Sunday, 30 September 2012

Video: soldier talks about ATOS DWP experience

Video: Marine disabled in Afghanistan speaks to Granada Reports about DWP/AtoS denial of benefits

Many Thanks


Saturday, 29 September 2012

Hiding illness. But being ill. (But you don't look ill)


Here's my thoughts on hiding.
Ness x

Have you ever seen a cat fall off a wall? When they do they pick themselves up, have a quick look around and start casually cleaning themselves. They pretend that everything's fine and they totally intended to hit the floor just like that.  Its a conscious behaviour to disguise weakness or injury and it is a completely instinctive survival mechanism. Many ill and disabled people act this way too. Its a conscious decision to hide their symptoms and it becomes an ingrained survival strategy.

Its an art which any professional actor would be proud of and we learn it gradually and subconsciously over time. We become hyper aware of our actions and expressions, we disguise all of the little signs that give away how we're really feeling.  We choose our words with care, steering conversations away from subjects which might give away what our lives are really like. We make up stories and excuses to explain away the things we cannot hide. We have two major allies in this deceit - our own adrenaline and other people's collusion. When the outside world feels like a hostile place its normal to produce extra adrenaline, we learn to harness this to give us the extra strength we need to maintain the act. The more hostile the situation, the greater the adrenaline supply, the better the act. There's always a physical and mental payback for this but when the crash comes we're usually safely out of sight. And the other people? On the whole they're much more comfortable believing that we're fine so they encourage us to hide our difficulties and differences.

Why do we do it? There are as many reasons as there are illnesses and disabilities and it applies equally to mental and physical problems. We do it to save the discomfort of other people, to avoid upsetting or worrying those we care about. We do it to preserve our pride and dignity. We do it to 'fit in', to appear like the ordinary people around us and not draw attention to ourselves; the world is not always kind to those who stand out. We do it to avoid being judged and labelled. We do it to keep ourselves safe: our conditions can leave us very vulnerable both physically and emotionally and there are people who would take advantage of that weakness. Just like the cat, our safety can depend on keeping that vulnerability concealed.

For me, I've been hiding the effects of my lack of mental health for so long I no longer know how not to.  Much of the time I wish I didn't hide - its exhausting, isolating and often counter productive. Its confusing for the people who care about us when our outward appearance is so at odds with what they know is really going on for us. Worse is the way those who would deprive us of support use it against us. We present as ok, we appear to be coping therefore anything which we tell them about our genuine struggles must be a lie. They choose to believe the act because it saves them from dealing with how ill, exhausted and afraid we really are and just how difficult we're finding it to cope. In this way we are often discriminated against and ignored.

So next time you find yourself thinking, "but you don't look ill", or questioning the honesty of someone who tells you they're struggling, please pause and remember - many of us act well and some of us act a bit too well for our own good.
Thanks to Ness for her great insight on the "BUT YOU DON'T LOOK ILL" THEME

But You Don't Look Ill...

When you are fatigued through illness, illnesses, and or tablets...
Many things can get on your nerves.
The missing lighter thats actually right beside you.
The from nowhere anxiety..
The bumping into a door post that you know is there, of course its there, its always been there, but still...
The pouring of a coffee, and leaving cup at the place you poured it...
Trying to make a phone call with the tellybox remote...
The starting to write something and forgetting that of which you intended to write...
The dizzy spell in a supermarket...
The sudden cramps in places you didn't think cramps could happen...
The stab of pain where theoretically your condition shouldn't affect...
The "I'm not going to do that in case I fluff it " thing...
The coldness of a normal temperature room...
The smile and pretend you're ok thing...
The short presentation of something where you have thought about it for days...
The copious note making...
The times you ring the wrong person, say the wrong words...

And many more.
Is all part of invisible illness. We hide it so often.

Many Thanks


Thursday, 27 September 2012

Great Community worker assistance request..

Date: Sep 27, 2012 1:10 PM
Subject: from sammy minshull

Dear all
I have applied for the Manchester Evening News Help make our wish come true and would like to ask for your help. From the 1st of October there will be tokens to collect in the Manchester evening news as they have 25 thousand pounds cash for the community. The more tokens we get the more share of the pot of money we can have.
I recieved this morning information that we have been accepted to continue and collect the tokens. PLEASE if any of you buy the Manchester evening news could you kindly collect the tokens for us, as this will help us to get more funding so we can spend it in our community having fun days, street parties, and days out including our elderly residents.
These tokens will be available from the 1st of October right through till the 17th of November.
With very kind regards
Sammy Minshull

Jobs Fair - Mon 1 Oct - The Manchester College St John's Campus

Jobs Fair taking place on Monday 1 October at The Manchester College's St John's Campus in the City Centre, from 1.30 - 3.30pm.

