What Can We Do In Sheffield?
- Give food, money, or time to help
People in difficulty often need advice and support. In Sheffield, the first line of support for many people is the Citizens Advice Bureau. They need volunteer advisers, assistants and receptionists. To find out more, go to: advicesheffield.org.uk
To support people, for example those with learning difficulties, through the benefits process, you could become an advocate. Find out more by going to: cloverleaf-advocacy.co.uk
The Trussel Trust gave out over 1 million food packs in 2015. Benefit delays or sanctions were the most common reason. There are food banks across Sheffield who need volunteers and donations. To find out more, go to: sheffieldfoodbank.org.uk
There are many other organisations who deal with food poverty and try to support those in need; check out these Sheffield groups: Foodcycle (waste food distribution), Real Junk Food (waste food catering), Foodhall (waste food catering), Abundance (food gathering and making).
The end result of sanctions and loss of support can be loss of home. You can help by having a chat and buying a bit of food for those struggling. There are also organisations helping those who have become homeless, check out these projects in Sheffield: Cathedral Archer Project, Roundabout (homeless youth support), Ben’s Centre (sanctury for street drinkers), Charter Row Lifehouse (short stay accomodation), Emmaus (a community for the homeless), Sheffield Tent City (a homeless community).
- Use your voice!
There are campaigns in Sheffield that aim to raise issues related to those faced by Daniel Blake. Sheffield People’s Assembly campaign against the programme of austerity: sypeoplesassembly.org
Unite Community is a union for people not in a union! Fighting for the rights of the unemployed, disabled, and precarious workers: facebook.com/UniteCommunitySheffield
You can speak up for people in need. If people are making comments about disabled people or benefit claimants, challenge it. The facts speak for themselves:
- Well over half a million food parcels were given out by food banks last year, ten times what was handed out just six years ago.
- Most food banks only take people who have been referred by social services, a GP, or other support professional.
- Benefit sanctions are handed out to people who do not attend interviews or appointments, or prove they have applied for enough jobs, with reasons not accepted including: being hospitalised, homeless, not receiving post, being at a job interview, or suffering bereavement.
- For every ten people receiving a benefits sanction, five will need to use food banks to survive.
- Half of all benefit sanctions are challenged, and half of those are overturned on appeal; many people do not have the support to challenge their sanction.
- Cuts to benefits, which have hit people who are disabled hardest, are continuing through 2016 and 2017, especially around child support and housing benefit.
- The total amount of benefit fraud in the UK is 0.7%, costing around £1 billion; the total amount of benefits that goes unclaimed in the UK is around £19 billion.
If you know of a campaign or group that isn’t on here and you think it should be, please get in touch.
“The decision maker must determine if a person with a medical condition would suffer a greater decline in health than a normal healthy adult” – DWP guidance for (medically unqualified) Decision Makers on assessing the impact of sanctions on someone with a medical condition, confirming that starvation and extreme poverty is regarded as a reasonable outcome of benefit sanctions for those without medical conditions.