Luckily today the weather was on our side. No rain and only a welcome breeze, it does help to make things a bit easier.
I arrived promptly as usual and as soon as I arrived I was met by people waiting for food parcels. I did tweet this and someone stated ‘are you surprised?’, my response was actually no, we’ve been doing this for a long time now and have seen some terrible things. At any rate, we usually have a queue for the food parcels and they were all gone within 15 minutes. that’s six food parcels gone within 15 minutes. Imagine if this was replicated all day, can you imagine how many we would hand out?
Today was busy though, people rushing in and out, many not having the time to stop and talk. Some people are scared of talking though and that’s understandable. It’s not unusual for a Jobcentre advisor to warn people not to talk to us. It’s a culture of fear and they like to run a tight ship which consists of fear and compliance.
I spoke to a lady who is struggling with the benefit cap. In order to keep her house she has to pay the top up rent from her weekly allowance. This has given her many sleepless nights because she can’t buy food and pay the rent at the same time. I assured her that she can have as many food parcels as she needs, and the relief on her face was all too apparent. She told me that she hadn’t slept properly for ages but tonight she will sleep.
I spoke to a chap who is also struggling both with his money and his accommodation. His ceiling was leaking last night and it needed fixing by his landlord which he is trying to do. He’s also been sanctioned so is relying on our food parcels. His face lit up when he described how nice the food was that we gave him last week.
He’s a lovely chap who’s going through a bad patch at the moment. This can happen to anyone and people should keep this in mind.
I spoke to a lady who is four weeks away from finally receiving her pension. She’s been a regular for a while now and she’s finding having to comply with the Jobcentres rules really stressful.
She told me that in two weeks her advisor has told her that she has to renew her claimant commitment… that in itself is dubious to me. Then two weeks after this she will be receiving her pension. In the meantime her advisor has told her that she has to look for work or receive a sanction.
Readers, this is ridiculous. Not only is she going to be receiving her pension in four weeks, realistically she isn’t going to find an employer who will employ her.
Call me old fashioned, but I respect my elders, she has worked all her life and she should be allowed to enjoy this next phase in her life. They show no respect to anyone do they. And no I’m not surprised, we see this a lot.
I asked her what she will be doing when she retires, and she said that she won’t be going near any computer screens and she’s going to rest. Good on her she deserves it.
We spoke to a gentleman who had been called to a PIP medical but he had no idea of how to get there and he struggles to read and write. A colleague (Roy) phoned ATOS up and rearranged the appointment for him to a centre nearer to home. Unfortunately I was busy helping someone else. It’s also arranged that a colleague meets him and accompanies him. Unfortunately it’s the school holiday’s and I can’t go, but he’s being taken care of and that’s the main thing. This is teamwork at it’s best.
He clearly needed help and help was given.
I must stress that all of the team are fantastic, even people that just stop and say hello whilst on their way to do their shopping etc. The solidarity is amazing and I do appreciate it.
A lovely gentleman and his son dropped off a small food parcel and it was taken, so thank you very much also. It was lovely seeing you again.
Remember folks, all this happened within two hours on a Thursday morning. The amount of people struggling everyday without adequate or any support is huge. There are no official figures for this. However the system does make people very ill, so if you see or hear of anyone struggling, say hello and be a friend. That’s all that most people in this situation want.
This has become a full time job for myself, it never ends. Please can you share my blog, talk about it, tweet it, tell your local politician etc. Also there is a donation button below. Every penny helps! Many thanks to everyone that already do!
Thank you and you are all amazing people!
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