Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Unemployed to Get Food Vouchers for Christian Charity Dole-Out.

with 58 comments

The Coming Benefit System.

The BBC reports,

 Job centres around Britain are to give food vouchers to people experiencing severe financial hardship. The vouchers, which can be redeemed at foodbanks run by the Trussell Trust charity, will be handed out by staff at Jobcentre Plus (JCP) branches.

One voucher can be exchanged for three days’ worth of food. The scheme will be piloted in Salisbury and Gloucester from 4 January, before expanding across England, Wales and Scotland in April. It will run in Jobcentre Plus branches that have a foodbank in the surrounding area. The Trussell Trust already has 78 foodbanks around the country and anticipates that there will be 86 foodbanks by April 2011. Severe hardship.

The move comes after lengthy negotiations between the trust and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). The charity sent a report to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith, in the summer.

A person experiencing severe financial hardship, caused by issues such as benefit delays or being ineligible for a JCP crisis loan, will be given a voucher that can be exchanged at a trust foodbank for three days’ worth of food. An individual can be given three vouchers in a row during one particular period of hardship, and can be helped three times in a year, meaning a total of nine vouchers a year can be given out per person.

Chris Mould, director of the trust, said: “Although it has taken two years of campaigning to get to this point, we are delighted that ministers are listening to feedback from the front line of the voluntary sector. “Their decision means people on the breadline will now get the help they need more easily and that’s of course what matters to us in the foodbank network. “This is about sensible working between a public service and the voluntary sector.”

About 41,000 people were fed by 44 foodbanks across the UK last year The Trussell Trust is a Christian charity and its staff and volunteers arrange collections of food. They ask supermarket shoppers in each foodbank area to donate an extra item from a predefined shopping list – then distribute the goods by means of vouchers. The vouchers are distributed by “statutory professionals” such as doctors, health workers, social workers, the Citizens’ Advice Bureau and probation officers among others. Some 41,000 people were fed by 44 foodbanks last year, and the trust estimates that 35-40% of them had problems with benefits.

When the first foodbanks were set up in 2000 in Salisbury, employees of the local JCP were initially one of the main distributors of foodbank vouchers. When the charity’s foodbank franchise scheme rolled out around the country in 2004, other JCPs also began to adopt the process.

However, in December 2008 the then-Labour government issued a directive stopping JCPs from referring clients in crisis to a foodbank. When the charity challenged the government over this decision, it initially responded that, among other reasons, all those entitled to benefits received them on the day if they were in crisis and that delay was not an issue. Continue reading the main story “Start Quote If you have a family to feed and no money then waiting even a couple of days is too long”

Chris Mould Trussell Trust director But the trust says it is “simply not true that all those entitled to benefits receive them on the day”. On behalf of the trust, MP Andrew Selous asked a series of parliamentary questions in 2009 and 2010 about benefit delay. The eventual response given in January 2010 stated that 37,046 people waited 17 days or more for their jobseeker’s allowance, of which 20,068 waited 22 days or more.

Mr Mould said: “We wanted to work with the job centres again because tens of thousands of people across the country are not getting paid their benefits on time. “Unless the DWP has a target of reaching 100% of people, there will be thousands of people who will be left in trouble through benefit delay, or for not being eligible for a crisis loan, for whatever reason. “If you have a family to feed and no money then waiting even a couple of days is too long.” A spokeswoman for the DWP said: “We recognise the merit of having additional targeted support in place such as foodbanks which play an important role in local communities. “Jobcentre Plus is already in discussion with the Trussell Trust and have agreed to work together in the new year.”


Suppliants for this charity are reminded, the Trussell Trust, states of this message,”‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was astranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me…'” Matthew 25:35-36

“We are a Christian organisation motivated by Jesus’ teaching on poverty and injustice. We operate according to Christian principles of compassion, honesty, integrity, openness, kindness and care of all people, regardless of backgrounds or beliefs. We believe in turning faith into practical action, living out God’s love for the poor…”

That’s as may be.

Some might ask why the state should rely on a group with a religious-agenda to plug the gaps in its public services.

One might ask if other religious groups will feel entitled to do the same.

More details – here.


Written by Andrew Coates

December 18, 2010 at 10:25 am

58 Responses

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  1. What about non-christians?

    Of course, they wont discriminate… but if you are of a different faith it could be offensive! Did they not think of that? Will people go without?

