Lesley* knows how it feels to hit rock bottom. When health problems forced the gardener and charity-worker to give up the job she loved, she found herself with debt and experiencing emotional and physical turmoil. Lesley found Perennial, and with support from the team to help overcome her debt crisis and explore her benefit options, she has started to take back control of her life and find happiness again.
An experienced gardener living in London, Lesley worked as a horticultural teacher, training vulnerable people in gardening. Supporting those in need was her passion and she took great pride in the work. But life can be unpredictable, and after a stroke Lesley found she wasn’t able to do the physical work anymore.
“Being without a job hit me hard. I was an absolute mess. After bills I had £47 a month to live on, debt I couldn’t repay, and had been left with mental health problems caused by my stroke. I felt worthless and helpless. My deepest low point was asking my daughter if she would lend me £20. I knew then I had to do something.”
Having previously heard about Perennial, Lesley called the helpline and was introduced to Ruth, a Perennial Debt Adviser.
“Ruth listened to me. She didn’t pity or judge me. She just helped me.”
With Lesley unable to afford to buy food or pay the electricity to heat her flat, Perennial immediately provided food and fuel. With the basics in place, her Debt Adviser then talked to Lesley about the options to resolve her debt situation. With Ruth’s help, Lesley applied for and was awarded a Debt Relief Order, taking the pressure off her finances, and giving her hope for the future.
Lesley also received support from Andrew, a caseworker at Perennial. He guided her through the state benefits she was entitled to, helping her to make successful applications for Universal Credit and Personal Independence Payments to support her whilst unable to work due to ill health. Andrew’s expertise had helped Lesley to access the additional means to help her live rather than just exist.
“I would never have applied for the support before, but when you have someone in your corner it’s incredible. The professionalism, kindness and warmth of the team at Perennial have been a lifeline to me and I’ve finally got my sense of humour back.”
*Name changed to protect anonymity. Library photo used.
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.