If I die I’ll die alone and who would care? This weeks blog.

Yes it’s Thursday yet again so this morning we have been doing our weekly demo, help and advice session outside Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre. We were very busy and there were only three of us there, we would love to see more though. The weather was lovely and sunny, and that makes a change. I expect that they’ve kept the heating on inside the Jobcentre, they like to keep it very hot, most likely to make the claimants suffering even worse.

We spoke to lots of people and I really wish that we didn’t have to do this but we do. If we didn’t then many won’t get the help that they need. If I could I would be outside every day helping people. But I’ve put in over four years commitment so no one can say that I’m not dedicated.

I’ll list todays conversations. I wish that people wern’t treated like this, but they are and at many Jobcentres up and down the country. The DWP get away with this because they are employed by the government and are directed by them. Nothing will change until they leave government, and we need to put more pressure on The Labour Party to take a tougher stance against Universal Credit and the DWP regime. It’s not good enough to say that they can’t change anything because if they are elected into government they can. It would take a lot of work but stopping this regime is very important.

 

Today I noticed a lot of heavily pregnant women entering and leaving the Jobcentre. I often wonder if they see different types of people in blocks, because I also noted a lot of older near retirement age people having to go into the Jobcentre today. More than normal.

 

I spoke to a young man I’ll call him M. I can’ give his full name incase of recriminations from the Jobcentre for talking to us. This has happened before so this is why everyone’s details are confidential. The DWP hold grudges and aren’t afraid to do so either.

He told me that he had been previously sanctioned for not attending an appointment even though he didn’t receive the appointment. (Yes I do know that this happens a lot, I’ve wrote about it on numerous occasions). He told me that he wasn’t told that he could appeal this sanction which is no surprise. But he couldn’t understand why he was told that he had to continue complying with his Jobsearching etc. It dodn’t make sense to him that he still had to comply even though he wasn’t getting any money.

He had been told that he had to Jobsearch for 38 hours a week, which is wrong. The limit is 35 hours which in itself is ludicrous,and like he said “Where are all these jobs, there arent any jobs and certainly not enough to look for 38 hours a week”.

He told me that he is still sanctioned, is hungry and he wasn’t sure about how much longer he could cope. ‘If I die, I’ll die alone because I’ve got nothing” he told me. This is how the DWP makes people feel. I won’t sugar coat it this is reality and the government disgusts me beyond words.

We had a long chat, I gave him lots of advice etc and he left us feeling happier than he did. If we hadn’t been there it could have been a whole lot worse.

Yes people are either driven to suicide or they die from malnutrition related illnesses or hypothermia. Thousands have done so and thousands will do so.

 

I spoke to an older man who has just been transferred over to Universal Credit. He has at least another seven week wait for his first payment. That’s seven weeks without money unless he gets a loan. He told me that it’s shit, life is shit and they treat you like shit. His words. He’s quite correct though.

 

I spoke to a man whom English is his second language. My heart went out to him because the DWP system is so much more complicated for him and it’s hard enough to begin with. The DWP also like to mess claimants that don’t understand around more. I’ve found that over the years that this happens.

 

I spoke to a woman that missed her ESA assement because she was ill. She wasn’t told that she could appeal etc. They’ve now put her on Universal credit but I pointed her in the right direction for help and advice.

 

We spoke to a man who had never been unemployed until now. He was an older chap and he looked bemused at the fact that the Jobcentre staff refuse to help people now. They just handed him a piece of paper with telephone numbers on it. Lovely eh.

 

I spoke to a 60 year old lady. She should be retired but the government changed the retirement age for women. The DWP have made her attend a course which takes up most of her time to look for work. Not content with humiliating her enough, they have now told her that she has to attend a second course so that she can find work quicker. Shes 60 years old, yes 60 years old. No one will employ her. Why can’t they just leave people of her age alone. This makes me angry. She deserves respect not humiliation.

 

I spoke to a man who is awaiting his first Universal Credit payment. He has another three weeks at least to wait and he told me of how his stomach has shrank because he can’t eat adequately. I’ll let that sink in. He’s hungry and the government don’t give a stuff.

