Borough pilots training to tackle hoarding

Published Wednesday 23 February 2022 at 8:55

Blackburn with Darwen will be one of 12 pilot areas to trial a new support group aimed at people who exhibit hoarding behaviour.

Funded by Hoarding UK, the charity will deliver six sessions to professionals across the borough who work with people with hoarding behaviour, and also establish a peer support group for individuals who hoard.

Hoarding is described as acquiring or saving lots of things regardless of their value. If you hoard, you might have very strong positive feelings whenever you get more items, feel upset or anxious at the thought of throwing or giving things away, and find it very hard to decide what to keep or get rid of.

The free training has been met with praise from a range of Council departments including adult social care and the neighbourhood team, as well as partners such as Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, housing providers and the voluntary sector.

Michelle Rutherford, Neighbourhood Manager at Blackburn with Darwen Council, is leading on the project. She said:

Hoarding is a big issue in the borough – but a lot of it is hidden.  Extreme hoarding, can lead to homes that are unclean, unmanageable, attract vermin and pose a fire risk – with hoarders putting themselves and their neighbours in danger.

Hoarding UK want to support residents and professionals to work together to prevent the issues and harm caused when hoarding becomes unmanageable and overwhelming for people.

There are lots of different reasons why people hoard. These sessions will be non-judgmental and delivered in a safe space by someone who can offer attendees support and tips on how to manage it to ensure their home is a safe environment.

There are limited places on the sessions – aimed at educating professionals who work with residents who show the early signs of hoarding behaviour. Professionals will attend a morning session, and the person they are supporting will be invited to attend the support group for the afternoon sessions.

It is estimated that people who hoard cost the Council approximately £3,000 per household.

Michelle added:

Simply clearing a house does not deal with the issue and can be very traumatic for those affected. This programme aims to tackle hoarding behaviours before a home becomes a significant issue – such as a fire risk, unclean or verminous.

Coun Mustafa Desai, Executive Member for Health and Adult Social Care, welcomed the training. He said:

The six-month programme will leave a lasting legacy to help future individuals to cope with hoarding behaviour, which tends to go hand in hand with poor mental health, anxiety and depression.

The Hoarding UK programme starts in Blackburn with Darwen on 17 March and will run once a month, with a break in August.

The sessions will initially be held at Blackburn Youth Zone, with the view to holding them at Blackburn Fire Station’s community room in the near future.

To book your place for the six-month course, visit

Please book the person you are supporting on to the support group sessions here:

Professionals who are supporting someone who exhibits hoarding behaviour are invited to attend the morning session and the person they are supporting are invited to attend the support group sessions in the afternoon.

This site uses cookies. Find out more about this site’s cookies.