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Through user consultation Your Living Room CIC identified a gap in service provision for a ‘User-led’ forum for clients with a hoarding disorder or severe clutter issues. This service will be free and this ‘pilot’ programme is being funded by the Anglian Community Trust.

The ‘pilot’ was launched on the 4th September 2017 and will aim to empower clients and non-clients that reside in the Tendring and Colchester area. The forum will be facilitated by Your Living Room, qualified practitioners, therapist and BACP counsellors available to facilitate each session.

This service aims to:

•             Help the clients help themselves

•             Share their experiences with their peers

•             Discuss and find solutions

There was no other comparable service in Essex to support these specific clients that have hoarding disorder or severe clutter issues by encouraging them to explore the potential underlying reasons for their behaviours.

Initially it will be a monthly meeting held on the first Monday of every month between 5-7pm and we will review and increase sessions accordingly. 

This forum group has been founded with the consultation and active involvement of our first client ambassador, Philip.

‘Philip’ is a long-term hoarder (approx. 20 years) and became a client/volunteer within our organisation in April 2017.   Please see ‘Philips’ story on our Testimonial page - video link of Philip at a recent presentation on our website:

There is a shame attached to the mess and clutter meaning the opportunities to talk about it are few and far between. A vicious circle develops as the negative feelings are briefly assuaged with a new acquisition which in turn adds to the clutter thus leading to guilt and depression. Having observed this in action, it is one of the many reasons for the user-led forums to be used as a tool to break this insidious pattern of behaviour.

Despite this issue being a common problem affecting as many as one in 20 people, those living in a hoarded home often feel they are unique and keep the reality hidden. Our user-led forums are designed to bring this neglected group together to talk, to compare notes, to share experience and to help shed light on each other’s predicament. We feel that support forums will be more effective being facilitated by the decluttering specialists that are working with their clients as they will have experienced the clients actual living environment.

We are confident that this process will deliver multiple benefits including:

•             Increased confidence

•             Unlocking reasons / triggers

•             Developing understanding

•             Finding ways to build towards sustainable solutions

•             Improved socialisation

•             Becoming part of a ‘buddy’ peer network

We consider this forum to be a vital integral part of our approach to dealing with hoarding. By providing a supportive, non-judgemental, community-based forum we are taking the decluttering process into a new arena – one which builds on the therapeutic side of the service to encourage participants, through sharing, to gain a deeper insight and ultimately to develop their own bespoke pathway to a happy, clutter-free future.

The benefits of this approach are not restricted to the clients. By listening to what those taking part have to say, our declutterers will develop as practitioners, becoming more empathetic and effective in their roles with this insight.

We want to eventually extend our support groups, to give a broader range of views, medical/mental health conditions and experiences, not only from different people who exhibit hoarding behaviours but also family members.


Your Living Room CIC