    Andy you did report about this before. I will see if I can obtain the older article links for further reading – unless someone beats me to it lol

    Actually, wordpress suggests (in bold): https://intensiveactivity.wordpress.com/2010/07/04/unemployed-with-no-crisis-loan-or-benefit-sanctions-to-get-christian-charity-food-vouchers/

    Work Programme

    December 18, 2010 at 11:11 am

    • Yeah, but I hadn’t checked out just seriously Christian they are.

      I find it’s close to manipulating the good feelings of those who want to help the disadvantaged.

      They are being used to plug the holes in the system.

      We need universal rights, not religious charity.

      Andrew Coates

      December 18, 2010 at 11:23 am

      • I would hate to know how much DWP are paying them…

        Lets cut BILLIONS from welfare, including stopping peoples payments, but its ok, they can travel without money and queue up to get food supplies (that they might not even like)

        Maybe the food is donated, but I think DWP will be paying for charity administration costs. This will be BIGGER than the value of food.

        Work Programme

        December 18, 2010 at 11:34 am

      • I made enquiries, The Trussell Trust receives NO government funding, not one penny…
        All food and finance is donated by the public.

        Kate Home

        January 11, 2011 at 12:54 pm

  2. Nothing new here, other than the vouchers being given out by the dole office.


    December 18, 2010 at 11:26 am

    • In a sense true, these schemes exist in lots of places.

      But the newness is that the Trust will be an explicit part of the ‘system’ and it is a group with an overt religious agenda.

      Andrew Coates

      December 18, 2010 at 11:51 am

  3. It is going to be terrible to be disabled!

    First, you are kicked off your benefits onto JSA. Then your JSA gets stopped. You then need to travel to the nearest foodbank – with no money – to get 3 days of food…

    They ask supermarket shoppers in each foodbank area to donate an extra item from a predefined shopping list – then distribute the goods by means of vouchers.

    Sooo… why not just give out supermarket vouchers?!

    i.e. T&C. This £10 Tesco voucher may be used in exchange for food when shown with an ES40 and letter from Jobcentre Plus. Cannot be used for non-food goods, alcohol, tobacco products, lottery tickets or scratch cards. Only for use with a single transaction. No change given.

    Anyway, the biggest overlooked problem is. When your benefit has stopped/delayed its not food that really all too vital for many people. You typically reduce your intake and make existing food last longer. Of course, food is important once you run out, BUT…

    What about rent, bills etc. a charity food voucher is going to do f**k all!!

    “Hello.. Yeah, I can’t pay, have no cash, …however, I have a christian charity food voucher which must be worth £10-£15. It might not stretch fully but, lets call it an instalment?”

    Lets just hope the people are not on the prepay electricity meters… and prepay gas meters!

    Work Programme

    December 18, 2010 at 11:31 am

  4. A good link for the case in Cardiff… http://cardiffcooks.wordpress.com/2010/11/23/cardiff-food-bank/

    They do NOT have milk, bread, eggs etc.

    They have mostly TINNED food which requires COOKING or heating up. So what when you have no electricity or gas because you have no money?!

    Lets not mention about nutrition… “the white stuff… are you made of it?” Noo… I have cereal from a foodbank dry as I have no milk!

    Work Programme

    December 18, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    • UHT milk IS given in food boxes, here is a link to the TT shopping list: http://www.trusselltrust.org/resources/documents/foodbank/ShoppingList.pdf
      And surely if people arent spending the money on food, they can put the money towards electricity and gas??

      Kate Home

      January 11, 2011 at 12:58 pm

      • The whole idea is offensive.

        Looking at the list of food they will give you

        Milk (UHT or powdered)
        Sugar (500g)
        Fruit juice (carton)
        Pasta sauces
        Sponge pudding (tinned)
        Tomatoes (tinned)
        Rice pudding (tinned)
        Tea Bags/instant coffee
        Instant mash potato
        Tinned meat/fish
        Tinned fruit
        Biscuits or snack bars.

        The basic Coatesy diet consists of loads of fresh vegetables and salad to start with.

        Which are not supplied.

        Now as an allotment holder I would recommend growing your own, and that way when you’re on the dole or broke you can live on what you’ve produced.

        But not everyone has a plot, and I was told only yesterday by a bloke who’s just got one that the waiting list in Ipswich is very long.

        Besides not everyone has the wish to do this kind of thing.

        Andrew Coates

        January 11, 2011 at 4:32 pm

      • Spot on Andy.. allotments in Ipswich are hard to get these days.

        As for the food….