 

We spoke to a woman who is waiting for her first Universal Credit payment to go through. She had applied for an advance loan but the bank took all her money out due to bank charges. We advised her that she must go to her bank and ask for a refund of those charges due to her circumstances. They can do this, I’ve done it myself.

 

We spoke to a younger man who is claiming ESA. He was clearly distressed and worried, he told us that it’s because he never knows how he is going to be treated and he’s correct in thinking that. He shouldn’t have to go through this and the DWP are making him very ill with worrying.

 

A man walked into the Jobcentre stating that they treat him like shit, a common theme today and everyday.

 

We spoke to a man who was sanctioned for being a minute late for his appointment…. He had been attending his ESA assessment. Yes this happens. He told us that it’s not fair that his voice isn’t heard. I told him that I would make sure that he is heard.

 

We spoke to a man who had missed an appointment because his letter had arrived after the appointment date. Of course the DWP told him that this was his fault not theirs. They will never shoulder any responsibility for anything that happens. The best that you will see is a shrug of the shoulders.

 

This all happened within two hours, yes two hours and I’m so grateful for Gordon and Roy for coming along. It’s very hard work and it can be heartbreaking. But we try our best to help people and to make the world a better place.

Please read, share, email, tweet, show your local Tory MP my blog. Attend their surgeries with any problems that you might have. We need to remind them that we are here and we aren’t going away.

Also I’ll leave a donation button at the bottom. I’m a single parent on a very limited income and every penny helps the campaign and the blog.

Thank you to everyone that has and does support my blog. I do struggle but I remind myself that there are plenty far worse off than myself.

Thank you.

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I feel intimidated,humiliated and degraded. They watch everything that I do. Welcome to Universal Credit whilst employed.

For over four years we’ve been doing this now, helping people, signposting them, providing solidarity, compassion, survival guides and food parcels. You’d think that things would be getting better, that I would no longer need to write this blog, to hold the demos but the need has never been greater than it is now.

I’m often told by people that they wished that they could do something like we do, and I tell them how to do it. It’s tough going but not impossible, far from it. We do need more support, more demos. Don’t forget folks that I’m a single parent on a very low income just trying to do my best and it’s tough, but no way near as hard as the daily reality of life is for most of the people that I speak to.

Today was freezing, yes freezing and I wish that this never ending winter would go away, it’s not doing anyone any good.

 

I arrived with my trusty shopping trolley this morning. I was expecting a delivery of leaflets because we hand out a lot of them and they’ve proved invaluable to the people that have taken the information on board and used them.

The first thing that I do upon arriving is to take my notepad and some leaflets out of my bag and organise myself. As I was doing so I noticed a young man rushing out of the Jobcentre clutching a bundle of letters, his head was down and it looked like he was in a rush. Sadly because of this I couldn’t speak to him, I hope that he is ok.

 

I spoke to a middle aged man who needed a food parcel, he told me that he depends on these. He’s waiting for his Universal Credit claim to be processed and to say that he’s upset about it taking so long is an understimation. The tears were welling up in his eyes as he was talking to me. He has already waited three weeks, and he’s going to have to wait at least another four weeks. It’s cruel, and the government knows exactly what it’s doing. They are starving people into submission and it’s working.

 

I spoke to a woman who also needed a food parcel. She’s struggling to feed herself, her parter and two children. We had a chat and I signposted her. Yes children are going hungry on a regular basis, this needs to stop.

 

I asked a woman how her appointment went and how her work coach was treating her. She said that it’s terrible, awful and she wished that she didn’t have to enter that (the Jobcentre) building. She took a leaflet and rushed off wanting to get away from the place. I can’t blame her.

 

I spoke to a man who is also waiting for his Universal Credit claim to be processed. He told me that he has lost a lot of weight because he can’t afford to eat properly. He took a food parcel and I signposted him.

 

I very briefly spoke to a woman that didn’t understand that even though she’s working and claiming Universal Credit, that she’s actually claiming the same benefit as people who aren’t working and claiming Universal Credit. I explained that it’s the same benefit but the only difference is that she’s working.

 

I spoke to a man who had been unfairly dismissed from his job. From what he said he has a good case to take to an employment tribunal so I referred him to my friends over at the Law Centre in Manchester and hopefully he will be able to get a positive result.

