Perennial trials monthly ‘after work’ hours for Advice Line to help working horticulturists get in touch

Perennial, the horticulturist’s trade charity, is piloting late opening hours of its main advice helpline to give working horticulturists a chance to speak to an adviser after work.

From the 5 November 2014, the Casework Advice Line (0800 093 8543) will open from noon – 8.30pm on the first Wednesday of every month. The helpline is open on other weekdays from 8.30am – 5pm.

Sheila Thomson, Director of Services at Perennial, says,

“We are constantly looking at ways we can improve and extend our service for existing and new clients. There are many barriers to people taking the first step in contacting us, pride and fear of refusal being the main ones, but we would like to reassure anyone working in or retired from horticulture that we are here to help. Over 85% of our clients are of working age and we hope that by offering an extended hours service each month will enable more people to get in touch.”

Perennial’s dedicated financial helpline, the Debt Advice Line (0800 093 8546), is operated by a team of trained debt advisers and already offers extended opening every Wednesday (noon – 8.30pm). The monthly extension to the general advice line will mean more horticulturists than ever have access to a trained professional Caseworker at a time that suits them.

Perennial helped over 1,200 people in 2013 and over 90% of them said that the charity had a ‘huge’ or ‘quite big’ positive effect on their lives. Kate has been helped by Perennial now for over 10 years and says it took courage to ask for help. She recalls those first conversations with a lasting sense of relief:

“We were visited by a Caseworker within days. She was, and still is, brilliant; a lifebelt in the flood. She seemed to know exactly what we needed and her advice and help was perfectly pitched. Looking back we simply couldn’t have coped during that time without Perennial.”

Perennial offers free and confidential advice to anyone who works in, or has worked in, the UK horticulture industry. Visit www.perennial.org.uk/advice or call 0800 093 8543 for information about how Perennial can help.

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NOTES FOR EDITORS:

Further client stories can be found at www.perennial.org.uk/success-stories

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

Clare Johnson | clarejohnson2@me.com | 07815 041635

Jennie Spears | jennie.spears@me.com | 07944 552634

ABOUT PERENNIAL:

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

Find out more at www.perennial.org.uk. Follow us on Twitter @PerennialGRBS or find us on Facebook.