The community interest company, Hoarding Disorders UK, established a northern branch based in Sheffield to provide one on one support to those with the disorder and is one of the most unusual ventures working with Sheffield Social Enterprise Network.
Hoarding disorders, which have been exacerbated by lockdown and other social restrictions, can result in people living in unhealthy and unsafe conditions as they do not throw away objects that people would normally discard.
Hoarding Disorders UK work on home plans for those they help to gradually reduce the level of hoarding to a manageable level.
Jo Cavalot, who established the Sheffield branch, said: “We wanted to do something for the community.
“We have three stands of the business – one to one support over a long period of time, working with them to help them let go of some of the items, getting the items reused in the local community. We are all about reusing and recycling.
“There is a support group we run which offers peer support, people sharing what their successes are and what they may be struggling with. And we offer training with professionals and people on the front line.
"Lockdown hasn’t helped. People have experienced social isolation which goes along with hoarding.
“We have been absolutely inundated with calls.”
Jo is recruiting a member of staff to meet demand and explained that she wanted to hire people with a similar lived experience to those they were helping.
She said: “It is a lot easier to help when you have been through it.
“I am an alcoholic in recovery. I can identify with using something to deal with how I feel.
“We are trying to find people who do understand. It is something that needs a lot of patience and compassion to help.
"I want to spread awareness that hoarding is a mental health disorder, not a lifestyle choice.
“We are looking at the link between hoarding and neurodiverse conditions, such as autism and ADHD.
"Depression and anxiety often go along with hoarding disorder.
“Items are just a symptom of what’s going on, just taking things away doesn’t help.
“It’s not about what’s wrong with you, it’s about what happened to you.”
The biggest causes of hoarding disorder are bereavement and childhood trauma.
Jo added: "People use stuff to replace someone who has gone, they build a nest.”
To work with the social enterprise visit https://hoardingdisordersuk.org.