Food parcels gone in less than five minutes. Once again frustration and anger.

Today was yet another stressful demo. They usually are, but some weeks are worse than others because people are getting extremely fed up with being treated like they are sub human.

I arrived at Ashton Jobcentre at 9.55. I was five minutes early, and in those five minutes, I could gauge what the mood would probably be like.  The weather was awful, although not the worst that it has been and I felt cold.

Gordon arrived with the food parcels and the queue of people waiting around the Jobcentre for them started to approach us. I asked how they were, and how their situations were. One man told me that he was going to get some help later and he was taking a friend with him.

A lady that collects a food parcel every week looked a shadow of herself. She looked unwell and cold. I asked her if she was ok, and she told me that she thinks that she might have a chest infection. Poor woman, having to rely on food parcels and being unwell. The government are trying to suck the very life out of people. I gave her a hug and some supporting words. There’s not a lot more that I could do and that in itself is heartbreaking. I want to change things but I physically can’t.

I spoke to a young man fed up with the system. I said hello and asked him how he was. He’s a new face and I hadn’t seen him before. He said that ‘It was shit, they are shit and he is shit.’ He said with disgust that all they (the Jobcentre advisors) do is treat people like rubbish.’ All he wants is to be treated with respect and kindness. Such a basic requirement that is lacking.

I spoke to a WASPI lady who has to sign on every week. She’s not long off claiming her pension, and the anger at having to do this was very apparent in her eyes, that is when she looked up. A lot of people forced to use the Jobcentre avoid eye contact because they feel oppressed, targetted and have no confidence at all.

We spoke to a single father of children. He didn’t tell us how many but that isn’t the issue and nor should it be. He’s a good parent and doing his best for his children. He has been forced to claim universal credit, and he says that it has ruined his life.

He’s struggling to keep up with his job searches in between looking after his children, feeding his children has become a struggle and getting the Jobcentre to understand that he is a single father has been a nightmare. He went on to say that at last, they have reduced his job searching hours but that wasn’t without a struggle.

We gave him some much-needed solidarity and advice, made sure that he had food to take home and his mood lightened. He and others should not be living like this. The stress that he is feeling will be passed inadvertently to his children. I fear that even if this horrendous regime was stopped tomorrow, the effects would last for generations to come.

We attempted to speak to a young man who was furious last week. He returned this week, and he was angry but not as much as last week if that makes sense. You need to understand that even though he’s directing his anger at us, his anger is really meant for the DWP and the government. I think that he will speak to us in a few weeks, and I’m not easily swayed so I’ll wait.

Two young men walked in the Jobcentre walked in saying that they’ll never get sanctioned… ok… let’s see how that goes. We will be there to help them when something does happen to them. It’s very easy to be young and confident in situations like this. The system is created to destroy people though and we always keep that in mind as should you.

I had a lovely conversation with a lady who we had helped previously. She thanked Roy for the advice that he had given her. She also said that the survival guide has been a godsend to her. Today she just wanted to chat about how awful the government is. She pointed out that it isn’t fair that the government gave a billion pounds to the DUP whilst people are suffering. Nor is it fair that the sanctioning system exists. It’s cruel and kills people she said, and she is sadly correct.

Whilst talking to her she brought up a very good point, one that I have also been making this week when I and fellow blogger Kate Belgrave were having during a little rant that I had on Twitter this week. The Point was, that whilst all of Jeremy Corby’s policies and speeches were brilliant and are brilliant, they are still lacking in something. People like the lady that I was speaking to don’t feel like they are being adequately represented. They still feel left out of everything and are really wanting to be represented. Like she said, “I may not be working but I still deserve representation because I am a person and I do matter”. Well said to her. She does matter and I will continue to push this point across.

We spoke to many people today about so many issues, all important to each and every person, we never forget this because in my eyes they are all heroes for managing to survive this pernicious system.

Many thanks to all the team for coming along today and helping those who are in desperate need. Christine, Roy, Gordon, John, Gerry and Mervyn you are all amazing. Sue, who couldn’t make it today because she is unwell, get well soon we missed you.  I am blessed to have you all by my side.

