A charity which helps people to manage hoarding behaviours has received extra funding to expand its services to council tenants.
Making Space is Bristol’s only service supporting people with tackling high levels of clutter in their homes.
They are now seeking “compassionate and patient” volunteers to help expand their work across the city.
“I am more positive about the future now,” said one tenant after receiving help from the charity.
According to the NHS, compulsive hoarding is often a hidden issue which can severely impact people’s quality of life and can often be a symptom of another condition or mental health illness.
The Making Space project, which is funded by Bristol City Council and the Dolphin Society, has supported hundreds of people in the city over the last seven years.
“Our volunteers are an integral part of transforming people’s lives,” said Naomi Morgan, a case worker at Making Space.
She said: “They help people make space not only in their homes but also in their minds, increasing their confidence and wellbeing.
“The people we support require a compassionate, patient and therapeutic response, helping individuals understand why they gather possessions and why it’s challenging to let go of them, as well as developing a plan for clearing the house and co-ordinating the clearance,”
Veronica, who is in her 60s, and does not want to be fully identified, said she has struggled with hoarding tendencies for around 25 years, after she began keeping hold of things as a coping strategy following a relationship breakdown.
“I had become less sociable and no longer encouraged my friends to visit me in my home as space was so limited because of the number of things I had accumulated,” Veronica said.
“I did not even have visits from essential tradespeople because I felt too ashamed and afraid of being judged.
“Having a supportive network is crucial in the journey to becoming clutter-free and I would love to see the Making Space service expanded so that more people, like me, can benefit from it.”
Diane, who also does not want to be fully identified, has been a volunteer for the project for five years.
She said: “I find it very satisfying to be able to help people bring order to their homes.
“We tackle the clutter bit by bit, helping to deal with what might seem an overwhelming problem to our clients.”