We already have over 20 employers attending, all with current vacancies.

For more information contact Louise Marsden on 0161 920 3444
The Manchester College
Openshaw Campus
Ashton Old Road
Openshaw, Manchester M11 2WH

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Woeful system against sick and disabled.


The Woeful Work Capability Assessment

by lucybottomface

It is time that the government's attacks on people with disabilities are brought to an end. People with disabilities are easy targets. Many of them are too tired to fight, too poor to travel, too sick to stand up for themselves. The government attacks rely on what are known as "invisible disabilities". Those that the neighbours won't necessarily realise you have. This can be mental health difficulties, illnesses such as cystic fibrosis, or M.E.  These disabilities are manna from heaven for politicians seeking to make ideologically inspired attacks on the most vulnerable. The government likes to peddle out the line that people have been parked on benefits and never reassessed and therefore there must be thousands of them out there who are claiming benefits illegally, immorally and therefore "stealing" your taxes.  Neighbours are happy to  suspiciously eye the chap over the road getting into his car with a blue badge stuck up front, yet there's" nothing wrong with him". They know this simply because they can't see anything wrong with him. This is further fuelled by the right wing media jumping on every story they can find that supports their belief that disability doesn't really exist and is in actuality a ruse so that the "feckless" can gainfully enjoy their Jeremy Kyle habit.
By the government's own admission the fraud rate for those claiming disability benefits is 0.5%. However, Iain Duncan Smith wants to reduce the bill by 30%.  Yet, they seem to be trying to exceed their own unfair standards, finding over half of new claimants fit for work. Suspiciously however,  40 per cent of those who appealed WCA decisions were successful and for those who sought legal representation this rose to as much as 70 per cent. None of these figures collate. Clearly the test is not fit for purpose, but this is not stopping the government from pushing on with these tests.  Even the startling figure,  as revealed on Panorama, that 32 people who have been found fit for work have died shortly after, has not prevented the government from continuing with these tests.  One of the tests of the WCA is to see if you can push a button. If you can do that theoretically you can work. When my 84 year old grandmother died of bowel cancer I'm pretty sure she could have pushed a button right up to the end. So much so that when my grandfather asked her in her dying moments how she felt, her reply was "With my hands you old fool, how do you think I feel?" Yep, Gran could've pushed a button, or possibly even my granddad off a cliff, weather permitting, but I highly doubt she could've worked.
People who are genuinely unwell, too unwell, are being found fit work with alarming regularity.  The stress of the WCA and subsequent refusal is pushing some towards suicide.  Forcing a person who is too sick to work is going to make them sicker. Forcing a person whose life hangs in the balance is pushing them closer towards death. Just as worrying are those who suffer from severe mental illness. Many of them are unable to fill in a form or attend medicals. Some do not have the insight to even understand they are sick.  I have known many people with schizophrenia who are quite convinced there is nothing wrong with them, yet at the same time are also concerned that people are recording them with their mobile phones and worrying themselves sick about who is trying to hurt them. How will they be treated when they attend an assessment centre and tell the ATOS employee that they are perfectly well?
If this government genuinely wanted to help disabled people back into work then Remploy factories would not be undergoing closures.  They wouldn't be cutting direct payments. They would sufficiently alter employment laws. They would be investing in working employment schemes. They do not want to get disabled people into work, they want to stop having to pay for them. That is the crux of this situation.
If you haven't been personally effected by illness or disability, then that's wonderful. Be thankful for it. But be aware of what may happen to you in your future, and what is happening to thousands of disabled people right now. Edmund Burke said, "All that is necessaryfor the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing". Please don't allow this to happen to our country's most vulnerable please, don't "do nothing".  Please visit this petition and sign Then please visit here and sign again. Lastly please visit my friend Jules Clarke's blog  Send the link of this article to your MP, adding your own comment to the email, asking for the cessation of WCA, and the immediate suspension of ATOS. It will take you approximately ten minutes to do all three of these things, a couple of minutes to do any one.  Please, if you do one thing today, do this.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Nurse apology about her role at ATOS

Don't smile or comb hair! Nurse makes heartfelt apology after Atos forced her to trick disabled people out of benefits

There are nice people within a disgusting system of tricks and unjust assessments. Wish more would speak out, or leave. How many more are sitting in their jobs just because it's a job. Can't blame people for wanting a job, but that job?

Many Thanks


Saturday, 22 September 2012

Urgent: Wake your MP up with this...

Norwich man killed himself 'over back-to-work fears' - News - Norwich Evening News

Would all who read this article please send this link to your MP and ask for cessation of WCA, and immediate suspension of ATOS.

Many Thanks


Friday, 21 September 2012

Papworth Trust. Disability 2012

Papworth Trust's Disability in 2012 report  can be found on this link-

Many Thanks


Course in Homework Club Support Work delivered in Newton Heath

Training to run Homework club anybody?

