Life for self-employed gardener Robert* has been tough over the last few years. A harsh Scottish winter in 2013 left him with no work, money worries and three teenage children to feed. More recently, ill health and relationship breakdown, has left him feeling vulnerable and scared about what the future will look like for him and his family.
But through it all Perennial’s team have supported them, and now retired, Robert reflects on his relief at finding Perennial.
“I’m a proud man and was reluctant to get help in the first place, but I know how different it might have been without the support from the charity. My Perennial caseworker once said to me ‘we will not let you sink’; she was true to her word.”
Winter can be a difficult time for self-employed gardeners. With bad weather the work often dries up and with it a loss of earnings. This was the case for Robert who had a gardening business in the Scottish Borders.
“With no money coming in, and no savings I was distraught and terrified of not being able to pay rent or provide food for my three children. I felt like I’d failed in my mission as a parent.”
Help from the team at Perennial gave Robert and his family the lifeline they needed. They made sure that the family had support to buy food, heating, school shoes and clothes for the children whilst working with Robert to review and manage their money.
“I was unaware of the benefits available, but the Perennial team helped me to understand what we were entitled to and supported me to make the applications. I was also introduced to a debt adviser at Perennial and with her help worked out a way to manage my debt so that I no longer had to deal with agencies demanding money. It was such a relief.”
Recently, worsening arthritis and a spinal injury caused by years of physical work, have left Robert with limited mobility, so he has been helped by Perennial to ensure that he can continue to live in his home with the support he needs.
“My disability left me vulnerable and once again Perennial were there for me. My caseworker is a genius – she knew exactly which forms to fill out and how to apply for the right benefits and support I needed. I feel very lucky to have found Perennial – they totally transformed the lives of me and my children.”
For Robert, knowing that Perennial were there for him throughout the many challenges he faced has been life-changing. Whatever the problem; ill health, relationship breakdown, money worries – help is just a phone call away and the team at Perennial are ready to support.
*name changed to protect anonymity
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.