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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An observation on the streets of Manchester. My ramblings. 

This was over a month ago and I don’t have any details for the people concerned. 
I notice a young homeless  girl living on the street. She has her blankets and bags next to her ready for the night ahead. 

She should be excited about life but instead she looks lost. She has a can of beer next to her, she says  to numb the pain and cold. 

She is sat with a group of men, also homeless but seems detached from them. I ask her if she is ok, and she says that she is and that there’s safety in numbers. 

She needs to keep safe. As a woman living on the streets life can be very dangerous. Even if you don’t like the people you are sitting  next to you stay with them she says. They are her protection. 

She wants to  make enough money for a b&b for the night, but says she has given up all hope of finding a permanent home because she has addiction issues and feels unable to deal with them. She will one day she says. After saying this her facial expression changes as worry weighs down heavily on her mind. A weight that she feels can’t be lifted at the moment.
Whilst we are talking a young  man rushes past, earphones in looks anxious. Perhaps late for an appointment. He doesn’t notice the homeless girl sat near him. He is self consumed with himself and his journey. She says that she sees this all the time. 

Her wish, she says is that people would be nice to one another. She would like more people to say hello, but they don’t and she looks down again. 
A lady walks past walking  her dog. People stop and compliment her on her dog. They don’t notice the young girl, but they notice the dog. I feel that this is rather sad. A vulnerable human life appears to be as important. 
A teenage boy stands next to the homeless girl. He says hello to her and asks her if she would mind if he plays some music and starts rapping. She welcomes it.

His rapping consists of the story of his life, that he has encountered prejudice, loss and also some lovely things. People start to give him money, but instead of keeping it himself he gives it to the homeless girl. He tells her that she is important, that she is loved and not to give up. 

He tells her that one day, life will get better because his did. She smiles and thanks him. 

Maybe, just maybe that one act of kindness gave her the strength to carry on. 

I’d like to think that she kept warm for that night.

Thursdays demo. Queues of claimants needing help. 

First, may I start by apologising for this week’s update being late. Thursday was extremely busy and I’m afraid that this caught up with me. I was burnt out, and being of limited income cannot afford to buy the quality of food to sustain a healthy diet. Like the people that I speak to, I just fuel myself to keep going. Such is life!

This week was once again extremely cold. Yes it’s winter, and yes I do expect it. So why should I complain some say. It’s simple. Those saying this should try standing outside in the freezing cold for hours. They might have a bit of sympathy then. And it also is a bitter reminder of what my homeless friends have to contend with. Many will die this winter as a result. But the government will turn a blind eye to it because they don’t show any compassion and nor do they intend to.

From 9am to just before 10am I have a cuppa in a local cafe before the demo starts every Thursday. It’s only £1 for a cuppa and most people know where to find me now. Imagine my surprise when a lady that we had been helping for 8 months with food parcels came ad said hello. Ive mentioned her before. Anyway, she had been absent for a few weeks and myself and the team had been worried about her. She explained that she had had the flu and was unable to go out. I was overjoyed that she was ok. I bought her a cuppa and she came along to the demo and joined us. 

As soon as the food parcels arrived they were being collected. We didn’t see one person that normally collects theirs, but they have been forced into a workfare job and had been given awkward hours. I will try and find them this week and give them something. That will ease the burden for them. 

Someone mentioned to me that it was busy this week. It was no busier than usual,but usual is busy! None stop issues that needed dealing with,ranging from housing, sanctions, single parent issues, workfare, bedroom tax, council tax and rent issues. It came as no surprise to hear that the DWP still aren’t advising folk to claim their housing benefit on a zero income basis. We helped quite a few people with this issue, and signposted lots of folk. We don’t have an office, that would be a dream. But we do what we can do. 

The overall feeling this week was one of (excuse the language) “They don’t give a shit, no one does.” People are feeling isolated, alone and cold. The winter always exacerbates issues. 

People walking around in totally unsuitable clothes for the weather, unable to wrap up warm. They will become ill due to their immune system being compromised. 

We also speak to alot of people whom have mental health issues and other disabilities whom are deemed fit for work. The system is cruel, heartless and the media has acted in an unforgivable way. Neighbours turning against each other instead of supporting each other. Is this the shared society that Teresa May envisaged? Yes, it is. As long as the wealth is only shared amongst the most wealthy then that’s their idea of sharing. I want to help everyone but I can’t. I know that many feel the same. If you are reading this and are suffering, then please know that you are important, that I’m thinking of you and so are many others. Hang in there and keep strong. 

