Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre move. 

Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre will be merging with Stalybridge Jobcentre, and moving into the brand new town hall that is being built in Ashton Under Lyne. 

Alongside the much scaled down library, it will apparently be the one stop centre for everything. Some will say that this is a good thing, but I happened to like the old library building. It has great historic value and the community makes good use of it. However, like many library’s up and down the country it’s being scaled down and becoming more digital. Great for those that have the technology, not so great for those that don’t. However, they say that they are going to be saving money, and its a done deal. So we will just have to see how it goes. I hope that the old library isn’t neglected, and left to go to ruin though. 

Anyway, I digress. Stalybridge Jobcentre and Ashton Jobcentre will be merging and both will be using this brand new building. This will be to the detriment of those that live in Stalybridge and surrounding areas, because Ashton Under Lyne is quite far away depending on what area of Stalybridge that they live in. Bus fares are also expensive. MPs in this area, really need to question this. I hope that they do. 

We, however will be moving with the Jobcentre. There is no date yet. There is a public street outside the entrance to where the Jobcentre access will be, so therefore the law will still permit us to continue our weekly peaceful protests where we hand out support, advice, help and food parcels. 

We might loose our shelter though, and the street is nicknamed “The windy tunnel”, so I suppose we will have to wrap up even more etc. 


Once again, many thanks for your support. It really does mean a lot. 

This campaign has sadly become a full time job for myself, so if you can, please donate or share! Thank you!
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My latest article in yesterday’s Morning Star. 

This is important, and although it is complicated it’s very important that you read it. Not because I’m blowing my own trumpet so to speak, but because the changes that are being implemented in April are going to have a massive impact on thousands of people. 

Forewarned is forearmed as they say. 

Anyway, here it is, please read, digest and share. I will be writing more articles concerning the other categories of people that this will affect. It’s just far too complicated to put in one article. 


https://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-1b65-Universal-credit-will-ruin-countless-lives#.WKmRi3GnxpU

I don’t get paid for my contributions to The Morning Star, but it is important to continue to wrote for them. It is widely read not only by people in left wing political parties but by people in government etc. It is the only totally Murdoch free national newspaper so please support us. It is available in supermarkets and newsagents, if you can’t see it you can order it from them. There is also two electronic versions available on the Internet. Thank you! 

Today’s demo. Verbal abuse and kindness. 

Today’s demo was very eventful. Sometimes they are, we never know just what to expect. But I try to be prepared. 

Thankfully it wasn’t as cold as previous weeks, so the teams mood was a bit more cheery. As soon as I arrived, the queue for the food parcels started to form. It didn’t go round the block, but it was noticeable so I dealt with it quickly. 

These days we can’t keep up with demand. And I feel that we could stand outside the Jobcentre all day and continually hand them out. Because we don’t demand a voucher or limit them they are popular. As long as someone has the need we provide. But we also make sure to give help, advice and leaflets to everyone receiving one.

 Unfortunately they had all gone by 11am, and a couple turned up asking for one. I referred them elsewhere and also gave them a Farmfoods voucher for £5. 

We had been lucky enough to have been donated some to hand out, so I ensured that they were given to people that were in need. They can then have the opportunity to buy some milk, cheese and anything else that’s fresh and they haven’t had the chance to buy lately. Food parcels don’t normal.y contain these, but a nice cuppa makes the world of difference doesn’t it. 

Whilst we were chatting to various people that were telling us about their experiences of the Jobcentre, a man strolled over. Can of lager in his hand stating very loudly that everything was the Polish communities fault. Just how exactly he came to this decision is beyond me. 

He did everything to try and incite an argument. Luckily we are all a bit long in the tooth now to rise to it. We offered him help, which he refused. He continued to stand there stating very loudly just what his opinions were. The worst thing that we could have done was to argue with him. I’m sure that when he looks back on this he will regret it. You see, we are helping people and you shouldnt really blame the people whom are trying to help the victims of this cruel regime. We are as against it as he obviously was. A more apt place for him to visit would be Downing Street. 

