Today’s demo. Solidarity, sunshine and freezing temperatures. Food parcels gone as soon as they arrived. Nine handed out. 

This morning I am guilty of having a slight meltdown myself on my twitter feed. I checked my bank account and it said zero balance. Not good, but I could manage and I’m not asking for sympathy. But it was a shock and I woke with a start at 4am. 

Today can only get better I said to myself and it did. 

Anyway I digress. On Tuesday I met a lovely lady whom we had been helping at the demo.

 She was in the process of sorting her claim out, and had been relying on food parcels and various places where she could get a free hot meal. She had access to local facilities but holds a great deal of trust with us. People go to whom they trust sometimes. 

She had ran out of food, and because she’s particularly vulnerable I arranged to buy her some basic essentials to keep her going. It felt good being able to do that. She’s amazing. 

She told me that she was due her first benefit payment on Thursday, which is today. Today she found me at the Jobcentre and said that she had received her payment and she was going to buy myself and my daughter a cuppa. She’s over the moon, so happy and I’m happy for her. That’s a big weight lifted from my shoulders. I was very worried about her. 

I bumped into  another lady I have been helping for a long while now. She had become empowered and was fighting the system. 

She rightfully wanted the money that she is entitled to that has been denied for so long. They had given her a proper run around. They like to do this. 

They eventually agreed to pay her her money but had said that she wasn’t going to get all of the backpay that they owed her. 

She had done her homework and managed to get all her backpay.  She’s become totally empowered and I’m very proud of her. This is what it’s all about and the government hates it. 

I arrived at the Jobcentre at 10am and already there were three people waiting for the food parcels. Two new faces. 

I had a chat with them and signposted them for the help that they need. I also advised them myself. 

It wasn’t long before more people waiting for food parcels arrived. By the time that the food parcels had arrived they had all been spoken for. These are all people in need. No one asks for a food parcel unless they are needed. It’s a last resort. 

A lovely lady whom I had been speaking to on Twitter arrived with three food parcels. They went as soon as they arrived. She had seen my call out for help via Twitter. She also gave us £4 towards cuppas for everyone. 

She couldn’t believe how hard it is standing outside helping people. It really is cold. The atmosphere can be frosty from within the Jobcentre also. 

I spoke to a man that I hadn’t seen for a while. He said the system has made him really ill. The DWP staff are being awful to him and he thinks that he’s facing a sanction. I advised him, gave him a food parcel and reassured him that we will ensure that we will do everything that we can to help him. 

Chatted  to another man. I have spoken to him previously and he trusts me. He also said that the system has made him ill. Admittedly he doesn’t look well. 

I advised him to go and see his doctor and chatted to him to ensure that he is receiving everything that he should be. He is, but I advised him to go on ESA because he clearly isn’t well. I advised him on how to do this etc. 

Today, we also held our demo in solidarity with International Women’s Day and the International Women’s Strike. 

So many women in our country are being affected by decisions made by those in power. Supporting this moment in my eyes is very important. We had a fantastic new banner which was made by Pat one of our members. 

I was so happy to have a local councillor join us today. What a lovely surprise. Thanks to all the local councillors that cant be  with us but do send their support to us, also my local MPs. I’m lucky to have some really good ones. A message of solidarity means so much! 

Some say that I shouldn’t complian about my issues. Some  say they aren’t important and I shouldn’t be looking for sympathy. Maybe they aren’t but I do this to enable people to see what life is like for a skint single parent campaigner. We don’t get paid, despite what Donald Trump says. I shan’t apologise for doing this. Life is tough. 

Many thanks to Pauline and we shall overcome for the food parcels, and the lovely lady from Twitter that also donated three. 

Massive shout out to the amazing anti fracking campaigners down at Preston New Road near Blackpool. They are getting beaten daily by the police in the quest to keep our water clean. Solidarity! If you can go and join them all are welcome. I love them all. 

My daughter symbolically sweeping austerity and poverty away. Replacing it with love. She was sent home from school yesterday due to a virus but is feeling much better now. She’s been involved in peaceful activism since approximately the age of six. She’s very good at it, and is very wise and caring. I hope that she does great things when she’s older. 

