Food parcels gone in ten minutes, unhelpful Jobcentre staff. No surprise there sadly.

I arrived at Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre as usual, and placed my bag in its usual place. I use it to carry our leaflets and anything else that might be required for the morning. I looked up and I must have been spotted from afar, because our usual recipients of the food parcels were waiting.

We spent a few minutes chatting, catching up with things and seeing if anything has progressed. Like last week, nothing much has, but they have taken our advice so  now it’s a waiting game.

It’s hard to describe the atmosphere outside the Jobcentre, but anyone who has joined us will tell you its hard work. Today we were battling with wind and heavy rain at one point. I’m not complaining but I’m highlighting this because many of the people that we speak to really can’t dress appropriately for the weather, nor can they afford to. The weather also affects the mood of the place, and the mood certainly wasn’t optimistic.

Gordon arrived with the food parcels and the majority didn’t even touch the ground. It’s shocking that this is the case. And before anyone says that I shouldn’t be surprised, I’m not. I’m bloody furious that anyone should have to live like this.

It’s hard enough being poor without having to rely on food parcels to keep you going. It makes people feel that they’ve lost all hope, that there’s nothing to aim for and that they’ve lost their dignity. People do feel this way, they tell me. Some are ashamed and hide round corners so that they aren’t seen. Can you imagine what it feels like to feel so bad that you have to do this? I can tell you it’s heart breaking. They feel abandoned by society, the very system that they’ve paid into has let them down.

Due to high demand, the food parcels went within ten minutes. I had to double check the time. I’m angry that people are having to use them. Every person deserves three good meals a day, a home to live in and the security of some kind of income. It’s not just adults that are suffering, children are too and unborn children. In my eyes that’s totally unforgivable.

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Ian Duncan Smith, and every Tory MP and minister that has helped to implement this regime, I and others will never forget the cruelty that you have purposely imposed on the most vulnerable in society. it’s wanton cruelty on an industrial scale. Austerity has always been a political choice not a necessity.

My colleague was approached by a woman who hadn’t received her fortnightly payment. She hadn’t been sanctioned, and nothing untoward could be seen on the computer screen. Now I remember the days when an advisor would make a simple phone call on behalf of the claimant to find out why. It’s not hard, and still it still can be done. Instead they told the lady that they weren’t going to phone up, she had to phone the number herself. This is totally unreasonable, because the lady might not have been able to if she had no credit for your phone. Also keep in mind that actions like this are enough to send someone over the edge. We see this a lot. And it’s cruel, not to mention expensive.

I spoke to a lady waiting for her young son who had to attend an appointment. She told me that he was very quiet, and wasn’t good at communicating. I’m sure that he’s the type of person that the DWP like to target for sanctions and other such things. She had asked if she could go in with him, but the G4S security guard said that she couldn’t. I’ve two issues with this. 1, her son is clearly vulnerable and he is allowed representation at appointments, 2. A G4S security guard has no place telling her what she can and can’t do. So yes they are up to their old tricks again. I’ll be watching them.

We spoke to a lady who had been very ill and had missed her PIP appointment. There’s no way that she could deal with the world, all she wanted to do was hide away from the world. I totally understand that. We offered her advice, gave her a leaflet and I think that she felt a bit more confident. ESA and PIP assessments are awful, no one should have to live like this. It’s cruel and akin to mental torture. Having a black cloud of uncertainty hanging over your head all the time isn’t good for anyone’s mental health.

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We spoke to a man who had previously taken one of our leaflets. He wanted to thank us. He said that the information on it was very good, and he had used it to appeal against a sanction. He went on to say that he had got the £307 back from the DWP and this was all down to the leaflet. He kept saying thank you, and you know what this is what it’s all about isn’t it. This is exactly why we do what we do. This is why I have been standing outside Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre for almost four years now. For those criticising us, we do make a difference.

I make no apology about mentioning myself on this blog. Someone complained about this last week. The blog is my blog, it’s about the weekly demos, our activities, but it’s also my blog. I enjoy writing it and if I get fed up I shall say so.

It’s not easy witnessing the loveliest people that you know being systematically destroyed by a government that doesn’t care. People are destroyed by this system, families torn apart, people commit suicide because they can’t take any more suffering. Believe me we’ve seen it all here, and most likely will do in the future.