I’d like to give a shoutout to the rebellious Jobseekers who refused to leave the entrance of the Jobcentre to make phone calls to the Jobcentre. Yes, this is ridiculous. Why on earth aren’t their advisors helping them. The answer is quite simple. Advisors aren’t there to help anymore. If you ask them that they will say the same. All of the telephones that Jobseekers used to use to phone various DWP departments were ripped out, probably with great joy by the DWP. The police wernt called because we were standing outside I’ve no doubt. So kudos to this group of people. We need to see more of this. 

One thing that I’d like to mention. Some people have mentioned that this is only one building in my town, that it can’t have a massive affect on my local community. Well, naysayers, it does. We have a very high unemployment level. We have little local industry and people, through no fault of their own rely on the DWP in order to survive. It also has a knock off affect on local shops and the local economy. The less money that people have, the less they can spend. Common sense really isn’t it. 

I had a bizarre experience today. Once a month I am forced to use a supermarket, not of choice, to top up on some basic essentials. Having a very low income visiting a supermarket has really affected how I see things and how I actually am able to cope with a what should be a weekly shopping trip. The lights are too bright, there’s too much produce on shelves. I mean more than half of this are products that people don’t actually need but buy anyway. I bought what I could afford and left as soon as possible. I then realised that poverty has indeed isolated me. And even though I’ve wrote about this before in The Morning Star, sometimes it hits hard. Thousands feel what I felt today, and thousands will tomorrow. Life shouldn’t be like this. We should be able to buy something extra, some decent quality food. Right now the budget pasta will do and it keeps us going! 

Money for coffee donated by a very kind lady that I speak to at school. Many thanks they helped with the cold! 

Freezing cold handing out leaflets and advice. 

Many thanks to everyone that came and joined us. I certainly was not expecting a good turn out this week because of the cold, but I was surprised. It was too cold to take many photos though. 

Many thanks to everyone that supports us online, who read and shares my blog. Many thanks to the readers that have supported me. It’s a lonely world being an activist sometimes and it really helps. Many thanks to the reader that commented on The Guardian website and mentioned my blog. Thank you! Please keep sharing! 

Please donate if at all you can. This is a full time job for myself,  and my income is extremely limited. Every penny helps. I’m a single parent and I’m no longer afraid to say that I struggle. Thank you so much! 

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Eight food parcels handed out in under 2 hours. 

Thankfully today wasn’t as cold as last week, although it was damp. The rain clouds were hovering above us and to me it felt like a sign of impending doom. Dramatic I know, but the political state of the planet is pretty dire. 

Almost as soon as I arrived I was greeted by Roy, a tireless campaigner. I’ve mentioned him in the last blog I believe. We had a general chat, well more like a moan from myself.

The food parcels arrived and were much needed. It is hard for people to accept that they need the help, it’s degrading and demoralising. That’s exactly why we don’t judge. No one should be hungry and I make no apologies for repeating myself when I say that. 

The mood from the public wasn’t good. People sanctioned for not receiving letters, yes that is still happening. Scroll down to read a previous blog about that. 

We spoke to a young woman and her mother. Shes not had any money since November and the DWP are, once again giving her the run around. Luckily her mum had been buying her food, but she’s sold most of her possessions. It made me wonder just how many people are having to do this and are doing this via local selling sites on Facebook and Gumtree. It’s awful. Yes I’m aware that this has been happening for a long time now but her words triggered that thought. 

A pregnant lady and her boyfriend had moved from Liverpool and had no money at all. I had seen them walking around Ashton earlier that morning and I was glad to be able to speak to them. They had no money, were waiting for their payments to be sorted so we gave them a food parcel. They had had trouble getting hold of a food bank voucher. The complexities of this task can be mammoth. The DWP were less than kind to them. We communicated to them that we won’t question them, they can have a parcel every Thursday. 

We spoke to a few regulars, one of which is being forced to undergo unpaid work via Workfare at B&M. I loathe Workfare because a decent days work deserves a decent days pay, and also they would rather make a paid member of staff redundant to ensure that a non paid employee takes their place. It’s a win win situation for the employer and a loose, loose one for the poor person forced to do it. 

I spoke to a lovely young lady that starts work soon, I’m very happy for her. 

We had a new member of the team arrive today. She’s a student and had seen me speak at the Peoples Assembly showing of I, Daniel Blake in Manchester last week. I was so happy to see her. She a lovely young lady and a total credit to her family. 

There’s so much that I could write about, but I fear that I would bore you. But I would like to stress to you how much we need your support. In winter morale is low and we all need a boost. 

