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No foundation for a Heart

The British Heart Foundation, contacted by a Boycott Workfare campaigner back in November, were insistent that they “would not actively encourage any placements, regardless of the scheme name, where the person involved is not a willing participant…” But PBarclays, a commenter on the Guardian’s cif pages, is willing alright, willing their time at the British Heart Foundation under a MWA placement to come to an end, speaking of the charity they say:

Lets get things straight, I am being FORCED to work for one of these SO CALLED CHARITIES, I dont know if im allowed to name them here but they are running a prominent ad campaign with vinnie jones and initials BHF…

This “charity” is treating me and fellow workers who have been placed there like garbage and we are working our arses off for 6 hours+ a day for dole money, there is no way that this “charity” would be able to function without this free slave labour and they would have to “hire” some real workers with real wages if it wasn’t for this scheme.
I am going to advise all my friends and family NEVER to donate to this charity or any other charity that is exploiting people using the “work programme” these “charities” are no better morally than private sector companies and probably treat the work programme people worse than they would be in the private sector.

Constant threats of sanction if everything is not done on time or in the way they want, I hate seeing the way they demoralise people and make them feel like human garbage. Its disgusting its despicable and “charity” is not a name that belongs to most of these charities, they are a disgrace.

According to the British Heart Foundation, PBarclays would have had a choice in the matter of their being there, as s/he would have had “an informal chat with them to ascertain their interest in our organisation and the work experience we can offer.” And that, resulting of this conversation: “If either side feels it is not beneficial, then we do not accept people for placement. The agencies who manage the placements then source an alternative. In these situations, the candidate will not have their benefits affected.”
It is unfortunate that the British Heart Foundation fail to understand that the very reflex of workfare is the imposition at which the jobseeker faces threat of sanction to their benefit, and that choice therefore is no option. And if not a failure to understand, plain uncaring in the situation of PBarclays’s workfare cohorts:

“… I am on MWA and at least 4+ others are there on “the work programme” (not voluntary). I’ve seen them threatened with sanctions by the ingeus people infront of the store manager, the store manager says any sanctions are not my problem, you are here to “do the job” he says “I have a business to run” basically fall in line or I’ll make the phonecall and your claim will be sanctioned for 6 months end of story. It makes sense that someone like Vinnie Jones is running the campaign because thats basically how the place is run and representative of the people behind the company.”

The British Heart Foundation have since been contacted again and made aware of PBarclays case, but make no direct comment, other than to insist once more that a discussion occurs prior to placement. Worryingly, the organisation cannot consult its political heart because it claims not to have one, though in accepting this government policy one might suggest it is blue and yellow. British Heart Foundation has not yet ditched its workfare involvement.

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Winger

How many more times must it be said?

There is absolutely no such thing as a mandatory volunteer.

Such a person is a conscript, who, in a civilian workplace, is a forced labourer.

Forced or Compulsory labour is defined as:

"ALL WORK OR SERVICE WHICH IS EXACTED FROM ANY PERSON UNDER THE MENACE OF ANY PENALTY AND FOR WHICH THE SAID PERSON HAS NOT OFFERED HIMSELF/HERSELF VOLUNTARILY".

Sounds as though that definition is perfectly suited to anyone conscripted onto some "mandatory" Government workfare scheme.

Section 71 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009, and Section 47 of the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010, both outlaw "forced or compulsory labour".

In the said legislation, a CRIMINAL offence is committed if a person requires someone else to perform forced or compulsory labour.

simon

this doesn't surprise me, my mam was a volunteer for bhf for 7 and a half years. she walked out because of the treatment by various "managers", some disgusting people.

roy james

The British Heart Foundation should be ashamed of themselves,it sounds as though the managment are treating those on workfare like dogs.

Lisa underwood

I have employed people under this scheme as I believed I could give someone valuable work experience to aid them in their search for future employment. It took my time to show them and train them how to work and I didn't get paid for this either!!! I had never seen someone try so hard not to get a job, they were late every day worked at a snails pace really didn't care about taking on any training. Never again!

PBarclays

I completed the course, on the last day i was given some poorly printed certificate from the conniving ingeus staff.

The useful thing i thought i might get from this MWA were references, but the staff were so rude I didn't want to ask them for anything at the end of working in that hell hole.

The last day i was politely told "well you can f*ck off now" all I was left with from this course was a hatred of the BHF.

I'd like to know how much the people at the top of this organisation are making, after seeing how it functions and the people behind it I don't even consider it to be a charity. Its a private company running under the guise of a charity and getting all its stock from the gullible British public for free.

