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Robert Nathan used to hoard at his flat before help from the council's outreach team

How this apartment was made to feel like home again

This lovely, tidy apartment has quite a story behind it. Because, just a year ago, it looked very different. An outreach team has helped turn around the life of the tenant, who used to have a serious hoarding problem.

Every week, Ealing Council’s CHOICE outreach service helps up to 50 people with learning disabilities. The service provides them with a wide variety of support, ranging from help with arranging to pay bills, to going shopping; and from taking part in social activities, to health and fitness.

The team has recently helped to transform the life of a resident, Robert Nathan, 72, who lives in Northolt.

When they first met him, Robert was isolated and needed a lot of support to
overcome his hoarding.


Paul from CHOICE, with Robert in his kitchen
Paul from CHOICE, with Robert in his kitchen

Paul Edwards, who works for CHOICE, said: “I’ve been Robert’s community support worker for the last four years. When he was ready for his place to be cleared, we moved him into a bed and breakfast for a week and hired two men to clean the apartment out. We bought new furniture, such as a fridge, freezer, bed, and flooring. The whole team worked together to help. He’s a different person. Previously he was isolated but he’s much more
sociable now. Robert’s needs are still high but that’s where our team comes in. If he wasn’t with us, the costs to the council and for him, would be much more.

“Robert didn’t have a bank account before. He was using pre-payment
cards for electricity and gas. By opening a bank account and setting up direct debits, he has saved money.”

CHOICE also takes Robert on regular trips and days out; he has even gone abroad.

Van taking away some of the objects cleared from the flat

Robert said: “I love my apartment, it’s nice and clean. I have a cleaner who comes once a week now. I meet Paul twice a week and we go shopping and to the cinema. He helps me to budget and organise my life. He orders healthy meals for me and I appreciate his help.”


Councillor Binda Rai, the council’s cabinet member for health and adults’
services, said: “It is our ambition to support as many people as possible to live independently within the community. Through our outreach team,
we are making a very real difference to the quality of lives that people like Robert are able to lead. This outreach work is enabling people to not only become more independent in their own home, but at the same time they are also being supported to acquire further skills to support their independence, such as budgeting, preparing meals and becoming more socially active.”

If you have concerns over a vulnerable adult you can call the council on 020 8825 8000.

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