I had a laugh today, we celebrated the 2nd anniversary of my boots, the last time I bought any type of footwear. They are still going although not as well as they were. It’s nice to have a laugh!! 

I was also reminded that my battle with the DWP started in 2013. Yesterday when I was tidying a cupboard out I found the paperwork. I won that battle and got half an apology. But that was thanks to my then MP, who sorted it out straight away. It’s always very important to complain to your MP. The DWP hate this, more than they hate not sanctioned people. If anyone is interested I shall write a further blog about this. 

Many thanks to our supporters for dropping off two bags of food donations for our food parcels. They will be distributed in next week’s food parcels. 

Greetings and coffee from our supporters in Glossop. They brought some excellent food parcels and all were handed out. They are members of Unite the community, of which I’m a member also. 

No child should have to endure the wrath of the Jobcentre. 

Some of the food parcels. Full of appropriate food and a few treats. 

A big get well soon to our friend Pauline. Please rest and get well. Also get well wishes to my other friends that are ill and to those that are grieving. My thoughts are with you xxx. 

Please donate if you can. This is a full time job for myself and the campaigning continues when I get home. I do as much as I am able, depending on income and childcare. I’m a single parent and as any single parent will tell you it’s very hard. I don’t list exactly what I do, but I’m very busy. Any ardent campaigner will tell you the same thing. Thank you!

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This is why we protest and advise people every week. We try to prevent these atrocities from happening. The increasing death toll due to the loss of benefits

I am temporarily holding and updating Black Triangle’s list of people who have been affected by this governments policy of cuts and sanctions: Please read more about their ethos here: 14 Sep …

Source: The increasing death toll due to the loss of benefits

Plummeting temperatures meant a very cold and busy demo today. 

I’m writing this blog piece from the restaurant at Ikea. It was much too cold to walk home then walk the long treck to school again to pick my daughter up. It’s warm here and I can get a free cuppa. 

Today’s demo started off quite quickly. A comrade from Manchester was waiting for me and it was already cold. But it quickly got much colder the longer we stood there. 

The food parcels arrived and we started to hand them out as usual. Everyone was cold today and my heart goes out to everyone having to endure these below zero temperatures with unsuitable clothing. My coat is normally warm but wasn’t warm enough today. 

We saw a familiar face picking up his food parcel. It’s his birthday today and we gave him our best wishes and a hug. 

Then another gentleman that we help give regular food parcels to stopped to collect his food parcel. He was happier than usual because he had had a letter informing him that he can now apply for his workplace pension. He said it is only £20 a week, but it will make a massive difference and he will live like a lord. I’m really happy for him. 

We then spoke to various people. One man was explaining how he had lost his post office card and was having trouble replacing it. He accesses his money every fortnight using this, but the person on the end of the phone at the post office bank had said that he hadnt used it for 12 months. Ridiculous and he’s been referred to get this sorted out asap. 

We spoke to a young man, who for various reasons has to stay on a paper job search only. His advisor told him that if he doesn’t go online they will sanction him. Luckily he stood his ground, spoke to a supervisor and had this decision lifted. This begars the question….. Do DWP workers actually look at the claimants details on the computers whilst they are there or are they just trying it on to see if they can achieve an easy target? Always stick your ground with them. They cannot break an already binding agreement no matter what they try and say. 

Another young man came out of the Jobcentre. He had been inside for over an hour just for a signing on appointment. His advisor, one quite well known for their unkindness and lack of sympathy had decided that they had to apply for a totally unsuitable job that conflicts with their disability. Advice was given. Unfortunately we wernt inside the building to prevent this from happening.

Another couple were seen approaching the building. The gentleman appeared to be elderly, the lady in a wheelchair and was very obviously physically disabled. They said that they had been called to the Jobcentre yet again to prove that they were disabled. However they had already done their homework and stood their ground. 

Once people are empowered and knowledgeable it’s the best fightback ever. 

I’m still freezing, but the people forced to use the Jobcentre are even colder. The system is awful, it’s inhumane and degrading but designed to be so. But we are still fighting for change.

Lovely to see other groups out today campaigning but we do need more people to do regular protests like we do. Whatever the weather we are out there to help, advise, signpost and to give food parcels to. We need to empower people so that they can empower others and lower the risk of a future sanction. 

We will be back next week whatever the weather. It’s hard work but we will be there. 

Thanks to everyone that attended. 

Please donate or share if you can. We are the longest running Jobcentre protest in the country and we are very dedicated in helping and empowerong others. It’s also become a full time job for myself. And I can’t see that changing any time soon unfortunately. Every share helps and every donation does also. Thank you! 



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