Ten minutes early.. go away and come back.. Long Universal Credit waits. Speak poor English.. given a telephone number to phone instead of help. Nothing unusual but this shouldn’t be happening. Today’s demo.

Hi readers, sorry for being late in posting today, we had a mini meeting after the demo and as a result I haven’t had time to write the blog.

Anyway todays demo was a hard one as usual. The weather was awful yet again and we were busy from the offset. Every week its different and I never know what to expect and it would be wrong to expect anything wouldn’t it. Every person is an individual and their problems and worries are different as a result. Also every advisor is different, some are harsher than others, much harsher. Some have got a good reputation so far and yes I know who you are.

 

 

As I arrived I was stopped by a man straight away. He’s in an awful situation, his ESA was stopped and he’s now awaiting his first JSA payment to be made. Because he is appealing the ESA decision he can do this and he is getting help with this also.

He just wanted to chat etc and his girlfriend needed a little help also. He was left waiting for her outside the Jobcentre with us and waited for well over a hour. They really interrogated her today about several back to work courses, which as we know are mostly farcical. I hope she does start a course thats actually going to help her, there is one that does so fingers crossed. I won’t get started on The Workprogramme because it makes me irate and I could write a full blog on that subject. Let me know if you want to hear about that.

 

 

I then had to help a lady who’s second language is English with a telephone call to the DWP. I mean for gods sake she had to come out of the Jobcentre to make the telephone call and was told to do so by her advisor. She couldn’t understand the person on the other end of the telephone line so I helped her. Come on Jobcentre staff! This lady spoke poor English, not her fault and you should know better. It’s almost as if you are setting her up to fail (which you are aren’t you). If I hadn’t had helped her she wouldn’t have got the information that she needed. The information that she needed was the freepost address to send her sicknote to. This should have been given to her at the counter, failing that they should have supported her needs and made the telephone call for her. They really are despicable aren’t they.

 

 

We were then joined by Gerry, Malcom and Jill from Castleton Labour Club Rochdale. Can I say that I have the upmost respect for Castleton Labour Club, they are fab, really supportive of the campaign and myself and seeing them really cheered me up. They also brought some food to go into the food parcels which was amazing. Thank you!

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I then spoke to a man who had been turned away from the Jobcentre on more than one occasion. They kept telling him that he was too early. Ok the first time he was 15 minutes early, so he went for a walk in the cold and rain. He returned and was told that he was now 10 minutes too early so he had to leave again. This is common practice, its all part of the DWPs scheme to remind people who their master is (them) and how they must remember their place. Let’s grind people down until they are completely subservient to the DWPs bullying ways. It’s actions like this that can push someone over the edge and it often does.

 

 

I then had a chat with a man that just likes to come over for a chat. He isn’t having it easy, his living conditions aren’t ideal and he struggles with this at times. We had a good chat and he said that this makes his day a lot easier, that was nice.

 

 

I then spoke to a lady who had been transferred from Stalybridge Jobcentre and as a result she has to walk a few miles to attend her appointments at the Jobcentre. She is finding this hard, really hard and also has children to look after. She had recently had to wait 9 weeks for her first Universal Credit payment to start and as a result she had gone through only what I can describe as hell. She managed though, she didnt say how but she did say it was awful. As a result of having to wait this long she had to take a loan from the DWP to help her out. Upon recieving her first payment they took 40% of her money and will continue to do so until she has paid it back.

We had a chat, and she took a food parcel. I can’t reiterate to you how hard it is to accept a food parcel let alone ask for one. It’s like admitting that you are failing both your children and yourself and its always a very last resort. Today she just wanted to get home but she was given a copy of our survival guide, as was everyone that we spoke to. She also took a food parcel so that they could eat.

 

 

We are the 5th richest country in the world, yet we are treating our most vulnerable like this. It’s obscene but happens all the time. The budget yesterday did little to reassure anyone claiming Universal Credit. They’ll reduce the waiting time by a week. Yep right that won’t make a jot of difference because we can already effectively double the waiting time because I’ve never known a claim for Universal Credit to go through in 6 weeks. It was also announced that they will reduce the repayment amounts but this money should not have to be repaid. It’s money that they are entitled to receive to survive on. It’s disgusting. And yes I already know all of this I’m just reiterating a point, Universal Credit is a monster that I know well and despise.

 

 

We spoke to many people today, all with different needs. We provide help and support when a person is at their lowest and that does make a massive difference. Please don’t underestimate the need for this. It’s hard work, when I talk about some of the experiences that we’ve had, the suicides, the people going hungry, children eating out of tins, people crying, running off and saying that they can’t take any more it upsets me. By the way I always catch up with a person who is in that state. 1 in 5 benefit related deaths are a result of suicides, often after an unfair ESA decision or after being ill treated by a Jobcentre Advisor. This government has blood on its hands and lots of it, and one day they will be made accountable for this and I will be waiting for them.