 

I spoke to a man that we spoke to last week. He’s found employment and a very good job at that. He’s over the moon as were we. I’m so happy for him but he is still at the mercy of the DWP until he starts work. If he is reading this good luck!!

 

We spoke to a woman who had rushed to the Jobcentre for her appointment. She actually lives local to myself so it’s quite a walk. She couldn’t afford the bus fare.

She told us that she works in a school and her partner works for an agency, so his work is by no means reliable and as a result she has to claim Universal Credit. She was very clear in describing how the DWP are treating her. “I work in a school and my partner works for an agency. I feel depressed and intimidated. Because I’m working they are checking my activity all the time and that includes my banking activity, they even ask my how we spend our money and they question us upon that. They question me about everything it’s so degrading. I’m doing my best, I’m working and my partner works, why won’t they leave me alone?”

She went on to say that she feels sick with worry and that she was thankful that we were there to talk to her, we made all the difference and we really helped. Kind words and solidarity make all the difference, never underestimate the value of this.

 

I spoke to a lovely lady That I hadn’t seen for a while. Shes also waiting for her Universal Credit claim to be processed so needed a food parcel. She gave me a hug and thanked me for all the help that I had given her.

 

I spoke to a lady who had an appointment with her advisor, she had her appointment card to prove it. The reception staff told her that she didn’t have an appointment because it didn’t show on their computer…. Someone please remind them that their computer system is rubbish and was down in previous weeks. Do they not communicate with each other? The answer to that is no they don’t.

 

I spoke to a man that needs to make an application for PIP on behalf of his partner, he wants me to help them both so I will do. I gave him the telephone number to start the process, the freeephone number that they neglected to give him earlier. Thanks Steve for helping me with that. He’s also been sanctioned again, and he couldn’t afford to make any more paid for telephone calls. I’ve sorted his credit out however the process to appeal against the sanction starts. He’s been doing so well lately, and had built his life back up. I won’t allow the DWP to bring it crashing down again.

 

Last but not least, a woman driving her car looked amazed at the sight of us stood outside the Jobcentre helping people. It’s not amazing to be helping people, its the right thing to do isn’t it.

 

A massive thank you to everyone that came along today, I really do appreciate your solidarity. It was freezing cold and I hope that you all get warm again.

 

This all happened in a couple of hours outside the Jobcentre, we help a lot of people. I’d really like it if my readers could like, share, tweet, email and even print off my blog and send it to your local MP.

 

Please donate to keep this blog and the campaign going. Every penny does count. People ask me to do much more than this but I can’t. I’m limited financially so every penny does help. Thank you.

For everyone that has done already thank you.

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The government controls us with fear and oppression. We are controlled by it everyday. Please read.

Today and everyday thousands of people will receive a dreaded brown envelope in the post from the Department Of Work And Pensions.. most will feel scared, intimidated and feeling at a loss of how to carry on. No one can underestimate the fear and dread upon seeing that envelope arrive.

As I write this I have learnt that a friend of mine has been denied his PIP payments even though the DWP informed him that he didn’t have to attend another medical assessment for three years. As usual they recalled him within months and he’s panicking. He might loose his home. You see, the loss of an essential benefit payment has massive ramifications and he can’t claim the appeal rate until his appeal has been lodged but first he has to ask for a mandatory reconsideration. This is another step that the government uses to delay appeals and to make people give up altogether. Many do.

I spoke to a gentleman who is a carer. He told me that the person whom he cares for has received a letter asking him to attend another ESA assessment. and he’s been in bits ever since. He can’t understand why he is being constantly asked to attend assessments because his disability is never going to get better.
He’s been trying to learn about his legal rights and has been trying to get in touch with a local organisation that can help him. He is 64 in October and had always worked until he became disabled.
As a result many people in the same or similar position will commit suicide because they can’t cope with the DWP regime. Most of these suicides won’t be recorded as such due to a lack of evidence, therefore their suffering continues unchallenged officially, whilst the government continues to wipe their hands of such matters.

Yes people are dying as a direct result of this governments actions and I hate the government for this.

