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Monday, 21 January 2019

Celebrity ADHD

Photo: Dan Jones - via The Sun online
So, in an interview with The Sun newspaper, British tv celebrity Ant McPartlin admitted he has been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder - ADHD – at the age of 43. 

In 2018 the presenter and on-screen partner of Declan Donnelly (“I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!” “Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway” and “Britain's Got Talent”) was arrested and convicted for drink driving, after which he took time off to go to rehab - which eventually lead him to receive his ADHD diagnosis.

To many people (mainly those who have ADHD or their families) this probably won't be a surprise.

As it says on the website of Fastminds - a wonderful ADHD and Autism Support Group in Kingston-upon-Thames in Surrey that we’re proud to be involved with – the implications of late ADHD diagnosis include:
  • Chronic psychological distress
  • Learned Helplessness
  • Poor self-care
  • Substance abuse (in 2015 after botched knee surgery Ant slowly became addicted to taking prescription drugs along with alcohol, including use before television appearances)
  • Low self-esteem
  • Employment difficulties
  • Troubled long-term relationships (Ant was divorced in 2018)
Other UK celebrities with an ADHD diagnosis include comedian Rory Bremner; broadcaster Richard Bacon; performer, producer and award-winning founder of the band Black Eyed Peas; and Olympic gymnast (and Strictly Come Dancing winner) Louis Smith, to name but a few.

Of the four, Louis Smith and are the only ones to have been diagnosed as a child. 

We hope that Ant will join a good support group like Fastminds, as he’d be amongst his “tribe”: creative adults who probably struggle with the same type of Executive functioning issues as he probably does:
  • Paying attention
  • Organising and planning
  • Initiating tasks and staying on them
  • Regulating emotions
  • Self-monitoring - keeping track of what you’re doing (like speeding perhaps Ant?)
It helps when people understand they're not going through the challenges alone - there are others in the group who may have lived through similar difficulties. They share their experiences (good and bad) of things such as mental illness; symptom history and diagnosis pathway, and strategies that help them cope with things like relationships, organising paperwork, financial problems, and decision making (such as decluttering).

Cherry Rudge - Founder of Rainbow Red and the Hoarding Ice-Breaker Form - has been studying ADHD and Autism and attending local ADHD support groups for several years; in 2017 she wrote about how the ADHD brain in the context of clutter, disorganisation, compulsive shopping/acquiring or hoarding in Jo Cooke's acclaimed book "Understanding Hoarding", and contributed a diagram (below) which illustrates some of the challenges faced by people with ADHD.

At an ADHD Support Group like Fastminds, Ant would be welcomed with open arms, and not judged. Because Fastminds is peer-led, and run by volunteers who live with ADHD and/or Autism every day, and people can be themselves, without having to put on a show and be what others feel they should be.

And, by the way, we should point out that Fastminds is an acronym for common symptoms that are often seen in ADHD:
  • Forgetful
  • Achieving below potential
  • Stuck in a rut
  • Time challenged
  • Motivationally challenged
  • Impulsive
  • Novelty seeking
  • Distractible
  • Scattered 
Without effective support groups and campaigners like the wonderfully creative folks at Fastminds (check out the amazing cards they designed and sell to raise money as part of their Neurodiversity Festival in 2018) there might be an awful lot more people in rehab, or in a drunken stupor or in jail, all because of a genetic neurological condition that has ruled their lives since birth.

Sadly, despite the increasing need for support groups like Fastminds (because Autism and ADHD are genetic, so it's not going away any time soon!) they receive very little support from Government, and getting an ADHD or Autism diagnosis can take months or even years. Imagine the cost of this to tax payers in antidepressants and counselling alone (let alone benefits payments!).

Some, like Ant, have money to pay for such treatment and therapy - others do not.

