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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Claiming carers allowance and being made to job search?

This next story is one we heard last week. The person we spoke to is very adamant that this is the truth, and that this is happening to him. We can only write upon his word, but we did see his paperwork regarding job searches etc.

A gentleman walked out of the supermarket in an obviously agitated way. He was upset so I stopped and asked him if he was ok.
He said that he is a carer for both his wife and his daughter. He is a registered carer and his daughter has learning problems and attends a special school. And that he also receives carers allowance.
He said that he couldn’t understand why the Jobcentre were making him do work searches. He said that they were hounding him constantly and he had already been sanctioned twice because of this.
He has to take his daughter both to and from school because of her special needs, but the Jobcentre had told him that he had to get a childminder. He said that would be impossible because of her condition.
He was very upset. He said that he needed to find work because then they will leave him alone. In his previous life he was a lorry driver for a haulage company. We asked him how would he do that? He has two people to care for. And he should not be having to undergo job searches.
He then told us of an experience where the Jobcentre forced him to attend an interview, knowing that he wouldn’t get the job because he doesn’t have his cards. They had ran out and he needs to renew them. We informed him that he does not need to complete job searches, because he is a registered carer and this in itself is seen as one of the only conditions that you don’t have to undertake job searches.
We spent quite a bit of time with him and we hope that we managed to help him. We advised him of his rights and told him that we would help him as much as possible.

Now this really worried me. If he is indeed claiming carers allowance like he said he was then his advisor obviously doesn’t know their own rules, or they do and they could be bending them.
It also made me also wonder if there is a new kind of conditionality scheme concerning people claiming carers allowance? I cannot say which one could possibly apply as I didn’t see the absolute proof of his claim for carers allowance, however we did see his obvious distress.
Whatever the reason,this man should not be suffering like this. What sort of a world do we live in when we are making a person who cares for his sick and disabled child suffer like this?
I will try and keep you updated on this case.
Please note. I’m taking a risk and writing this upon word of mouth information. Therefore I have not seen all of his paperwork. Therefore I cannot lay claim to complete accuracy like I normally cn. An appointment was made to see our local MP who was also very concerned about this matter.
Just because it shouldn’t be happening doesn’t mean that it isn’t happening. Something has obviously gone very wrong here for this chap. And I intend to get to the bottom of it.
And for those saying that this cannot happen, it happened to a friend of mine last year. The jobcentre got stopped in their tracks because we had informed her of her rights. If she hadn’t it would have been a different story.

Also I’m really wanting to get the issue of in work conditionality whilst on universal credit out there. We really need to make people see how harsh and unfair this is.
I know that this is a big ask, but if you or anyone you know having to go through this please can you contact me? No names need to be given, but a contact email address etc would be great. Both myself, DPAC,  Boycott Workfare and other agencies are really trying to raise awareness about this. Thank you very much.

“There can be no compromise with universal credit conditionality and Sanctions. It’s like saying we are going to hurt you, but only a bit so it doesn’t matter.”

Oh and for all the grammar police out there, if you feel that my blog is so terrible then please don’t read. I purposely don’t use complicated words, I like to keep my blog short and simple. I am aware that I am not perfect and I often write on the go. Ive got a couple of suggestions for you. Why don’t you do some campaigning yourselves? Maybe you won’t be as quick to judge then, or even better write your own blog.

Thursdays weekly demonstration. Desperation is a constant fiend for claimants.

It’s not easy being a claimant at the jobcentre. Before you even get past the front desk, which is adorned by G4s staff intimidation and fear seems to be the lifeblood of the place.

A claimant is met by a first set of doors. These open automatically and there you see another set of doors. There used to be glass in these doors, but they saw fit to cover them up with a mirrored covering. They don’t like people looking in. You try to open these doors and they are extremely heavy. A person without any physical disabilities struggles opening these doors. It’s been the same for years, I doubt they want to change this. They like it as it is.