 

We also handed out 6 food parcels today and I have to respect their request for confidentiality. Their needs come first I’m afraid.

 

We are holding a special day of action against Universal Credit alongside Unite The Union on the 2nd of December. We will be meeting outside the Jobcentre for 10 and walking around with leaflets etc. Please join us it would be fab if there are lots of us doing this.

 

Also our special Christmas Demonstration will be held on the 21st of December, the last Thursday before Christmas outside Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre  10-12. We will be handing out Mince pies and warm drinks. The theme will be ‘A Universal Credit Christmas’. Please come and join us we might also have some music.

 

A big shoutout to Roy who was feeling out of sorts today and my thoughts are with you.

Also a reminder to join my sister page The Poor Side Of Life on Facebook, and Tameside Against The Cuts on Facebook. Thank you!

 

Please read, share, email, talk about my blog. We need to continue the conversation. let’s not fall into the pattern of thinking that any of this cruelty metered out by the DWP is normal. It isn’t it’s conscious cruelty at its worst.

 

Also please donate if possible. My paypal add is seercharlotte@gmail.com

My donate button is no longer working because WordPress have changed the settings to only paid WordPress Blogs can have one. I can’t afford to pay so this is the next best thing. I can’t change my platform because people known where to find me etc. Sorry!

Thank you to everyone that has and does support us. Thank you to everyone that reads the blog also. I have still got a long way to go with this campaign and the battle continues. Thank you again!

I have also been extremely busy this week a campaign doesnt just finish on a Thursday afternoon. It continues continuously so if I am delayed responding to anyone this is why. Sorry!

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Sanctioned for applying for more than one job with an agency. Sanctioned because child was ill.

I have just returned from our weekly Thursday demo and to say that it was busy was an understatement. We are helping more people than ever before due to the closure of Stalybridge Jobcentre. I know that I keep mentioning this, but this is the reality of the situation. When a Jobcentre is shut down it puts extreme pressure on the next town that does have a Jobcentre, and of course the Jobcentre itself. It is abhorrent that people are forced to often walk, some everyday to a Jobcentre that is miles away this doesn’t encourage anyone to get a job, it just demoralises them even more and often makes them ill.

This week I have decided to list a few of the situations that the people that are forced to use Ashton Under Lyne Jobcenre are going through. I say a few, because there are too many to write on this blog, and some people were in such a rush that they couldn’t stop to speak to us. Also some people are too scared to do so.

 

The first woman that I spoke to had attended her ESA medical last week. I couldn’t attend with her because I had commitments and she struggles to trust people. But armed with lots of information she went along. Upon seeing her assessor, she was questioned about issues that have nothing to do with her illness. She was set up to fail, but if she does get a letter saying that she has failed then she will be getting lots of support to appeal. This broke my heart, and I wish that I could be everywhere but I can’t.

 

 

I then spoke to a 62 year old woman who has been forced to volunteer for The British Heart Foundation as part of the workfare programme. Shes under no illusion that the system is cruel, and this is not helping her to find work. In her own words she said that no one would employ her at her age, her 29yr old daughter is struggling in a zero hour contract job and finding that job was hard, it would be impossible for her. Her daughter wants to further her education, but is under immense pressure to leave college and to obtain more hours at work even though gaining the qualification that she is working to get would eventually give her a better paid job. It’s a catch 22 situation for many people.

 

 

I then spoke to a  young man who was sanctioned because his child was ill and he had to stay at home with them. He did inform the Jobcentre, but they saw this as not a good enough reason to miss his signing on appointment. He is appealing this decision.

 

 

I spoke to another young man. He told me that his advisor had informed him that he was being sanctioned because he hadn’t attended an appointment. The reason being that he didn’t receive a letter informing him of this appointment. This is not a new phenomenon, far from it we’ve seen this happen for four years now. I don’t believe that these letters are actually sent out in the first place. If you have time, scroll down the blog and refer to the post titled ‘The case of the missing letters’ it makes interesting reading. He is appealing this decision, and help and advice was given to him to do so.

 

 

Upon standing outside the Jobcentre, we noted a very elderly lady leaving the Jobcentre and crossing the road. She didn’t wish to speak to anyone, but I would have to question the very fact as to why she felt that she had to visit the Jobcentre in the first place.

 

 

A bit of good news, I spoke to a lady whom I had previously helped and advised. She told me that she had taken my advice and was now much happier and is in the process of claiming all the money that she is entitled to. This poor lady went through an awful time and I was so pleased to hear this. She gave me a big hug and said thank you. That made my day.

 

 

 

I spoke to a young man who had been sanctioned for applying for more than one job with the same agency. Yes folks, they can also sanction a person for applying for too many jobs. He was devestated because he had done exactly what he was supposed to do which is look for work. We gave him some good advice and he will be appealing this decision. This does prove that you can never do enough to make the DWP system happy, the advisor is supposed to use their discretion, and they obviously did, they chose to sanction him for looking for work.