In Victorian times, the rich didn’t know what to do with the poor, but they didn’t want them spoiling their view, so they created Workhouses. A place of fear and dread. Light penetrated through windows that were designed so you couldn’t see out of.  Food was the very minimal amount, just enough to keep you alive, but only just.

Inmates were there to be exploited. Families torn apart, unable to see each other due to segregation. Long, hard days of labour ensued, which the workhouse and businesses associated with them profited from.

Poor people were seen as expendable labour. They weren’t respected and to be honest there wasn’t anything such as the ‘good old days’ there. A person could only leave if they found employment, near impossible when they were working long days for their master.

I’ve covered the subject very briefly there, but my point is this. The situation that we are in now isn’t much different. Read through it again and compare. It’s scarily similar.

We shouldn’t accept this as the norm, it certainly isn’t. Hopefully soon there will be a positive change and I’m praying for that every day.

Many thanks to Pauline for the food parcels, Street Treats for the bananas and bread, and to the lovely gentleman who dropped off some bits. We really do appreciate it.

A massive thanks to EVERYONE that attended today and to those that couldn’t due to illness. You are all amazing, and for those that are ill get well soon!

Please share my blog, talk about it or donate if possible. It’s really appreciated and it has turned into a full time job for me, which also makes me very sad and angry..

One day we will have a better world for everyone to live in.

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Today’s demo. Queue for food parcels, hungry people. Universal Credit hell. Welcome to Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre.

I made my way to our weekly demo after dropping my daughter off at school. I like to have a cheap cuppa beforehand and people know that they can find me there.

I was excited at the prospect of good weather, yesterday had been roasting hot. Today was sadly different. It didn’t rain though, although the breeze was cold. I sometimes think that we are destined to have bad weather.

Roy had met me at the café and we walked over together. As we arrived we noticed the queue for food parcels, but it isn’t your typical queue. Many people needing help often feel embarrassed, so they don’t line up. Instead they wait around in various areas near the Jobcentre. Some are also scared that their Jobcentre advisor will see them.

The food parcels arrived, delivered by Gordon and the queue moved towards the car. To say that it’s awful that people are having to use food parcels is an understatement. But to see them waiting in shadows and round corners really breaks my heart. It’s very reminiscent of early Victorian England. Awful just awful.

We handed the food parcels out and had a chat with all of the people receiving them, to make sure that they are coping and awaiting hopefully positive news that their situations have improved. Sadly it hadn’t. I suppose I shouldn’t expect miracles.

We spoke to lots of people. Today’s common theme was Universal Credit and the horrors that come with that.

People are surviving on next to nothing or nothing. We heard the story of a woman, her husband and children who are surviving on next to nothing. They were forced to claim Universal Credit because last year her husband had been told to apply for it and had received a payment of £7. An absolute fortune.. not. So now they are left to survive on Universal Credit. They now work, but despite the government saying that they are making work ‘pay’ the reality is much different and horrific.

This is the letter that she showed me. it’s complicated but it’s awful. You can bet that they will be missing some meals this week. Work does not pay when you claim Universal Credit. It was created to create suffering and to make a person constantly feel subservient to a system that hates them. There’s no way out when full time, high paid jobs are as scarce as gold dust.

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For anyone not understanding the above photo, the amount of money that this lady is left to live on is at the bottom. She is not living on an absolute fortune, and is only just surviving. The way that Universal Credit is caluculated is complicated, and is far to hard to explain on here. 

We spoke to a man who’s also living on a zero income. He has had to make a new claim, and because he has educated himself to how the system works due to talking to us, he will survive. He will get a food parcel next week.

His story was that of his brothers. He is living on next to nothing because he is a new Universal Credit recipient. Because he had a loan taken out before he received his first payment he now has to pay it back. His situation is that his brother and his friend are now trying to share gas and electric, food etc. They are having to live in each others houses to be able to have electric and gas facilities. How awful is this. On top of this they are scared of the local housing association finding out. This is pressure that they don’t need.

