Jimmy Stirling’s DWP Diary: A new year, a new work coach and Partick Thistle


61-year-old Jimmy Stirling returns from the Christmas and New Year break and continues waiting to find out whether he will be sanctioned – or whether his new work coach wants to put him on the Community Work Programme

I AM Jimmy Stirling, a 61-year-old unemployed graphic designer, photographer and musician, single grandfather and social housing tenant living in Glasgow.

I receive Jobseeker’s Allowance of PS50 per week and have a very small pension payment of just under PS25 per week. I do voluntary work for my neighbouring community and look after one of my granddaughters for two days per week.

I was recently conscripted to take part in the UK Government’s Community Work Programme, where I would be forced to work for my Jobseeker’s Allowance, which I see as slave labour.

This not volunteering, this is not being paid a wage, this is conscription.

I am against this terrible programme and this is my experience in trying to avoid a six-month, 30-hours-per-week sentence just to juggle the government’s statistics to make them look good.

Below is my latest diary update. You can read the others here.


8 January 2016

A Happy New Year to all readers and thank you for reading over the last few months and for your welcome support.

My festive season was made slightly more pleasurable thanks to family, neighbours and friends old and new.

My Jobseeker’s Allowance payments were paid so I still haven’t been sanctioned by the DWP for not signing forms for taking up a Community Work Programme . It has been five months now since the initial directive to attend the conscription.

I finally saw my new work coach when I signed on, on 6 January. He muttered something about the Community Work Programme with Learndirect but I said nothing.

After all, he was reading it from my record on-screen. There was also a very slight mutter about getting me back on it and I said nothing. I am not sure if this was the DWP’s intention or just what he was thinking.

I thought it better to stay quiet as I don’t know him very well. I will now wait again to see what the DWP have up their sleeve for me.

They have sent me possible jobs which, once again, many are out of my area of expertise : window cleaner, delivery diver, warehouse driver, direct claim adviser and finance manager, to name but a few.

Those of us on Jobseeker’s Allowance do not get Christmas bonuses nor do we get heating allowance nor cold weather payments. Some people think we do.

On a lighter note, some of you who have followed my story may know that I am a Partick Thistle supporter. My last work coach and my new work coach are also Partick Thistle supporters.

When I signed on, we were all within inches of each other. As I left I mused that what were the chances of this happening outwith the environs of Firhill? Would the three of us be regarded as a crowd? Perhaps a conspiracy? A sad trio? If there was one more it would be probable that someone would appear and try to flog us the Socialist Worker!

It is a new year; will there be a new approach from the DWP? Will they tell me if I have or have not been sanctioned? Dare I ask what the situation is?

Picture courtesy of Andrew_Writer