For self-employed landscape gardener Paul, the onset of arthritis left him in severe pain, unable to work and his business devastated. With no money to afford the essentials he was struggling to see a way forward. Two years on and with support from Perennial he is living independently in adapted accommodation close to his family.
Paul’s job, like so many in the horticulture industry, was physically demanding. The diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis at just 50 years old was a huge shock and left him learning to live with a long-term disability. With limited movement and in chronic pain he had no choice but to give up his gardening business and the work he loved.
“Before I found Perennial I was struggling. When I became ill my relationship broke down and I moved into an unfurnished rented flat. Each month I was left with £30 to live off after I’d paid my rent – it wasn’t enough to get food or the basics for the flat. Then I came across Turn2Us who told me about Perennial.”
One of Perennial’s services team got in touch with Paul. He offered Perennial’s support to meet his immediate needs and soon Paul had a bed, fridge and vouchers for food.
“I felt so overwhelmed; I couldn’t stop crying. It was amazing to have someone looking out for me. Perennial had given me hope where I had none.”
With a bed to sleep in and food on the table Paul could start looking to the future. Over the next few months, Paul’s caseworker helped him with his applications to get support from social care and health benefits he so desperately needed. He supported Paul to complete the welfare benefit forms (which he had previously struggled with because of his dyslexia) and helped him through the assessment process. He also arranged an appointment for occupational therapy through his local council. As a result, Paul had more income so he could buy the food and get the support he needed. The flat he lived in at that time was specially adapted for his disability and he could feel safe in his home once more.
“The help from Perennial continues to be there whenever I need it. In 2020 I was finding that living with my disability was leaving me feeling more and more alone. I knew that moving 130 miles back to my hometown of Middlesbrough to be near my family would help but I thought it would be impossible to find suitable accommodation.
My Perennial case worker knew exactly what to do and he immediately got me on the right housing priority band and waiting list. Within a couple of months, I had a flat around the corner from my dad, brother and sister in my hometown. I’m so grateful to have found Perennial – without them my disability would have destroyed my life. But now I have a life worth living.”
Living with a disability has dramatically changed Paul’s life, but with help from Perennial he can now live independently with the reassurance of having his family nearby and the Perennial team just a phone call away.
If you, or someone you know 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 us free in confidence on 0800 093 8543 or complete our contact form for help.