Our Hoarding Support Group has arranged an extra meeting in its schedule to coincide with National Hoarding Awareness Week which runs from Monday 16 May to Sunday 22 May.
Initially formed four years ago through collaborative partnership work, our Hoarding Support Group offers a safe, friendly and confidential place to enable those who hoard, or family, friends or carers who support hoarders, to discuss hoarding issues, obtain peer support, information, and advice.
The group runs fortnightly support group session, through a non-video telephone system. Using this process has allowed us to continue to support people affected by hoarding issues over the last two years, while COVID restrictions were in place.
Over this period, which felt difficult and isolating for many people, our Hoarding Support Group has helped to facilitate change, providing opportunities for those affected by hoarding disorder to reduce social isolation and strengthen mutual support.
How many people suffer from hoarding disorder?
Data relating to hoarding is not something that fire and rescue services are required to record, so we are unable to provide figures relating to incidents where hoarding has been observed. However anecdotal information from our firefighters and team of community safety advisors indicates that hoarding is not an uncommon condition.
Karen Lock, from our Community Safety Team, is our hoarding support facilitator.
“We become aware of those suffering with the condition when a tragedy has struck or where safeguarding enquiries indicate a vulnerable person with an emerging issue.
“Our concern is that there may be many people who are unaware of the risks that hoarding can bring, and therefore welcome the opportunity to help raise awareness, both of the condition, and the ways in which help can be obtained.”Karen Lock
Risks associated with hoarding
There are many risks associated with hoarding, including those related to fire safety, as high levels of clutter make it much easier for a fire to start and create a greater risk of fire spreading, increasing the risk of injury and death. It can also make it very difficult to escape and can lead to difficulties for firefighters tackling the blaze.
By its very nature hoarding is commonly a hidden condition. Frequently connected to social isolation, people may be ashamed to let services in and just too ashamed or embarrassed to talk about it. Often it is a relative or a neighbour who notices that hoarding is problem, but it can be a difficult issue to ask someone about.
“Others can become quite critical of people who hoard, but the hoarding is the problem, not the person, and that is why we set up our Hoarding Support Group.
“We are really pleased that we were able to continue to run the sessions throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The new phone system has also meant we can support people who live further afield who may not previously have been able to get to our meetings.
“Getting people together in this way continues to provide a space for those experiencing hoarding disorder to experience a unique emotional identification with each other and their issues.
“We have found this enhances mutual group togetherness, support and friendship, which can reduce the terrible social isolation that can impact on people with these issues. The experience can really help people to move forward and gain control over their lives.”
How to join or find out more:
More information about our Hoarding Support Group, and details of how to join the session are available at: Hoarding Support Group
Karen is happy for you to contact her directly for more information on the group or for details on how to join. You can either email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 07803 182549.
Please send or leave Karen a message with your name, contact number and enquiry, and she will get back to you as soon as possible.
Additionally there are other free webinars, featuring special guests and industry experts, that will be taking place during the week – details can be found at Hoarding Awareness Week 2022 – free webinars
Find out more about National Hoarding Awareness Week 2022