Anyway, he ignored my comrades remark when he stated that although he hated the Polish community so much, he was enjoying a can of their lager. The irony was impressive. I wish him well, and I hope that he get the help that he needs. 

We gave advice about ESA applications and appeals, heard too many stories of how the benefit cap is affecting single parents in rented accommodation with children. Having to find the extra money to lay the rent is impossible. It’s a catch 22 situation. If you don’t pay the top up you will get evicted. If you get evicted the local authority will say that you’ve made yourself intentionally homeless, of course not taking into account that the rent was simply unaffordable due to no fault of your own. Many children and parents are on the verge of becoming homeless, most go hungry as a result. 

It also has a knock on effect with the persons extended family. The lady concerned was having to continually as for financial help off her grandmother, who is receiving a stare pension. She is going without to enable her granddaughter to feed her children. She clearly loves her granddaughter, but the strain was obvious. She’s doing everything that she can but she still feels like she’s failing. 

Where is the justice in this? Everyone deserves a home, a safe place to live free from harm, cold and hunger. 

The truth is that those that do have homes, the people that we speak to are suffering just as much as someone who is homeless. They might have shelter which is fantastic, but they can’t afford to heat it, provide electricity and to make it a proper home. 

I’m sure that thousands go to bed early like me to keep warm. Instead of the heart of the home being either a kitchen or lounge, it is the bedroom where you have to go to keep warm. This is reality folks and it’s only going to get worse this year. Massive changes are coming which I will worth about in the next blog. 

We handed out most of the 10 Farmfood vouchers out, saving a few for next week for some folk that we see every week. They are very vulnerable and they need extra care. 

We spoke to for too many people that had either been sanctioned or have been sanctioned. This has been an issue for three years now. Unemployment levels haven’t dropped, more people are sanctioned and forced onto Workfare programmes. The figures are fudged and they know it. 

We didn’t have a cuppa this week, we were too busy and we’re concerned with helping people. I alone, must have handed out around 50 leaflets. My comrades also handed out a fair few. 

I can’t express how proud I am of the people who attend the demos, week in, week out. It’s extremely hard work, and it does take its toll. We just get on with it, no arguing, we know what has to be done and we help each other. 

There is so much more that I could talk about, but I am exhausted, and I fear that you will tire from reading my words. I set off on the school run at 8.20 this morning and eventually returned home at around 5.45. Public transport had let me down badly again. First Buses really need to get their act together. 

Yep I’m tired and hungry, but at least I have a home and I’m extremely grateful for that.my grandmother used to alway say that we should count our blessings and yes we should.

I dropped my phone on the way home from the school run. My fault, juggling too many things at once and I wasn’t paying attention. I can’t get a contract, it wasn’t insured and I can’t afford to replace. It was my mini office. So please don’t worry if I don’t get back to you straight away. I’m using my daughters tablet and it’s not as easy to carry around. I will get back to you though at the earliest opportunity. I’m not asking for sympathy, it’s just a fact and it’s slowing me down. 

Many thanks to everyone that supports us, shares my posts and my blog. It really does mean alot. Many thanksto Pauline and We Shall Overcome for the food parcels, to Street Treats for the gloves, and for anonymous donater for the Farmlands voucher. 

My Internet might go off, but will be sorted as soon as able, so once again don’t worry if I don’t get back to you straight away I will do. I’m not stating this for pity, far from it, I’m just informing readers. 

Remember folks, that today could have been ruined by one person who wasn’t feeling verbally with themselves. We didn’t take it personally, they were in need. We stood together in unity and we all agreed that we wished him well and that we hopes that he gets the help that he needs. Addiction can take a person into a very dark place, and make them become someone that they really aren’t normally. I won’t tolerate racism and he was told this, but he failed to listen. 

 Whilst I don’t condone his remarks at all, there is no excuse for them, it’s a sad indictment of how the government regards people and it is  big reflection of how the current media bias towards the extreme right wing has influenced people. And unless it’s challenged it will only get worse. But that’s another blog piece. 

Beware Marstons bailiffs I have even more ammo to use now. Many thanks to Roy. 

