Wycombe Mind was successful in securing a grant of £9,250 from the Red Kite Springboard fund in early 2020. The funding was awarded to enable them to launch the Free Space project which supports households that are affected by issues associated with hoarding.

The Free Space project

The Free Space project was developed to provide dedicated support to those affected by issues relating to hoarding. To date, 25 households have been offered support to improve their indoor space, their gardens or both. Several of the Free Space tenants have been bereaved or have OCD, and the mental health support offered to these individuals has been a priority alongside the environmental improvement needed at the property

Project outcomes

The project has helped to improve the mental health and wellbeing of tenants whose home environment was negatively affecting their mental and physical health. The feedback from those who have received support really demonstrates the difference that the Free Space project has made possible.

It has also improved the look and feel of our local communities. Removing white goods and improving the appearance of properties has helped to make a positive difference to all who live around the affected property. The condition of the homes receiving support have been vastly improved, with some tenants even benefitting from the provision of new white goods or vital furniture. This has boosted the quality of life for these tenants enormously.

A further positive outcome has been to help support tenants to take the difficult decision to move into a property that is more suitable for the occupant. This helps to ensure that they have a home that is a better fit for their lifestyle and finances. One tenant was supported to move into a flat from a three-bedroom house and another from a house to a one-bedroom bungalow.

Making a positive difference

We have received some wonderful feedback from tenants who have received support through the project. The following feedback from two different tenants helps to show the difference that this support is making to the local community.

‘My garden was a very dangerous place for my children. Everyday, I would feel more and more depressed and anxious. After finally swallowing my pride and asking for help you came to my rescue. With two very successful afternoons we managed to clean and clear the garden. It has made a huge difference to my mental health and means my children have somewhere safe to play in this beautiful weather. On behalf of myself and my children, who as we speak are playing in the paddling pool on the decking, a massive thank you to you and your team for helping me achieve the impossible! Your kindness, generosity and time will never be forgotten. Thank you isn’t a big enough word!’

‘I was very nervous about anyone touching my possessions. Some of them are family heirlooms. I can use my kitchen properly now and display my DVDs. Seeing the Wycombe Mind Team always cheered me up. I can now buy a bicycle and get fit. It was a relief to pass my gas inspection and to now have a wardrobe for my clothes.’

Red Kite has been delighted to be able to support Wycombe Mind to deliver such an important project providing much needed support to those in need. To find out more about the work of Wycombe Mind you can visit their website.

Wycombe Mind Free Space