Visiting gardens helps Perennial support gardeners in crisis

Fullers Mill

Donations from The National Gardens Scheme (NGS) over the past 30 years have allowed Perennial to help thousands of horticulturists whose lives have reached crisis point. The NGS is Perennial’s largest single donor and its contribution of £150,000 last year represented over 20% of voluntary donations to the charity excluding legacies.

As one of the long term beneficiaries of the National Gardens Scheme, 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 2016.

Perennial is the only charity dedicated to helping horticulturists and their families, providing them with what is often described as a lifeline when times get tough. They may be facing challenges such as injury, illness, debt or bereavement, but Perennial’s team of highly trained Caseworkers are there to provide practical, emotional and financial help and advice, which continues for as long as it is needed.

Over recent years demand for Perennial’s services, including its dedicated debt advice service, has continued to increase. So too has the complexity of cases that Perennial deals with, especially as the benefits system becomes more difficult to access and navigate. In 2015 Perennial Caseworkers helped its clients gain around £1.33 million in direct financial help, through a combination of helping them access statutory benefits, financial help from Perennial and funds raised from other sources such as grant-giving bodies and other charitable organisations.

Richard Capewell, Chief Executive of Perennial, comments:

“We would like to thank the NGS for its ongoing support and all of the volunteers who open their gardens through the scheme. The National Gardens Scheme provides a wonderful opportunity for the public to visit a huge range of beautiful gardens, while raising funds that play a significant part in the continuation of our services and the number of people we can help. Most clients only come to Perennial as a last port of call, when they have nowhere else to turn. Each situation is individual and often acute and very complex, 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 from all across the horticulture industry. People like Peter Mills who had worked in horticulture for 30 years when a serious accident at work left him severely injured and unable to work. Being self-employed and the main wage earner with a young family, the loss of income was devastating. During one of his lowest points, he was reminded about Perennial, made the call and it changed his life.

Peter MillsPeter describes the help that he and his family received from Perennial as invaluable.

“The Perennial Caseworker who was assigned to my case seemed to swoop in and sort us out. She was brilliant.” The Caseworker was able to help with statutory benefits and made an immediate financial grant payment to help with debts that had built up. Even after Peter returned to work, the Caseworker stayed in touch to make sure the family was doing well.

Perennial’s own gardens join all the other garden owners in contributing to the NGS – Fullers Mill in West Stow near Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk will open under the National Garden Scheme on Sunday 15th May from 2-5pm, and York Gate Garden, open throughout the season, makes an annual donation. 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 10th April and Sunday 5th June.

Details of all open gardens are published in the NGS’s guide, ‘Gardens to Visit 2016’, 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