Could you please help us to publicise this course?  We would like to build the group up to 8-10.
We are running it at Troydale Tenants & Residents Association near Newton Heath Library and convenient for the buses that travel along Oldham Road.
Many thanks
Robin Pye
Community & Education Manager
FC United of Manchester
Football Foundation Community Club of the Year 2011-12  


Manchester - Rounders Activator Training Course 17th October

: Manchester - Rounders Activator Training Course 17th

There is a Rounders Activator course being delivered in Manchester on 17th Oct.
Wednesday 17th October 2012
The Powerhouse,
Raby Street,
Moss Side,
M14 4SL
3pm – 6pm
This is open to all Us Girls projects, other StreetGames projects and any other interested individuals. We are keen to up skill our network to be able to deliver rounders so if you are able to send someone on this course that would be great. Feel free to promote amongst your contacts.
More details on the Rounders England website


Donna Vinten
Regional Rounders Officer (North West)
Rounders England
0114 2480357
07429 478886

Thursday, 20 September 2012

MANCHESTER: Healthwatch consultation ends September 24th

Via Manchester City Council.

Information received via e-mail from the BHA.

Manchester City Council have just launched a 12 week consultation on Healthwatch. It is important that as many people as possible from the local community express their views about how the future development of Healthwatch should progress, so we would urge you to get involved. The details from the Council are as follows:

"HealthWatch is a new, independent consumer champion created to gather and represent the views of the public and strengthen the patient and public voice. If people want complaints or issues raising, HealthWatch can be their advocate.  We need to know what people want from HealthWatch to make it the best it can be.

The aim of local HealthWatch will be to give citizens and communities a stronger voice to influence and challenge how health and social care services are provided within their locality.  Local people should be at the centre of how services are planned, designed and delivered in health and social care across Manchester. This includes GPs, dentists, pharmacies, hospitals, mental health services, care homes, day centres, and personal care at home. By April 2013 a new organisation called 'HealthWatch Manchester' will be set up to support this. This will take over from the Local Involvement Network as the way people aim to shape their local health and social care services.  

What will HealthWatch do?
Ask the people of Manchester for their views about the services they use
Tell people what health and social care services are available locally and how to access them
Give people help and support when making a complaint about health and social care services
Help make local services better

Please invite all your stakeholders, members and partner organisations to play an active part in shaping Manchester's HealthWatch by completing this online questionnaire on our website at

Consultation will run for 12 weeks, from the 2nd July to the 24th September.  In order to ensure that this consultation is accessible, alternative formats such as Easy Read, Braille, Large Print and Translated versions of the online questionnaire will be available.  If you require any alternative format, please contact Ruth Enright via: "

Angela Smith
Project Administrator

tel: 08454504247 direct: 01618742192  fax: 08454503247 web:
BHA, Democracy House, 609 Stretford Road, Old Trafford, Manchester, M16 0QA
BHA is a limited company registered in England. Company No: 3818058 Charity No: 1079727


Manchester: Local studio space available for rent

Hi All,

Gorton Visual Arts have valuable studio space for rent for groups or individuals.

Based at the Angels Centre, Endcott Close, off Gorton Lane.

Preferable rates are available for locally focused activity, but the space is available for all daily.

Interested, then contact Ian on 07752126007

Info; Manchester Dyslexia Support Launch Party

Share this where you want.

Many Thanks


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: <>
Date: Sep 20, 2012 10:50 AM
Subject: Fw: Manchester Dyslexia Support Launch Party

Hi All, please promote locally, Thanks Heath

Heath Cole
Tel: 0161 223 1155 - Dial 1 followed by ext 1155
Fax: 0161 274 0053, Mobile: 0793 110 1487

----- Forwarded by Heath Cole/Chief.Executives/MCC on 20/09/2012 09:47 -----

Roger Broadbent <>

19/09/2012 15:01

Manchester Dyslexia Support Launch Party

There are only a few days left before the amazing launch party this coming Saturday at Projekt 42, next to the Lass O'Gowry pub on Charles St. It would be great if you could forward the poster please; even better if you come yourself;)) Tickets £3 (food included)



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Please contact with any queries.




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For more information please visit

Tuesday, 18 September 2012


Just a quick blog on this.
Some benefits don't entitle you to prescriptions cost exemptions and travel reimbursements.
If financially these are causing difficult choices and financial hardship, you can apply for HC2 which lasts for a year.
You do this via an HC1 FORM.
It is usually available at your GP surgery if asked for.
Essentially a means test.
If awarded the HC2 it exempts you from prescription charges, partial dental costs, partial optician costs, and you can reclaim travel to hospital.
Not a lot I've spoken to know it exists. Hence this basic info blog.
Many Thanks

The full Hospital Costs Travel Scheme info can be found here, including info re the HC2

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

From French Media Sources....

