Unprecedented need for food parcels desperate people. An awful day. Yesterday’s demonstration.

It was a cold, wet morning and the weather reflected the mood of the Jobcentre very well yesterday. As soon as I arrived the demand for my time, food parcels and general chat started. It’s not easy at all trying to juggle everything.

I had a nice surprise though. A comrade from a different area had had a collection and had put together approximately five food parcels. This was brilliant. They contained hats, gloves, womens products, loo rolls and food. We also collected our food parcels from Pauline who helps us out every week. In total we had approx ten and you’d think that would be enough but it wasn’t.

The demand for them was massive, from people who really needed them. Sanctioned claimants, homeless claimants whom are sofa surfing amongst family members, working people on Universal Credit and disabled people who have failed their ESA medical. I struggled to keep up and it was stressful. Stressful because this demand should not be happening, they should not be hungry, suffering like this should not exist.

People going in and out of the Jobcentre were inadequalty dressed for the weather and were cold, lonely and scared. Many were angry and quite rightly so.

We saw a few people of mixed ages and sexes storm out of the building obviously very angry. One man in particular I was worried about. His anger was very visible and I had no option but to chase after him to see if I could chat to him and see if I could help. Risky, yes but also essential. I didn’t want him to hurt himself or anyone else. I also wanted him to know that we care.

He was shouting at first and I listened. Then I said to him that I want to know what had happened, its important that we access help for him if we can, or at least signpost him if that is what he wants.

He told me that he had worked for over 30 years in the same job, but had been made redundant and now had no choice but to sign on. The Jobcentre had given him the impossible task of producing a driving licence or a passport to enable him to open a claim. The trouble is he has neither. He did however have lots of identification and that’s why he was angry. He said he just wanted help, he’d never done this before and he felt lost. He cannot produce a passport or driving licence, neither can he afford to buy them. His advisor refused to budge even though they can work around this.

I advised him, offered him a foodparcel which he refused, not because he didnt want to but because like he said he’s a proud man. I told him where he could get food and that we would be there again next week with food if he wanted one. By this time he had calmed down, he took the leaflets that I offered him and thanked me.

I could go on forever here, and I just wanted to make things better for everyone yesterday, but I can’t. I really felt like crying, because that man’s story is just the tip of the iceberg. It was awful, and this should not be happening.

For anyone demanding that I, and others do more we really can’t. I can try, we can try but we need support. It’s winter, coming up to christmas and the DWP always become harsher in dishing out sanctions. So I aim to be ready for that, like I have on previous years.

I just can’t get yesterday out of my head, I haven’t seen so many angry, hungry desperate people at once for a while. We were bombarded. This government has alot to answer for and I intend to hold them responsible for every single death, for every single person ill as a result of their actions, for every person made homeless, every person who is cold and hungry, for every parent having to go without food to enable them to feed their children. For every victim of this governments inhumane regime.

For those thinking that I live the life of riley and know nothing about suffering you are very wrong. I’m living that life, dodging bailiffs, missing meals, living very frugally. I know exactly what each and every person is going through in some way.

I know this is a rant, yes I am angry but I will direct my anger appropriately in peace. It’s the only way to do things.

Anyone wanting to contact me can do so via here, or my facebook, twitter or outside the Jobcentre. I will do my best to reply to any requests as quickly as possible.

As Ghandi once said “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

He also said “Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will” and I have plenty of that.

Be kind to each other.

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8 thoughts on “Unprecedented need for food parcels desperate people. An awful day. Yesterday’s demonstration.

  1. I am in my70’s and follow your blog and remember when in the 80’s if that man you spoke to today had been made redundant he would have received help .Having first looked at the jobs advertised on cards on the boards he could see an advisor who in my experience would then ring on his behalf and arrange a face to face interview for him.In those days I was a manager of a small company and that’s how it worked with compassion .I am old enough to remember the earlier name of Labour Exchange perhaps it is time to rename the Job Centre,but what.?

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      1. Hello Charlotte I have been following your posts for many months now and am so often moved by the stories of the people you meet.I can only hope your efforts bear fruit and help to make the changes that are so desperately needed.Well done so far as the earlier said you truly are an angel.

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  2. Austerity, Welfare Reforms and this government should be forced to be accountable for the utter destruction they cause to peoples lives. Families are torn apart and destroyed and no one is held accountable.
    Believe me I know. I watched my own life go down the pan after a period of sickness, when I was deemed fit for work & my ESA was stopped. forcing me to then claim JSA,
    I presented myself (2012) to the jobcentre, single Parent unable to walk properly after a spinal injury.

    The adviser that day watched me limp across to her desk and started to do my claim on the computer in front of her.
    After a few minutes, she looked at me and said, your CLEARLY not fit for work, and proceeded to turn off her computer.
    It wouldnt allow her, being a little way into my claim and she had to pull the plug from the wall.
    I cannot allow you to claim JSA, It would be FRAUD she advised me.
    Go find someone to help you….
    Where Can I go I asked her ? she replied “I am sorry I dont know, Solicitor maybe”?
    No money for food, electric and what should have been a 20 minute or so walk home, then taking me 2.5 hours due to my incapacity.
    It snowed that day, I wont forget it. I had holes in my shoes, as did my 14 year old daughter. neither of us owned a coat,
    Nightmare & desperation.
    It took 27 months to get my case heard in a court. I sat in front of a Judge and a DWP Medical Assessor.
    Split decision was the outcome……….
    The judge ruled in my favour.
    He also put me on a back to work programme for assistance as I was getting better all the time.
    Poverty & near destitution forced me to relocate over 150 miles to elderly family members.
    The work programme would not TRANSFER ME, They initially expected me to travel back 150 miles fortnightly to sign.
    TWO years I was “stuck” with a work adviser phoning me 4 times during that period. Four times of “Hi how you doing “? he asked.
    My “new” job centre unable to offer any practical help by way of courses, vacancies, grants anything at all, whilst stuck in this programme.
    I completed the time. Then again I was told I needed a further ESA Medical at my new location. I just could not force myself to go thru it again.
    I made the decision to claim JSA. Within weeks, i was put on a mandatory placement for 6 months.
    The move back then was from England to Wales. Things here are different. I could not keep up the rent on the property I obtained when i first came. 60.00 pound being the maximum HB for a single person, my daughter now having gone back to family from where we came, unable to mentally cope with all, and only 16.
    The smallest, cheapest, nastiest part of town was the only one bedroom accommodation available.
    I still have to surrender one week out of four weeks benefit as a rent top up.
    I now am on ESA again awaiting a medical.
    I am blessed to be propped up with food & internet by friends and family.
    My own ancient laptop having died, I was gifted the one I have now from what was then a FB friend from another country, I had never met.
    The work you do is VITAL to so many, I thank you sincerely.
    I now have spent the past two years, Marching all over the country for our NHS and against austerity but in my 50s life is difficult. My spinal injury now has progressed to other ailments.
    I worked in a food bank as a volunteer for over a year and witnessed so much desperation from many.
    I fight back at every opportunity,and will continue so as long as is possible.

    Know please, people like you, are what enables people like me to have hope and continue to fight.
    I wish you and yours a very happy Christmas and send a HUGE thank you from all that you continue selflessly to support
    X

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