So, Ant, we wish you all the very best for the future, and hope that you use your gift of ADHD to support support groups like Fastminds, and help raise awareness of the types of challenges faced by people born with a condition that can be:
  • wonderful - because of the gift of creativity and entrepreneurial spirit it can bring; there are LOADS of famous celebrities and public figures around The World who have ADHD, including American Olympic swimming legend Michael Phelps, American singer and actor Justin Timberlake (who also has OCD), hotel heiress Paris Hilton and American Olympic gold medal gymnast Simone Biles.
  • a curse - because of the overwhelm and mental and physical health issues that can come with it; common co-morbid conditions include Autism, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Depression, General Anxiety Disorder, Fibromyalgia or OCD. Which often means people are unable to work and rely on benefits to live (that's another blog post for another time....)
  • Undiagnosed for many years. Medical professionals rarely have sufficient knowledge about ADHD or Autism to recognise it, and just end up treating a person's mental health (by prescribing CBT or antidepressants) instead of getting to the root cause and underlying reasons about why the patient's mental health has been affected
  • misdiagnosed by medical professionals - it's not uncommon for people to be misdiagnosed with conditions such as Bipolar Disorder or Borderline Personality Disorder

If you’d like to know more about ADHD, please take a look at Rainbow Red’s Pinterest board for LOADS of helpful videos and information.

Monday, 7 January 2019

Professional Hoarding Practitioner Training

After launching our highly acclaimed Level 1 and Level 2 training in 2018, I'm proud to be continuing to collaborate with my friends and colleagues Heather Matuozzo of Clouds End CIC and Jo Cooke of Hoarding Disorders UK CIC to develop the next generation of Professional Hoarding Practitioners.

Our aim is to end up with a community of professional friends and colleagues who follow common best practices when working with people affected by hoarding behaviours, and support each other through what can be challenging and sometimes emotionally draining experiences.
There will be plenty of opportunities to ask questions and share knowledge and experiences – please help us make the day as interactive as possible.


Venues & Dates
- 11 March
- 13 June
- 12 September
- 5 December

Cost per person: £195 including refreshments & lunch 
Course overview:
Do you work with people with hoarding behaviours? Have you thought of working with hoarding issues but want some reassurance before giving it a go?
The aim of this one-day course is to teach professional practitioners about some of the challenges we face when working with people affected by extreme clutter.
By the end of the day you should have a better understanding of some of the complexities you’d be letting yourself in for by working with people who live with extreme amounts of clutter, and whether the it makes sense for you personally, or for your business.
Course content:
  • Hoarding Disorder Overview
  • Traits of Hoarders
  • Some Common Reasons for Saving
  • How to Assess a Hoarding Situation
  • Tactics and How to Develop Them with the Client
  • Some Techniques
  • Social Services
  • Multi Agency groups
  • Practical Challenges
  • Is it right for you or your business? 
  • Hoarder support – groups, self help
  • Safeguarding ourselves
Pre-training requirements - No requirements

To book please contact Jo Cooke -  

Testimonials - Here's what people have said about our Level 1 training
"Excellent training. Thoroughly enjoyed the level 1 course"
Paul Cooper - Hoarding Disorders UK

"All aspects of today’s training were exceptional. Certainly very though provoking. Gained additional knowledge and understanding. Sincere thanks to you all".  
Gail Tranter, Environmental Health, Newark & Sherwood DC - October 2018

I just wanted to say ‘Thank you’ for a informative and useful training day today. I left the day feeling informed and keen to learn more. You are all very inspiring women".
Anon – July 2018
"The training left me wanting more even though I am still not sure that dealing with serious hoarding clients is for me. So, I would like to come to level 2 when you run it.
I also think that the work that the three of you do is nothing short of amazing. As I said to you yesterday, this seems more like a vocation. It was so interesting to hear some of your case studies and also very moving".
Mary D – July 2018

       15 March
       14 June
       13 Sept
       6 Dec

Cost per person: £195 including lunch and refreshments

Course overview:
This one-day course expands on Clouds End’s/Hoarding Disorders UK’s/Rainbow Red’s Hoarding Awareness Training for Professional Practitioners Level 1 training, and examines in more detail (through practical case study exercises) some of the proven techniques and tools used by professional organisers and agencies to help hoarders achieve a more functional and energising environment in which to live.

