The Groundsman

September 2016

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INDUSTRY SUPPORT 31 the Groundsman September 2016 Visit for more information and digital editions erennial provides a safety net for those facing challenges including debt, illness, workplace accidents, bereavement and old age. Awareness of Perennial has increased over the past few years and recently the number of calls from clients in the groundscare sector has risen, but there is still a long way to go until everyone who could benefit from Perennial's help knows that the charity is there for them. Perennial offers free and confidential advice and support, which extends to spouses, partners and dependent children and continues for as long as it is needed. Its team of highly trained caseworkers and debt advisers are located across the UK, providing personal visits and individually tailored support that is often described as a 'lifeline'. Many people that contact Perennial are reaching crisis point. People like Donald (not his real name) who is employed full-time as a groundsman for a large contractor. His wife was diagnosed with cancer and had to undergo surgery and chemotherapy, which meant she had to give up her job. Donald also struggled with poor health and had been off sick. With both of them receiving statutory benefits, their income no longer covered their essential expenditure. They tried to resolve these issues themselves but navigating the complex benefit system and faced with complicated forms, it was difficult to find a way forward. Inevitably they started to miss their mortgage repayments and they were at risk of losing their home. P A helping hand Perennial is the only charity that helps everyone in the wider horticulture industry when times get tough – including those involved in the management and maintenance of grounds, sports turf and amenity facilities By: Karen Maxwell Once they got in touch with Perennial, their caseworker was able to award a grant to help clear the mortgage arrears to prevent the repossession. The caseworker also helped Donald's wife obtain the Personal Independence Payments she was entitled to. By increasing their household income in this way, they were able to meet their essential expenditure, including their mortgage payments. Laura Garnett, Perennial's development manager, says: "We want people in the groundscare industry to know that we are here if they need us. We are starting to build a good partnership with the IOG and through its regional networks the message about how we help is starting to filter through. But more help is needed and we are now recruiting a new development manager to focus on partnerships with sports grounds and clubs, grounds maintenance companies and contractors to further strengthen our relationships with the sector." The IOG says: "Perennial receives no government funding and relies on the support and generosity of the trade and the garden-loving public to maintain its vital services. There are many ways that companies and individuals can show their support by, for example, signing up to the Perennial Partner scheme, like we have, as well as donating, fundraising or volunteering. However, one of the most important things you can do for your colleagues is to help spread the word and let people know Perennial is there for those in need." l Perennial stepped in to help a couple in need

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