Perennial, the only charity in the UK dedicated to helping all those who work in all branches of the horticulture industry, wants more horticulture professionals to know that funding is available to help their dependent children should they need it.
Perennial has recently launched a new Child Bursary scheme to help horticulturists who may not need Perennial’s help themselves, but whose child or children have an educational need that their income will not support. This type of grant can also help those struggling with the extra cost of feeding their children during the school holidays.
Some examples of the type of thing a Perennial Child Bursary could fund include:
- Laptops, tablets or other electronic equipment essential for school use
- Extra-curricular activities
- Sports training equipment
- Practical equipment such as school bags or uniform
- Educational school trips
- Help with school meals
- Help with meals in school holidays
*Alison has an established self-employed gardening round and her husband Stuart* works at a garden centre. They have two children in primary and high school. Stuart’s pay has not increased for several years and although Alison has increased her hourly rate, she has lost customers as a result. Their in-work and child benefits have not increased for several years but all their bills have continued to rise.
After a cold winter when Alison had been out of work for a longer period than normal and heating costs were higher than usual they budgeted tightly but were struggling to pay their bills. They contacted Perennial who were not only able to provide advice and assistance but immediately credited school lunches for the children for a half term and paid for a school trip for their older child from the Child Bursary scheme. The scheme is designed to ensure children of people working in horticulture are not missing out on educational opportunities.
In addition to this new bursary scheme, Perennial’s Children’s Fund was established when Perennial merged with the Royal Fund for Gardeners’ Children in 2010. If you work in horticulture, you may be eligible for an on-going education benefit or a one-off grant to help fund educational opportunities for your children.
Helen Waddington, Head of Casework at Perennial, says: “These two child-specific funds are an essential part of our service offering for people working in horticulture on low incomes. So often we find parents will go without essentials in order to fund their child’s education and we are here to help with those costs. We would urge anyone who is struggling to make ends meet and who needs additional support for their children’s education to contact us to find out if we can help.”
William* is a self-employed gardener. He has several regular customers but over the winter, bad weather and ill health prevent him from working and as a result his income falls. His wife has a part time job and they have two children at school. Despite cost savings and careful budgeting, they have a very small disposable income to live on.
Their son Toby* recently started at high school. Perennial helped by awarding a grant to pay for his compulsory school uniform items including the school blazer, sports clothing and tie, which could only be purchased directly from the school.
Soon after starting school, Toby was placed on detention because his homework was not fully completed and had been hand written, when it should be typed. As detention was after the school day had finished he missed his bus and had to be collected from school by his parents. This incurred additional petrol costs as it is a 30-mile round trip. It transpired that students are instructed to take a photo on their smart phones of the homework from the white board. Toby didn’t feel able to say that his parents couldn’t afford a smart phone for him and instead was attempting to memorise the homework. He also hadn’t felt able to explain that they didn’t have broadband, a laptop or printer at home so was unable to type it either.
Perennial helped by awarding a regular child education payment from the Perennial Children’s Fund which provides the essential equipment Toby needs for school.
Find out more about how Perennial can help with a range of issues at www.perennial.org.uk/help
Perennial’s Debt Advice Service is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (www.fca.org.uk)
*Names have been changed and photos posed by models