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Age UK’s Workfare Warehouse

Age UK shop

Age UK: still using workfare

Supposedly, Age UK pulled out of workfare in December.  However, since then we have had a number of reports from people doing Mandatory Work Activity at Age UK East Sussex  in oppressive conditions at their Newhaven warehouse. We have been told they take on about 15 placements every week! With about 10 of these being bullied off or dropping out due to the nature of the placements over the 4 weeks. These people are likely to have then had their benefits stopped for at least 3 months as a result of Age UK East Sussex. On top of this it appears there are issues with health and safety and reports of people being injured from the work and then told not to come back.

Here is what someone who has been at Age UK East Sussex had to say:
“Abuse of workfare placements at Age UK East Sussex continues. AGEUKES is a charity in financial trouble according to the accounts that are published on their website. The money losses are down to mis-management. Paid staff have been laid off and the use of zero hours contracts and placements is being increased to save money.
Placements are promised a structured program to learn skills but are just used as general dogs bodies. They are sent out to deliver leaflets and put up signs in the street. They are sent out on vans to do manual lifting. Activities which are not covered by either the charity or Pinnacle’s insurance. People are bullied into doing jobs that are demeaning. The paid staff were not expected to do some of the things Pinnacle people have to do. Example: sorting rubbish with no proper personal protective equipment.”
The welfare-to-work company organising the workfare placements at Age UK is Pinnacle People: Age UK East Sussex’s Commercial Director Richard Scott-Clark is the person arguing in favour of Age UK’s involvement with them in East Sussex.  He opposed trustees when they wanted to end the workfare placements.
If you want to show your anger at how Age UK East Sussex have been treating claimants and staff they can be contacted here.  Or you could email Richard Scott-Clark: richard.scott-clark@ageukeastsussex.org.uk, or contact him on the phone through the Newhaven furniture warehouse: 01273 646 8000.
Or alternatively just contact Age UK:
Tweet them here


Find their facebook here

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Jeff

I once thought that people in the charity sector were more interested in making the world a better place than in feathering their own nests - silly me!

The people who are forced to hand out promotional leaflets for Age UK should also hand out ones showing how exploitative the organization actually is.

HomerJS

Nearly all medium to large charities have adopted the modern, dare I call it 'neoliberal' approach, which is supposedly about paying high(er) wages (at the top) to attract the 'best' people. This has been well received by Chief Executives who now are very well paid. Unfortunately with all the cuts in funding this means that there is little left to pay anyone other than the Chief Exec.

Jill Goble

Yes a friend was sent there on the bus from Brighton every day to walk round the streets dropping off bags and then collecting them with donated clothes etc in. I'm not sure what other work they gave him. He did it for a month this year.

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P carp man

I was a volunteer at age uk in new haven for a few months,yes they treat you like slaves very badly run and seen items go missing or people borrowing items

Fu kit

Also in Warwickshire as well. Seriously bad conditions.

Joydivider

You should all know that Age UK are trying to do it by back door methods now. I know its not mandatory but it sets up a very awkward situation indeed

That is they hand a leaflet into the jobcentre for a position they can never fill properly...van drivers assistant because it's slave labour working hard alongside paid people and a manger

I did it for one day and recently the JC asked me to apply again because its good for me.
The jc assistants are on a mission to get us all "volunteering" All the interesting volunteering positions seem unavailable or very difficult to get.

Im not against volunteering. Its just certain awkward conditions like clearing houses and heavy work beside someone on a wage. Its not on!

I think they got so used to workfare placements that they now dont really know what to do other than hope the JC cajole and send people along

Just reading

It's important to note that Age UK and Age UK East Sussex are two separate entities. They have their own management and own procedures. Age UK have over 400 shops owned by the national Age UK Charity - these do not operate workfare. (the shop pictured in this post belongs to the wider charity) - indeed the twitter link and facebook link posted is for Age UK, not Age UK East Sussex