Please donate, every penny counts and it does get put to good use. Once again please can I express my thanks to everyone that has done, in whatever way that you can. Sharing this blog is an amazing thing to do because the government does hate it, and so do  most local Tories. Thank you! 

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Busy demo yet again. Exhausted and deflated, a feeling shared by too many. 

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! 

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Today’s freezing cold demo. And some words from my 10 year old.

Today was our regular demo day. I say demo but we do so much more such as hand information leaflets out, offer solidarity and advice. We’ve become a lifeline to many who are desperately needing all of the above. 

Regular readers will know that we hand out food parcels each week. This week we had about 5 to start with. There was already a queue forming for them. So they went within 30 mins. Later on a comrade arrived with 3 more food parcels and they went in no time at all. It’s awful. Queuing in the street for a food parcel. This government does not care one bit, and it’s pointless trying to reach to their so called compassionate side because they don’t have one. Instead Teresa May spouts on about a “shared society”. I’d have to agree that one thing that we are sharing amongst many is poverty, and it’s in abundance. The wealth certainly doesn’t trickle down and it won’t start to until we have a change of government. They certainly look after their own. 

To say it was cold today was an understatement. Despite my layers I was still shivering. My heart went out to the people that we saw with thin coats on, cotton shoes and no hats, scarfs and gloves. We have been donated some lovely hats, gloves , scarfs and socks so we handed these out. But it still felt like it wasn’t enough. Today was a day when nothing that I was doing would have any effect. Daft I know, but I can’t keep the cold off someone’s back or the worry from their mind, although we really do our best to help. 

A lovely man started to talk to me, he was sanctioned yet again. This happens a lot because once the DWP have sanctioned you the odds on them doing it again are very high. They must see these people as an easy way to reach their targets. This is why we advise everyone to appeal a sanction and to appeal an ESA medical decision. The DWP hate this because most that appeal win. Remember they want as many unemployed people off the unemployment figures by ANY means possible. And they are ruthless at doing this. 

Spoke to a lovely young lady who had her gorgeous young baby with her. Shes on Income Support and her advisor had told her that she had to go on the work programme. I advised her and she went in regarding the law and having a child under the age of 5. She reported back that the advisor had a bit of a strop and muttered something along the lines of “Well I’ll have to take you off the list then”. This is how easy it is for them to break the rules. Once we empower people, they empower themselves even more and become a force to be reckoned with. They then help others. This is one of the reasons why we do this. Its amazing to see someone turn their situation round. 

Some weeks it does hit hard, this was one of them and I’m not ashamed to say that I feel a bit dispondent. But this will give me the motive to carry on campaigning. 

I have a 10 year old daughter. Shes very astute and compassionate. Today she said “Why can’t the government treat people with respect? Everyone deserves respect. No one should ever go hungry like this and it’s wrong.” She went on to say “I want to take the government to court for everyone that has died or has gone hungry, the need punishing because its cruel. When I grow up I’m going to try and do this. I’m proud of you mum, and I’m proud of everyone else that is campaigning.” 

Shes 10 years old. She can see the unnecessary cruelty, many could learn from her despite her young age. I’m very proud of her. Maybe one day she will be able to make a difference and I will do everything within my power to enable this. 

Many thanks to everyone that attended today. I do appreciate it, and I do know that its freezing cold and its very hard work. A massive thank you from myself because you are ALL amazing!
Please donate if you can. If you can’t please share. Its very hard campaigning and every share, kind word etc helps so much!  Thank you.
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Thursday 29th December demo. 

  • It always feels strange having to stand outside the Jobcentre during the period between Christmas and new year. People assume that the unemployed and those unlucky enough to be on Universal Credit get a break from their monotonous job searches at Christmas time. The truth is that they don’t, it’s buisness as usual although it was a bit quieter today. 

I was slow in getting ready this morning. I’ve been battling with a stubborn infection that isn’t going, and I didn’t sleep much last night. But it didn’t put me off. My daughter often jokes that she would have to drag me out in a wheelchair. You see, its important that we give the people that need help all the help that they need. 