When you get to the small reception desk you are greeted by one or two Dwp staff members and two or three G4s security guards. They are there I’m sure to make you feel insecure. This is a place that no one enters by choice.
You then are told either to wait in the appropriate area of if you are 10 minutes early for your appointment you are told to go outside and wait. If the staff are running late that doesn’t matter, they don’t get sanctioned do they.

There are signs everywhere telling you that you can’t have any “hot” drinks in the building indeed a claimant who had brought a warm drink inside the building had it taken off him and placed in the door entry for anyone to take. It’s ridiculous, and also he could have spent his last pennies on this drink.
Neither are you allowed to use a mobile phone or device. If you are seen using it, even to just type a job search they threaten to take it off you. There’s no point in the WiFi being set up in that building, because you aren’t allowed to use your phone inside.

You are then left waiting for your appointment. The g4S guards watching you. Jobcentre staff laughing and joking between themselves. They often run late, many have no regard for the claimants.
Single parents are told not to bring their children into the jobcentre also which is certainly not in any rule book.
There are no toilets that claimants can use, neither is there a lift available for disabled claimants to use.

It’s then down to luck. If you’ve got a nice advisor, which is getting rarer by the day, or your advisor is in a good mood then you might be OK. But if not you are left feeling belittled, intimidated and desperate. It’s no surprise that many people attempt to commit suicide either just before an appointment or just after. The stress is too much for many.
It’s not exactly easy is it? Walk a mile in a claimants shoes before you judge them.

At 10am on Thursday I was met by a disabled lady who had been declared fit by the gods of ATOS. Yes despite the Tory party trying to appease the public, they still do assessments. This lady clearly wasn’t well enough to work. I informed her of her right to appeal, and signposted her to welfare rights. She said that she was certainly going to appeal. The poor woman couldn’t even open the door of the jobcentre.

I was then approached by several working people, working part time whilst claiming universal credit. They are devastated about the changes to universal credit being introduced this month. They are also all very upset about being told to do 30 hour job searches despite working. Yes we are challenging this so expect news on that front soon. We don’t feel that it is right to be doing this. These people are already working, so why should they be penalised.

A claimant stormed out of the jobcentre after being treated very unfairly by a jobcentre advisor. This advisors name keeps popping up and they have a reputation for being awful to claimants. The claimant was furious so armed with a piece of paper and a pen a complaint was wrote out straight away. After we had informed them of their rights they felt empowered. You do have a voice and they won’t be seeing that advisor again.

Also too many women with new born babies are being called in for “benefit reviews”whilst I’m sure that all of these advisors aren’t horrible, I’ve got no doubt that the DWP do this to keep the thumb screws on so to speak. Make sure they know their place, make them feel intimidated. Just the thing you need to deal with when you have just had a baby.

We handed lots of leaflets out, offered help and guidance and provided a shoulder to cry on for any claimant that needed it. We shall continue to do this every week. Please come and join us between 10-12 every Thursday Ashton under Lyne jobcentre, old Street.

It’s getting worse folks, there’s no doubt about that, and it’s hard work. We really would like your support.
Many thanks to everyone that turned up and supported us. To our regular supporters who were too poorly to attend get well soon!

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The confiscated cup of coffee.
By the way Ashton Under lyne Jobcentre, please get your computers working properly. You expect claimants to use them everyday but they keep breaking down. It needs sorting out.
Note to G4s security guards. You have yet again forgotten that you are nor allowed, under the data protection act to handle claimants personal details or ask them for any information. We are watching you. You keep forgetting!

Carers now being targeted by the DWP. 

Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with all the changes that are occurring in the DWP. It seems like a never ending turnstile of changes. I usually get alerted to the big changes fairly early on before they happen, but I missed this one. 

A lady approached me outside the Jobcentre yesterday during our weekly demonstration. To say she was a bit annoyed was an understatement. She is a full time carer for her disabled son. His condition is unpredictable at times and as a result they are in receipt of a high level DLA payment. It’s not easy to get a high level award and this lady has fought very hard to get this.