By the end of the day you should have an understanding of current best practice processes and be able to use a number of risk assessment and measurement tools designed to empower you to help people affected by extreme cluttering and hoarding behaviours make a positive and sustainable difference to their homes and their lives.

Course content:
  • Getting through the door (if you’re lucky)
  • How to stay there and how to make progress - Motivational Interviewing & change
  • Assessments, measuring progress & the importance of evidence-based reporting
  • Safety in the home - from a member of the Fire and Rescue Service
  • Hoarding taskforces, multi-agency groups & hoarding protocols
  • What to do in extreme situations – eviction, squalor (Environmental Health), animal hoarding
  • Safeguarding, wellbeing, legal considerations (Mental Capacity Act 2007, Mental Health Act, Care Act 2014) & Advocacy
  • After care for your client – self-help; ongoing support
  • Protecting yourself and your business – including contracts, pricing & credit control, DBS checks, insurance
  • The voice of a hoarder
Pre-training requirements - It will make MUCH more sense if you've attended our Level 1 training!

To book please contact Jo Cooke -  

Testimonials - Here's what people have said about our Level 2 training

"Very well presented, very clear and easy to understand.  Trainers are very knowledgeable and thoroughly enjoyed it. Look forward to Level 3 :-)"

"Really enjoyed this course, very empowering, thank you"

"Another brilliant day - motivating!"

       5th April 2019
It's not about the stuff - it's about the people

Cost per person: £195 including lunch and refreshments

Course overview: To be confirmed

Pre-training requirements:  Must have attended Level 1 and 2 of our Professional Hoarding Practitioner training 

To book please contact Jo Cooke -  

About the Trainers

Heather, Jo and Cherry are all ILM* and NCFE* Accredited trainers.

*Training Accreditations:  
  • ILM = The Institute of Leadership & Management
  • NCFE = a registered educational charity

Between us we have over 20 years’ experience of working with people with extreme cluttering and hoarding problems, and regularly deliver training, coaching and advice to a variety of organisations including housing associations, mental health teams, charities, fire and rescue services and social care teams.  

Heather Matuozzo founded the social enterprise Clouds End CIC in 2007, and is a professional trainer, declutterer, and activist for people who hoard. 

She co-founded the Pan London Hoarding Task Force and National Hoarding Task Force initiative, and runs three hoarder support groups in the West Midlands. 

Heather has taken part in BBC’s documentaries including Britain’s Biggest Hoarders; talks frequently on the radio; is Chair of the charity HoardingUK, and is an associate trainer for the mental health charity MIND.

Jo Cooke is a Director of the Community Interest Company Hoarding Disorders UK, and also runs her own professional organising and decluttering business Tapioca Tidy.

She has been featured in The Guardian newspaper, and is the author of the book “Understanding Hoarding” which is fast becoming the “go to manual” for hoarders, their families and agencies that work with people exhibiting hoarding behaviours.

Jo runs hoarding support groups in Bracknell and Newbury, and was a finalist in the Venus Awards’ Lifetime Achievement Award 2018.


Cherry Rudge of Rainbow Red is the daughter of a hoarder, and a former Marketing, PR & Partnerships Officer and Acting President of The Association of Professional Declutterers & Organisers (APDO). 

She was a Member of The Chief Fire Officers Association’s Hoarding Working Group, and helped organised the first ever UK Hoarding Awareness Week in 2014.

Cherry is a Dementia Friend, volunteers at an ADHD/Autism Support Group, and devised the Hoarding Ice-Breaker form to empower people whose health has been affected by disorganisation, clutter and hoarding to start a conversation with a GP or medical professional, so they can be signposted for appropriate treatment and practical support.