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BBC National Orchestra Concert For Audience With Autism

July 4, 2017

The BBC National Orchestra of Wales has staged its first concert designed for audiences with autism, learning disabilities and sensory loss.

The event, known as a relaxed concert, was held at St David’s Hall in Cardiff.

It will be repeated during the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall on 29 July.

The concert was designed to create a friendly, inviting environment with a relaxed attitude to music and noise from the audience.

Conductor Grant Llewellyn said it had been a “real labour of love”.


Universal Credit -The conversation nobody is talking about

July 3, 2017


This is likely to be a very long blog and I make no apologies as this is important information we all need to get to grips with to survive.

Universal Credit (UC) is slowly being rolled out across the UK for some claimants , mainly single claimants and to be continued for couples. The legacy benefits that people are currently getting will eventually become Universal Credit,which runs a live programme (with gateway conditions) and a full rollout programme (no gateway conditions)alongside each other. Advisors will need to determine which is operating in their area and inform clients and explain in full their rights and eligibility. The fact that some will get hit hard  is just the scratch on surface to the vile and brutal conditions of the health & work programme which is incorporated within it. ESA Claimants in WRAG (Work Related Activity Group) will lose the £30 a week…

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A List Of Reasons The DWP Stopped Paying My Benefits

July 3, 2017

Spotted here.

  • I missed an appointment. When I challenged this, it turned out the appointment had been 3 years ago, and I’d attended.
  • They asked me to provide a timetable of my (part-time) studies. When I did they asked me for a ‘learning agreement’, which my uni does not have. My tutor personally wrote a letter explaining the course, and how much time it took up in my life. They then said they couldn’t comment on the letter for two weeks. 
    When the two weeks were up, they said they needed the letter stamped by the uni. But wouldn’t give me the original copy back. For another two weeks they ‘couldn’t comment’ on whether the new letter was suitable. Two weeks later, they said it wasn’t. 
    They asked for a form (number Erieajflksjdlkajfla or whatever). No one at the job centre knew what this form was. I spent an entire week walking to the job centre (despite being disabled, because I couldn’t afford the bus), spending at least two hours there arguing with staff about the form, and then walking home again. 
    When I pointed out I had been without money for over a month, and couldn’t afford travel or food, they offered me food vouchers to a foodbank that was even further away than the job centre. When they finally agreed that the form didn’t exist, had never existed, and that I didn’t need it anyway, they asked for another letter from my uni. Which they then faxed to a wrong number. When I mailed it by post, they said they hadn’t received it. 
    By this time I was leaving for uni two hours early so that I could walk and rest along the way. I was shoplifting food, and not really leaving the house unless it was to argue with the job centre, or go to uni. During all this I had to apply for approximately 5 jobs a day, and log them on the jobcentre’s website. I also had to sign on at the job centre. At first this was every two weeks, then every week, then for a while every day at a different time each day. I wasn’t told the time of my daily appointments until 24 hours before. At one point I broke down in tears saying it felt like punishment. My job advisor refused to look at me and sighed until I stopped crying.
    When the staff at the job centre decided they would no longer talk to me, with one shouting “I’m not talking to THAT WOMAN” the minute I entered the building, I began calling the DWP every day. It cost 15p a minute. Sometimes I was on hold for 40 minutes or more. Often I would start the call in tears, as an ‘advisor’ asked me to provide ‘evidence’ I had already provided multiple times. As the call progressed I would become angry, then irate, and it would generally end with me screaming about how I had no money, and then they would hang up on me.
    Inexplicably after 3 months I got my benefits paid, and back paid. I used it to pay my friends back, and to fill my food cupboards in case this happened again.
  • They said they ‘forgot’.
  • Someone reported me to the benefits advice tips line, saying I had a trust fund, and a ‘lucrative’ part time job. During the time my money was stopped I was so depressed that all I ate was a piece of ryvita a day. When I spoke to the team to prove I did not have a trust fund or lucrative part time job, I was so nervous I couldn’t stand up without nearly fainting.
  • The website that the jobcentre required me to update with my job applications and searching, went down, and deleted all that week’s entries. When my job advisor logged in to check my account she said I hadn’t done any work and so she was going to sanction me. I began crying hysterically, and she told me to come in for daily sign ons for a week. Again I said this sounded like punishment. She said it was clear I needed ‘more supervision to get back into employment’. 
    The next day I came in to sign on, she pulled up my job log on the website, and the last two week’s entries had all reappeared. I asked if she could take me off the sanction. She declined. For two weeks I came in for daily sign ons, to ‘support’ me. All that happened was I waited 30 mins in silence on a sofa, then signed an electric tablet and left. 
    I was told I could appeal my sanction, but the paperwork came through so late that by the time I had enough evidence collected, the date to appeal had passed.
  • Despite me changing my address with them 6 months before, and receiving paperwork at my new address confirming the change, they sent a letter for an appointment to my old address. When I missed this appointment they cut off my benefits, and housing benefits. I was late with my rent. It took 3 weeks to get my benefits back.
  • I went to a medical assessment, while suffering from an incredibly bad mental health episode, and recovering from major surgery. When I talked about my suicidal ideations/intrusive thoughts the assessor asked me to tell her the methods I would use to kill myself, in detail. Six weeks later she awarded me no points, and all my benefits were cut off.
  • My job advisor forgot to press the button that confirmed I had attended my sign on appointment, and which triggered my payments. On three separate occasions.

