Jimmy Stirling’s DWP Diary: Struggling under a cloud while the sun shines outside


62-year-old Jimmy Stirling is trying to seek help for anxiety and depression but is struggling to find services that can help him

I AM Jimmy Stirling, a 62-year-old unemployed graphic designer, photographer and musician, single grandfather and social housing tenant living in Glasgow.

I receive Jobseeker's Allowance of £50 per week and have a very small pension payment of just under £25 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.

18 May 2016

I attended my half hour computer search at the Jobcentre. With that amount of limited time, there is actually not much one can do.

25 May 2016

My regular signing on day. My work coach played 'good cop' that day and again urged me to apply for posts with HMRC. I failed the 'Sift' (situational judgement for the civil service) tests for these posts so couldn’t continue with an application

I contacted Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership for help but it seemed my condition – as I explained in my last column, my doctor has diagnosed me with anxiety and depression – was not severe enough for their services. However, they said I should consider self-referral to another counselling service which may be able to help.

I had two lovely days in the north-west of Scotland with my friends who were visiting from Canada. The weather was a bonus and I actually saw Ben Nevis devoid of cloud, unlike myself.

1 June 2016

The half hour computerised job search at the Jobcentre proved unfruitful as the computer kept crashing and could not access anything outwith the Universal Jobsearch page. Internet pages would not show at all. Apparently, this will be looked at on 1 July.

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Picture courtesy of Jimmy Stirling

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