Man sanctioned for a missed appointment last year.. That he didn’t receive. Inappropriate questioning by advisor. Don’t go to hospital, attend your appointment instead. Welcome to Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre.

The poor side of life

Hello readers, and thank you for reading my blog. It always feels like Thursday comes round very quickly, and because Thursday mornings are usually very busy outside the Jobcentre thats entirely appropriate.

I’ll start with the weather, freezing cold, although not quite as cold as some other weeks and it wasn’t raining, brilliant that made a change both for us and the people having to use the Jobcentre. There’s nothing worse than being wet and cold and not having the ability to dry off.

I arrived at the Jobcentre and was almost immediately met by a lovely lady by the name of Vicky. She had travelled all the way from Salford, which is quite a distance away with some extra food parcels containing goodies such as fruit, UHT milk, margarine etc. Believe me when you have nothing these essentials become luxuries and you treasure them. Vicky was so lovely and…

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8 1/2 month pregnant lady told to attend parenting course on the threat of a sanction. Man forced onto a 2 week course 5 days a week at the Jobcentre 9-4. Welcome to Universal Credit hell.

The poor side of life

Can I start this weeks blog by saying how angry I am at this system that the government likes to call ‘Benefits’. Change the name, make it sound different then stigmatise the vulnerable people that are in desperate need of help. That’s exactly how this government rolls isn’t it. Today was just awful and there are no excuses that can be made to justify the governments deplorable behaviour against the poor. I do feel that it is a war against the poor and at the moment they have the upper hand. This cannot be allowed to continue for forever can it.

Anyway, you don’t want to hear my rant but it’s how I feel. But remember its not ‘Benefits’ it’s ‘Social Security’.

I arrived at the Jobcentre and was met by two Journalists from BBC North West, I do believe that the presenter was one of the two chaps but…

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Food parcels gone in ten minutes, unhelpful Jobcentre staff. No surprise there sadly.

The poor side of life

I arrived at Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre as usual, and placed my bag in its usual place. I use it to carry our leaflets and anything else that might be required for the morning. I looked up and I must have been spotted from afar, because our usual recipients of the food parcels were waiting.

We spent a few minutes chatting, catching up with things and seeing if anything has progressed. Like last week, nothing much has, but they have taken our advice so  now it’s a waiting game.

It’s hard to describe the atmosphere outside the Jobcentre, but anyone who has joined us will tell you its hard work. Today we were battling with wind and heavy rain at one point. I’m not complaining but I’m highlighting this because many of the people that we speak to really can’t dress appropriately for the weather, nor can they afford to. The weather also affects…

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Today’s demo. Queue for food parcels and endless apathy. Life at Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre.

The poor side of life

As I arrived on this cold Thursday morning I was greeted immediately by a group of people that had been gathering across the road waiting for the food parcels to arrive. They were slightly anxious, and this is why its important for myself not to be on my own.

As the food parcels arrived they took them straight away. I don’t judge anyone because their need was obvious. As they collected their food parcels other people who depend on our food parcels arrived to collect theirs. We work on a first come first serve basis, its the way that it has to be.

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Because it was cold and miserable the mood sort of reflected that. People using the Jobcentre almost running in and out, most likely afraid of being late, afraid of being sanctioned.

The mood of apathy filled the air though. Most people forced to use the Jobcentre are…

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