Please donate if you possibly can. It’s not easy campaigning and we are making a difference. We feed, empower and enable people to survive the awful DWP system. We have save life’s, and this is not an understatement. We are a person’s first port of call when they are feeling awful, stressed and sometimes suicidal. We are hands on, and deal with issues as and when they happen. I’m also struggling also, but you all know that.  Many thanks to those that have already. Thank you!

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My latest article in The Morning Star. Do the maths. 

Whilst I and many others help vulnerable people when they have been sanctioned, whilst the DWP are planning to shut down Jobcentres in the guise of saving money. I did the maths and  asked this question. 

I do not get paid for my submitted articles. 
https://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-5e7b-Are-benefit-sanctions-only-about-cutting-costs#.WLkYb6CnxSB

Please donate if you can. Myself and the team work very hard both campaigning on the street and I do alot of unseen work. It’s a full time job. I cant stand to see anyone suffer. Thank you!
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Today’s demo. Food parcels going at a record rate, overwhelmed with issues and cold weather. 

Today’s demo as usual started at 10am when I arrived. Already waiting for me were a few people awaiting their food parcels. I hate having to make people wait, but it was only a few minutes and I spent the time talking to them to see if there was any updates on their situations. The queue grew larger and for those not believing me I will post a photo below. 

The first couple that I spoke to are very vulnerable. The lady is heavily pregnant and is due her baby in approximately four weeks. We have helped her as much as possible and she is now waiting for her money to arrive in her bank which will hopefully be Thursday, but like they realise they can’t depend on this. 

They had ran out of electric and I couldn’t see her and a possible new baby go cold. It’s very cold at the moment. So I gave them money for electric and also the food parcel. 

They have been accessing all local help and are getting hot meals locally. I’ve really taken to this couple. Their situation is complicated and I admire their strength of character. She also has everything that they need for the baby. I’m awaiting positive news before next week’s demo. I often stop and talk to them during the week and have a cuppa with them. I know what it’s like I’ve been there. 

We had alot of people asking for advice regarding failed ESA medicals (Employment Support Allowance). I’ve noticed that alot more people locally are being failed recently and are being made to suffer because they are ill or disabled in some way. Advice was given, signposting given and solidarity. This is very important. 

A chap suffering from schizophrenia stopped to talk to us. He’s having a hard time, although it’s hard to say what exactly has happened. He isnt well and is struggling to remember and comprehend some things. He struggles with letters. But we advised him, showed him compassion and told him that he’s very welcome to come and chat to us at any time. He shouldn’t be punished because he is ill. His life is valuable. 

A street homeless chap joined us for a while. It was a pleasure speaking to him. He was a wealth of knowledge and is trying to sort his life put despite the DWP trying to mess it up. He said that he’s doing his best to stay strong and is accessing local help. He said that tries to travel to Manchester at some point in the week because there is more hep there for him. He realises that our town is only small, and he is concerned that Street homeless people are travelling from Manchester to Ashton and we don’t have the resources. He’s correct. He does advise them to stay in Manchester. I hope that he stays strong and we see him again next week. He told me that word had got round that we are a nice group of people and that we are easy to talk to and aren’t judgemental. 

We spoke to many people today, took a person for a cuppa with us after the demo and gave some help and advice. A really lovely person. 

On Tuesday we also did an extra pop up demo in support of a street homeless man who was badly treated by our local Housing Advice department. Their compassion is akin to that of Teresa May’s. Not many turned up but we were there and the solidarity was strong. 

My week has also been very busy, all unpaid. But it’s very important to get the word out there. I had an interview with RT news on one of their channels named Going Underground.

https://www.rt.com/shows/going-underground/378715-uk-public-committee-bafta/

They were fab and I think that it went well. 
I also had another article published in The Morning Star. I will also post a link to this also. 
https://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/tb472df-charlotte-hughes

I had a fantastic interview with one of the amazing women from the brilliant Crossroads Centre in London. They do amazing work there and I always feel inspired to do more positive work after meeting and talking to them. One day I might be able to afford to spend a day in London and be able to visit their centre. 