We spoke to our friend, a man who we had helped for a long time. He is now receiving his work related pension, so isn’t struggling. He looks like a different person. The stress has disappeared from his face. But he still comes along to say hello. How lovely is that.

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I spoke to a homeless chap that we had been helping. He happily told us that he now has somewhere to live. That’s a massive weight off my mind and I’m so happy for him.

There seemed to be a lot of external organisations entering and leaving the Jobcentre today. One organisation, told us that he ‘helps’ people, although he had no idea of the plight of the jobseekers that they are supposed to be ‘helping’. No surprise there though is it. It’s all about the money isn’t it.

It was busy today, we spoke to lots of people, all either angry, upset or zoned out. Almost every single person that we spoke to had no money, or a very minimum amount of money, hardly enough to get by. We shouldn’t have to live like this.

It’s a culture of fear, and we have seen this for many years now. So yes it does get stressful, and these demos have certainly changed my life.

Today was also good though. Lots of comrades arrived to help out, and that really cheered me up. I love the team, they have helped keep my spirits up so much. They also help the people having to use the Jobcentre so much. Numbers were high and it was good! Thank you everyone! And thank you so much to our first time attendees! True solidarity in action. Thank you.

Many, many thanks to all my readers, supporters and everyone that sends me messages of support. When I say that it means a lot it really does.

Running this demo, writing the blog, and all the work that goes along with that has become a full time job. I can’t stop this campaign, it’s so important to so many people. But it is difficult.

Please can everyone reading this blog share it and talk about it?

Also I’ve placed a donation button below. If anyone would like to contribute I would be so grateful. It is a full time job for me and it does get stressful. Thank you so much!
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Today’s demo. Freezing cold and rain. Man on crutches told to apply for a job emptying bins for the local council. 

OK, today wasn’t a good day. To start with the rain was relentless and it felt as cold as early spring. The atmosphere emanating from the Jobcentre was much the same. 

I arrived at ten on the dot and was greeted by a queue of people waiting for their food parcels. Luckily Gordon had just arrived and I could hand them out straight away. People really don’t want to be hanging around in the rain and cold when they are hungry.

I had a good chat with them all and made sure that they were as OK as possible. I got a few hugs and handshakes. This really cheered me up. It takes time to build up trust and we are in it for the long haul. 

We also had a good chat about voting and the importance of it.

Because I’ve been doing this for nearly 4 years I’ve seen a few elections. Normally people can’t be bothered to vote, but this year is very different. Most of the people that we spoke to are now going to vote, and they realise the importance of this. 

Personally I’m praying that labour win because it’s very hard work doing what I and the team do. I want to see an end to people’s suffering. To be quite honest it makes me very angry. 

For new readers that haven’t scrolled down, we’ve seen so many awful things. We have  heard  of people that we had helped committing suicide, attempted suicide, people becoming ill and everyone is suffering.? 

Why would anyone wish that on anyone else? Tories find this very easy of course. 

What is shocking me more and more every week is the amount of older people having to use the Jobcentre and the amount of obviously very disabled people being wheeled into the Jobcentre. 

These people deserve respect but the DWP gives them none. 

Here’s a lady being pushed in by a member of her family. It’s disgusting. I took the video on their way out because I was busy when they entered. 

Today was very busy but obviously people were wanting to get out of the rain so were rushing. 

We spoke to a man who had been on crutches due to a long term disability. He was told by his adviser to apply for a job as a bin man. 

Yes over three years later and I’m still hearing stories like this. Nothing ever changes does it. 
Our food parcels were gone within half a hour, all to hungry people desperate for something to eat.

 No decent government would allow this to happen to people. But the government actually likes this, I’m sure that they revel in their cruelty. 
I spoke to lots of people, many older men who are very frustrated and angry. One man in particular who had failed his esa medical and we had to calm him down and give him food. I told him that I understand his anger and I really do. It’s awful that he’s suffering like this. 
To say I’m angry at the system is an understatement. I’m not sure if I can handle another five years of this, I suppose that I will have to but financially I can’t take anymore really. As a single parent I’ve been targeted myself by this government so believe me I can relate to how people are feeling. 

Luckily today four friends came and said hello. They brought a coffee over with them which we shared. Being freezing cold it tasted really nice. 