I didn’t take any photos today for a few reasons. It was raining, I was busy and using my camera phone really isn’t an option anymore because it’s worse than useless. I will hopefully take some photos next week.

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Big shout out to DPAC for their ongoing support, solidarity and their amazing week of action this week. You all rock, and if I could be there, you know that I would be with you.

Another massive shout out for my comrades at Preston New Road protesting against the unwanted fracking plant being constructed there. This is being built without Lancashire councils approval and also without the local resident’s approval. You are all heroes, and you have no idea of how proud I am to have you as friends and comrades. I love you all.

Please read, share and talk about this blog. It’s important that we keep up this conversation, the government want us to go away and we refuse to.

Please donate help keep the blog and campaign going. This has become a full time job for myself, and anyone spending any time with me will attest to that. Thank you!

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For anyone that’s interested, I’m speaking at the NUJs meeting this month and will be talking about the boycott The Sun petion that I started after the Manchester bombings. It’s free to attend and is at the Three Minute Theatre, Aflecks Palace Manchester 2pm. As a member of the NUJ it should be an interesting and lively discussion!

Today’s demo. Food parcels taken immediately, anger, frustration and a visit from a French film maker. 

To say that today’s demo was busy is an understatement. It was both hectic and stressful. We also got a fair bit of verbal abuse from passers by.  Today was one of those days. 
As soon as I arrived I met the lovely man who is making a film about the awful DWP system in the UK. We had a quick discussion about what he was wanting to do. He also explained to me that the French government might be thinking of implementing a similar system. Awful. He’s against this. 
Gordon was taking the food parcels out of his car boot. As soon as he took them out they were all taken. We had none left at 10.05…. This says a lot to me. A stark reminder that far too many people are suffering. 

As soon as they had been taken a man arrived asking for a food parcel. They had all gone so I gave Gordon some money and he took him to the shop next door. Thank you Gordon. 

Then two more people arrived asking for food parcels. We had none and I was panicking slightly when I saw a member of the team, Pat arrive. She buys food from the cheap shop next door when she is able to come. Thank goodness for her because these people were able to have food. 

The need was greater than ever today.  The government and this cruel system have taken the very soul out of the people from my local town. No wonder it’s run down. Lack of funding from the government and lack of money for the basics ensures that the community suffers greatly and it breaks my heart. 
As we were talking to each other, a man stood across the way started shouting abuse at us for no reason at all. I understand his anger, he might have thought that we worked for the DWP or something. However he didn’t give us a chance to explain. I hope that he’s OK and that he’s getting the support that he needs. No one should be driven to feel that amount of anger. 
We spoke to a lovely man who has £4.50 to last him for two weeks. He took a food parcel from us last week and he was given another this week. 

He’s a lovely, polite man who had worked all his life. Seeing him in this state is awful though. His confidence has gone, he can’t wash his clothes and is struggling to keep going. He told us that we are his lifeline at the moment. We regard him as a friend. 
We spoke to a lady who had attempted to go in the Jobcentre and support her friend for her first interview with her advisor. She was wrongfully told that she wasnt allowed to do this, so we informed her friend of her right to do so. 

It might appear petty, but the breaking of these rules by the DWP sets the standard of how the claimant will be treated by that advisor. If they are aware that a person is not aware of their legal rights regarding Job searches etc then they will run roughshod over them. My advice to anyone having to make a claim is to research your legal rights and stand firm. 
Too many WASPI ladies were having to use the Jobcentre today. This always upsets me. The government has basically conned them out of their right to a decent retirement and pension. 
We had a person in a car drive past shouting “Get a job”…. As if we haven’t heard that before. Funny how they don’t get out of their cars and say it, they shout it and dive away at speed. 
I spoke to a lovely chap that I had helped in the past. He was looking much better and he wanted to say thank you. It was lovely seeing him. 
A lovely man started talking to us about the awful treatment that he had received from Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre and the DWP.  He was very vocal about it, good on him. He is in between jobs and only wanted to ask one question. He was refused that. This is how petty the Jobcentre is. 

He also went on to tell the film maker how awful it is inside the building and how the security guards are, as he described ‘like the Gestapo’. He’s not wrong there. 

