HOARDERS and their family and friends can now get specialist help following the launch of a new support group in West Oxfordshire.

National charity Helping Hands for Hoarders has started the local initiative in partnership with Cottsway Housing association and builders' merchant Travis Perkins following a rise in the number of cases reported.

The group’s launch follows National Hoarders Week, which aims to raise awareness of the subject.

The support group’s inaugural meeting took place on Wednesday, June 6, between 7pm and 9pm at a venue in Queen Emma’s Dyke, Witney.

Subsequent meetings will be held at the same venue on the first Wednesday of every month.

It is funded by Cottsway and Travis Perkins and is run by Helping Hands for Hoarders, which offers a range of support including a general decluttering service, deep cleaning, help down-sizing from a larger property to a smaller one and one to one support to hoarders and their friends and families.

Hoarding was officially recognised as a disorder in May 2013.

It is estimated that between two and five per cent of adults in the UK may have symptoms of a hoarding disorder. The key trait of the disorder is keeping unusually large amounts of possessions even when they have no practical usefulness or monetary value.

The new group is the brainchild of Vicki Paxford, of Cottsway Housing, and the team at of Helping Hands for Hoarders.

For more see cottsway.co.uk