Local hoarding expert attends Parliamentary launch of UK Hoarding Awareness Week 2014
Local hoarding expert Heather Matuozzo of Solihull-based Clouds End CIC gathered with Local hoarding expert Heather Matuozzo of Solihull-based Clouds End CIC gathered with representatives from The Association of Professional Declutterers & Organisers UK (apdo-uk), hoarders that have appeared in tv documentaries, housing associations, members of the fire and rescue service and other support groups at the House of Commons in London on Wednesday 14th May for the Parliamentary launch of the Chief Fire Officers Association’s (CFOA) first ever UK Hoarding Awareness Week (19th – 25th May).
Jim Fitzpatrick MP opened the event by explaining the objectives of the campaign – to raise awareness of hoarding facts and promote greater multi-agency collaboration in order to safeguard fire fighters, local communities and hoarders themselves – as part of the Fire & Rescue Services’ prevention and protection activities.
Shadow Fire Minister Lyn Brown drew attention to some facts, figures and popular myths about hoarding (which have been published on CFOA’s campaign website), and Ian Bitcon – CFOA UK Strategic Lead for Hoarding (West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service) outlined various specific hazards to fire fighters, including blocked access and egress (entry and exits) due to piles of materials such as stacked newspapers.
Heather Matuozzo – Head of apdo-uk’s Hoarding Advisory Team narrated part of a fire safety video which was shown – produced by Hampshire Fire Service, in association with The Building Research Establishment (BRE), and co-sponsored by Clouds End CIC and apdo-uk – which demonstrated the effectiveness of a sprinkler system in putting out a fire in a hoarder’s home.
Heather introduced tv hoarders Vasoulla Savvidou (“My Hoarder Mum and Me”, and daughter of
Jasmine Harman, founder of Help for Hoarders) and Richard Wallace (Channel 4’s “Obsessive Compulsive Hoarder”) and his carer Andy Honey (who now works for Clouds End CIC), and explained about the challenges faced by people who display a tendency to hoard and those that attempt to
help, including the role of professional organisers and the importance of multi-agency task forcing and collaborative partnership agreements.
Heather said: ““It is fantastic to see the fire service becoming involved in Hoarding Awareness. I feel their initiative in taking the lead on this will have a very positive and beneficial effect in raising awareness and in getting support and help to those who really need it. It has been buried for too long.”