Hoarders and their family and friends will soon have specialist support on hand, following the launch of a new support group in West Oxfordshire.

Cottsway Housing, a social landlord committed to helping individuals and families who need housing they can afford, has started the initiative following a rise in the number of cases of hoarding reported.

It is funded by Cottsway and Travis Perkins Managed Services and will be run by Helping Hands for Hoarders, who offer a range of services including a general decluttering service, deep cleaning, down-sizing from a larger property to a smaller one and one to one support to hoarders and their friends and families.

Hoarding was officially recognised as a disorder in May 2013. It’s estimated that between 2% and 5% of adults in the UK may have symptoms of a hoarding disorder. A key sign of the disorder includes keeping unusually large amounts of possessions even when they have no practical usefulness or monetary value.

The new group is the brainchild of Vicki Paxford, Communities Manager at Cottsway Housing, and Angela at Helping Hands for Hoarders.

Vicki said: “Hoarding can take a number of forms, and in most serious cases can lead to a customer being isolated from family and friends. It can also cause a risk or health hazard to the customer and neighbours, so often landlords take a punishment eviction route.

“What we want to do is give people the chance to meet others who are experiencing similar situations, and provide them with techniques to help manage their illness. Eviction doesn’t resolve the root cause, so although we must take that action where there’s a risk to someone’s life, we hope by providing practical support earlier we can reduce the need for enforcement.

“Thank you to Travis Perkins Managed Services for their grant and Helping Hands for Hoarders for their role. Together we can continue to improve the lives of people living in our diverse communities and offer residents the opportunity to live healthily and happily.”

Learn more about Helping Hands for Hoarders or get in touch with Travis Perkins Managed Services to find out more about our community investment by calling 0800 169 2200 or email managedservices@travisperkins.co.uk