Wednesday, 15 February 2012


I want to put the record straight. Not everyone who is unemployed is a waster who is lazy and happy to keep claiming Job Seekers instead of working. Not everyone sits at home watching day time television while laying on the sofa. I agree that unfortunately there are a lot of people who do fit that description and seem to make the headlines. However there are also a lot of people who are unemployed who actually hate it. They apply for every possible vacancy, they go on courses to improve their qualifications to increase their chances of employment, they do voluntary work to learn new skills, gain experience and keep in a working mentality. They hate living on a pittance of £67 per week. None of this £20,000 a year malarkey, just £67 per week to pay for food, utility bills, gaps in rent, run a car (if your lucky), interview clothes, and anything else they need. Its not easy. Its hard and life is not always fun.

I know this because I am one of them. I was made redundant nearly 4 years ago just as the recession was kicking in. Since then I have found it difficult to find paid employment. Two years ago I lost my flat and had to move back in with my Dad because I couldn't afford my own place any more. Despite these set backs I have been studying for a Masters degree, I volunteer at my local Museum and I apply for all the suitable vacancies that come up. I hate being unemployed and I hate having no money. However most of all I hate being treated like nothing because I am unemployed. I am still a person. I still deserve respect.

The worst offender is the Job Centre itself. More specifically the partner organisations that run various schemes and programmes to help get people back into work. Instead of treating you as an individual who has their own needs, specific skills and your own career path, they treat you as a majority and unfortunately its a majority that is moronic, lazy and untrustworthy. If you ring to say you can't make an appointment because your ill, they don't think your being responsible and letting them know, they think your lying and probably working! If you question why you need to go on yet another pointless training course to learn how to write a CV or an application form, they don't look at your specific case and realise that you have already been on at least 3 identical courses with other schemes that were all equally as useless. No, instead your are being disruptive, difficult and unwilling to co-operate. Instead of realising they need to offer something that is actually useful, they react by holding your pittance of a Job Seekers Allowance to ransom and threatening to suspend your claim for three months if you do not attend the training sessions and co-operate!

To add insult to injury they now get you to sign a consent form that allows them to contact your new employer if you get a job while on their scheme. This allows them to request information that they can then present to the DWP as evidence of their successes and get to claim funds for their company as a result! Even if they have done nothing to help you get that job they still will claim the credit if you sign that form!! To make it worse they do not explain this when they hand out the consent form. They simply say we need you to sign this form. Most people would blindly sign the form without reading. Well not me! When I pointed this out to my fellow unemployed colleagues at today's group meeting they were outraged and all refused to sign it. They all felt strongly that these schemes were unhelpful and were adamant that if they find work it will be because of their own hard work not this scheme that wastes their time, treats them as morons and doesn't respect them as individuals! They were certainly not going to help them get money for it!!

I was also told today that in Britain despite the recession and austerity cuts there is one booming industry. It is an industry that is regularly recruiting and has money to spend of creating posts. The industry? The Employment / Getting you Back to Work industry! That is right. The Government is happy to plough money into employing people to help other people find employment! There are no jobs for these people to go into because the Government has cut spending, cut jobs and basically screwed the Country over, yet they will pay people to advise you on how to get these non-existing vacancies! It makes me wonder whether Britain would be quite so bad off if the Government actually invested money in creating proper jobs for people who are unemployed  instead of wasting their money of these pointless schemes!

I have to attend these courses and schemes because if I don't I won't get my pittance of £67 per week. Today I was told that I had to attend a training course everyday next week, including the day and time when I should be signing on at the Job Centre to get my pittance! The schemes response? Couldn't I get them to change my signing on time??? While your at it can you stop doing your voluntary work, and your MA course so that you can come to our "Back to Work" intensive course, so we can explain to you how to improve your chances of getting work by doing voluntary work, and improving your qualifications by doing courses! Is it me or do they clearly not have a clue what to do?

Next time you meet an unemployed person, stop to think before you judge them. They might not be the lazy, irresponsible, stupid scroungers that you read about in the newspapers. Instead they may be the hard working, responsible people trying to make ends meet with unrealistic amounts of money. They do not get treated as individuals and do not get shown any respect by the very organisations that are suppose to be supporting and helping them. They have it tough, and they could really do without you making them feel even worse. So please treat them with respect and remember if we are truly in this together, then one day that could be you.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Bexhill War Memorial

 I am trying to get back into doing my reading and research for my dissertation as the feedback for my proposal is due any day. I have had a little bit of a break from it and now I must get my focus back!!

So I thought I would share with you two of my favourite postcards of Bexhill's lovely War Memorial.