As myself and my daughter reached the town centre, we bumped into a homeless man that I haven’t seen before. Maybe he’s travelled from another town, perhaps Manchester. My daughter reached under her dolls pram and gave the man a selection box that she had unbeknown to myself, placed underneath. She told him that he deserves more than that,  but its all she had. I didn’t prompt this, she’s a very clever young lady and has a good awareness of social issues. Understandably I’m very proud of her. 

We then walked to the Jobcentre. 

It was freezing. The frost lay thickly on the ground, and I thought that I may have been on my own. I was wrong though. We had a fairly good turnout. 

We handed out food parcels, help and advice. Most people going into the Jobcentre were dressed in unsuitable clothes and were visibly stressed. I think it’s hard to understand this unless you have either experienced it or know others going through the system. Sometimes, as many of you will know, there’s not alot that I can physically do except give support and solidarity. It can and does make the world of difference.

Our regular recipients of food parcels arrived, it’s always good to see them. I know then that they are still battling on and haven’t given up.

We handed one of our regular attendees a food parcel, an extra one with other essentials that she needs, and we are sorting her out with a mobile phone with credit on so she can contact us if and when needed. This is important because she is going through the appeal process and comrades are helping her with this. She isn’t on her own, and we’ve ween her grow into a more confident person even though her future is uncertain. 

After the demo we went for a cheap cuppa in a local cafe. We all needed to warm up. 

I need to say a massive thank you to the team and to Pauline. I know it’s winter and the Christmas period, but the government cares little for this event though they will be enjoying their holidays. Job seekers don’t have the pleasure of any break at all. Hunger doesn’t have a holiday, neither does poverty. And homelessness us increasing on such a scale that it’s hard to keep up. 

My thoughts are going to the homeless man whom we met earlier, and the thousands like him. It’s an awful world out there for them. 


Please donate if you can, it helps so much. If you can’t share as much as possible. Thank you.
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Thursdays demonstration. Claimant turned away from the Jobcentre because he was two minutes early.

Thursday was our regular demo day and it was freezing. Despite the weather we had a good turn out and we handed six food parcels out as well as packs of toiletries that had been kindly donated. These are essential because when you have no money they aren’t a priority, food and keeping warm is. So these are always warmly welcome.

We spoke to many people and offered solidarity, advice and signposted everyone that needed to be signposted.

Like I have mentioned before, Christmas is not a joyful time for many so seeing a friendly face really makes a big difference.

We spoke to a man, whom we had noticed had been walking in and out of the building. A member of the team asked him what was wrong? Why all the visits? He stated that they had turned him away because he was two minutes early. Yes two minutes.

Come on Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre, this is just petty. I feel this was done to humiliate the poor man, to remind him of where his place where they are regarded truly is.

Some people reading this might think that this is nothing, not a big deal, but it is a big deal. It humiliates the person concerned and strips a person of any self worth that they might have had left. Indeed, I see it as a kind of mental abuse, although some might think I am extreme saying this but I don’t think so. As a survivor of domestic violence it reminds me of something my ex partner used to do to me. Things like this still need to be tackled, because they are part of the much bigger issue and they always lead to more unfair treatment by the DWP.

It was a very peaceful demo as usual, we exchanged cards, hugs, food, compassion and solidarity. This is the true meaning of Christmas.

We will be back next Thursday because the Jobcentre will be open and people will still need help.

I want to thank everyone who has supported us this year, and the past years. You all mean so much. We’ve seen this grow into a much bigger movement which is amazing.

I’m not sure how I would have managed without the support of my readers, comrades and friends who are always there when I need them. I have had a few moments this year when I didnt know how I would manage, or when I have been so upset because of a persons treatment by the DWP.

I also apologise if I don’t respond in time. I’m very busy and that does reflect in my response to emails etc.

So a massive thank you from myself and the team who are amazing. I keep saying this, but they are.

I hope that those who are celebrating Christmas have a lovely time, and for those who aren’t, just try and take it a day at a time and cope in whatever way you feel that you can do. Last year I avoided everything Christmas and it helped lots.

Keep safe and thank you

Charlotte.

 

 

Please donate if you can, if not please share. It’s so important that we continue to raise awareness, give support and continue.

Thank you!
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