A hard morning. A man crying, rain pouring. It’s supposed to be August.

I’m not going to bother you with talking about the weather, I’ve said it in today’s blog title. It was raining AGAIN. Will we ever get a break, and have some good weather for once? My heart went out to Richard, a homeless chap who I buy a cuppa for most mornings and chat to. We always put the world to rights. He deserves a medal, such a nice man who has unfortunately fallen on hard times.

Gordon, who normally drops the food parcels off is currently unwell, get well soon Gordon! We missed you today! So Roy collected them also. He’s not feeling 100% well either, nor am I but we plod on and thank you so much, Roy, for your help and dedication.

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The food parcels went to people who had no food or very little through no fault of their own. it’s extremely hard to manage on the meagre amount of money that the government provides, that is, if you haven’t been sanctioned or refused your rightful claim of ESA. People still have to pay the bedroom tax and the council tax supplement. They also might have debts to pay, gas and electric to buy. The list never ends does it?

 

 

I spoke to a man who had been made homeless due to no fault of his own. He was living in very sub standard accommodation and had complained about it. The landlord then made the decision to evict him. I’m not sure about the exact details, but I do know that he hadn’t received adequate advice regarding how to claim housing benefit etc. If we had met him previously we would have done so.

He started to cry and went on to tell me that yes he does drink, but not to get drunk. Just enough to stop getting ill. “I’m 47 years old, I never expected that I would be living like this. I had a home, a life. I worked. Now I’m treated like crap and only a few care”

He took his phone out of his pocket and showed me the photos of his previous accommodation. To say it was disgusting is a massive understatement. No one should be forced to live like this and my heart went out to him.

We did signpost him to relevant organisations, and he assured us that he will work with them the best that he can do.

 

 

I said hello to a man that I’ve seen in my local area for a few years now. He’s a refugee and has managed to get permanent residence to stay and work in the UK.  His advisor is giving him a hard time though, most likely because his English is poor and from experience, they do target people with a poor grasp of the English vocabulary.

They have had him on daily signing on appointments for a long time now, he hasn’t been told why but he has to attend or get sanctioned. When a person is put on daily signings they are given a special card that gets them into the Jobcentre quickly. I would say a get out of jail card, but it’s more like a get in jail card. They told him that he wasn’t allowed to show anyone the card but I saw it. Their excuse is that it’s the property of the DWP. No, it’s not. If the gentleman has to carry this with him every day, then it’s his property. He can show who he likes when he likes.

Look out for people having to carry these cards. They are a sign that the person carrying it has been singled out for some reason, so it’s always worth asking them.

 

 

I spoke to an older gentleman who had been refused his ESA. I offered him help, but he is a man on a mission and was adamant that he will be appealing and he has it in hand. So hopefully he has, and hopefully, he will overturn that decision, as so many rightfully do.

 

 

I spoke to a young lad who has managed to find a bed at a local homeless hostel. He’s trying his best to sort his life out and to get on top of his mental health issues. It’s not going to be easy living there, but I could tell from what he was saying that he will do it.

 

 

We saw far too many older people forced to use the Jobcentre today, one man, in particular, looked very ill but didn’t want to speak to anyone. That place does that to you. The system can make a person shy away and become wary of society. They are treated like rubbish by their so called advisors, so expect the same from everyone else.

 

 

Once again, far too many WASPI women forced to use the Jobcentre and also far too many women with very young children. This also breaks my heart.

 

 

There were only four of us there today, I and Roy were on our own for a good while. It was tough, heartbreaking and stressful, but we will always be there to help others. They need the support.

 

Today should have been our 4th anniversary, but I made the decision to postpone our special demo because we have guests from other campaigns coming to visit in several weeks and I would like it to coincide with their arrival.

 

I couldn’t take photos because I left the big camera at home due to the rain, and the phone I’m using is rubbish so please forgive me. I am trying to rectify this though.

I’m tired, a tad fed up but I won’t stop helping those in need because their journey is far harder than mine.

 

 

Please donate help keep the blog and campaign going if you can. If not please share. It’s important that we keep talking about this all the time. This has become a full-time job for myself, and anyone spending any time with me will attest to that.

Thank you!

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Tameside hospital to hand out food parcels to patients. 

I live in Tameside and this is my local area. It’s a very poor area with small pockets of the more wealthier individuals, and sometimes I view these vast differences much the same as Charles Dickens did when he wrote A tale of two cities. Those with the extra cash sometimes have no idea that so many are going without the very basics. 