 

Every day thousands of people will be made homeless, or have the threat of being made homeless. They can’t afford to pay bedroom tax for the homes that they live in. When housed in their accommodation their local councils deemed them suitable and a decent size legally for them.
When the Bedroom Tax was introduced the rules changed, and what was previously thought to have been a home for life or a great many of years suddenly made their accommodation temporary based on their ability to pay this new bill.
They can’t move because they owe rent, most social housing organisations won’t allow a house move until there are no rent arrears, and there is also a distinct lack of smaller accommodation. It’s a loose loose situation for them
Meanwhile, their ‘social housing’ landlords can evict them and then charge the next tenant more rent and let the property on a short term basis.
Security of housing no longer exists. Whilst landlords often benefit from this.

The onset of the Bedroom Tax coincided with the introduction of the Council Tax Supplement, meaning that many people claiming benefits have to also pay an amount towards their annual Council Tax bill.
This financial year the poorest will have to pay more council tax than ever before, many councils have increased the amount to be paid due to the lack of funding from the government for local social care provision.
Whilst they don’t begrudge the idea of having to pay an amount towards this, they can’t afford to pay it and as a result many people are incarnated as a result. Upon being released from prison they still have to pay their council tax bill. Many will be made homeless as a result.
People who are making new Benefit claims are being summoned to court quickly by their local authorities in a matter of weeks. A charge of £50 is  often levied for presenting the summons.

I call these courts Kangaroo courts, believe me I’ve attended them. A local authority hires the courtroom for the day and it’s there that council employees speak to people demanding an unrealistic payment scheme. Many people don’t realise that they can actually ask to see a magistrate who will hear your case fairly. Do this.
The whole council tax system is discriminatory and unfair, and it scares people. The government should, by duty towards the most vulnerable, fund every local authority adequately in the first place.
This and the Bedroom Tax are the new Poll Tax, yet not many objected to it being implemented.

 

This week thousands of people will be hoping for warmer weather to arrive, not because they want to enjoy it but because they will no longer be cold.
Winter is cruel to everyone in fuel poverty and street homeless.
And while the energy companies make massive profits, the poorest and most vulnerable suffer.
Our energy companies have to be regulated and renationalised as a matter of urgency to prevent this endless suffering.

Everyday many people will be forced to become carers for parents, relatives and friends only to be persecuted by the government and the Department Of Work And Pensions for doing so, yet they save the government money and do an excellent job. They should be praised, not punished.

Many women are forced to live with abusive partners because of cuts to refuges and other essential services.
Funding to the police has also been cut time and time again, so responding to incidences relating to domestic is often slow.
One woman dies every 3 days as a result of domestic violence, many more woman are injured, and as a result of the governments cuts this figure will undoubtably rise.

As I write this many people will have been forced to shoplift for food, clothes and toiletries because they don’t have the means to pay. I know this happens, I speak to people all the time who have been forced to do this. I also know people that have been forced to beg just to collect money to buy food whilst they are waiting for their claims to be processed.
A claim for Universal Credit takes at least six weeks to process, leaving individuals and families to go without food and other essentials.
The government argue that they can take a loan out whilst waiting for their claim to process, but for many this isn’t an option.
The DWP loans are repayable at an amount of up to 40% of their total Universal Credit payments each month, leaving them in perpetual poverty.

I wish that I could say that the above examples are unusual, that they don’t exist. Working or not working we are all affected by them, or know someone that is, they’ve become an accepted part of everyday life, but we shouldn’t accept this as the norm. Being cruel and callous isn’t the norm, far from it but yet these policies are.

 

The government is using an age old method of controlling it’s population. Fear. Fear is a tool that is very easy for governments to use should they wish to. Instead of beating a person or group of people or an individual into submission they take away their very necessities to sustain life, deliberatly making it laboriously hard to appeal any decision made by them. They just don’t care. A society living in fear is easier to control and manipulate so they  use to subjugate the wider population and what form that fear takes is irrelevant.
We must continue to challenge the government upon each and every one of these issues, it has never been as important to do so.

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Well done to the creator of this piece of artwork. I spotted it yesterday whilst walking around Ashton Under Lyne. Treat folk with contempt that they don’t deserve and this is the consequence.

Please join us on Thursday for our usual demo 10-12 outside Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre.

Please like, share, read, email my blog. I’m going to try to get a few extra blog pieces out every week and I hope that my readers are agreeable to this.

