A UK not-for-profit organisation which helps individuals to overcoming the chaos caused by amassing excessive amounts of clutter is set to offer a helping hand to hoarders across South Yorkshire after launching a new dedicated support service.

Hoarding Disorders UK, which delivers practical advice and support for people affected by hoarding, excessive clutter and chronic disorganisation, has marked the launch of National Hoarding Awareness Week and Mental Health Awareness Week with opening of a new regional hub which will be headquartered in Sheffield. The support service will be headed by experienced decluttering professional Jo Cavalot, who joins the community interest company as a director.

With a background in helping individuals improving their planning and organisational skills, Jo launched Sheffield-based decluttering business Dottymow in 2017, where she helps those affected to replace clutter with calm. She is a member of the Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers (APDO) and she also acts as a facilitator to the hoarding support group Squirrel Support Squad, which hosts regular meetings at the headquarters of South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue.

Jo will be joined in her new role by fellow decluttering experts Rebecca Chauhan and Heather Tingle who will be responsible for building and developing support groups across the north, as well as providing one-to-one support direct to individuals affected and specialist training to organisations working with those with hoarding behaviours.

The new division of Hoarding Disorders UK will be launched during National Hoarding Awareness Week and Mental Health Awareness Week which take place between 18-24 May.

Hoarding was first identified as a mental health disorder in its own right in 2013 and recognised by the World Health Organisation in 2018. The condition is estimated to affect more than a million people in the UK. Hoarding is characterised by the excessive accumulation of possessions and inability to discard unused items, resulting in living spaces become unusable. Sufferers can experience significant distress, impacting on many areas of their lives ranging from feeling isolated and ashamed to being unable to function effectively.

Jo said: “Since its inception, Hoarding Disorders UK has played an important role in raising awareness of the condition and I am looking forward to extending the levels of support and help available across South Yorkshire.

“Hoarding is something which can impact upon many areas of our lives. It impinges on basic freedoms, such as a space to eat, sleep or wash. It can also pose significant health risks including illness, infestation, increased fire risk and other dangers. Working alongside Heather and Rebecca, our aim is to ensure more people are able to access the support they need, enabling them to regain control of their lives.”

Jo added: “In recent months we have received a notable increase in the number of enquiries from people affected by hoarding issues across South Yorkshire and it seemed fitting to launch our new service at the beginning of National Hoarding Awareness Week.

“Cases of hoarding across the UK are on the rise. Each year we help hundreds of people to overcome the condition by providing non-judgemental support and interventions.

“We are looking forward to helping South Yorkshire to be able to access the vital help and support needed to tackle this disorder. Jo and her team bring a wealth of experience and knowledge and they will provide a valuable lifeline to people affected by clutter.”

“Hoarding is a not only a very real issue that can have a significant impact on a person’s life, it is also a common factor in serious house fires,” said Station Manager Matt Gillatt, who works within South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s joint police and fire community safety department.

“We welcome news of a dedicated support service being set up in Sheffield and would strongly urge anyone who struggles with hoarding themselves, or knows somebody else that does, to reach out for help – either through this new service or by applying for a fire service home safety check on our website.”

Hoarding Disorders UK was co-founded in 2014 by Jo Cooke, author of author of bestselling book “Understanding Hoarding”, and Amanda Peet to offer much needed help to individuals and families affected by hoarding, clutter and chronic disorganisation.