Add to that the high rate of injury in our industry, which can result in long-term absence from work, and it is no wonder that people find themselves facing tough times.
Perennial is the UK’s only charity dedicated to horticulturists and the help we provide is needed now more than ever. In 2014, the charity celebrates its 175th anniversary, and it has come a long way since it was set up as a pension fund to help retired gardeners.
We now help all professionals working in and retired from horticulture as well as their families during times of financial hardship, debt, illness, disability and so on. Indeed, the number of young people we are helping increases every year — 85 per cent of those we helped last year were still of working age.
We would like to be able to help even more people during our anniversary year. Trade support for Perennial is certainly growing but we are looking for support from all corners of the industry to help us safeguard our services. We are calling on people to raise "£175 for 175". This could buy bunk beds for children currently sleeping on the floor or pay for assessment by an occupational therapist.
We will also be running our HortAid fundraising campaign again, which provides a platform for the trade to get involved. It was launched this year and raised more than £25,000. Activities undertaken included the Three Peaks Extreme Challenge, where a group of landscapers and nurserymen climbed the UK’s three highest peaks and cycled between them, and a Zipwire Challenge at the Eden Project.
But raising money for Perennial does not need to take you to extremes. There are plenty of ideas in our fundraising kit and we would be pleased to have your support, big or small. For further details, see www.perennial.org.uk or call 0845 230 1839.
Richard Capewell is Perennial Chief Executive.