Single parents respond to I, Daniel Blake

@PlanetMarissa compiled single parents’ reaction to ‘I, Daniel Blake 

Those of us who have had experience of claiming benefits understand only too well how difficult it can be to negotiate the system. In our Mind Waves Community Correspondent meetings, we frequently talk about the challenges of being unable to work, the stigma of claiming benefits and the impact on wellbeing of fighting to get what you’re entitled to. Luckily, we are also able to share stories that have positive outcomes: people support each other to access advice and advocacy to make the process that little bit easier.

Given that it’s such a well-worn topic for us, it’s slightly surreal to see the sudden public interest in welfare reform since the release of Ken Loach’s new film, I, Daniel Blake. We’re used to seeing Hollywood disaster movies, but this is very much a more personal disaster for one individual. Some people have questioned whether the picture of life on benefits, and of job centre staff, is realistic. The best place to go for the answer is to people who have real-life experience.

Our friends at One Parent Families Scotland took a trip to see the film and reported back on how it related to their lives as single parents relying on benefits to make ends meet. We were really impressed by the way that they’ve put their responses together and what they’ve said very much resonates with what our Community Correspondents say.

The film is pretty bleak and hard-hitting and the responses suggest that is the experience that many people have. What is positive is that it is amplifying the voice of those people whose reality it shows. The film’s director, Ken Loach, has thanked OPFS for their responses and even shared them with Nicola Sturgeon. It does feel like there is some momentum; a move to listen to people’s experiences and stories and to make things work better.

We are delighted that Marissa from OPFS @PlanetMarissa is joining us as a Community Correspondent. Look out for her posts on life, work and love as a single parent

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