As you prepare for Christmas with friends and family, Perennial is urging everyone across the horticulture industry to think of those in our sector who are struggling to make ends meet this festive season.
Many people working in our industries are on low incomes and unemployment is rife over the winter months. For those facing redundancy, a life-changing diagnosis or bereavement, Christmas can be a very difficult time and these circumstances add to their financial difficulties. By making a donation to Perennial, you can make a real difference to the lives of those who need it most.
Perennial’s services are a lifeline for those needing help. For families that can barely afford to pay for essentials such as food, warm winter clothing and heating, Christmas is not a joyful prospect. A £15 donation to Perennial could pay for a Christmas gift for a child whose parents struggle afford any presents for their children, while £50 could pay for a food voucher to provide a family with Christmas dinner.
Perennial director of service Julia Hayne commented: “For hundreds of people facing crisis situations, Christmas can be a lonely and frightening time and our support is their lifeline. Financial worries and pressures can become magnified and often go hand in hand with mental health issues, leading to a downward spiral where people feel they can no longer cope.
“We want people across all parts of the wider horticulture industries to know we are there for them if they have nowhere to turn. And by making a donation to Perennial, you can help us reach those who desperately need our help this Christmas, before the worst happens.”
Perennial helps people like Stephen, a landscape gardener. He and his partner Vicki, who herself has a long-term health condition, have four children. After working for a landscaping firm for many years, Stephen decided to start his own business and for some time things were going well. But Stephen is diabetic and he started to lose his sight. He had to stop driving and was deemed unfit to continue working. After eye surgery, Stephen had to stop work and this led to him being diagnosed with clinical depression.
Vicki said: “Almost overnight our financial situation changed and we really didn’t know how we were going to cope. Perennial helped us with our finances and have supported both Stephen and me through this depression. It took a while for us to accept that we needed help, but we have no regrets and are just so glad we came across them. I don’t think we would have known what to do without them.
“We would encourage others in similar situations to get in touch with Perennial sooner rather than later. We’re still struggling – Stephen is learning to cope with his loss of sight and I make regular trips to the hospital to avoid losing the use of my legs. But Perennial continues to be there for us and we know we can call the Perennial team for advice and support as and when we need it.”
To watch a short film about Stephen and Vicki visit: www.perennial.org.uk/stephenandvicki
Last year Perennial supported 158 struggling families with the cost of Christmas and helped many more during the course of the year. The number of people needing the charity’s help increases every year so donations from supporters across the industry are becoming all the more vital. Even the smallest donation can help to buy winter essentials, support those in emergency situations and spread a little festive cheer to those who need it most.
To make a donation, please visit www.perennial.org.uk/christmasappeal or call 0800 093 8792.