 

 

I spoke to a lady who had previously failed her ESA medical and didn’t appeal that decision. I hadn’t met her yet and she had fallen for the rethoric that even if you are sick or disabled you have to work. She has been forced to attend the Jobcentre everyday and to achieve this she has to walk a long distance. She complained about feeling tired, and she said that she didn’t feel well. I signposted her to a local organisation that can sit down with her and talk her through the whole complicated process at a speed that suits her. It’s hard to do this whilst stood on the street.

 

 

 

I also spoke to a man who had just been sanctioned for missing an appointment in March. He had already spent his sanction (I may as well use this term, because they are treating innocent people like criminals). This hasn’t stopped the DWP from sanctioning him again for the same reason. He is appealing this decision, because this is very clearly wrong. However this doesn’t help him now does it. We did give him help, advice and signposted him.

 

 

This all happened in the space of two hours folks, can you imagine how many people are leaving the Jobcentre after their appointment In a state of dispair? Many give up, take themselves off the cruel system because the stress is too much for them. Many become ill or take their own life’s. This does happen to people that use this Jobcentre and most likely most Jobcentre’s. It’s a cruel system and is designed to be so.

 

What I can say is that they made no mistakes when designing Universal Credit. Everything has been designed purposely to make the poor suffer.

People cannot just walk into a Jobcentre to get help as Liz Truss stated this week. If you haven’t got an appointment you arent allowed any help, and they certainly won’t make any telephone calls for you even if you have an appointment.

The government has created a system that can never be beaten, no one can win against this system, the design makes it impossible to do so. They want the poor to pay for their own poverty, the very fact that Theresa May this week declined to answer Jeremy Corbyns question about the cost of the 55p per min helpline cost. They have no qulams about making it impossible to get help, advice and compassion.  I’m certain that they think that we live in some kind of utopian dream, where everything that we need is easily available and easy to access. We know that this isnt true though.

 

The battle continues for us though, it’s never ending. I’ve committed four years so far to this campaign, and if I have to commit another for years to it I will do. The poorest of this country are being targeted injustice after injustice, and rather than just putting a sticking plaster over it I feel that it is necessary to challenge the system. After all, plasters fall off and the damage is still there isn’t it.

 

 

Many, many thanks to everyone that came along and supported the demo. You are all my rocks, you keep me going even through times when I am upset and angry at the system. You are all amazing.

 

 

It’s been a very busy week, if you would like to see the links to the various newspaper reports and media appearances then please comment below. I don’t want to bore you if you dont want to see them.

 

We don’t get paid for this, we do it, I do it because people need help and I’m certain that one day we shall overcome this evil regime.

 

Please share my blog, talk about it, lets make this blog reach more people than it does already. We need to keep highlighting the injustices that this government are showering the most vulnerable in society with.

 

Please donate if you can, if you can’t thats more than ok! Thank you to those that have supported the blog already.

My PayPal add is seercharlotte@gmail.com.

I am having problems with the button that I was using, sorry!

 

 

 

 

Our third Christmas demo. An invite.

Hi folks.

Every year we like to pay respect and remember those whom we have lost as a result of  this governments relentless attacks on the poorest and most vulnerable in society.

We have had several themes, and because the government are determined to send us back to mid Victorian times we have decided to go for a Dickensian Christmas/ Workhouse theme.

Very apt seeing as the Jobcentre, Work Programme and Workfare are all the modern day equivalent of the Workhouse.

Regular members will be costumed, but because we aren’t funded we cannot provide costumes for everyone. But you can bring your own. We are merging all of Dicken’s characters, and we will be having Mr Bumble visit who will be representing the DWP.

I love street theatre, it is a very effective method of getting important messages across. I would love to hear from anyone who is involved in the theatre or film making for this project, and another I would really like to start. That would be a national event.

Please come along and read the event description, all details are contained in there.

https://www.facebook.com/events/202670863509828/?ti=icl


Many thanks.

Please donate if you can, if not please continue to share. Thank you so much!

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Ashton under Lyne Jobcentres equivalent of the X Factor is here! 

Ashton Jobcentre are now branching out into talent shows like the X factor. They now have recruitment agency called “reform radio” that whisk you off to Granada studios (at your expense of course) to record you speaking into a microphone telling folk what “talents” you have! Now is it just me but the very name “radio reform” is wrong. It’s insulting. Just because you are poor does not mean that you need “reforming”. 

It is also compulsory to attend this. If you don’t you will get sanctioned! 

Please don’t say it’s just myself that finds the whole thing ridiculous and offensive. 

Less time making up these silly courses and stunts and more time is needed to let jobseekers actually look for real jobs if they are able to.

I have emailed this radio station and am now awaiting a reply. Let’s hope they see the error of their ways.