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Sunday, 19 October 2014

A grand day out at the Hammersmith Hoarding event on 15th October 2014

It was all go on the apdo-uk stand at Wednesday’s Hoarding event at Hammersmith Town Hall (15th October 2014), where I was representing apdo-uk. People literally queued up to find out about the services of professional organisers!
apdo-uk’s stand was located immediately inside the main entrance to the hall, so it was impossible to miss us! A steady stream of guests started arriving from 9.30am, and my last consultation of the day finished at about 6.15pm (even though the event officially finished at 4pm!)!

It was good to meet probationary apdo-uk member Trio Wilson of Clear Space for Me who visited from Oxford, and I have to give a special thank you to fellow member Caroline Vienot of The Passionate Organiser for helping out on the stand and answering questions for a while when it got too busy – otherwise goodness knows what time I’d have got out of there!

Social Worker Fiona Harding of
Hammersmith & Fulham
Adult Social Care Team
with apdo-uk Member
Heather Matuozzo of Clouds End CIC
Whilst I didn’t get a chance to go round and see any of the stands, I’m told by Head of apdo-uk’s Hoarding Advisory Team Heather Matuozzo (of Clouds End CIC) that there were multiple agencies represented at the event, including social services, mental health (MIND), London Fire Brigade, the local Hoarding Support Group, Orbit Housing Services, clearance company Just Clear and a gentleman who was explaining about ways of selling unwanted items online.

Social Worker Fiona Harding of Hammersmith & Fulham Adult Social Care Team was there - she's co-author of an article entitled "Developing an Approach to Working with Hoarding: Space for Social Work" 

On the apdo-uk stand we had enquiries from all sorts of people including social workers, occupational therapists and community nurses from across all three Boroughs hosting the event (Hammersmith & Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea, and City of Westminster), and we also heard some very interesting experiences about and from quite a number of hoarders!

People were keen to learn about the Clutter Image Rating Scale which was devised by pioneering psychologists Dr Gail Steketee and Dr Randy O. Frost in the USA as a way to measure the degree of clutter in the kitchen, living rooms and bedrooms of hoarders homes.  It has been adopted as a best practice gauge by agencies all over the world who support hoarders, including social services and Fire & Rescue Services.

There was also interest in how to take part in hoarding research being done by Professor Paul Salkovskis, Dr James Gregory and Dr. Claire Lomax at the University of Bath

Plus, of course, the usual “where/how do I start decluttering?!”

One particularly interesting and relevant conversation was about DBS checks (what used to be CRB checks) and whether it is compulsory for professional organisers to have one - which currently it isn’t. However, it was made clear to me that anyone working with hoarders and vulnerable adults should definitely consider getting DBS checked if they want to get work from councils. Certainly Heather makes it compulsory for anyone working for Clouds End CIC to have a DBS check; fortunately, she can arrange this service as Clouds End is a Social Enterprise company.

At lunchtime author James Wallman gave a short talk about his book “Stuffocation”, and Heather gave a very well received Clutter Clinic talk, which resulted in a stream of people coming straight to visit the apdo-uk stand afterwards – whatever you said, thank you Heather!


In the absence of apdo-uk leaflets to give out, I had to use my own business cards - as you can see, quite a few were taken during the day!  

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