        Milk (UHT or powdered) – I hate powdered milk, don’t exactly like the long life stuff either
        Sugar (500g) – sugar is good
        Fruit juice (carton) – do people get a choice of the type of fruit juice?
        Soup – I don’t like soup
        Pasta sauces – I am not that keen on pasta 24/7
        Sponge pudding (tinned) – I don’t like
        Tomatoes (tinned) – I suppose they will do haha, but how do I heat them with no money?
        Cereals – such as?
        Rice pudding (tinned) – disgusting I hate the stuff?!
        Tea Bags/instant coffee – I don’t drink tea and can’t stand own brand coffee, or brands other than Nescafe
        Instant mash potato – I don’t like mash potato so especially not the powdered nonsense
        Rice/pasta – fine.. probably be sick off the stuff, especially cold as can’t heat it
        Tinned meat/fish – I assume this is like spam etc. and tuna, sardines etc.
        Tinned fruit – not exactly like fresh fruit
        Jam – What the **** would I use jam for/with? Toast? No bread… Maybe it would be stupid to use it with pasta or rice? Sounds a bad combination.
        Biscuits or snack bars. – I think, someone on so little money could do away with biscuits full stop – In fact, I personally not had biscuits with my coffee for a long long time

        I don’t think I am too fussy with food – so how can it be assumed people will just like it? Of course, I would personally rather create a massacre in Whitehall than going to a food bank…

        I think if someone with similar food tastes to myself had to go to a food bank and get this food… they probably would put up with the pasta or rice day in day out, have certain soups and munch on biscuits.

        Then there is PAUL MASON. A man who stole from the post and went to prison. Lost 10 stone in prison. Stuck 50 stone on since getting released to get title of worlds fattest man… a challenge he set himself. Cost the taxpayer over £1 million… and on top of his £20k benefits package – and care package – the taxpayer forks (sorry for that term) the bill of £15k a year just for food. (I think that is more than MPs can claim for groceries) Oh yeah and he is suing the NHS!!

        He consumes enough food in a day to feed 5 families – not 5 people, 5 families! Or approx 25 mouths. That is just for takeaway food. £15k could feed much more than 25 mouths each day a year.

        I think if people should end up without money and without food they should track him down, pinch his food off him when he goes to the McD drive through or turn up outside his house! Maybe that is a food bank?

        Work Programme

        January 11, 2011 at 5:14 pm

      • As I have commented on my own Blog, Paul Mason is not greatly loved in Ipswich!

        Following Dr Gillian McKeith comments.

        I can top the tale of jungle deering-do.

        I have lived on Sainsbury’s basic baked beans in my time (with loads of chili powder added).

        But really this kind of stuff, yuck!

        Like Sponge pudding (tinned).

        Ahm, us ‘umble folk likes a good pudding.


        Andrew Coates

        January 12, 2011 at 2:40 pm

      • This sort of processed muck is only good for filling a hole in an empty stomach for a few days at at most, as you can live on almost anything for a short period of time – I survived on bugs and spiders in the jungle for a fortnight 🙂 But over the longer-term this one-size-fits all approach would inevitably lead to an enormous amount of health problems through creeping malnutrition. We all have different and varied dietary requirement; we need the flexibility to choose our own foods to balance our nutritional needs in order to avoid ill-health and premature death.

        Dr Gillian McKeith (PHd :-))

        January 11, 2011 at 5:52 pm

      • Andy, did you get my email?

        Work Programme

        January 13, 2011 at 12:41 pm

  5. […] Programme & Flexible New Deal: Ipswich Unemployed Action Unemployed to Get Food Vouchers for Christian Charity Dole-Out.Westminster Council to Cleanse Borough of Homeless Benefit Claimants.A new English Civil […]

    • Lord whose kingdom includes everyone:
      Forgive us for the times we have discounted people who are not like us;
      Help us to mirror your welcome and love in our churches, schools and communities;
      And keep us in the knowledge that all people and places count in your eyes.
      In Jesus’ name, Amen


      Sorry for excluding and discriminating against some people; Please help us get rid of our sins, by giving us the confidence, to try and put right our selfish ways (so we don’t go to hell, really); Let us not forget everyone is owned on this earth by the Lord and must be converted.

      Further reading…

      What is Network Ipswich?
      Network Ipswich is a portal website set up to help improve communications between Christians in and around Ipswich.

      Why not add the word Christian in the title?

      Work Programme

      December 18, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    • Yes Kev,

      I expect you’ll be out with Ned Flanders in the Norwich Road minstering to the poor – hey diddlydosquatillydo.

      Keep up the clean living, chewing thoroughly, and a daily dose of vitamin church

      Andrew Coates

      December 19, 2010 at 10:22 am

    • If you pay attention the the media at the moment you will hear a lot of sermons saying such as:

      “Let us pray for the (long-term) unemployed in that We may be given the resources to help them in their plight.”


