Perennial prepares for increase in demand as Coronavirus (COVID-19) hits UK horticulture workers and businesses

Perennial is the safety net for people in the horticulture industry and is here to help anyone working in, or retired from any job involving trees, plants, flowers or grass. As the effects of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continue to evolve for the horticulture industry, Perennial is urging anyone who is worried or has questions about how it will affect them, or their family, to get in touch. The team’s clear message is ‘we’re in this together’ and wants everyone in the industry to know they are here to support you. Perennial’s helpline is operating as usual on 0800 093 8543 or visit www.perennial.org.uk for the latest updates.

Julia Hayne, Director of Services at Perennial, says:

“We know people are worried; it’s only natural to be concerned about your own health, your ability to continue working and to support your family. We’re here to reassure, advise and help you through the coming weeks and months. We all need to work together on this. We are all facing unprecedented challenges as we adjust to new ways of working and Perennial is determined to remain available and active for everyone we help.”

Perennial has a range of support services online and its advisers are available by phone, email or video call free of charge and in complete confidence. The online budgeting tool can be used to help understand finances and makes it simple to see what is coming in and out, with useful hints and tips to support you to adjust to changes in income. Perennial’s online mental health network, launched earlier this year in partnership with Togetherall, can help everyone maintain their mental wellbeing.

Perennial’s team of professional, highly trained caseworkers and debt advisers can:

  1. help people understand and get access to government arrangements for financial support
  2. help people make arrangements to reduce or delay bill payments, including credit debts where necessary
  3. provide financial assistance to cover essential items, particularly food and heating

Peter Newman, Perennial’s Chief Executive, says:

“In these unprecedented circumstances many people will be anxious about both the present and the future. For 180 years Perennial has stood alongside people in horticulture and our unswerving determination is to continue to be available to help through these difficult days.”

Over the last few days Perennial’s whole workforce has responded to the evolving government guidance and will continue to monitor daily updates and promote the clear home-working, self-isolation and social distancing guidelines. The charity’s gardens at York Gate near Leeds and Fullers Mill near Bury St Edmunds will not now open as planned, and all volunteer activity has been suspended until further notice.

Peter Newman continues:

“The focus of the whole Perennial team is now on meeting the practical and social needs of people in horticulture, as the entire country faces up to the COVID-19 challenge, and its aftermath.”

Perennial’s team of advisers all work from home and are available for phone calls, emails and video calls. Perennial is posting daily updates to an information hub on its website giving people up to date information on how you can manage your current situation, how Perennial can support individuals affected by the pandemic and links to other organisations who may be able to help. To keep up to date with new information as it emerges, follow Perennial on social media or sign up to the charity’s e-newsletters. If you have any concerns about how Coronavirus COVID-19 will affect you or your family, don’t hesitate to get in touch 0800 093 8543 or visit www.perennial.org.uk/coronavirus for further information.

How Perennial can support people in horticulture 

Perennial’s help and support is free and confidential and during this difficult time the team is available to help people access statutory services and assistance as well as offering emergency relief and help. Everyone needs something different, so call the team in confidence on 0800 093 8543 or email services@perennial.org.uk to find out more. The helpline is open Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm.

Worried about your finances?

When work suddenly stops the impact on income can be a challenge.  The government has recognised this and has put some measures in place to help get us through this difficult period. The following are reputable websites that will help you find information on various aspects of your financial wellbeing, but we know that understanding statutory guidance is not always easy. Please give our team a call on 0800 093 8543 and let us help you understand how to access support.

Looking after yourself

Looking after your mental wellbeing is just as important as looking after your physical and financial health, especially during uncertain times. In periods of increased stress, seeking help and support from other can be a real help. If you are stressed, anxious or need a place to talk, join our online mental health community provided by Togetherall. You can visit anytime, anywhere and it’s all free and confidential. As we become more physically isolated it will be more important than ever to stay connected.

What can I do to help prevent the spread of COVID-19?

There are steps everyone can take. Following government and NHS advice is a good place to start. Regularly wash your hands, for at least 20 seconds each time, and ensure that your team has access to handwashing facilities. Avoid touching your face. Catch any coughs or sneezes in a tissue and dispose of it as soon as possible. Observe social distancing guidelines and work from home if at all possible. More NHS advice here.