Please donate if you can, I’ll leave a donate button underneath. I’m a single parent just trying my best to fight against this unjust system and this callous government.

 

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Three strokes, blood clots, fluid on the brain… Declared fit for work, being given the run-around by the DWP. Welcome to DWP hell.

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.

 

 

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Thank you to everyone who came along today, it really is appreciated.

Please share, email, write about and talk about my blog. Send a copy to your local MP, if they are a Conservative MP even better. For everyone that does this already a massive thank you. Thank you so much to everyone that does support my blog. I’m a single parent on an extremely limited income and I juggle a full time campaign along with my writing all by myself.

I’ll leave a donation button for anyone who might like to donate. Thank you!

Donation

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I haven’t got enough money to feed my children, partially sighted man told to fill in online Universal Credit application. Universal Credit hell.

Sorry this weeks blog update is late, I had a cuppa after the demo and I have spent time with a person who has felt totally let down by the system. I helped them out, and hopefully made their life a bit brighter over the Easter period.

 

Huzzah!! This week there was no rain, but as Gordon says, the area outside the Jobcentre has its own micro climate. This means that it’s always cold. We were joined by our friends from the Wigan Pier Project today, they have previously wrote a really good article about our work and it was lovely seeing them again. If you haven’t read this just google Wigan Pier Project Daily Mirror.

 

The food parcels arrived and left almost as soon as they arrived, bar two which were distributed an hour later. It’s awful that we have to give these out every week, and we must continue to oppose the causes for them in the first place. If we don’t the government will continue to feel justified in making their horrendous decisions that force people to have to use food banks etc in the first place. They have to be held accountable at all times, and I intend to continue doing so.

 

The first person that I spoke to this morning was a victim of the Universal Credit waiting time. They have only just got themselves on their feet, are housed in a sparsely furnished flat but now have no money for at least three more weeks. They have already been waiting for three weeks for their claim to be processed, and I hated being the bearer of the bad news that they still have a long wait. It’s a cruel system, designed to put people off claiming their rightful benefits and I can’t see any justifiable reason as to why they make people wait for their payments for what appears to still be an average of 6 to 10 weeks. The only reason that I can see for this is the above, and that the government must get some perverse kick out of seeing the poorest and most vulnerable people suffer in this way.

 

I spoke to a lady who looked stressed and rushed. She told me that she didn’t have enough money to feed her children and as a result she regularly goes without food. She showed me a big container of Philadelphia soft cheese and told me that she had bought it at the cheap food shop next door for a couple of quid. She went on to say that this would be their breakfast and most likely teas, also get with some cheap bread that she had purchased. She can only dream of walking into a supermarket and buying a trolley full of good, nutritious food. Many people take this for granted, but far too many of us don’t. Its a travesty that the government feels fit to treat our children in such a manner. These children are our future, and are future voters. They’ll never forget having to live in poverty like this, I myself have never forgiven Margaret Thatcher and her government either for similar reasons.

 

I spoke to a lady who is struggling paying for her council tax and eating. She says that she often goes without meals because she has to pay this awful bill. I agreed with her that it’s awful, I struggle also, but it isn’t right that she should be in this position. The government should be funding local authorities correctly so that they don’t need to make us pay more, and anyway the whole council tax system is also cruel, it needs reviewing and based upon income not postcode etc. The poorest cannot afford to pay anymore and most councils will be running at a loss because of this.

 

We asked a young lady how the Jobcentre was treating them as we handed her a leaflet. She said ‘Rubbish’ and ‘Not good at all, but what can I do about it?’ This is how most people are feeling and most people walk into the Jobcentre with their heads down wanting it all to stop. All they want is to be treated decently, like they deserve to be treated.

 

We had ran out of food parcels so I went to the cheap shop down the road to buy some food for a lady that I have been helping. meanwhile Gordon and Roy had been talking to a man who had been working four the same company for 24 years. He had been made redundant, and he told them that he was being given the runaround by the DWP, and spoken to as if he was insignificant, worthless etc etc. Anyone reading this who has or have had to use Jobcentres will understand this scenario.