      December 19, 2010 at 3:16 pm

  6. we need to get out on the streets and fight back!

    Denzel Washington

    December 18, 2010 at 3:32 pm

  7. “They ask supermarket shoppers in each foodbank area to donate an extra item from a predefined shopping list – then distribute the goods by means of vouchers.

    Sooo… why not just give out supermarket vouchers?! “”

    Like when some shops ask shoppers to buy an extra can of dog food for a pet charity – the shopper leaves their can in a pile, but the shop just puts the cans back on the shelf and writes the charity a check!


    December 18, 2010 at 4:37 pm

  8. It just seems one big, expensive, wasteful and bureaucratic nightmare of a scheme designed solely to humiliate and degrade the poorest members of society and line the pockets of a select few.

    Olivia Twist

    December 18, 2010 at 5:19 pm

  9. Perhaps their only “agenda” is to feed the hungry…?

    Crystal Balls

    December 18, 2010 at 7:46 pm

  10. “Sooo… why not just give out supermarket vouchers?! “””

    We don’t want to be tricked into anything to do with “vouchers”, but in a genuine emergency and given that the supermarkets are already involved surely a simpler, lest wasteful and more cost-effective solution would be for the JobCentre to simply issue a supermarket Gift Card for £x. At least it would save the hassle of transporting tins of value beans back and forth and there would be no need to open a network of “Foodbanks”.

    Value Range

    December 20, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    • Something like this, I know it’s not quite as humiliating as queueing up at a “Foodbank”, but you can’t have everything 🙂 and you can buy them all year round:


      Value Range

      December 20, 2010 at 3:33 pm

      • Absolutely.

        But I don’t think they are exactly thinking of helping people out unless they have to.

        Some more points: these Foodbanks do not exist everywhere, they will not be a universal service, and I wonder what rights you have to get these vouchers.

        Oh, and I think someone mentioned this, but if you are broke the bus fare to some of these food banks could be no help either.

        Andrew Coates

        December 20, 2010 at 4:49 pm

      • Too right, Andy – just another scheme to fleece the unsuspecting public (taxpayer); money being channelled into gold-lined pockets under the “pretext of helping the poor”; expect a few PR stunts in the local paper as they “handout” a rotten apple or two.

        As has been pointed out before travel costs are a big issue; it would cost be £7 return to travel into town to collect a couple of cans of out-of-date corned beef when I have a supermarket within easy travelling distance.

        I wonder is the will be distributing EU “intervention beef”.

        Fray Bentos

        December 20, 2010 at 8:08 pm

      • I am going blind.

        Can someone please attempt to point out where the names Emma Harrison and John Bird are in articles relating to this?

        I can’t find them. Anyone?

        Work Programme

        December 20, 2010 at 9:52 pm

  11. Also, I did a little basic research:- The closest food banks to Ipswich (a county town of Suffolk – relatively big not exactly isolated rural location) are Cambridge Food Bank, Colchester Food Bank and Haverhill Food Bank.

    Colchester is the closest. By train it is £8 return off-peak (rail prices are due to increase in the new year too?). Network Colchester operates buses to and from the town from Old Cattle Market. There is an unlimited ticket for £3.20 although I think its only available for Colchester town services. Not sure how much a bus ticket is at this moment in time.

    A christian charity called Families in Need (F.I.N.D) – (I am personally not sure why there is a D in the acronym) operate in Ipswich. The Ipswich Mayor Jane Chambers is supporting such charity.

    They requested the following in an advert posted on the local bible basher empire:

    If you or your church can help, the following types of food are particularly needed (NB please check that all items have a long shelf life). Tins – hot dog sausages – minced beef – steak in gravy – chicken – tuna in oil – corned beef – pilchards – rice pudding – fruit – evaporated milk (small size) – peas – carrots – broad beans Jars – coffee – pasta sauce – marmite (not the largest size) Packets – pasta shapes – spaghetti – long grain rice – sugar – dried potato Household – toilet rolls – washing powder / tablets etc – washing up liquid

    (Because then you are poor, homeless and starving, toilet rolls and washing up liquid is as good as bread and water)

    Families in Need – FIND (Charity No 1106050)

    Families in Need (FIND) is a Christian-based charity founded in 1990 to provide emergency assistance to families or individuals affected by poverty or dispossession. FIND also offers ongoing friendship and support to those in need and helps anyone living within 25 miles radius of Ipswich who is deprived of a minimum standard of living, be they single, families, lone parents, children, elderly, sick or disabled.

