Jimmy Stirling’s DWP Diary: Finally, a quiet week


61-year-old Jimmy Stirling is grateful in this diary instalment for a brown envelope-free week

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.


6 November 2015

This was a week when, suddenly, nothing happened all the time.

I took my granddaughter to the local park and, the following day, made use of the crisp sunshine to go and photograph the wonderful and vibrant autumn colours in the park.

I think took a trip to Lidl’s to buy in two weeks’ worth of provisions, food, cleaning products and personal hygiene bits and pieces.

My big pot of homemade soup lasts me a week, so I get some of the goodness and nutrients from vegetables.

No news is good news, so it is said, and I have heard nothing from the Jobcentre. Still the decision-maker has not decided whether I should or should not be sanctioned, but no brown envelopes came through the letter box.

I sign with the Jobcentre on Wednesday and I will have to wait and see what they have up their sleeve.

You just never know.

Picture courtesy of Andrew_Writer