Hoarding Disorders UK launches support group to help Reading-based people affected by hoarding issues.

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Hoarding Disorders UK is set to launch its third support group for people affected by hoarding issues after Reading Borough Council approached the organisation about providing an accessible support offer in the borough.

The free group will take place on the last Tuesday of every month from 7pm to 9pm at the offices of homelessness prevention charity, Launchpad, at Ajilon House in Friar Street, Reading, with the first meeting taking place on Tuesday, 29th October.

The Reading group will be run in association with Launchpad and will follow the successful formula of the two other support groups in Newbury and Bracknell which provide safe, confidential spaces to enable participants to help each other and listen to talks from external speakers on a variety of subjects such as grief counselling, mindfulness and how to avoid scamming.

Jo Cooke co-founded Hoarding Disorders UK after her work as a declutterer revealed the extent of the hoarding problem, and she has since written a book called Understanding Hoarding which is a comprehensive and practical guide to the subject.

She estimates that the condition affects between 2 and 6 per cent of the population and although the true number of people with hoarding issues in Reading is not known, Mrs Cooke believes the figure is on the rise.

She said: “We’ve noticed that the number of those affected by hoarding who are asking for help seems to be on the increase as people seem to be more anxious at the moment. This can manifest itself in hoarding as people hold onto things for comfort.

“Anyone affected by hoarding or who knows someone who hoards is welcome to attend. The group is non-judgmental, confidential and supportive, giving advice and practical solutions.”

Cllr John Ennis, Reading’s Lead Councillor for Housing, said: “The problem of hoarding can be far-reaching for the individual who hoards, their family and the wider community and we have been identifying increased incidents of hoarding behaviours in Reading. As part of our approach to intervene early in preventing homelessness we want to work with Hoarding Disorders UK to raise awareness and help people who hoard where they can often feel overwhelmed and too embarrassed to ask for help.

“There’s no quick fix, but the support group is a great place to start and offers a better understanding of why people hoard and a supportive environment for people looking for help.”

More information can be found at www.hoardingdisordersuk.org




Beat the Street Swindon enters final few weeks


Swindon’s six-week long Beat the Street challenge has reached a grand total of 192,000 miles as the game enters its ‘Go Active’ week.

Beat the Street is a free walking and cycling game taking place across the town and some villages until 6 November with prizes of sports, fitness and book vouchers for the teams that travel the furthest.

Currently, the teams at the top of the Total Points leaderboard are Haydonleigh Primary School, Orchid Vale and Ruskin Junior School, while the Average Points leaderboard is led by WHSmith; Centurion Wolf Explorer Scout Unit, and Swindon Striders.

Having encouraged more than 25,000 people across the town to get more active, organisers now want to build upon that momentum and encourage people to try different sports and fitness activities across Swindon during ‘Go Active’ week.

This includes a selection of free classes including trampolining with BETTER at Haydon Centre & Gym on Monday 29 October from 11.30am – 1.30pm. Details of how to book these can be found on Beat the Street Swindon’s Facebook page.

Last year’s Beat the Street game shows that the initiative has significant long-term benefits for inactive adults helping families and whole communities to get moving and keep active.

In Swindon, six months after the game took place in 2018, physical inactivity had decreased by 8% in adults and 44% in children.

Councillor Brian Ford, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults and Health, said: “With half term taking place and the end of the game in sight, we’d ask anyone who hasn’t yet registered to pick up a card and get involved – you’ll find the game and its benefits addictive! We’re delighted that the evaluation shows that participants are likely to continue doing regular activity even once the game has ended.

“Don’t forget that as well as doing great things for your health, you’ll also be in with a chance of winning prizes for your team or for one of the two charities, selected by the mayor Kevin Parry –  CALM (Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Movement) and the North Wiltshire Deaf Children’s Society.”

Beat the Street is delivered by Intelligent Health and is funded by the National Lottery on behalf of Sport England, and Swindon Borough Council.

More information, as well as rules, maps and a list of card distribution points, is available on the new Beat the Street website at app.beatthestreet.me/Swindon as well as on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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