A friend called Andy popped round to say hello. He’s a fantastic electrician, bit random to mention but he’s self employed and I can attest to how hard that is myself so I’m giving him an un ashamed plug. 

He’s called Andy Spark on Facebook and he helps out every now and then.
A much valued member of the team Roy hasn’t been feeling well and he braved his sickness and the weather to join us. Thank you!

Also a massive shout out to the members of the team, and my friends and supporters. You all mean the world to me. 

Regardless of the election vote we will be back again next week. Please can I ask you to please use your vote?

 The amount of people suffering is unbelievable. 

Their stories are heartbreaking. 
Please share my blog, talk about it, donate if possible. Every penny helps. This has unfortunately become a full time job for me and I really need to continu this vital work. Thank you! 

Today’s demo. WASPI ladies visiting the Jobcentre, queue for food parcels again.

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.

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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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Today’s demo. Tears, anger and frustration.

I always start writing this blog by telling you how I feel that today’s demo has been. Well today felt somewhat similar to our early demos, when Universal Credit was being introduced and neither the claimants nor the Jobcentre staff had a clue as to what to do. The Jobcentre staff however at times took full advantage of this and tried to pull the wool over most claimants eyes. Today the frustration of a system and staff that are constantly working against them was very apparent.

As soon as I arrived so did the food parcels. I have a dislike of being late so I always make sure that I am on time. Gordon was on the ball with picking up the food parcels so this was brilliant.

The queue had already started to form across the road. There is a handy place to sit and keep an eye out for my arrival. It’s so sad that people have to queue like this though.

As we were taking the food parcels out of the car, they started walking over one by one, most likely because they didn’t want to draw attention to themselves. It’s bad enough that they have to collect a food parcel isn’t it.

I had a chat with two regulars in particular , and once again reminded them that it would be a good thing if they could access local services. They aren’t ready yet, and I can’t force them, nor can I attempt to. I really don’t want to scare them away. Engaging with me is a massive hurdle for them in itself.

Most of the food parcels were handed out within 25 minutes, leaving one waiting to be claimed. I’m so glad that we had this one left over because it was badly needed.

A man whom I estimated to be in his 40’s stormed out of the Jobcentre, tears streaming out of his eyes. At the same time he was furious, It was obvious to see that he needed help. Members of the team tried to ask him how he was, but he stormed off. Quickly I chased after him. It’s important never to let anyone walk off whilst they are this upset. it’s important that they are listened to. In fact it’s vital.

I caught up with him and I asked him if he was ok, he could see that I could relate to him. He said that he had enough, he didn’t know if he could carry on. I asked why.

He had failed his ESA medical, which is very commonplace, however the attitude of the staff in the Jobcentre was the thing that upset him the most he said. His ESA had been stopped and he had no money. To say he was distraught was an understatement.

I explained to him that he can appeal, and he must do so. He said that he would do. He’s had to do it before, so he knows the score. He said that he had no food, and had spent the last of his money on a bag of sugar so he can make a cup of tea. From experience, drinking tea and coffee does tend to keep the hunger pains away, so I totally understood this.

I went through our leaflet with him and then gave him the last food parcel and told him that he can contact me at any time. His mood lifted, and he said that he was glad that I had chased after him because it had given him hope.

We said goodbye, and he walked over to the council offices to inform the council of his housing benefit change.

From past experience its vital that we intervene in circumstances like this, to put it honestly a person can feel like there’s nothing to live for when they have been treated like this. A kind word can and does prevent anything awful happening, and over the 3 1/2 years of doing these demos, I really don’t want anyone to suffer like this. We’ve seen too many awful things happen.

I regained my composure and started to  talk to a woman who is being hounded by the Jobcentre to find work even though she is on Income Support and her youngest child isn’t five until December. I informed her of her legal rights, and she went inside to tell them.

We spoke to a lady who had failed her ESA medical three months ago, but hadn’t put in an appeal. She wasn’t advised as she should have been, nor had we spoken to her before.

She told us that she had been forced to attend a training programme interview in Middleton, not local at all if you don’t drive. She suffers from COPD and cannot travel long distances on public transport. They said that she had to attend or be sanctioned. So she paid £30 for a taxi to get there.