He told us that his partner lives in London and her payment had been stopped for no apparent reason. She hasn’t received a letter which is usual. She’s got children, so the children might not be able to eat this week. It’s beyond disgusting. 

We gave him a leaflet which has a number for the Greater Manchester Law Centre. He is phoning them to get the details of local organisations in London that can help her. They are very pro-active there, and so is this man. 
We spoke to a man who sadly is in the belief that he will get his Esa for life. I hope that he does, but the chances of that aren’t high. 
Almost everyone that had to use the Jobcentre were rushing, looking at the ground on misery. This is what the system does to you. It stresses you out and wears you down. It literally never ends. 
Today was stressful, lots of different issues were brought to light. It’s hard work, and anyone that has attended our demos will attest to that. 
Before the demo started I bought a tent for a homeless chap that I buy a coffee for every day. His tent had been destroyed by someone and the local organisations had none. I hope that he is safe tonight. 
As for myself, I haven’t stopped and I apologise for the extra blogs. 

Please spare a thought for each and every person forced to endure this cruel system. And while Ian Duncan Smith still states that the film I, Daniel Blake is a work of fiction, I can say that it is not. The reality is even worse than the film. One day I will tell him so. 

Please share my blog, talk about it, tell your friends. Thank you
There’s also a donate button below. This has become a full time job for myself and every penny counts. Thank you so much.

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Also a MASSIVE thank you to all the team for being amazing and really going out of your way to help people. You are all fantastic. 

Thank you oncw again. 

It’s not fair. Daniel Blake died I have to live this hell. 

I promised a long time ago that I wouldnt post more than two blogs per week, it’s too much and people will get fed up. I changed my mind today though after a conversation with a man that I know. 
Recently an acquaintance of mine got sanctioned. He’s not well and had missed an appointment. Some would say that this is his own fault, but when someone isn’t well enough to work and are deemed fit then this will happen a lot. It’s inevitable and allowances should be made but they aren’t are they. 

Anyway last week both his friend who lives nearby and myself were trying to keep him going. He was very depressed and angry, not a good combination. It’s a sad fact that because of circumstances like these the suicide rates for men are continuing to rise every year. 

His friend spent a lot of time with him, I met him for a coffee and had a good chat. It seemed to help and he is now in a much better place. Thank goodness for that because I and his friend were worried. 

Today on the walk to school to pick my daughter up I saw his friend. It was pouring down with rain and he stopped to say hello. He went on to tell me his story. 

He’s an older man, and in constant pain. So much pain that he has to take large amounts of painkillers to just get by. And he’s angry, very angry. 

He had failed his medical, appealed and failed that also. He said “How the hell can I work? I’m in constant pain, I have to take painkillers that make me sleepy.” Now he has to go through the whole rigmarole of signing on and doing endless job searches. 

He told me that every day is hell. He wakes up not wanting to be here. The sooner he dies the better he says. 

He stated and quite rightly so, that how can it be fair that big corporations don’t pay their taxes, the prime minister says that we have to ensure austerity but at the same time she gives the DUP £1 billion. To day he’s angry is an understatement. And I totally agree with him. 

I asked him if he had seen the film I Daniel Blake. He said yes, he had and that it was rubbish. To be honest I was puzzled by his reply but he expanded on it. 

He told me that it’s rubbish because Daniel died, it’s not fair he said. Why couldn’t that have happened to him he wanted to know. It’s the best way out of the system and most likely the only way out for many. 

He didn’t think that the film was rubbish, far from it. But he was envious that Daniel had died. 

What kind of a society do we live in that makes a person feel envious of another person’s death, even if it was fictional? 

Every day people wake up in the sad realisation that they are still alive and they have to cope for another day. 

As the gentleman said to me, one day there will be a massive enquiry into the deaths and suffering inflicted on thousands upon thousands each day. 

One day we will hold them accountable for their actions. Some of us, including myself are brave enough to do so. Because we are angry and have nothing so have nothing anyway so have nothing to loose. 

We can do this. 

And please spare a thought for each and every person feeling disappointed that they are still alive every day when they open their eyes. Their suffering is real, but it shouldn’t be like this. 

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