Conscript Carers

scottish unemployed workers' network

mid lin

On Wednesday, the Dundee Courier published a desperate plea for volunteers from Mid-Lin Day Care Centre, which provides activities for vulnerable elderly people, including those with dementia. The article admitted that the centre is almost entirely run by volunteers. What it omitted to mention is that many of these ‘volunteers’ are actually unemployed folk, conscripted under various workfare schemes. Some are forced to work there for no pay for six months – 2 ½ times the length of the maximum community service punishment. If they refuse they can face thirteen weeks with no benefits.

Some old people can be quite uninhibited in letting off their frustrations and making personal comments; for the ‘volunteers’, being sworn at and receiving criticism is part of the ‘job’. And some of the centre’s users are incontinent, so ‘volunteers’ have to clear up the occasional accident. ‘Volunteers’ also take people to the toilet. And despite…

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