I arrived at Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre a few minutes early. Before arriving I had noticed one of our regular attendees hovering around the local shops waiting for me to arrive. Another was already waiting for me for a food parcel. These food parcels are invaluable and are going at record speed these days. I hate the idea that anyone has to depend on a food parcel, because everyone should have access to food, water, heating and electricity and waiting for me to arrive is a sad indictment of how society treats its most vulnerable.
Not long after I arrived my comrade Gordon arrived with the food parcels in his car. I don’t drive and couldn’t afford to if i wanted to anyway. So this is a massive relief for me. As soon as they arrived two were handed out, and I had a nice chat with the man that had been hanging around the shops waiting for me. I told him where I would be if hes’s early next week, and if finances allow I will buy him a nice hot cuppa for £1. It’s the least that I can do.
It wasn’t as cold as last week, but it was still cold. One thing that you notice straight away are the unsuitable clothes that people are forced to wear in the cold weather. Cotton shoes, cotton trousers, thin coats and the absence of hats, gloves and scarfs. We do the best that we can do in the circumstances and we try not to let anyone walk away as cold as they arrived. This isn’t always possible though for various reasons but we do our best.
There were many various cases this week. A mother of 7 who’s relationship had broken down has now been forced to enter the world of attending the Jobcentre. She has a mortgage to pay, and was obviously better off financially before her relationship breakdown. Her bank is refusing to transfer her mortgage to an interest only mortgage so she doesn’t get much help with it. Shes really struggling and my heart went out to her. Roy, a much valued member of the team gave her much needed advice on this. Mortgages aren’t my expertise, but what Roy doesn’t know isn’t worth knowing. He’s amazing!
We also tried to help a lady who had failed her ESA medical. Shes disabled with various conditions, and the feeling that I got was that she had given up fighting. There was no spirit left in her and her advisor is giving her the run around. We gave her a listening ear and some much needed advice. I’m praying that she takes our advice because she is vulnerable and I do worry about people.
We spoke to many people, all with problems that shouldn’t have to exist. This government in my eyes are punoinshing people mearly for existing and it makes me angry.
But one thing that does give me hope is the solidarity that the team gives to me and to the claimants. We are all different. I’m a skint single parent struggling to get by, and this is a bad week. But I stand amongst retired comrades, unemployed comrades and people that don’t divulge their personal information but they just want to stand with us in solidarity. And we like that, respecting a persons right for confidentiality is very important to us. We don’t judge but simply just be.
I will end today’s blog with the words from a man that had previously had to undergo the regime at the Jobcenter but has now luckily escaped. He said ” I want to come and help, because I got help whilst that lot (the DWP) were giving me hell. I want to give back the kindness that others showed me. And this folks, is what it’s all about.
Please donate! This has become a full time job for myself thanks to the governments cruel policies. Every penny really does count. If you can’t donate please share. The world needs to know about the atrocities that this cruel heartless government have implemented. Thank you!