According to a report by The Trussell Trust in May 2021, there was a 49% increase in the number of children supported by their food banks over a year from March 2018-19 and March 2019-20. The COVID-19 pandemic will have exasperated an already critical situation for many families as reported by The Children’s Society.
Government support can include free school meals, school uniform and financial assistance, but many parents are not aware that they may be eligible or how to access it. With significant variations in the system both across local authority areas of England and across Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland parents also face a postcode lottery.
But help is available, and Perennial is here to help people working in horticulture to access the support they are entitled to. The professional and friendly team at Perennial can help families access government support and financial assistance, where at least one parent or carer works in horticulture. Parents are encouraged to act now to ensure that they don’t miss out by calling the Perennial helpline on 0800 093 8543 or visiting their website to find out more about how they can meet the costs of child’s schooling and plan ahead for the future.
Last year Colin, award-winning fuchsia nurseryman from Wales, received support for his family from Perennial after the coronavirus devastated his livelihood: “Overnight our family business for over 40 years was decimated. I had spent a lot of money growing the plants over the winter and with all the major flower shows such as Chelsea abandoned, we were left with no regular income and bills to pay. I didn’t know how I was going to get out of it and with a young family to support I knew I needed help.
"Getting help from the professionals at Perennial was an absolute godsend. They got to know my situation and gave me advice on how to improve things for me and my family. The ‘Back to School’ support we received was a huge help – having not been at school for six months, the children had outgrown everything.
"The support from Perennial during the coronavirus pandemic has been invaluable. It really helps just knowing that there is always someone at the end of the phone to talk things over.”
Looking ahead the government have announced the Education Act with the government due to set out new statutory guidance about the costs of school uniforms in the Autumn. The aim of the legislation is to keep the cost of school uniform more affordable for families.
Find out how Perennial can help at perennial.org.uk/SupportForFamilies.