    Contact: Maureen Reynel
    Tel: 01473 833351
    Fax: 01473 836948

    Due to the little information about it I assume that an unemployed person with stopped benefits would be in their remit although the food bank seems to be very low-key and thus must not have much storage capacity plus would be reserved more for the disabled, elderly and single parents.

    I think its absurd that it could cost a penniless person around £8 a time to redeem vouchers given out at the dole office in an act of humiliation for very basic food in cans. In a week, it is going to cost around £16 to redeem the food. This is around 24.5% to 30% of total maximum (i.e. when not reduced) weekly jobseekers allowance – depending on the variable age rate. Ironically, if they had £16 that week to spend. they would go to a local supermarket…

    This is an absolute joke – albeit not a very funny one.

    Work Programme

    December 20, 2010 at 10:44 pm

    • Return bus ticket to Colchester from Ipswich is £6.50.

      Work Programme

      December 20, 2010 at 10:53 pm

    • Further digging shows that Jobcentre Plus used to issue Trussell Trust vouchers in selected areas, but Labour axed them under a directive.

      So I think the charity has been fighting the decision since, capitalised on the suffering in particular of approx 500,000 disabled people moving from disability benefits to jobseekers allowance, anticipating more people attending their foodbanks than the current 40,000 figure given.

      Work Programme

      December 21, 2010 at 3:53 pm

      • I didn’t realise some of this information was in the above article. My bad!

        Work Programme

        December 21, 2010 at 4:10 pm

  12. “We are a Christian organisation motivated by Jesus’ teaching on poverty and injustice.”

    all the more reason to tell duncan smith and his brigade to get stuffed,a charity should be standing against this barbaric tight fisted behavior.

    it would be reasonable to assume duncan smith wont be using this service,he has done nothing but stick the boot in tebbit style to the jobless since he sat on his arse at caxton house,not once has he come up with a solution to hardcore unemployment only increase poverty by methods such as the above.

    its a pity that him and his clan were not blown into the sea at brighton in october 84,perhaps then as a nation we would all be better off.


    December 21, 2010 at 5:06 am

  13. Eat Fresh!

    Eat Healthy!


    FOODBANK – for a nutritionally- balanced diet!

    * within UK
    travelling expenses not available


    December 21, 2010 at 7:55 am

  14. […] class families and people with a pathetic peace offering after billions of planned welfare cuts, by negotiating with Christian charity Trussell Trust of distributing a limited amount of food vouche… as they plan for big benefit delays, restrictions, cuts and tighter eligibility for crisis […]

    • exactly the point,today i have received a letter advising a rise in gas prices from 1/12/2010,it is now the 21st.they kept quite about that.

      many people on benefits are on prepayment meters’,the companies use this bully method against those in debt because it avoids being classed as a disconnection,when in fact they will be disconnected by the fact stated above.


      December 21, 2010 at 2:56 pm

  15. We do a thing called “money” – it can be exchanged for food in any grocers all over the country.

    Mervyn King

    December 21, 2010 at 4:02 pm

  16. I’m looking for a bit of advice in that I’m wondering whether I should go to an interview for a part-time litter picker in a shirt-and-tie or suit to make up for my unemployment because it would show I’m bothered about the job as I was asked if I had any experience (no joke) to which I do have recent experience in.

    Mark Thompson

    December 21, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    • A suit would be overkill.

      A shirt and trousers a must.

      A tie perhaps…

      I say go for it, wear a tie. Although its only part time and the nature of the job, to the employer there company is the best, so presentation is still important.

      They will assume trustworthiness, reliability and punctuality by what you wear. Someone who obviously don’t take pride to look smart is likely to be labelled as a liability – someone who might not even turn up. That is rather important to have someone turning up to work – ok they wont pay you if you didn’t – but the job still needs doing.

      This said, if it is under 7-8 hours a week then basic jeans and a shirt would be fine as long they are smart and clean.

      Work Programme

      December 21, 2010 at 8:26 pm

  17. Thanks for that a shirt and tie it’ll be then because it’s 16 hrs a week. I’m long-term unemployed so I was just thinking wearing a suit would make-up for it in someway but I’ve heard people being too over-qualified which I’m not. It’d also make me feel better because it’d say I’m not just there for JC.

    Mark Thompson

    December 21, 2010 at 8:56 pm

    • The key is to remain professional.

      Wearing a suit although you will look super great (in particular in comparison with other candidates) will also flag a doubt in the employers mind.