The Jobcentre staff know she’s disabled, but her advisor is one know to be an awful one. Lets just say her reputation proceeds her. She refuses to recognise her disability and knowingly sent her for an training course interview to drive a fork lift truck. This lady isn’t capable of doing this job and the advisor knows this. She’s setting her up to fail and is doing this on purpose.

Advice was given and she then started to chat to the lady previously mentioned. By the looks of it they have formed a good friendship.

Today we noticed far too many ladies using the Jobcentre who should be retired, but the government changed the rules. This always makes me angry.

We spoke to many people with many different problems, but the one common element was that everyone was frustrated and angry.

Most of the people that we spoke to should be claiming ESA, but have been disallowed, so they are forced to appeal. They have to do this far too often.

I spoke to a young lady who was dropping her sick note off, she was supposed to be going into hospital that afternoon. She’s bi-polar and is going through a bad patch. I persuaded her to go, to reclaim her ESA and told her that she shouldn’t have to be forced to use the Jobcentre. She’s ill but the government will not make any allowance for illness will they.

We had run out of food parcels when a man that we help from time to time asked me for one. He too isn’t well, so I gave my leaflets to a comrade and went to buy him food. My heart went out to him, because he is desperate, and only asks for help when he is.

Today was stressful, but it was also good. We did a lot of positive work this morning, which isn’t easy when you are on the frontline. It was also nice to see a new member of the team arrive. Full of knowledge, I’m certain that he will be a brilliant asset to the team.

I’m tired now, so I’m going to have a cuppa. But I’ll leave this with you.

One kind word or action can make a massive difference to a strangers life. Pass a kindness on, say hello to someone, anything. It costs nothing.

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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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Friday. A bottle of cordial and Gills tin of beans.  

This is somewhat different to the usual weekly blog that I write. I don’t often write about events outside the weekly demo, to be honest I wasn’t sure that my readers would want to read it. But I thought I’d tell you anyway. Some might want to listen. 

I was awoken quite early by a crank call, made by someone for reasons known only to themselves. They appeared to find it humorous to make fun of what we do, and the help that we give to people. Some people are very strange, and sadly this isn’t unusual its become par of the course. I don’t take it to heart and I did report it. 

You see, in the over 3 1/2 years that I’ve been doing this I have encountered many negative things. Name calling, swearing, being told by G4S that they were going to knock myself and a friend out, criticism that was unfounded, a death threat, trolling and the like. It seems the more that we help people, the more people object. There’s an old saying “There’s nothing as strange as folk” and I think that its very accurate.

Anyway, the phone rang again. I answered, half thinking that it would be another crank call but it wasn’t. It was a lady asking for help. 

Once again I was told that she had reached her three food parcel limit with the Trussell Trust. She sounded very anxious and I agreed to meet her to chat, and to buy her some bits to tide her over. 

She was waiting for me at our agreed meeting spot. She went on to say that she is autistic and finds it hard to access some of the local help, she admitted herself that she can sometimes say inapropriate things, and act aggressively. She said that people just don’t understand her and that she does try. I went on to say that they should be understanding of her situation, but sometimes its not easy when in certain situations. 

She said that she had had her three food parcel limit from the Trussell Trust, so I gave her a list of independent food banks. I then took her shopping. 

We went into the local cheap food shop, it sells some very good stuff in there at a discount. We chose the basics, you know, bread, milk etc. I asked her what else would she like. She said some cordial. She hadn’t had any for ages she said and it would be a treat. 

A bottle of cordial a treat. Just hold that thought there. Local to myself we can buy a bottle of cordial for a £1 or less. It’s certainly not a luxury, but she was very excited about having a bottle. So I bought her the biggest bottle that I could find. Her smile said it all she was overjoyed. 

We were chatting on the way round the shop, about her future, what she would like to do etc. She said she just wants to be happy and secure and that she would be accessing the help available locally. Because I had taken the time to talk with her and listen to her she felt like she was ready to engage with some of these agencies. She hadn’t felt able to do this before because she hadn’t felt listened to previously. 

She went home happy, and more optimistic than she had done in a while. Later on that evening she phoned me to tell me thank you and of the things that are being set in place for her now. 