She had received a letter from the Jobcentre. She had been asked to go into the Jobcentre for a mandatory back to work meeting. To make matters worse they didn’t send her to her nearest Jobcentre, they sent her to one which wasn’t in walking distance, indeed it is a tram ride away. When she told me I was a bit shocked. She needs to be at home to care for her child, but apparently all this is changing now. She went into her meeting and returned to talk to me to let me know the outcome. 

“The advisor that I saw was totally unsympathetic she showed no compassion at all. She asked me if I knew what my sons condition would be like next year. I said I didn’t know, it’s not a condition that just goes away, it’s part of him and won’t improve. She told me that I would have to leave him with a childminder and they would pay for it. I replied there is no way that a childminder could take him on. He’s very unpredictable in his behaviour and could be a danger to others. I told her that he needs his routine, I can’t just take him out of his routine and leaving him with strangers is not an option. She asked where my child was now. I stated that he was with my daughter who had a day off work. She then looked at me as if to say well she can look after him…… She asked me if he goes to school, I replied that I don’t know which secondary school he is going to yet. And when he does it will be a special needs school, where I can be called out at any moment to pick him up. She then went on to ask me how many hours a day do I look after him. I replied all of the time, but she gave a smart answer…. Well you don’t when he’s at school so you. I said I have told you before I’m constantly on call. She didn’t seem to care. My child doesn’t matter to her. The system is crooked and wrong and I told her that. She sat there all smug with a half smile on her face, nicely manicured nails, nice clothes and reeking of perfume. My daily struggles don’t even allow me to think of myself. I’m disgusted and worried for my sons future”

She is going to fight this and is seeking advice. 

Yesterday we also noticed that the amount of older people having to use the Jobcentre has increased enormously. You can’t receive pension credits at the age of 60 now, so if you loose your job you have to sign on. One chap who was 61 has been told that he might be sanctioned because he cannot get his head around using computers. He’s worked all his life and shouldn’t be going through this. We will help him through this.

Another man again aged 61 lost his job and has been sent to do course after course. He applies for lots of jobs but the job market is so tough he doesn’t stand a chance of finding a job at his age. Of course the DWP don’t see this. They want to work pensioners to death. 

This is so worrying and these are cases where the most vulnerable are being targeted wrongfully by this government. They are not “scroungers” in fact I think that word should be banned. They are people trying to get by under very difficult situations. Remember you could be next. 

Next Thursday the 6th of August we are celebrating our first anniversary of a solid year of weekly demonstarations outside the Jobcentre. There will (hopefully) be music, food, speakers and the usual leaflets and help given. Please come and join us in peace we would love to meet you! 

  
Please donate to help keep our campaign going. This isn’t just a blog, we work tirelessly to highlight how wrong the regime that this government has inflicted upon the poorest and most vulnerable in society. We have to produce our own leaflets and campaign materials.. I also spend most of my time helping people and attending meetings etc to enable us to help more. We will not be stopping our campaign despite how hard it might get for us. There is a lot of work that does go into this and it’s not just a few hours a week. 

Please donate to help keep our campaign going. We work very hard at this and it has become more or less a full time job for me.

Don’t claim DLA claim JSA states Jobcentre worker to unwell lady. Striking Jobcentre workers and army recruitment tactics inside the Jobcentre.

I’ve been quiet for a while so many apologies for being away. Sometimes it just gets too much and last week was one of those weeks. I had to have a bit of time out and as a result I feel much better. When you are heavily involved with this type of work it can and does get to you. The injustice of it all gets too much. It seems like your fighting a lone battle, when in reality you aren’t. But you are stuck in a corner for a while screaming to be heard. 