Sorry for delay, author permissions and translation have been obtained to bring this to you.

Atos, sponsor of the Paralympic Games, forcing disabled people to return to work

By Olivier Petitjean (6 September 2012) Translated by Anita Bellowes

The French company Atos, Official Sponsor of the London Paralympics Games, under the leadership of Thierry Breton, is hunting down disabled people receiving benefits and employees incapacitated through illness. This is done as an agent of the British government which seeks to reduce its welfare bill. ((Allegedly))British athletes are leading a rebellion by refusing to display the Atos logo.

The French IT multinational, whose current CEO is Thierry Breton (former CEO of Thomson, France-Télécom, and former Finance minister), is today facing strong criticism in Great Britain for its role in the hunt for 'fake' claimants of social benefits.

Atos, Europe's second largest IT company and the 5th biggest globally, is a major sponsor of the Olympics Games as well as the Paralympics Games. But it has been unfortunate in choosing to display a strong presence at the London Paralympics Games and found itself the target of protests by disabled activists and their supporters (see videos and interviews in the British daily newspaper The Guardian). British athletes deliberately hid their endorsement during the Paralympics Games opening ceremony in order to not display the Atos logo.

The hunt for benefits recipients

Its British subsidiary, Atos Healthcare, is responsible for conducting the testing of Employment and Support Allowance beneficiaries, which is received by people unable to work. This contract, initially set up as a pilot project with the Labour government, has been extended nationwide by the Conservative government. Atos Healthcare, which prides itself on being the largest employer of doctors and nurses in the United Kingdom after the National Health Service, conducted 738 000 medical assessments during 2011. Its heavy handed methods have been strongly criticised by doctors and social workers. Televised documentaries [1] have shown that Atos assessors were set predetermined targets, even before they conducted the assessments.

No less than 40% of decisions to remove benefits are appealed (with a success rate of 38%). And that does not include all the vulnerable people unwilling or unable to assert their rights [2]. Yet, David Cameron's government seems satisfied by these results.  At the beginning of August they did not hesitate to enter another contract with Atos, this time targeting people in receipt of disability benefits – with the predetermined objective of a 20% reduction of this budget.

A 3.8 Billion Euro contract

The massive welfare disinvestment policy of the Conservative government is a true goldmine for a variety of consultants, audit and services firms responsible for conducting these « purges ». Contracts made with Atos to assess – and remove benefits from – hundreds of thousands of people on benefits are worth over £3 billion in total (3.8 billion Euros) [3], for various Ministries. The start of the Olympic Games was marked by the spectacular failure of the security system, subcontracted to another government contract competitor of Atos, G4S. The army had to be called to the rescue.

The campaign against Atos has active support from UK Uncut, the social protest movement against the austerity policy and budget cuts in the United Kingdom. Thierry Breton's firm is also involved in France in implementation of electronic voting for parliamentary elections, which the difficulties that we all know about (read our articles).




Saturday, 8 September 2012

Wow. so all this welfare reform benefits society? Is it just right wing crap? Is it ignorance of peoples needs. Click and see what has been recently collected from people. 

Many Thanks


Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Thoughts on troll tactics....

Earlier today i blocked someone on twitter for

"you're faking illness" and other choice tweets.
you know the followers you dont follow, and you check your @ messages?
and theyre there? one of those.

So i stated on twitter i'd blocked a tosser, etc.

Someone said "name and shame"
I replied i wouldn't as Dont Feed The Trolls is very important.

They then couldnt find these tweets on my mentions.
Which confused me on top of the abuse.

It was suggested that the person who sent them couldve deleted them.

I dont get trolled often, but making it this confusing is that one of
the tactics they use?

Anyway. it's gone now, and whoever it was blocked anyway.




Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Personal Advisor Interview

Apart from being just over a mile walk, the interview was as sweet as it was embarrassing for the advisor and myself.

Having to do another synopsis of my illnesses was draining mentally.

I also had to remember dates of various exams.

The thing is people, the advisor was very understanding.

She also said usually I should... But I won't. On three occasions.
She also said unless rules change I shouldn't be called in until after next wca , due about may time, unless rules change.

We briefly talked on an aside issue too, that of her not really understanding medical stuff, making it hard, but not impossible to work on wrag issues,
and kindly suggested should I want to if wrag awarded next time to appeal for support group award.
She said with info you just have just given me I don't think theres any point causing distress and possible benefit and health issues by referring and suggesting you opt into workfare. This would be rather inappropriate.

So people, thats what happened in brief.

Oh.. There was a shake of hands at end too, which was unexpected.

A very nice lady.