Let’s make this clear, a man works for the same company for 24 years he was a good employee, through no fault of his own he is made redundant and the thanks that he gets is to be treated like dirt. Yep, welcome to Ashton Jobcentre and the DWP in general. They don’t treat their employees any better than this.

 

We spoke to another young lady whilst she was leaving the Jobcentre. We asked her how she was and she relied “They are f******g useless in there”.

 

I was told about another new so called training scheme that is targeted specifically at disabled claimants, its being held at a venue near my home apparantly and is called… Wait for it ‘Discover a new working you’. This is supposedly supposed to be the DWPs latest miracle cure to long standing illnesses and disabilities. Claimants have to attend for two weeks. Take it from me, if they were able to work they would do, no one chooses to live a life in constant pain etc, and this constant targeting towards vulnerable people by the DWP has to stop. It makes me angry and also upsets me that the government is relentless in their quest to treat disabled and ill people in this manner.

 

I spoke to a man who had previously been doing ok, well as ok as you can managing the awful DWP system. He is partially sighted and so is his girlfriend. He had been told by one of our local social housing providers that he had to apply for Universal Credit. This isn’t quite true though, they will shift him over because we are on a full roll out now, bit it isn’t his time  yet. This didn’t stop him from entering into a state of panic though. He tried to use a computer, tried to acces the UC claim form, but he couldn’t do it, he wasn’t able because of his vision problems. But the point here is that he was under the impression that he had to, that he had no choice and was scared of loosing his housing benefit. He had this confirmed, so went home a little bit happier, but this shouldn’t have happened.

 

We then noted that two women wearing Poundland uniforms were entering the building to sign on. They didn’t tell us if they were employed and claiming Universal Credit or a part of the DWPs  workfare scheme. Either way Workfare, in whatever guise that it goes under now is still alive and kicking in Poundland.

 

Please note that the DWP computer system was down on Monday and I believe the day after also. It’s still not functioning correctly so please make paper records of all your job searches etc and take photos with your mobile phones if you can do. Always keep records, its very important to do so.

8E57377F-03D5-4367-8FF2-527E8176FF38 This all happened in two hours folks, can you imagine how busy we would be if we were there all day every day? Life is horrendous for many, but we are there to help and support people. Many thanks to everyone for joining us today I do realise that it’s hard and tough going but our work is so important.

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Also many thanks to everyone who reads, shares and supports my blog. I receive no funding for either. It’s not easy but I will continue, we will continue to do so.

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Failed ESA assessments, I wish that I could destroy that building it’s hell in there. Welcome to Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre..

You know that it’s been over four years since we started the weekly demos and you would have thought that things would have got better, problems would be ironed out they said… It pays to work… The lies were constant, they still are and the problems haven’t been ironed out. They’ve become much worse.

I sometimes wonder how much crap the government will continue to give us, how much more will people have to suffer. The government are certainly relentless in their persecution of the poor and this isn’t going to change soon.

 

Today was another cold morning and more snow has been predicted, its been a very long winter and shows no signs of ending. Anyway I packed my bag as usual and set off to help people.

 

I started really early this morning because I stopped to help a chap whom I can’t discuss on here. His problems are very serious and I did my best to help and have other local organisations. They can only do so much, and the police are really stretched by a lack of funding. They do their best though. I hope that he is OK and his words will haunt me tonight. Life isn’t supposed to be all about suffering but for some it is.

 

I arrived at the Jobcentre and helped to get the food parcels out of the car. Some went straight away for various reasons, all had gone by the end of the demo. We shouldnt have to feed people like this, but the government nor the DWP cares nothing for them. Trying to persuade people that people like us do care can be very hard work at times. People are used to being shoved to one side like yesterday’s newspaper.

A lady rushed into the Jobcentre worried that she would be late for an appointment as did a man. Both had their heads down and looked unhappy. They probably are unhappy, I don’t know anyone who is happy whilst claiming Universal Credit.

 

We spoke to two young girls both in Foster care. They are 17 and both told me that they might have to leave their accommodation soon. The law states that they should be 18, but they often encourage them to leave earlier.

My heart went out to them, one was carrying her worldly possessions in her bag and both are trying to navigate the whole DWP system. It’s awful and these young women deserve so much more than this. They can’t see any opportunities in life, whilst others appear to have so much more more opportunity. The class divide certainly exists doesn’t it.

