A helping hand in times of need
Perennial is the UK’s only charity helping people in horticulture and their families through hard times at any stage of life. Many garden owners employ self-employed gardeners, landscapers, tree surgeons or grounds maintenance staff who, if they knew about Perennial, could really benefit from their support.
The National Garden Scheme is Perennial’s largest single donor having donated more than £1.8 million since the partnership began in 1986 when Perennial was the Royal Gardeners’ Benevolent Fund. This contribution makes a huge difference to the lives of thousands of people who are working, or have worked, in the horticulture industry in the UK, and their families and we’re keen to spread the word about the help and support on offer to the people who need it most.
Self-employed landscape gardener Andy Perry lost his leg after being bitten by a false widow spider and developing sepsis. When he was at his lowest, suffering both financially and personally, Perennial stepped in to help Andy and his family find a way forward.
Despite emergency treatment Andy wasn’t well enough to return to work but, as his wife was working, they were not entitled to any statutory financial help. The family began to struggle and what’s more, HMRC were demanding a repayment of working tax credit.
Sadly, Andy’s health continued to deteriorate, and, in March 2018, he underwent surgery to amputate his leg above the knee. His wife took carer’s leave from her job, meaning her pay was reduced initially by half and then stopped altogether. It was at this time that Andy contacted Perennial.
“I was doubtful that they could help, but I was out of options. I’d had major surgery and was officially disabled. I was unable to work, struggling financially and just needed a bit of help. My family were totally supportive but without Perennial I’m not sure what would have happened. The caseworker came to see me and things improved from there. I was able to explain fully what was happening and how I was feeling. It was a massive relief just to be able to talk to someone without being judged.
“Perennial took the weight off my shoulders, sorted out our finances and dealt with creditors – it really helped.”
As well as sorting out his financial issues, Perennial raised £5,000 from other charities and trusts to adapt the family’s garden. Today, Andy can leave the house unaided, his wife has returned to work, and Andy is hoping to start a career as a carpenter from his new workshop.
“My wife and I are happier than we’ve been for a long time – we are able to sleep easily, and we’re no longer worried about opening the post. My children don’t even know that we were in financial trouble and that’s fantastic. They now also have a beautiful safe place to play in and I can be outside watching them play.”
If you know someone who works in horticulture and would benefit from Perennial’s support they can contact the Perennial Help Line on: 0800 093 8543 or call the Debt Advice Line on: 0800 093 8546 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For more about our work with Perennial click here
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