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Perennial provides ‘back to school’ support

Perennial, the only UK charity for people in horticulture, is supporting families to meet the rising costs of getting children back to school by providing help towards the cost of school uniform and PE kit. This is essential help at a time when many families are struggling to meet the cost of food and other essentials.

The team at Perennial can help families access the government support that can make a long-term difference to their lives, along with providing a safety net of financial help, where at least one parent or carer works or has recently worked in horticulture.

With 30% of all children in the UK living in relative poverty, the need to support our most vulnerable families has never been greater. COVID-19 has exasperated an already critical situation. According to a report by The Children’s Society, the income of low earners is being affected the most by the pandemic, which – along with school closures – is having a devastating effect on children living in poverty.

A recent survey revealed that 87% of teachers believe that poverty is having a significant impact on student success at school. They shared widespread concern about school uniforms with children wearing ill-fitting clothing, no coats or socks, and shoes with holes in them. This not only causes a deep emotional impact on children but also their success at school, with children from poorer backgrounds falling behind their more affluent peers throughout all stages of education.

Many hard-working families working in horticulture are finding themselves in poverty. Almost three-quarters of children in poverty come from families where at least one adult is working. Of those with self-employed parents, 15% of children are living below the breadline. Perennial’s support scheme was launched in 2019 and was very well received with one parent saying: “I am relieved and humbled that you have helped us with the children’s uniform and shoes. Thank you so much for your support and advice too. It feels financially overwhelming at the moment and we are grateful for this help.”

According to a report by The Children’s Society, the average cost of secondary school uniform, per year per child, is £337. Parents of primary school age children spend an average of £315 per year, per child. Many people simply can’t afford new uniform and for those forced to purchase uniform from specific suppliers, the costs can result in debt or the family going without other essentials.

Julia Hayne, director of services at Perennial says: “The cost of raising a family is rising but we’re not seeing wages increase and the situation has been made worse by the coronavirus crisis. We know many families are frustrated that, despite being in work and budgeting carefully, they are still struggling to meet the growing demands on their finances. We’re here to alleviate some of the pressure, taking the stress out of going back to school and helping families find financial solutions that will help them in the longer term.”

“We help families every day, often facing difficult challenges, providing a safety net for people working in, or retired from any branch of horticulture, who are not able to find support elsewhere. As your charity, we’re here to give you the help and support you need.”

To find out more about the Back to School support and apply for help, click here and complete the online form.

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