Helping look after Leigh when he couldn’t look after himself

Leigh is a single parent with a son in college. He has been a self-employed domestic landscaper for 7 years with the bulk of his work coming from a larger landscaping firm. In November 2016, Leigh’s work load began to take its toll. Stress caused acute psoriasis of the hands and feet and although he continued to work, the pain was difficult to manage. In March 2017 he broke down and finally admitted to his boss, and himself, that he needed help. After visiting the doctor he was advised to stop work completely until his hands and feet recovered.

“The bills didn’t stop, so I didn’t. My condition made me mentally depressed and so when Perennial stepped in they definitely helped me get better. They were taking all the stress away from my condition. They’re patient, they don’t judge. You just feel like you’re being looked after, when you can’t look after yourself.”

Leigh’s Story

The psoriasis affected both my hands and feet causing the skin to thin and flake leaving painful open sores. I struggled to stay on my feet for any length of time and had to have regular rest periods. When I finally admitted I had to stop working my income stopped overnight and although the doctor prescribed a temporary treatment, I needed to see a dermatologist and the waiting list was 6 months. I just didn’t know how I was going to cope. I love my job and I’m used to the hard graft so it was difficult to have to stop and the worry of how we were going to afford to live contributed to my illness. I didn’t think I’d ever have to use food banks but things got so bad at one point that I had to visit one to feed us both.

I was referred to Perennial by In Touch and within a week I had received a visit from my caseworker. He was brilliant from day one, helping me fill in the forms to apply for financial help while I was unable to work. He made all the phone calls and was so patient and organised about everything. It was like a huge weight had been lifted and I know that it has contributed to my recovery.

After a 6 month wait I was referred for regular UV light treatment at Salisbury hospital. Although the individual sessions last only a few minutes the recovery process is very slow. My hands and feet are getting better now though and I am able to stay on my feet for longer periods each day.

My job requires me to be physically strong but since being ill I have noticed a significant reduction in my fitness levels. It’s getting to the point now where I think work might be possible and I am trying to get myself fit again to help me get back into it. I want to return to work but the time away from it has made me anxious. I know I need to take things one step at a time and have been advised that managing my stress levels will be crucial in avoiding a relapse.

If it wasn’t for Perennial I don’t know where I’d be now. The service we have received has been amazing and I’m pleased to be able to help spread the word so more people in my position can benefit from their help and support.

If you know someone who needs help, find out more about Perennial’s free and confidential services for anyone who has worked, or works in the horticulture sector in the UK. This includes gardeners, nursery owners and workers, garden designers, landscapers, arborists, foresters, garden centre staff, commercial growers, turf maintenance specialists and many more.

Call 0800 093 8543 or email