do is difficult, if it's not my legs and back which are hurting it's my hands and arms and fingers.
I worked in the building trade most of my life using power tools chipping hammers and many other things which shock me up a bit, I'm told I have white finger also that on a number of my fingers the joints are badly affected with wear and tear, so I've a habit of pressing two letters when typing so you end up with an extra letter in a word and the spell checkers thinks it's OK.
My disability is a lesion of the spine with serious nerve damage within the spinal cord and the nerves coming out from the bone within the back. Sadly on the day of my accident in 1991 I was left in the hospital for about three hours while they waited for an emergency, of course I was the emergency, then after an argument with a nurse about whether I had been drinking to much I found out the ambulance crew should have placed me in a neck brace and spinal board, but due to lack of training and a rush to get home they did not bother, telling the nurse my accident was due to drink and I had fallen over on the pavement, when in fact I had fallen about 45 feet.
Anyway the fact is now since my accident I've been looking for work, well before Labours New Deal for the disabled, or the Pathways to work or the Workfare.
I've used many of the Private charities and some private companies to find me work spending many hundreds of pounds in registration fee's, like Monsters so called employment agency, all that got me was hundreds of scams.
Then I went to the Shaw trust, I met them on a Tuesday they said not a problem bright bloke like me would be in work within weeks, I was given an address to go to each week to discuss what I wanted to do and how to go about it. what I needed to help me find work, all sounded really great. My first visit was good hello what type of jobs can you do , do you always use a wheelchair or is it for show, can you walk. I explained in nice terms I needed a wheelchair because my legs had been ravaged by MRSA and they had to cut out 45% of the muscles to save my life , the lady DEA which is Disability Employment Advisor said, oh I suspect your making that up a bit, so I showed her my legs, I never saw her again. The next time I went a young women asked are you the disabled bloke looking for work, I said yes, she said they left these for you. These were three jobs which they thought I could do and I kid you not, long distance lorry driver, driving taxi's, window cleaning, I just put these into the bin reason I cannot drive, and I cannot climb ladders. Then for the next eight weeks I went down and was told sorry they are not here, I phoned them up to be told the lady was on holiday, then she had finished, then she was sick, then finally the owners of the office stated they had left the site and had moved away.
I went onto the main office and tried to fill in the complaints section but it seems this does not work so I phoned then and wrote to them, obviously they are happy to get the governments £160 signing on fee but lack interest in the people they are supposed to help.
Then I was sent to the Remploy Interworks this is part of the Remploy group which is making money as an agency, this was a good move for me, it showed me how these companies use the youngest people so they can pay them the cheapest rate of the min wage.
MY disability advisor was nineteen straight out of school and told me I had a duty to work and they would ensure they carried out checks to make sure I was actually looking for work. I had to explain to her I did not need to do this as I was exempted from looking for work, she went out of the office at the Job center to check this information, coming back saying well I though you had to look for work.
SO I was asked what type of work I wanted to do, and I said I did not know what I could do or the type of work available to me, being in a wheelchair is difficult, let me explain if I work in a shop filling shelves well these shelves are higher then me. I was once asked if I wanted to be a helped packing peoples shopping but the counter was two foot about my head.
Then I was asked about doing voluntary work since it was obvious I could not be a carer, or taxi driver or long distance lorry driver, I was asked if I like to work in the British red cross, so I said ok then I'll try, it is supposed to get me ready for work, what happens the British red cross has three steps to get in and two more steps inside the shop, worse was to come when I was sent to work at age concern, I had to have five references one had to be from a religious person like a parson or priest one had to be from a Police officer and the others from well known people in the community being disabled the only people I know are my GP and nurse.
But over the past ten years I've done everything possible to find work asking to go on work experience to be told sorry nobody is doing that down here, then I was told your to old anyway, I asked about retraining and was told your to old, and that nobody would sign up to it. then I asked what about getting back into education and say retraining for a class room assistant, after a few minutes on the phone I was told if I paid for it my self yes that was ok but your to old, I was 47 at the time.
Remploy then left the area saying employers were not helping them and people just ignored the jobs they found them.
My last job offer from Remploy was medical Secretary to a consultant ten years experience and able to type to a good standard, I did not even bother going down and Remploy closed the office and moved away.
MY job center in July stated that I should not bother coming anymore until the new ESA regime was in place, and somebody else could have the hassle of finding work for the disabled I was told perhaps by then Labour would have some means of forcing employers to listen to them or us.
To date I've filled in 678 job applications and had four interviews, what will be the out come of the new medicals well my legs will not grow back so I'm always going to be disabled but my benefits will be cut to £60 a week perhaps labour will make begging legal again lets hope so.