      There is being confident and proud. There is also trying too hard and appearing desperate (although us long-term unemployed in effect are; it simply isn’t desirable). Considering you are long term unemployed they would probably assume you are hiding a term inside in such period of unemployment.

      Of course this prejudice isn’t right but could well be the difference between having a job and not.

      Also, I have been to many job interviews in my time (not enough though and not many successful) and I remember one when everyone was casually dressed and I was all suited and booted – was an administrative job fulltime with a salary (although bare minimum wage, was sustainable) so I don’t think I was trying too hard – but considering the employers on the employment panel couldn’t be bothered to dress up smart neither, ended with me not getting the job.

      Work Programme

      December 21, 2010 at 9:59 pm

  18. […] I think being denied benefits full stop is the greatest benefit deduction of all. This means Trussel Trust foodbank vouchers are going to be increasingly popular amongst those who are denied benefits. Anyone who has left work and looking to claim Jobseekers […]

  19. you have to wonder will bob geldorf will appear,as the country “moves from recession into recovery” plans are laid for this.

    in the 21st century this must be the most humiliating experience put forward and the conservatives have achieved it,ethiopia has arrived in the uk thanks to this failed economic system.


    December 22, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    • I can’t wait for Bono to turn up.

      Value Ovaries

      January 7, 2011 at 4:48 pm

  20. This may prove a good recruiting ground for religious groups. There was an interview on the radio with a group who said they would be refusing to help those who were “not attending the mosque”. Who ever comes up with these nonsense ideas should be made to live of minced beef.

    Minced Beef

    December 22, 2010 at 3:17 pm

  21. Thanks for your advice, admin I assume of this website and what a nice website it is too. Sorry to hear you didn’t get that job that time but that’s their loss considering your articles are well-written as well as laid out, etc. There’re people already in those types of jobs who couldn’t do this. Sorry to be off-topic and maybe this was the inappropriate place, but I needed a quick answer and I wasn’t going to ask them at the Jobcentre because they’ve sent me for jobs which I felt I wasn’t qualified enough to do. When I told them this I was looked at as if I didn’t want to work so I said that I’ll try it then. Needless to say I didn’t get them, but I did put at the top of my e-mail covering letter along the lines of that I was impelled to apply for it from JCP and I felt I wasn’t qualified enough. I got a phonecall back saying that it was agreed from the agency. I remember onetime after having my CV done by a careers service to relinquish myself of criticism and handing it at request in at the JC, found faults with it. When it was told it was done by a careers service there was silence and I paid for that.

    Anyway the interview felt like it was just an overview and I have to wait to the 10th of next year before I know, but I’ll let you know. Even getting a job as a cleaner is a joke when you’ve got no experience and I hate it when I heard it in the media (anyone listen to TalkSport?) that there’s always cleaning jobs ignoring this point. I’ve rang and rang, but never hear anything maybe it’s a numbers game though the odds are against me for that reason. I remember once hearing on a radio programme someone say something like: “If they can go to the Jobcentre to sign on they can go and get a job.” Yes, it’s that easy, isn’t it? Another thing that makes me angry is when I heard an employed woman on Newsnight speak to a group of unemployed people say that she would do anything. It’s as if to say the only reason they’re unemployed is because they won’t do anything not thinking they might’ve just been unsuccessful or the way they come across because they can’t help the way they are (discriminating against character). Another thing overlooked I think is personality, some people don’t have it or are just at a low because they’re lonely and just don’t have the moral support. This can just compound and this coming from a person who doesn’t have that problem.

    I think saying that if you refuse a job and you’ll lose benefits is dangerous for the above reasons. I think it should be more to do with trying and tackling those who aren’t. I’ve been on the Future Jobs Fund and the interview was one of the easiest if not easiest interviews I’ve ever had.

    I also remember when I was on A4e and it was said that it’s a good idea to go to agencies in a suit to create a good impression, but I only went to the office-related ones in it. I don’t have admin experience only data entry and most of it in recent years is customer service related experience needed which I haven’t got. I couldn’t go to the agencies unless they wrote me a note to prove I had attended them.

    Anyway, I’m mumbling on and I don’t live in Ipswich but this site has made me feel better perhaps made me less suicidal knowing that it’s not just me being all-wrong with them all-perfect.