 

I spoke to a man who had failed his ESA and is now fighting to get it reinstated. He’s doing his best and he’s a lovely chap but he shouldn’t be struggling like this. He also has to walk miles to Ashton Jobcentre because his local Jobcentre has now shut down. He told me that he wished that someone could destroy the Jobcentre because they have been awful to him.

 

I saw several young people constantly walking in and out of the Jobcentre for being a few minutes too early. This is the norm but they should let them sit inside.

 

I spoke to lots of people, paid a visit to the local ADS down the road, signposted many people, gave people hugs, fed them and gave them hope. I’m tired, but if we wernt there then these people would fall between the lines and become lost. I will do everything thug I can to prevent another suicide, admission to hospital etc. Ive seen too many people suffering like this and whilst they have a voice they aren’t heard for the best part of the time.

I have hope that things will change one day but for as long as we have universal credit I fear that we or I will still have to be there to help people.

Love to you all, and thank you for reading. Also massive thanks to Gordon and Roy for braving the cold weather and for putting up with me.

Thank you so much to everyone who reads and supports my blog it means the world to me and I will catch up with my emails ASAP, I’ve been very busy with trying to keep the campaign going and being a single mum. I won’t lie it’s hard but its worth the difficulty. If we make a difference to one person’s life then thats a job well done in my eyes and I shall continue to hold this government to account for their cruelty. img_1701-1

 

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Full Universal Credit roll out, man sat outside Jobcentre for over 2 hours in awful weather, rude staff member and rude passer by. Will it ever end?

I’m so sorry that the blog is once again late this week, Ive been extremley busy and fell behind due to being unwell late last week and not feeling well again until Tuesday this week. I shouldn’t complain because there are people far more worse off than myself as I know.

 

I was so glad that we didn’t have a repeat of the awful stormy, snowy weather last week. It was deadly for some and so far there could be an estimated 2,000 people that have died as a result of this very long cold spell this winter. Fuel prices have gone up, benefits cut or taken away, the benefit cap taking away money that would have been previously used for heating homes also taken away, the list is so long and I could go on for ever.

 

Last week, myself and others campaigned on Twitter for the DWP to issue an official statement for claimants to state that they didn’t have to attend their appointments at the Jobcentre because of the weather. They issued a statement at 6.30pm, which was far too late for many. Indeed I spoke to a man today that walked miles in the storm, cold and snow in thin clothing to attend his appointment. He hadn’t been informed that he didn’t have to attend, so in fear of being sanctioned he waited outside in the cold for over two hours. For gods sake he could have become ill or die from hypothermia. Where is the humanity? I know that some DWP staff members care, but some don’t and there lieth the problem. They need to improve their notification service and the DWP also needs to start responding to requests. Getting information from them is like getting water from a stone.

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Today was very cold again and we had been threatened with snow, I was not impressed with the thought of more snow but thankfully we were spared, instead we got sleet and rain. A total nightmare for our local homeless comunity.

 

As Gordon and myself were taking the food parcels out from the boot of his car I was approached by a young lad. He was visibly upset. He was carrying his worldly belongings in a large Ikea bag and a carrier bag. He started crying and told me that he had just become street homeless. My heart went out to him, he was very young, vulnerable and needed help urgently. I signposted him to the local housing office, he came back and then went to our local homeless organisation.

He had also gone inside the Jobcentre to ask for help, but instead they gave him the usual piece of paper with a number on it and told him to phone a number despite him telling them that he had no phone.

He was so lovely, at the start of his adult life and to him it must have felt like the end of the road. There is no real reliable safety net for young people like this man, the government relies on every young person to have a family that will support them and access to technology. This isn’t a reality though is is, many people have no family support etc and there is no safety net anymore. I really hope that he is ok tonight I’m very worried about him.

 

 

Today we had a visit from Sky News who are making a programme about DWP related issues, so things were even busier than usual. They appeared shocked at how busy we were today and the extremes of problems that we help people with. I’ve learnt to multi task very well, so have members of the team.

We had six food parcels and some lovely hot food cooked and brought to us by a friend off Facebook named Tina. This food was very welcome because many people haven’t ate nice hot food for a long time.

