A participant in the new series of Benefits Street filmed in Stockton says he regrets his decision to take part in the show.
The second series of the controversial Channel 4 show will be screened this month after being filmed on Kingston Road, on the Tilery estate.
Lee Nutley is one of six main characters followed in the six-part series, but after watching the first episode earlier this week the 42-year-old is convinced he made the wrong decision.
“If I could take it all back I think I probably would,” said Lee, 42. “It took months for the producers to convince me to take part. And I only really did because some of my family were already in it.”
It’s only been two days since the show premiered in London but Lee, who has been claiming Job Seekers Allowance for the past year, said he already feels like a “local celeb” in his home town.
“I went to Stockton earlier and people were stopping me in the street. Mainly people I know shouting ‘Lee, you’re famous now mate’ and stuff like that.
“But this is not why I went on the show.
“I don’t plan to become some big celebrity and earn loads of money.
“As far as I’m concerned you don’t need money to be happy, and us lot being filmed here will prove it.”
Lee, who will appear alongside his mum Chrissie who lives nearby, added that his life is “totally different” to how it was a year ago when filming was taking place.
He said: “I’m in a much better place now. I was on anti-depressants when the cameras were here and my epilepsy is under control now. I’m just waiting for one more test and once I’ve got the all clear I’ll be straight back to work.
“I’ve worked all my life and I plan on getting back to it. If people think I want to sit on my backside on £45 a week, they are very wrong.”
Lee, who has lived on the Tilery estate for about 30 years, admits he is very “self critical” of his appearance on the show.
He said: “I’m not worried about what the viewers will think of me. Everyone has said I come across really well, but I hate watching myself.”
Source – Middlesbrough Evening Chronicle, 01 May 2015
> Yet another victim. Somewhere there must be an official who will recall the name Trevor Drakard and think: “It was me that stopped his benefits…”
I wonder how they feel about that ?
Devastated that his benefits had been stopped, a man with epilepsy hanged himself.
Trevor Drakard had been deemed fit for employment, after a back-to-work assessment.
The 50-year-old, who never married and had few friends, took his own life at his home in Sunderland.
An inquest into his death heard Mr Drakard had been diagnosed with epilepsy from the age of six and was receiving Incapacity Benefit.
Coroner’s officer Neville Dixon told a hearing in Sunderland:
“In the past few months he had been deemed fit to work and his benefits were stopped.
“He had been in the process of appealing with the Citizens Advice Bureau.
“He had been feeling very down in recent weeks, due to the stress of losing his benefits.”
A “lonely person”, Mr Drakard had also lost two close friends in the last three years.
He would meet his parents for dinner three times a week, the hearing was told.
They last saw him on July 18, after dropping him off at his home in General Graham Street.
When they were unable to get in touch with him about signing papers relating to his benefits, they called round to the house and found Mr Drakard’s body in his bedroom.
Senior coroner Derek Winter said Mr Drakard would have been unconscious “in a small number of seconds” and died shortly after.
Tests showed he had still been taking his epilepsy medication.
Mr Winter said he was satisfied beyond all reasonable doubt that Mr Drakard had been responsible for his own death.
Speaking after the hearing, Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliot said:
“This case is tragic and need not have happened. My thoughts are with Mr Drakards’ family and friends.
“Sadly, the removal of benefits to genuinely sick people is becoming all too common, having a devastating impact on people’s lives and in this case a tragic outcome.
“The system is not fit for purpose – the Government needs to act now to stop anymore tragedies occurring and causing unnecessary hardship to people.”
> Aye, aye…must be a General election coming soon ? Ms Elliott, like her fellow Sunderland MPs, have been somewhat less than vocal about benefit cuts over the course of this parliament.
Source – Sunderland Echo, 06 Sept 2014