    Mark Thompson

    December 22, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    • I agree with you about the cleaning jobs. They’re not as easy to get as some people like to make out!

      you have to attend interviews where they ask you all the standard questions like most other jobs. Any gaps of long term unemployment are quickly exposed and you come across as lazy and unreliable

      I went for an interview for a cleaning job(16 hr per week) in an office block and one of the people interviewing me told me the phone never stops ringing with people applying for the job once they put the advert out.

      most of the cleaning jobs on the direct.gov website they just ask you to leave your name and number and state if you have cleaning experience

      Samual L jackson

      December 23, 2010 at 1:29 am

    • Hi Mark. I contribute a lot to this site and have a few sites my own too which causes many people in welfare to work a headache. I actually left school just managing to get an F!! Well in English anyway. But I have worked on my personal development ever since. Thanks for the compliment – funny enough many did suffer. Some hit the wall and others advertised the same job a few months later.

      The common misconception I think is… a job is easy to get. Now to the average person it is with the assumption of guaranteed interview, no criminal convictions and perfect employment history. It isn’t difficult for the average person to do a CV or to fill in an application, and then to dress up well to an interview. Of course, there is skill to do a very good job at a CV, application form and at a job interview. To make it difficult, not everyone can fill in forms etc. and some people have disabilities which make them less able to perform at interviews – on top of everyone else who is nervous!!

      Nothing in life, however, is serial. Firstly, people have issues in their life with families, friendships and relationships. Some have disabilities too – not just in the extent to claim disability benefits but less serious conditions which also impact their lives. Secondly, Jobseekers are poor – little income, this impacts them in multiple ways. The stress of budgeting with non-jobseeking including clothes and such for interviews, but also directly related to jobseeking such as expenses to apply for jobs. Thirdly, applying for a job is one thing but the emotional ups and downs associated with it is totally another. This just one part, it is a ticking timebomb… the longer you are unemployed the less chance of ever getting employment again.

      Then you have the labour market trends these days. I am not sure whether employers are generally interviewing less candidates or not, but I have noticed less invites to interview, most of which I cannot attribute just to being unemployed (I have never got an interview while being in another job). Telephone interviews are rare these days and second interviews are even rarer. Well to some especially!! lol They have focused from the first interviews to eliminate the rubbish before a proper second interview into more difficult sole interviews – to cost effectively reduce costs.

      As for cleaning jobs these generally are amongst the most difficult to get but it is mostly a numbers game. So many people are going to them you could easily be unsuccessful. But at the same time, you could be chosen. It is a myth that “unskilled” work is easier to get than skilled work – but of course, this all depends on what you comparing it to and whether you have the skills to do it. This is why I recommend people to pick 3 types of jobs to go for. The first being jobs at your level, the second being jobs below your level as a stopping gap (better than being unemployed) and the third jobs you aren’t perfectly matched for but could do as a challenge (i.e. ambition to progress). One example is in retail. If your last job was a supervisor – this would be your main aim to achieve (second group), although you would apply for sales assistant jobs (first group) because you have previously had experience of it and should be a piece of cake. You should always try progression – this doesn’t have to be in the same company via promotion and simply being unemployed doesn’t mean you have to lower your sights at all – this rules varies with length of course!

      It is interesting: the government creates figures on people who “want to work” and “don’t want to work”. Some have valid reasons; but my point is how do they determine who does and don’t want to work? Is it a small survey sample multiplied or do they assume people who are unemployed longer than say 3 months, don’t want to work?

      The Future Job Fund interviews are a formal procedure. They are tasked to put bums on seats or should I say unemployed people into work. It doesn’t really matter about you as a person – the fact you are eligible is what they are looking for (the Government pays them to employ you). I am not too sure why they bother with interviews at all – perhaps they exclude those who fail to turn up or those who could be discriminated against (gays, piercings etc.). I will tell you how it works… once the interviews are done; everyone who turns up goes through a shortlist. This is done by checking everyone to see if they are eligible for the scheme. They then select via their simple notes (made an effort, good looking, very intelligent etc.) everyone who passed this test in a prioritised order to contact to see if they will accept the job. I suppose the interviews are to meet criteria for the scheme. I say it is rather dodgy how eligibility tests are not done after job offer stage.

      I am glad you really like the site – it is called Ipswich Unemployed Action because its formed in Ipswich but the issues are wide ranging affecting most of the UK. Some parts are locally focused but most of it applies elsewhere. 🙂

      Work Programme

      December 23, 2010 at 2:52 pm

      • Worky is being modest.

        My Sister, who is a lecturer at Birmingham University, reckons he writes better than most of her students!

        Andrew Coates

        December 24, 2010 at 4:20 pm

  22. Auntie Beeb suggesting in an albeit joking fashion that there should be enforced sterilisation for anyone unemployed for over 12 months. “But be careful those ideas will get out there”. Now someone will be on arguing that is should be 24 months.