It’s not easy living in Tameside when you are poor, much the same as any other area in the country. Tameside is a name for an area which covers many small towns. Some of them quite rural, some of them urban. 

There is a very high level of unemployment in Tameside combined with evil zero hour contracts, a very harsh DWP sanctioning regime and also universal credit which was piloted in Ashton Under Lyne. 

We are hit from all angles. We have the bedroom tax to pay, the council tax supplement and combine this with the DWP sanctioning regeime it’s a disaster waiting to happen. 

Food banks aren’t everywhere and aren’t easily accessible for all. When you’ve got no money then you can’t even consider public transport, and the food that food banks provide are just meant to keep you going, mainly to stop you from starving. In my eyes it’s a travesty that food banks even have to exist. The government is quite proud of their existence when in reality they should be holding their heads in shame. 

When people are constantly hungry they become ill. Your immune system becomes depressed and I’m sure there has been an increase in doctors surgeries and my local hospital which is Tameside hospital. I can bet that nurses and doctors couldn’t believe the amount of malnutrition in their hospital. It must be like stepping back into Victorian times and is truly shocking. 

It’s a complete travesty that a hospital has to hand out food to patients to take home. It’s nothing short of a national disaster. But ask this government if they care and the answer will be no. 

But it’s getting worse. The local authority has got to make more cuts and many of them are going to be targeted at the poorest in Tameside and the services that are offered to the poorest in Tameside. I urge Tameside council to think again. By doing this then the situation is only going to get worse. I realise that your budget is being cut but please don’t take the lifeline away from those in the most need. 

 

  
Tell me Mr Cameron why are you doing this to the people of our country? This is nothing short of a national disaster and you Mr Cameron are breaching many basic human rights laws. Every human being should have access to food, water and a place to live. 

I will write later about our regular weekly demonstration yesterday. And once again I want to thank you for your support. Creative Commons License
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Why should a young person at the start of their life feel like they want to end it? 

Today was our usual Thursday afternoon outside the Jobcentre. The rain kept off and everyone was still in a fairly good mood. It had been a good weekend at the Manchester demonstrations and our visit from Natalie Bennett had given everyone a good morale boost. And quite rightly so, they deserved it. The team are amazing. 

Not long after most of our regular attendees had arrived I received a telephone call. It was from a claimant at Ashton Jobcentre. They were panicking and I could hear them crying. I asked what was wrong and they said that they had received a letter stating that they had to attend a work programme course in a different town too far away to walk and they didn’t have enough bus fare to get there. They didn’t know how to get there. 

I asked them if they could meet me outside the Jobcentre which they did because they were still in town. 

When they arrived they were clearly very distressed. The first thing I did was give them a hug and some kind words. Doesn’t cost anything but it means the world. Then we set to task. 

The first worry was that a job interview coincided with a work programme day. So I went into the Jobcentre with them and I explained the matter to them. They were shocked to see me but were curteous and did everything that I requested. After being told previously that I was banned it was nice to be able to go in and sort this out and communicate with them. 

Then we sorted out the bus route etc and maybe someone to go with them. And we had a collection for their bus fares. We won’t let anyone go without even if we have nothing ourselves. 

Everything changed then. The claimant sat down and said that they couldn’t do this anymore. They wanted to end their life. It was too hard. How many things are they going to be asked to do they said. Please understand that this train is very vulnerable with health issues. They were found fit by the gods of Atos and we’re now being put into situations that they are finding very difficult to deal with. 

Comrades took them to a safe place and provided the compassion that they needed. Made sure that they had enough food etc and a list of things to do. One of them being to be put back on ESA. The stress of the Jobcentre is literally killing them. 

This left us all saddened. A comrade who had spoken at the peoples assembly demonstration had attended and was very enlightened by the work that we do. We don’t just stand outside the Jobcentre and shout. We provide support and compassion. Things that society is lacking these days. 

We will be following this up and providing proper support and advice. 

The work that we do is the type of work that does start the changes that is needed to fight against this government. It’s not dissimilar to the anti poll tax campaigners back in Thatchers day. These little movements turn into big movements and they grow. 

Many thanks to the new groups that have started up after being involved in ours. One in Stockport and one in Glossop. There are also others starting up and if I have forgotten you I apologise. 

Thanks for your support we really do appreciate it. 

We are running low on leaflets so any donations would be more than gratefully received. My Paypal add is seercharlotte@gmail.com

Big shout out to The people’s assembly and Manchester trade union council for the amazing work that they have done organising the whole Tory party protest events and demonstrations. 

Many thanks to everyone who attended today. Creative Commons License
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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.