Claimant Forced To Crawl Up Assessment Centre Stairs

June 30, 2017

Disability campaigners have called on the Government to end “humiliating” benefit assessments after a disabled woman was forced to “crawl” up stairs to attend an appointment.

Maria Quinn, who is partially sighted and walks with the aid of a wheeled frame, described how she was left feeling “mortified and panicked” after finding there was no step-free access for her consultation at a disability benefits centre.

With her solicitor carrying her mobility aid and her sister holding her breathing equipment, Ms Quinn, 32, managed to enter the building on Glasgow’s Cadogan Street by “crawling up the two split-level stairs”.

She said she was refused the portable ramp which can be used to cover the entrance stairs as it was intended for wheelchairs only, and if she had returned to her flat to collect her chair she would have been late and missed the appointment.

“There is no ramp or flat entrance to the disability assessment building…that’s right folks! You read it correctly,” Ms Quinn wrote on Facebook

“I am partially sighted and stairs aren’t my best buds at the best of times but these are ye olde ultra solid not-concrete-but-possibly-some-sort of-titanium-killer-stairs…you know the ones! Crumbly ends from centuries of feet and furniture and goodness knows what.”

Campaigners at disability charity Scope said her case highlighted the difficulties disabled people face in trying to attend assessments, and called for an overhaul of how they are carried out.

James Taylor, Scope’s head of policy, said disabled people were suffering “unnecessary anxiety or distress” because of the way benefits assessments were being handled.  

He told The Independent the Government must “adopt a more flexible approach in how it carries out Personal Independence Payment assessments for disabled people in these situations and ensure assessment centres provide accessible options for disabled people”.

“No one should be forced to drag themselves up a staircase in order to attend their benefits appointment – to subject anyone to this level of humiliation is simply deplorable,” he added.

“We’ve heard too many stories of disabled people who are caused unnecessary anxiety or distress when attending benefits assessments – being forced to travel unreasonable distances for their appointments or struggling to access the centres themselves.

“Disabled people we speak to often tell us that a face-to-face assessment is not always the best method of assessment, due to accessibility.”

A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions said: “Where an assessment centre isn’t directly accessible from the street level, we endeavour to make this clear to people before they arrive for their appointment.

“There is a ramp available at the Glasgow Assessment Centre – if people can’t use this, arrangements will be made to see them at an alternative location.”

Claimant Found Fit For Work Weeks After Coming Out Of Coma

June 30, 2017

Today’s demo. Rain, cold, frustration and a disabled man stranded in Ashton. Food parcels gone in 25 minutes.

June 29, 2017

The poor side of life

Today was pretty grim to be honest. I’m sure that you are most likely fed up of me saying this now but it was. The weather was awful, rain was pouring down and it was cold. It felt more like autumn not summer.

The reason for my mood not being brilliant was simple. I had received a message saying that they thought that the demos aren’t going anywhere amongst other things.

I, and other members beg to differ.

The demo has been happening for nearly four years now, every week, and there has never been a week off. We have helped countless numbers of people, advised them, fed them, prevented suicides and also we have and still do empower people to challenge the system. This is the best form of retaliation against the government that there is. It worked during the poll tax years, and it’s working now.

We also…

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Tory MP Says Social Media Gives A Voice To Those Who Don’t Deserve One

June 29, 2017