    Francine Hovis

    January 6, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    • lol when anyone says some nazi bs like that to me I always say: I agree
      , but it should be as soon as you become unemployed, no pussy-footing around for 12 months, let’s hang ’em straight away. when they turn ashen faced I say: what, you worried that you may lose your own job, they being laying folk off lol


      January 7, 2011 at 11:55 am

  23. Yes(!) Then the jews, The muslims, Council house tenants, Anybody NOT on over £30k a year, Then anybody over 75. Lets stop this now before it gets out of hand.

    simon whisental

    January 7, 2011 at 9:13 am

    • One of the funniest things I have heard.

      There is a stereotype (emphasis on that) that Jewish people are trustworthy and good with money.

      I think to pick two religious groups and state everyone of them are poor is just plain stupid. Even more so, that the list starts with the Jews… moved on to council house tenants…

      Of course, you were back to referring some sort of holocaustic (my own terminology) regime… like of the Nazis – but this is silly in itself… approx 6 million Jews were murdered.

      But including other groups, up to a total of 17 million were killed, yes, 11 million (far more a majority) were the disabled, Romani, and gays etc.

      Yet no mention of those groups of people being included. Also, emphasis on the food voucher scheme only applicable to the poor with withheld benefits… there would be no way to enforce Jewish people etc. to give up food shopping etc in exchange for food vouchers to exchange at food banks.

      Work Programme

      January 7, 2011 at 11:30 am

      • lol work programme but if the government plans to move to a system of food rationing for EVERYONE they are going to have to start somewhere… with the unemployed. then all the nazis who were cheering when it was just the unemployed that were trudging to the foodbank will be whining and crying for the unemployed to join them in their struggle against the government lol if food vouchers are every introduced let’s have food vouchers for everyone.


        January 7, 2011 at 12:07 pm

  24. I worked in a local cycle shop as a mechanic/salesman and was also made day to day manager by my employer so therefore i was in charge in his abscence and also ran the shop single handed during the month of december 2001 however as the shop also sold fishing and shooting items the foot and mouth restrictions had caused a slump in income and the shop closed in march 2002
    an employment advisor told me i had insufficent experience for working in a shop and that my key cutting skill which my employer taught me was also of little use.
    the self same person then became my new deal advisor and told me to apply for a job soldering printed circuit boards despite the fact i cant solder and also failed to ask whether i was colour blind this question was also ommitted from the job details another employment advisor told me to apply for a job in a bookmakers despite me saying that i couldnt do betting odds and was threatened with benefit sanctions if i mentioned this on the application form or at interview when i phoned the number i was asked this and explained about the jc threat and was told to put down willing to undergo training the hours for this job were 9am to 930 pm seven days a week with no rest day for what was min wage i had to do an online psychometric test and made sure i answered it in such a way that i failed it(yes i know if the jc found out they would have sanctioned me on the basis it was a deliberate attempt to avoid employment.
    new deal advisors are supposed to help you but mine was useless i saw a driving job 5 days a week but because i was being new deal interviewed and the hours of the job were under 16 i was told i would have to do new deal placement as well as the job(if i got it!)trouble was this idiot was always trying to get me into a job outwith the town where i lived and never offered me local jobs (except for the other idiot who made me apply for the bookmakers job which was local) i reckon he told the ones dealing with signing on to only offer me jobs outwith the town as one of them told me to apply for a job selling white goods despite the fact i had no experience selling white goods and the job description did state must have prev experience yet i found a local job car valeting at a local car dealership paying £7 ph and it was only 15min by bicycle from my house surprisingly out of the two i got an interview for the valeting job but the person in the jobcentre wasnt exactly pleased in fact they were very rude and abrupt when i told them on my next signing i had applied for this job also pointing out the job was advertised the same day as the sales assistant job(which only paid min wage off which had to come bus fares)
    the trouble with these job centre idiots is they have never done a proper days work of hard graft in their lives they just sit in an office behind a desk all day but us the unemployed are expected to apply and accept jobs which pay min wage working seven days a week while they work 5 days a week and can pursue hobbies and socialising at the weekend but because they treat us with contempt we are not supposed to have a sociallife or have hobbies
    sooner the goverment purges these idiots and makes them redundant the better

    allan johnston

    January 10, 2011 at 4:08 pm

  25. I got the job, but I’m scared because I saw a programme and this woman was a part-timer though when it came to her claiming JSA she was refused as she was only doing part-time so hadn’t been paying enough NI. I don’t remember anything about hours but is that only for people doing under 16 hours?

    Mark Thompson

    January 11, 2011 at 3:04 am

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