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  • Writer's pictureLiz Wilde LizW

An experience you wish you hadn't had.

Updated: Jun 4

My journey has taken a turn into the dark side of Universal Credit. What a laugh. I have extensive work experience that I have put my heart and soul into over the years. It may not be everyone's bog-standard way, but it has been mine. I can find some elements of learning baffling, and I can assure you, I have found every element of UC baffling.

So off I go, first to prove I am who I say I am, despite a wealth of information sent. Then, I have to see another person, who I must say was nice. I was armed with all my stuff (not required) and a printout from the Government website, stating funding and training are available for startups of small businesses... NO, THERE IS NOT!!! Apparently, that door was shut in 2021/22. Why is it on the website??? Any other business would be in breach of advertising.

So, I was passed on to another agency that MAY be able to help. I went through all the rigmarole of signing up, repeating information, sharing yet again sensitive personal information. (Oh! By the way, within days of putting my NI number into UC, I was targeted by a scam, informing me my NI number had been compromised on the borders of England and Wales. This really builds confidence. It's an automated message, please ignore it.)

To be told they would assess my eligibility! Now surely, if you have been put forward by Job Centre Plus, have a claim going through... you'd meet eligibility? Is it not disagreeable enough that I have been lumped in with those without intent to work, those that have not worked, and those that somehow or another manage to just evade systems?

Yes, I went along with evidence I am hunting for employment, with a plan to build a Holistic Therapy business alongside. I wanted to demonstrate what I have achieved over the past couple of years: developing a website, joining and paying for institutes, public liability insurance included. None of it seemed to matter. There is no recognition for past achievements, life goals, or the path you want to follow.

Instead, I was told what I would do. Any questions I asked, I felt I shouldn't have. The environment had the atmosphere of danger, disregard, hopelessness, and absolutely an overwhelming sense of dread.

Last week, I was full of hope that the Government would hold true to their commitments of supporting people into work. (no, I don't why either, hay I like to be optimistic). Now, I find myself entangled in a string of so-called 'commitments' to Universal Credit, a work coach (that's Friday's trip out), and very little actual support in gaining knowledge on how best to promote and grow a business.

This has thrown me into a dizzying spiral of uncertainty. What do I do now? Should I continue to put time and effort into something I've spent years building up qualifications for, developing, and aligning myself with reputable organisations to provide future clients with a governing body, insurance, training, etc., for their protection and my benefit? Or should I throw it all out the window and work in a supermarket to keep government officials happy? Officials who don't appear able to use their own intuitive brains to actually do as advertised and give credence, support, respect, and acknowledgment to those of us who have put in over 40 years of work to move forward into a brighter future we have developed and grown for ourselves?

The system is baffling and frustrating. I armed myself with all the necessary documentation, only to find out that funding and training for startups have been unavailable since 2021/22, despite what the government website claims. Passing me from one agency to another, sharing sensitive personal information repeatedly, only to be told my eligibility needs to be reassessed, feels like an endless loop of despair.

The environment at the Job Centre has the atmosphere of danger, disregard, and hopelessness, with an overwhelming sense of dread. I wanted to demonstrate my efforts: hunting for employment, developing a Holistic Therapy business, building a website, joining reputable institutes, and obtaining public liability insurance. None of it seemed to matter. There is no recognition for past achievements, life goals, or the path I want to follow.

Now, instead of feeling supported, I'm left questioning whether to abandon my dreams and hard work for a job that doesn't align with my skills or passion, just to satisfy a system that seems to disregard my experience and aspirations.

This entire experience makes me realise how broken and out-of-touch the system is. It’s designed to fit us all into a tiny, predefined box, with no room for individual paths, dreams, or hard-earned achievements. Something has to change. This Government illusion of support is a fantasy that only works on paper, not in real life where real people with diverse backgrounds and aspirations live.

Please, share your thoughts on this. Tell me your experiences. We need to raise our voices and highlight the gaps in this system. Wish me luck and strength while I sort my life out within the tangled web of the government's so-called 'great ideas.' Together, maybe we can push for the change that is so desperately needed.

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