I’m writing this on the day the some Jobcentre workers in Bolton are striking over their conditions whilst implementing universal credit. Whilst I fully sympathise and support them I can’t help to wonder why on earth aren’t they making a bigger noise about the way they are being forced to treat innocent people? They are also victims, indeed they are the bigger victims. Solidarity to those workers though. If I could be there I would be to show my support and to share the pain of the members of the public entering Jobcentres up and down the country. It’s a pity that my local Jobcentre didn’t see fit to strike… Maybe that’s a question that they would like to answer? 

Whilst handing out leaflets a very disabled lady came out of the Jobcentre. She was very upset and was close to tears. I handed her a leaflet and asked her what was wrong. She said that she suffers from a congenital medical condition. It causes her joints to unlock constantly and as a result she struggles to walk and depends on crutches and her friend to take her out in her car. She was obviously in a lot of pain and the struggle in her eyes was very obvious. She told me that she is on DLA but the Jobcentre had called her in. She showed me the letter, it was a compliance letter. The anger in her voice then became apparent. They had told her that she must come off her DLA and claim JSA and look for work. This woman is incapable of holding down a job. Why? Because she can’t sit down, she can’t stand up she can’t lift, she’s in constant pain and she survives on a mixture of very strong painkillers. She also is a regular attendee of the local hospital often spending nights in there and has to have operations etc. I told her not to come off her DLA, she has been awarded that because she obviously needs it. If we weren’t there she could well have done as they said. And that’s a very scary thought.. 

A man then walked out of the Jobcentre, he looked harassed and said to me “you’ve got to do something about the staff in there”. I asked him what was wrong and he said her went to sign on as usual and had complied with everything on the job search list. The advisor kept trying to trip him up and said ” if you ever fail to comply I will sanction you” with that he gave a smile… You know that sort of smile that’s half way between a smile and a sneer? He said it happens to him everytime he goes in and it feels like they want to sanction him every week. We advised him that he can change advisors, he said he would do.. But it isn’t right that they can be allowed to behave like this. The advisors that do should be challenged. 

We had the usual complaints of advisors being purposely rude to clients… There’s no need for it. They need to remember that if it wasn’t for them they wouldn’t have a job!!!

A member of the public was refused to be allowed to change his signing on time because he had a job interview…. Can’t win either way. If he doesn’t sign on his money gets stopped if he doesn’t go to the interview he gets sanctioned. It’s a loose loose situation. 

The other week we had the army recruiting in the job centre. Now you might think that this is ok, that’s a matter of opinion. However the tactics that they were using were shocking.. A member of the public enlightened us to what they were doing.. The officers that’s they sent to the job centre were junior members of the army and not qualified to recruit members…. The tactics that they were using went like this…. You aren’t going to get a job so you’ve got to join the army…. Now this is where I disagree. Joining the army is a personal choice often a vocation. You should never be forced into it, and this should never be allowed. Trading on the vulnerable to enrole.. What next compulsory signing up? Makes you wonder doesn’t it. 

A workfare provider happened to walk past our demo. She started to get very irate at the oldest member of our group, who works tirelessly to help others. She’s seen it all before but shame on this lady for her attitude. She was not willing to discuss any issues at all, she just kept repeating workfare is right, my company benefits from it. Of course they do… They profit by not having to pay a member of staff.. All I can say is that she lives in a totally different world than many people and didn’t have an ounce of compassion. Shame on her, maybe one day she will suffer like she makes those that slave for her do. Make no mistake it’s a modern form of slavery and needs to be stopped. Everyone deserves a decent days pay for a decent days work. Bring back properly paid work trials. They do exist but very rarely these days..also the number of people being employed after being on a workfare programme by the company they slave for is very very low.. We need to outlaw workfare. It does nothing to help, only to demoralise. It also is damaging the local economy. Less paid work, less people contributing to the local economy. It doesn’t make sense to anyone but a workfare provider.  

I run this blog on a shoestring and I would love to keep it going. Please donate to help keep our campaign going. We work very hard at this and it has become more or less a full time job for me.