National Garden Scheme helps Perennial support gardeners in need

The National Garden Scheme (NGS) has made a donation of £130,000 to Perennial for 2017 which will allow the charity to help hundreds of horticulturists whose lives have reached crisis point. As Perennial’s largest single donor, the National Gardens Scheme makes a huge difference to the work of the charity, helping to keep Perennial’s team of Caseworkers and Debt Advisers in action.

Perennial’s ‘Gardeners’ Sunday’ merged with the NGS more than 30 years ago and this long-term partnership has enabled the charity to help thousands of people working in all areas of horticulture. Perennial will continue to benefit from donations made by the garden loving public visiting any of the almost 4,000 gardens open through the scheme during 2017.

Perennial offers a lifeline to people facing tough times caused by challenges such as illness, injury or loss of income. The charity offers free and confidential advice as well as practical and emotional support delivered by a team of highly trained professional Caseworkers and Debt Advisers located across the UK. The support they give is tailored to the specific needs of each individual and it continues for as long as it is needed.

Demand for Perennial’s services is increasing – in 2016 the number of people using Perennial’s advice only service almost doubled. There was also a 22.5% increase in number of clients using Perennial’s dedicated debt advice service. Anita Bates, Perennial’s Director of Marketing and Development comments:

“As the NGS celebrates its 90th anniversary, we would like to pay tribute to this amazing organisation and thank all of the many volunteers who open their gardens through the scheme to raise such a fantastic amount of money. Perennial simply could not support all the people who so desperately need our help if it were not for the partnership with the NGS. Most clients only come to Perennial as a last port of call, but Perennial is there for them for as long as it takes to get back on their feet and rebuild their lives.”

Perennial helps people like Marek, who worked as a tree surgeon and conservation manager at a golf course. He had a young family with a baby on the way, when he suffered a serious accident falling from a tree, resulting in severe brain injury and a medically induced coma. He and his partner Ann Marie were supported by Perennial, which helped with financial arrangements and navigating the benefits system as well as being there as emotional support. She says of Perennial:

“They were like cuddly arms, giving you a big hug and taking away all the pressure of everything else that you have to deal with to survive. I can live this life day in day out as we are, but they’re in the background there, so if I ever feel that I need some guidance, I’ve got them there as support.”

Perennial’s own gardens open through the NGS to raise money – Fullers Mill Garden in West Stow near Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk will open on Sunday 21st May from 2-5pm, and York Gate Garden near Leeds, open throughout the season, makes an annual donation to the NGS. The gardens of the Six Houses in Barton near Cambridge, which are owned by Perennial as retirement housing, will also open for the NGS as part of the Barton Gardens group on Sunday 2nd April and Sunday 4th June.

Details of all open gardens are published in the NGS’s guide, ‘Garden Visitors Handbook 2017’, which is available to buy from the Perennial shop at priced £11.99.

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Perennial offers free, confidential advice and support to everyone working in or retired from horticulture and their families, including gardeners, landscapers, nursery and garden centre staff, parks and grounds care staff and tree surgeons. People turn to Perennial for financial and emotional help in times of need because of disability, sickness, poverty, financial hardship and old age – although increasingly younger people are seeking their assistance. Many individuals describe the services Perennial offers as a ‘lifeline’. The work of Perennial depends entirely on voluntary donations from the horticultural industry and the garden-loving public.

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For all media enquiries, interviews, photographs and additional information, please contact:

Clare Johnson | | 07815 041635

Jennie Spears | | 07944 552634