UK Enterprise Awards 2021

86 | UK Enterprise Awards 2021 Jul21647 Most Innovative Occupational Therapy Service 2021 – West Midlands Enabling Spaces CIC (Community Interest Company) is a non-profit mental health organisation and the only occupational therapy-led service in the UK. It specialises in hoarding disorder and is funded by a local authority. Enabling Spaces CIC is committed to serving people and communities, and it is not about profit. It works to improve the health and wellbeing of those who live in Coventry and across the West Midlands, Warwickshire regions and beyond. Dedicated occupational therapists, Yvonne Singleton and Jo Dowdeswell are Enabling Spaces CIC and they love what they do. They are trained to work exclusively and closely with clients who hoard, customising services based on their specific needs and circumstances, and they are willing to go the extra mile whenever and wherever needed. Yvonne and Jo spend their days decluttering people’s homes; clearing out old furniture, electronics, piles of magazines and old letters, carrier bags filled to overflowing with used food containers and other kitchen debris. It began in 2015 when Yvonne and Jo started the original piloted hoarding service with a local social housing landlord in Coventry city. They developed a completely new client-centred approach to addressing hoarding issues, with key focus on health and wellbeing. Using their core occupational therapy skills, Yvonne and Jo were able to work therapeutically with individuals, and at best, understand the underlying causes of their hoarding behaviour. They base their interventions and goal planning on the individual’s strengths and areas of occupational dysfunction, therefore giving them control of their treatment plan. However, the pilot service closed due to funding running out. But Yvonne and Jo wanted to continue their hoarding service, so, using their entrepreneurial minds, they took the bold step of setting up their own occupational therapy service. Thus, Enabling Spaces CIC was born in 2017, specialising in compulsive hoarding therapy. Now, they continue to take a client-centred and holistic approach to compulsive hoarding disorder, transforming people’s lives by providing flexible and responsive support. Their approach enables the individual to self-manage their condition, remain independent and live well. They deliver sustainable solutions that improve mental and physical health, reduce social isolation, reduce risks to the individuals and their community, and reduce the cost of dealing with hoarding behaviour and its consequences. Enabling Spaces CIC takes referrals from across the health and social care sector in the West Midlands, as well as direct from clients’ relatives. And their priority is to make clients’ homes safe, so they can use their kitchen to prepare food, or access their bedroom to sleep in their own bed. Yvonne and Jo start by asking the client what it is they want to achieve, to which their response is often taken aback, as they’re used to just being told to get rid of the rubbish. It is crucial to gain the individual’s trust, and this can take months before they will take any action to remove clutter. Sometimes it’s a matter of just sitting among the clutter and getting to know the person. When the client is ready and has consented to getting rid of their “stuff”, Yvonne and Jo require hands-on support to assist them in removing large loads from the property. It needs to be carried out with the utmost care, and with unconditional positive regard for the client. Enabling Spaces CIC has partnered with Clearance with Care to provide a very client-centred approach to tackling the physical side of the clearance along with the deep cleaning of cluttered or extremely hoarded and squalid properties. Clearance with Care is a team of experienced professionals who can be trusted to carry the work out compassionately, holistically and sensitively, having undertaken many jobs where compulsive hoarding has been a problem. Enabling Spaces CIC also works to raise awareness of hoarding disorders by hosting workshops and university lectures, and it offers an online hoarding awareness course, too. The informative and interactive workshops are suitable for professionals, those who know or think they know someone with the disorder, and anyone who wants to develop an understanding. In Yvonne and Jo’s sessions, they strive to provide better understanding of the following: what hoarding disorder is and the impact it has on the individual, their family, organisation and wider community; how to identify hoarding; the different types of hoarding; hoarding relating to Mental Capacity Act (2005), Human Rights Act (1998), Equality Act (2010) and Care Act (2014); and more. The duo are also looking to bring a little sunshine and joy into people’s lives by offering self-care boxes via their online shop, Calm in the Makin.