 

Ashton Under Lyne now has a full roll out of Universal Credit, so things will no doubt become much worse. I’ll keep you posted about this. I did try and raise awareness about this, but my voice isn’t loud at times but I try.

 

Here is another example of the stupidity of the DWP system and how they like to keep a claimant on their toes and under their control.

We spoke to an older chap who told us that he had only just started to claim benefits. His claim had gone through after a very long wait and this is an example of exactly what he has had to do this week.

He attended his signing on appointment on Monday, his FIRST one.

He was sent to a ‘careers advice’ course at the Jobcentre on Tuesday… These courses are generally pretty rubbish and if they had listened to him in the first place they would have known that he already had a profession, but just needs a job.

Thursday (today) he had to attend an appointment just to tell them what happened. For goodness sake, that could have been dealt with at his next signing on appointment. Give the chap time to breathe and to actually look for work.

He recieved a letter this morning (Thursday) telling him to attend an appointment, but the letter had two different appointment times on it… He had difficulty getting a correct answer as to when he should attend this appointment.

He said that getting an answer for this was hard, I can believe that. The system is broken, it just doesnt work, departments do not communicate with each other and nor are they making any effort to do so. As a result people are suffering, but hey, the government does not care one jot and nor should we expect them to.

 

I spoke to a man very briefly who told me that he receives his payments on a special payment card. Thats one to watch out for folks. He hadn’t recieved his usual payment and didn’t have a clue why. They gave him a telephone number that he couldn’t use due to having no phone. I signposted him to another local organisation because he needed extra help for some other issues also. Lovely men, just needing a helping hand.

 

A young woman said hello, then walked into the Jobcentre. Ten Minutes later she walked out and I asked her if she needed any help. She told me that she had recieved a letter to attend the Jobcentre today and she arrived at the time stated. She informed the front desk, and a member of staff  said to her very rudely “what makes you think that YOU have an appointment today” She answered “Because I have a letter” the member of staff then told her that she must return home to get the letter or they wouldn’t aknowledge that she had an appointment. She did just this, but was now late.

More DWP stupidity and a member of staff being pedantic and rude. This isn’t nice, and is bad practice. But thats the norm these days except for the odd nice member of staff.

 

 

We spoke to a lovely man and his wife. He had been in the army and was injured so as a result had to leave the army. His wife became his carer and this should have been allowed to continue, however it wasn’t. The DWP told her wrongly that she couldn’t be his carer anymore and that she had to claim Jobseekers Allowance. She was subsequently sanctioned three times as a result. Luckily they spent their time reading about their legal rights etc regarding their benefits and what they are entitled to. She is now her husbands carer again, but the stress of going through all that will never leave them. How dare the DWP do this to them,always arm yourself with the facts if faced with a situation like this. It’s so important to.

 

 

Our regaular heckler turned up again today, shouting at us and calling us all scroungers and scumbags whilst waving her umbrella at us all. She targeted John as usual. She was awful, and there is no need for this kind of behaviour. If she doesn’t like us then just walk past, but then again shes told us in the past that she hates all unemployed people, regardless of illness and disability. We shouldn’t have to put up with this. I informed her that I was phoning the police and she walked away rather quickly.

 

 

For the person that informed me that we have only been doing this for 3 1/2 months and ONLY hand out food parcels, I suggest that you read my blog correctly. In fact I found a video of us doing this from 2013. We work hard, I work very hard documenting all this and trying to raise awareness as well as writing about it. Please give us some more credit.

 

A massive thank you to everyone that arrived to help out today, it was lovely to see Roy, Keith and Ashley today as well as Gordon, John and Christine.

 

We handed out food parcels, warm food, some warm clothes donated by Ria, help, advice, survival guides, solidarity and have comforted people when they were feeling at their lowest. We need to stop and scrap this awful system because it’s failing EVERYONE.

 

 

Please read, share, email and talk about my blog. For all the readers and supporters of my blog and the campaign you literally keep me going, its extremely hard work.

This week I’ve attended meetings, had an article published in The Guardian (unpaid), spoke to people on the phone, had an article published in The Morning Star and have been interviewed by Sky News. This is all to raise awareness and I don’t get paid. We need to stop this barbaric system and soon.

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