Daniel Factor

Wow! It's even worse when charities are exploiting the unemp loyed!
The BHF portrays itself as a charity concerned for people's health but in reality they just want to treat forced workers like dirt!

Peter

I did a work placement under the old New Deal scheme, back in 2009, for BHF in Dover. The manager was ok but the assistant manager was a foul mouthed woman. 6 hours a day, 30 hours a week no meal breaks, no tea breaks. If you complained you were told "you can always f*** off and lose your benefits for a couple of weeks". I was shown a memo sent by the area manager telling the manager to get rid of paid staff and use more free staff. I was 52 at the time.

markrw

when i was on new deal in 2006 i was sent to my local bhf shop to work 4 days a week for benefits and there was no choice involved. so they are fibbing when they say they dont take people who are forced. they have been doing it for years. by the way they treated me like scum when i was there. luckily i persuaded my placement officer to let me change my placement otherwise i would have been stuck there for 6 months.

Crosser

@Lisa underwood

Do you not realise that people who are coerced into a position where they have no choice, will also have little if any motivation?

If however it was truely volountry then the right kind of people would take up the offer.

Simples!

Louise

Not so long ago, about last October, I was returning home to my flat which is on the second floor of the block of flats, when I saw a figure running to hide in the stair well. I was very wary, thinking it was a burglar contemplating breaking into a flat. When I got to the front door, a young woman emerged from behind the communal waste chute wearing a purple tabard which read "British Heart Foundation" on it and said to me in this phony manner: "Hello and how are you today?" just like a typical opening line of one who is trying to sell you something you don't need. I told her to clear off and not come back here again. I told her quite clearly that I do not give to charities who send their reps to corner people on their doorsteps in order to extract money out of them. I never heard from them again. Shame on them for taking on the Workfare Scheme and enforcing in on the vulnerable. I can't say I'm suprised.

Trevor

Funny how all these lefties (trade unions, the "Labour" Party, the Guardian et al) are now getting so hot under the collar about forced labour for the jobless when they kept their collective gobs well and truly shut when it was happening under Blair and Brown (the so-called New Deal exploitation scheme).

I complained to a life-long Labour councillor and trade unionist about the disgusting treatment being meted out to many of the claimants on the New Deal course I was coerced into attending in 2006. His reply? "Stop whinging - life's tough. Get used to it".

For many on the Left it appears workfare (and similar programmes) are only wrong when it's the nasty 'ol Tories implementing them. The unemployed would do well to remember this next time they see the crocodile tears flowing from some self-serving Labour politico pretending to be outraged over how they are being mistreated.

Jenny

This has been going on for years and has NEVER been voluntary as the people from Reed and Pelcombe took great delight in telling me back in 2000 when i was on New Deal.
On placement i did my 13 weeks like this
1. 1 month in an Oxfam charity shop.
2. 2 months in my local council.
No job at the end so provider then wanted me to do ANOTHER 13 weeks at Campbells soup factory for my JSA.
I signed off after taking a job in a sex chatline office. I was asked on a radio phone in why i took the chatline job and i simply said "because it was paid" which caused a short radio silence.
A woman at my local Job Centre took great delight in telling me a lot of women had signed off after workfare to go into the sex industry.

jenny

Just to say the radio phone in was a recent one i took part in last weekend not in 2000.

Jon

Just to echo other comments: under New Deal Pelcombe Training tried to place me with the BHF, but I refused. The BHF would only offer clothes sorting, the results of which are profitable for their associated companies, but hardly likely to lead to rewarding employment.

The manager at Pelcombe said the firm's name was just a name and the "training" bit wasn't an objective.

I contacted Arthur Scargill's Socialist Labour Party when they wanted votes, about the mandatory aspects of New Deal and the threat of sanctions, but was fobbed off.

A second stint with Pelcombe convinced me that they were happy to sabotage my aims and keep me on their program as long as possible. Lloyds Bank treated my like a leper when I was trotted down to them to open a business account, and there was no follow-up at all when I was out and trading on my account. I received £400 startup funding when overseas companies have their palms oiled with in excess of £100K per job created.

