan debts. No set amounts that people have to pay back, sometimes I think that they pick a number out of thin air and decide thats how much they should pay back. It’s ludicrous

Basically after all of her above debts are paid back Gemmas left with £213 a month to survive on. She’s got to buy gas, electric, food and transport costs. She’s a broken woman at 19 years old. Huddled up in the cold, Gemma muttered “It’s almost as if they’re trying to destroy me. I’m 19 years old and I’m worn out because of the stress and worry. There’s a good chance that I’ll become homeless again, and I’m doing my best. Universal credit is destroying me. They look at me (DWP staff) as if I’m stupid, like I’m something on the bottom of their shoe. They don’t want to help me”

Gemmas 19 years old, at the start of her life and should be enjoying life. Instead she’s worn out, depressed and feels like giving up. This, my friends is what universal credit does to people. It eats you up, totally consumes you until eventually you give up. That’s exactly what its designed to do.

 

Sarah is a single parent and is also having a difficult time. She’s claiming universal credit and to say she’s struggling is an understatement. Here’s her story.

Sarah was instructed to attend an appointment, which she was ready to do but unfortunately one of her parents suddenly fell ill and was rushed into hospital by ambulance. Sarah was with her relative when this happened and from the ambulance she telephoned the DWP to try and rearrange her appointment. The person that she spoke to said that this wouldn’t be a problem, and they’d phone her later with another appointment.

Only the DWP phoned the wrong number. Not the one that’s registered online, an old number that isn’t used anymore, and Sarah had already informed them about this.

Sarah also couldn’t remember her 16 pin log in details. How on earth is anyone supposed to remember this, its impossible. Even if people write it down its easy for it to get lost. If they put it in their mobile phone (if they have one) and the phone breaks, then the numbers missing.

Sarah phoned the DWP to tell them that she’d forgotten her PIN number. The DWP then told her that she had to go online to get the number. Sarah couldn’t access her online account because she didn’t have her pin. Basically they gave her an impossible task to complete.

Upon attending her next DWP appointment she was told that the DWP were deducting her universal credit payment by £200 but don’t worry, we’ll give you a LOAN for £150 that you have to pay back. Are the DWP getting their ideas from illegal money lenders or something? This is atrocious.

Basically Sarah was fined £200 for missing a phone call that she never received because they phoned the wrong number, and for loosing her PIN number. You really couldn’t make this shit up could you.

Sarah is also in rent arrears now because she was unable to pay her full rent because she was sanctioned. She now has to top up her rent payments and repay two DWP loans back.

Don’t forget Sarah is a single parent with a very young child, she didn’t have any food in her cupboards and didn’t know what to do. Luckily I gave her a food parcel and advised her on what to do. Hopefully she will access local services and she will appeal her sanction.

It’s despicable that people are treated in this manner, not only are the parents suffering but their children are too. The DWP just don’t care. It’s no coincidence that more and more children are being put into the care system is it. Many parents can no longer provide food, heating, clothing etc for their children and it’s not their fault. The blame lies purely at the governments feet.

 

I asked an older man how was he coping with universal credit. He looked at me and said ‘Just about. Now I’ve got to pay my council tax”

 

I spoke to a young woman working a zero hour contract at a local cake factory. When she started her job she was told that if she worked hard she might get a contracted job. She worked hard but never got the contract. Now she has no job security at all.

 

Gordon spoke to an older woman aged 62 who’s claiming universal credit, she’s struggling but then again nearly everyone claiming universal credit are aren’t they.

 

We then had a conversation Brian with an older man, he claims ESA and was told to phone an 0845 number recently. He wasn’t very clear about why he was told to phone this number up. He’s confused because the system is extremely confusing.

Brian has a contract phone and his phone bill per monthly is £15 a month. Brian tried phoning this number numerous times, each time he was placed on hold for great lengths of time. When he received his bill it was £54.

Of course he was angry, he shouldn’t have cost him  this much, all calls to the DWP should be free, but many still aren’t.

Brian was angry, frustrated and echoed concerns for those without a mobile phone contract saying ‘How the hell are they going to pay that? They’ll never get any help if they don’t have a phone will they’ He realises the systems rotten, and wondered why the government are allowed to do this ‘It’s criminal’ he said, and he’s not wrong.

 

Jack, a local councillor  represented a claimant whilst they had an appointment, this helps a great deal and I can’t recommend this enough. More should do this if they’re able to.

 

We left todays demo cold and a bit downhearted, but knowing that we’ve helped people makes everything worthwhile.

 

Please read, share and tweet my blog, also subscribe to it, it’ll save you from having to look for it every week.

There’s also a donate button at the top of this blog and at the side. I’m a skint single parent just trying my best to help people, through my blog I’ve managed to reach thousands upon thousands of people. As a result of this and other campaigns, more and more people are aware of the cruelty of universal credit and the heartless state of our government.

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