This showed me a few things. Compassion costs nothing. We really need to be listening to each other and be patient. Please don’t dismiss someone because they might appear awkward or a bit uptight. Often there is a reason for this. It can take time to build up trust between people and organisations, and sometimes they have to be a bit patient. 

I have a friend Gill Watson, who also blogs. Shes done some amazing things to help people, and shes a very strong person. But this week it got to her. She was helping someone and had a emotional breakdown in a shop whilst buying some shopping for someone in a similar situation to the lady that I was helping. 

Sometimes it does get to us, her tipping point was a tin of beans, mine was the family with children sat over the road eating food out of tins that we had just given them in a food parcel.

Tinned food has become in my eyes symbolic of Tory Britain. We are forced to eat from them because the government chooses to make us suffer. They get richer whilst we get poorer. 

Tinned beans and a bottle of juice. Luxuries to many, they mean nothing to most people. 

Today’s demo. Busy, cold when will the suffering end? Man refused any more food parcels because hes already had 3. This rule is obscene. 

Today’s demo felt a bit strange. It’s the Manchester Mayoral elections today and everyone is so busy campaigning for that. Also it’s one of those weeks where members are called away. It’s important that they deal with their personal issues. As a result numbers were expected to be low. 

I arrived and the lady delivering the food parcels was waiting for me. I walked over with her to collect them. As I did I noticed a gang of people gathered across the road waiting for food parcels. We make no judgement, but we do make sure that they are accessing the local help available to them. They can get a tad aggressive so I’m so glad that I wasn’t on my own. It was a clear reminder that Jobcentre demos shouldn’t be done alone. We gave them all the help that we could and a sympathetic ear.  

The three regular people that have been dependent on our food parcels didn’t arrive this week. I hope that this is a sign of good news coming their way and actually some money in their pockets. But I will still be worrying about them. 

One thing that is very concerning though. There is an increasing amount of people approaching me that have had their three food parcels from the Trussell Trust and are no longer allowed any more. I’ve just had a phone call from a chap saying that he’s not allowed another one until October. 

How on earth is he going to survive? This is an awful ruling made by them, and they so far are refusing to change it. We will give him a food parcel every week, and the non Trussell Trust food banks will help him. It’s just awful isn’t it. 

I spoke to quite a few people today. One man was too angry to speak, obviously upset but he took a leaflet. Poor man no one should have to feel like that. 

I spoke to a man that has only just been released from prison. He’s got no where to live at the moment but is waiting for a place to be available at the local homeless hostel. He told me that the Jobcentre won’t leave him alone. He was quite agitated and I totally understand that. He needs time to become adjusted to life outside prison and to get his accommodation sorted out. I gave him some advice and a leaflet. 

I spoke to a lady who should have been claiming her pension, but due to government changes she can’t. So she now has to sign on and be actively looking for work. Poor woman. She should be retired and enjoying life. Yes, I’m very aware of the waspi campaign. 

I spoke to a young man who had had his esa stopped and he is appealing that. In the meantime the DWP have taken full advantage and have made him sign up to Universal Credit. He’s really feeling the strain and he didn’t know what to do. I gave him a leaflet, a listening ear and the details for the greater Manchester law centres free advice sessions. They will help him free of charge to get back what is rightfully his. 

Today was cold, the wind was blowing round the corner but we helped lots of people and all the food parcels werw given out. 

But I am so disgusted that we are still having to do this over 3 1/2 years later. It gets me so angry that people are suffering like this. I am aware of the politics of it all, check out my Morning Star reports out, but it doesn’t stop me from getting angry and frustrated. 

Today is local elections day up and down the country, and I urge you to all use your vote. We fought hard to get it and it’s so important that we use it. It’s the only way to effectively change things. And we urgently need to do this. Too many people are suffering and dying and it both breaks my heart and angers me. 

Many thanks to everyone that came along today. Without your support I would find it extremely difficult. 

I’ve had a busy week, rather stressful and it’s been a tad tough. But one thing is certain. We shall overcome! 

Please share, support, talk about this with your friends and neighbours. Please donate if you can! Thank you. It’s hard work and it’s become a full time job for me sadly 
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