DWP still breaking their own rules on Mandatory Work Activity | A Latent Existence

[...] shop for thirty hours per week over five days per week for four weeks.However, campaign group Boycott Workfare were told in February that the British Heart Foundation would not take people who were forced to [...]

lucy

l worked for british heart foundation for 3 months for free the paid staff treated you like dirt called the volunteers slaves the paid staff were always stealing stock from the store the area manger told the paid staff to treat the unpaid staff like slaves the offer customers gift aid which is a con just to make money for store managers and the top bosses they get share of gift aid in there wage packets each month area managers stay in posh hotels at £222 a nite part time staff in shops can treat unpaid staff like dirt and mental abuse them dont work for the british heart foundation they are crooks and there is more items going out of the back door of shops then front as the paid staff are always stealing the good items

jack

l agree with the comments on here the british heart foundation are nasty people to work for l worked in a shop of theres for a month they treat unpaid staff like shit giveing you all the jobs they dont want to do while they sit down chatting if you refuse to do any job they tell you to f off out of the shop the paid staff are always nicking items which are donated by the public to sell at car boot sales the are mangers never talk to the unpaid staff in shops only when they want you to do something someone should do something about this as unpaid staff are treated really bad in the heart foundation shops while the mangers are earning £ 30.000 plus a year plus commision you never get a tea break or a lunch sometimes as well and if they are busy they expect unpaid staff to on and help with no thanks DONT WORK FOR THE BHF they dont look after staff

BILL

I WAS WORKING IN A BRITISH HEART FOUNDATION SHOP IT WAS TAKING £6.000 A WEEK 52 WEEKS OF THE YEAR BUT THE HEAD OFFICE SENT A LETTER SAYING THE SHOP ONLY MADE £75.000 PROFIT FOR THE YEAR ALL THE ITEMS ARE DONATED SO WHERE DID ALL OF THE OTHER MONEY GO THE TOP BOSSES POCKETS

Donnadee

I was a paid employee of the BHF a manager in one of their shops. I always treated my volunteers with great respect . I was told by management that I was too soft !
As a manager I was earning just a few pence above the min wage . The pressure and constant demands to achieve unrealistic targets to make as much money as possible by over pricing stock . Along with demands to increase fund raising increase volunteer work force . After one year working for this charity I was a wreck my blood pressure was high my confidence lost I suffered anxiety attacks weight loss all due to work related stress . In the end they made life unbearable that I had no other option but to resign . They are heartless employers

Tony

The heart foundation is all about making profit for their shop, area manager only worries about their gift aid so they get their big bonus in there pay they use you and when they are done they start to say that your not good as a manager and start making things up they say to you volunteers must do there job or go but wait they are there with the goodness of there heart to help they are not paid staff the are a big rip off don't donate your stuff to them pls it goes to there big company car and big salary

Steven

My daughter worked as a volunteer and was then taken on with the bhf to be paid the minimum wage for a couple of months, we thought this was good as she would be off job seekers and earning more while she looked for another job suited to her degree. The bhf cannot get even paying temporary staff right by not bothering to get the paperwork right so my daughter gets paid at the end of the first or second month she worked. I am doubting how the whole charity is run. Look up the annual report on the net there is a certain notorious celebrity's name printed on the end of the report, I would have thought they would have been organised enough to have redacted this by now.

ian

I used to be unemployed for a few years before the DWP put me on a Work Program, it started back on the 18th august 2012, they eventually told me I would be sent to Tescos to do a 40 hour work week and only receive my jobseekers allowance.
This alarmed me greatly as I didn't like the prospect of working for a company that needed staff but where willing to use people to earn aroun £1.80 and hour.

I begged people for help and by 13 November 2012 I found fulltime (albeit 20 hour week) job. I held this job till November 2014 and fell out due to work related injury and sick pay.

I went to my jobcentre and they have now decided that I have completed my work program and will now be put on daily sign on and put into a work placement- either at poundland or charity shop for 30-40 hours a week!

I have told them that I never finished the work program that they sent me on as I found a job but they seem unwilling to listen to reason and forcing me into these draconic measure and treating me as if I am still a long term unemployed person.

They have told me if I refuse to cooperate I will be sanctioned and my benefits stopped!
I feel the only choice I have is to quit signing on and living off food banks untill |I can find employment again.

They seem unwilling to accept I never finished it and seem hell bent on continuing as if the work program failed for me and it feels more like punishment then assistance.

They tell me that I have no choice as the WP ended on 18th August 2014 and that 12 weeks after the completion of the WP I have now got this intensive activity period.
I have tried speaking to their managers and everything that of 18th august 2014 I was still in full time employment and they just look at their screens and keep telling me that is what their system tells them.

I dont know what to do anymore...I feel desperate!