I’ve also had lots of other issues to deal with and I haven’t stopped. To give an example my typical day this week has consisted of me leaving my home at 8.20 am for the long school walk and returning home with my daughter at around 6pm ish. For anyone that says activists are lazy, I’d like to see them spend a week as I do. 

I’m also arranging with the other women in out group an event for International Women’s week. We will be holding a banner in solidarity and maybe wearing something symbolic in solidarity. We haven’t decided as to what yet. This will show our support for the international women’s strike. 

I have managed, after a slight struggle to obtain tickets from my local Unite Community union branch for the transport via train to the NHS March in London on Saturday. Please note that it’s free and I am not loaded. We will be taking sandwiches.
My daughter is very keen on supporting this march, as am I. They saved my oldest daughters life on more than one occasion last year. 

I’m as tired as you can get, demands are high as times get harder. The team are extremely supportive but it’s hard work! But I love it. Helping others and empowering others to fight this vindictive government is the best medicine that I could ever have.
I’m also still struggling with technology so please be patient with me. For myself and most people that I know, we seem to be finding everything a struggle. But that’s life! 

Some of the Queue for the food parcels. Yes this does happen. We could stand there all day and constantly hand food parcels out. 

Please donate if you can. I’ve done much more than this this week, but I would bore you with all of that. It’s a full time job but I can’t abandon people that need help. We have become a necessity. As a result I’ve paid a big price, but I don’t expect sympathy it’s just the way that it is. 
Remember that every life matters, not just the ones that the government deem as being important! 

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Today’s demo. G4S bully boys and Storm Doris both making an appearance. Food parcels taken in less than 10 minutes. 

I’ll start today’s blog by describing the weather, because it certainly just about sums things up. Windy, raining and hostile. Certainly not favourable for holding our weekly demo. But still we soilder on. People need our support, it’s as simple as that. 

I arrived at 10am, completely resigned to having to be on my own. Weather warnings had already gone out, and I certainly didn’t want anyone to put themselves at risk. I wouldn’t expect it. 

As soon as I arrived the queue for the food parcels started. No one really wanted to be hanging around in this storm, especially the people needing them. I had to ask them to hang on a mo for them to arrive. 

It wasn’t long before Gordon arrived with them, by then a few people had gathered and most were handed out straightaway. All people desperate for some food. It makes me so angry that people are being made to suffer like this. 

A bit of good news though, one person that depends on a food parcel will be able to receive their pension soon, and another will be able to access their money in two weeks. 

The atmosphere was very busy, but also quiet. There wasn’t as many passers by today due to the storm, and people were going straight into the Jobcentre to try and shelter from the rain and wind. Of course the DWP staff were totally unsympathetic and made some go back outside and wait. They had full knowledge of the bad weather, they also have windows. They can see it. 

Anyway, we tried to have a chat with those wanting to speak. One man is struggling on a zero hour contract agency job. He’s finding it hard to get any kind of sympathy from anyone that holds any kind of authority anywhere. But we had a good chat and I signposted him. 

A new G4S security guard thought that he could ruffle our feathers by asking us to move away from the doors of the Jobcentre. We were not causing any obstruction, so he was given a short message from myself and my comrade. “No we aren’t moving, it’s our legal right to stand here”. He went back inside the Jobcentre rather quietly. I’m beginning to think that the G4S staff members now do this as some form of iniation ceremony for new members of staff. I find it rather amusing. 

On the way to the demo I made sure that I got 2 hot drinks for the two homeless men that I saw. No one should have to live like they do. This also makes me angry.

We finished early because it was becoming too dangerous. I wanted to make sure that everyone got home safely. But we did help alot of people today. And for 1 1/4 hours it was very eventful. 

I had a very short appearance on the Victoria Derbyshire show on Tuesday. It was biased towards the Tory Mp and I had hardly any air time. Anyway, I’m doing an interview with Rt news later today so will keep you informed of that. 

Here’s some photos taken before the storm picked up.

A massive thanks to all the team for turning up today I really didn’t expect it. Thank you! 

Please donate if you can or share. My income is extremely low, and this has become a full time job. I certainly didn’t realise that it would become this. Campaigners always sacrifice alot for their cause.  One day we shall overcome!

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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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