The Bexhill War Memorial was first unveiled on Sunday 12th December 1920. It is a 28 foot high obelisk made of Portland stone and was designed by sculptor E.F. Roslyn R.B.S who designed many other war memorials. It was paid for mainly by subscriptions from local residents and groups, as well as the local council. The original quotation was £1400, yet the memorial actually ended up costing £1680, £100 over the money raised through subscriptions.  It is located on Bexhill seafront at the end of Sea Road. This location was chosen so that when visitors to the town arrived at the railway station, they would look down Sea Road and see the war memorial and remember the sacrifice made by Bexhill men. On the southern side of the memorial there is a bronze winged female figure grasping a sword in one hand and a wreath in the other. The figure is Victory and the sword she is grasping represents sacrifice. Her position is significant as she is supposed to be looking out across the English Channel towards the Western Front. On either side of Victory there are bronze tablets engraved with the 331 names of the Bexhillians who had died during the First World War. On the eastern side there are the names of those who served in the Navy and on the western side are those from the Army. The names are listed by regiment then alphabetically. After 1945 the names of those who had died during the Second World War were also added.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Museums & Outreach

Today was a very busy day. For the first time in a long while I had put my name down to do an Outreach School visit for the Museum I volunteer at. Since September the local schools were only requesting Ancient Egyptians or Dinosaur outreach which are not my subjects so the Curator had done those instead. However this time the booking was for Toys and that is one of my specialist subjects so I stepped up to the challenge!

I did not do this alone thankfully. I was joined by a fellow museum volunteer who also happens to be one of my best friends so we made a good team and had fun! It was the first time she had done an outreach session for the museum and she did an excellent job. After helping me do the first session she felt confident enough to lead the second session. I was very impressed with how much she remembered after just one run through.

We were booked for two sessions with Year 2. The children were very enthusiastic and excited. They loved meeting Jemima the Victorian doll as well as the ugly porcelain doll! The also enjoyed meeting Edward Bear who was made in 1907 and is my favourite toy in the Museum's collection. Edward and Jemima were joined by a Hornby Triang Clockwork Train set, Victorian cup & ball, Victorian Happy Families card pack, Medieval Child's costume, Victorian iron hoop & stick, 1930s Mini Brix, Lego and much more. The children asked some interesting questions and seemed to enjoy the afternoon.

I am now feeling very tired and my throat is sore after trying to talk over some of the children's more excitable moments! It is worth it though, as I really love passing on knowledge to people and sharing my enthusiasm for history with others especially children. They are so often really eager to learn and find everything exciting. I don't think I could have been a teacher, not even a history teacher as I wouldn't want to just stick to the curriculum! I would want to cover all the interesting things whether they were in the exams or not!!

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Back pain and Illness

The last 24 hours has not been great. While shopping for a new portable external hard drive in PC World I managed to badly hurt my back. How did I do this? I took a step forward!! I was happily walking around the shop when all of a sudden the next step sent a burst of a hot sensation across my lower back followed instantly by lots and lots of pain. I instantly felt queasy from the pain and just wanted to go home. Unfortunately I still had to do a Tescos shop with Dad as he couldn't do it on his own as he has bad knees and mobility problems (especially when aggravated by cold weather). So I had to make a very painful and slow trip around Tescos before I could go home!

When I finally got home my face had apparently become quite pale! I was in lots of pain and felt very sick. I forced myself to eat some dinner and took some much needed painkillers. I also got my hot bag thingy on my back hoping that the pain would ease and I would start to feel better. The pain did ease a little with the heat but every time I moved it hurt again. My problems didn't stop there. A few hours after taking the painkillers I also started getting a bad tummy ache and upset stomach. I suspect this was a reaction to the painkillers. This continued into the early hours of the morning. I finally managed to get to sleep about 4.40am feeling exhausted, in pain and bleurgh!

I hoped that by this morning I would feel better as I had plans for today. However after moving around a little my back started to hurt again. After trying a bit of breakfast my tummy ache started up again. So instead of getting to do the fun things I had planned for today, I have spent the day in pain, trying to sleep and attempting to eat small amounts of food. Bleurgh!

I feel really unhappy and useless at the moment. I hate being ill. I am such a wimp when it comes to pain and being ill. I try not to moan too much as I do have some friends and family who suffer with ill health and pain on a daily basis so in comparison my situation is nothing as it will eventually get better and stop hurting. However I am not a very good patient as I just want the pain and sickness to go instantly! I get frustrated when it hangs around and I end up rather pathetically feeling sorry for myself, which I know is terrible!

Anyway, I have had my moan now. Now I need to try and be less sorry for myself and more positive. I WILL feel better tomorrow. The pain WILL go away and the upset stomach WILL stop and go away. Hopefully ..... :o(