Founded over 180 years ago, Perennial is the UKs only charity looking after people who work in horticulture and their families at any stage of life. We help everyone working with plants, trees, flowers or grass. Jobs within the industry are often physical, low paid, tied to accommodation or seasonal – factors which can lead to the risk of injury, unemployment, homelessness and financial strain. Coupled with the challenges of the current pandemic, the demand for our help increased by 25% last year. This includes people who wouldn’t normally contact our helpline, but have turned to us during these very difficult times. We are also finding that more people are in need of long-term support which can often put an additional strain on our services. The help we offer includes financial support, benefits and debt advice, employment coaching, training and career support, access to online mental health support, a legal helpline and back to school support.
Our casework and debt advice team have had to change the way they work during the pandemic with increased use of video calls to understand the help people need and are eligible for. Whilst we have had to adapt the way we work, our support for people in horticulture has never wavered.
“Thank you for all the help and advice you have given us. It was such a relief that you were there for us at a time when we felt particularly lost and vulnerable.”
We are continuing to plan and launch new services and provide people with the latest government advice and information available. However, we expect the demand for our services to increase further in 2021 as government support schemes come to an end giving rise to more uncertainty for many. The need for support has never been greater.
Our fundraising income continues to be affected by the pandemic. Last year, our gardens were not able to open for the full season and when they could, numbers were significantly reduced due to the restrictions. Many of our events were cancelled or postponed to this year which has meant we have had to come up with new ways to help fund our services.
We need your help
Our President of Perennial Alan Titchmarsh MBE says:
“In the current crisis, the need for Perennial’s help has never been greater. It really is a life-saver for gardeners and all people in horticulture who are in need of support, and our current work is making a vital difference to so many in these life-threatening times. Please do whatever you can to help the men and women who have devoted their lives to making our landscape a better place.”
Ways you can help
There are a number of ways you can help us. Below are some suggestions, and we’re always delighted to hear of any other ideas you may have!
The quickest and simplest way you can help is by donating via:
- our online shop,
- our JustGiving page,
- or by sending a cheque made payable to ‘Perennial’ to 115-117 Kingston Road, Leatherhead, Surrey, KT22 7SU.
Run your own Event or sign up to a Challenge Event
Perennial volunteers Jo Huffener and Peter Hill raised £7,500 last year selling plants in their front garden! Many of the plants were donated by Fleurie and Walberton Nurseries.
Steve Harper is running 2021km this year for Perennial. That’s over 48 marathons! We wish him the best of luck and will be keeping track of his efforts here.
Don’t forget to set up and link your JustGiving page through our Hortaid-21 campaign here.
We rely on regular donations to continue to deliver our frontline help, allowing us to plan and launch new services and giving us the confidence to recruit the advisers which are often described as a ‘lifeline’ by the people who have benefited from their support. There are three membership options:
- Friends of Perennial – Annual membership costs just £30 and includes unlimited access to Perennial’s gardens York Gate, Fullers Mill and The Laskett, priority booking of our Special Events garden tours and holidays and more.
- Fellowship – Our Fellows can be confident that their annual contribution makes a significant impact on the people we help. In addition to the Friends benefits, our Fellows are invited to exclusive ‘money can’t buy’ experiences for their generosity.
- Perennial Partners – a programme for businesses to engage and work with us to ensure all their employees are aware of Perennial and how we help, should they ever need us. There are levels to suit all budgets.