Jane lives in a one bedroom flat in Pontypridd, she has been a Trivallis tenant for 20 years but never realised there was a variety of support available and believed it was her responsibility to repair her home if something went wrong.
A leak from the flat above and a visit from a private emergency electrician meant Jane started using extension leads to light her home as the main sockets had been switched off. This was in addition to the piles of magazines, gadgets, books and clothes that filled her flat – Jane always made sure to keep hold of items that could be saved and one day be used to make something new.
Before moving into a Trivallis property, Jane had plenty of living space and all of her things were clearly labelled and in their rightful place. As she used to run her own business, she was fortunate enough to live in larger homes so adapting to a one bedroom flat was difficult.
“I don’t know at what point I got to this state but everything was piled high,” she explained. “It wasn’t a conscious thing, I always meant to clear it out but there wasn’t enough space to do it.
“I’m good at adjusting to things; I can just shut off. I couldn’t think of a way out so I just adjusted. I always find a way to cope; I adapted to my surroundings and found a way to manage in my home.”
The property quickly became a dangerous place to live in because of the overuse of the extension leads and the extra items taking up a lot of space. It was possible a fire could easily start; making it a big risk for Jane to keep living in that way.
As Trivallis struggled to get access to Jane’s property it became clear something wasn’t right and so teams from across the estates and communities department as well as care and support got involved. One person in particular who worked incredibly closely with Jane to help improve her living conditions was STEPS Tenancy Support Worker, Paddy.
“There was a gentleman at my door and I thought he was the company sergeant major, he looked very important with his clipboard. I was a bit stunned by the whole situation but when he sat down with me, within five minutes he was making me laugh and I felt really comfortable and relaxed.
“Paddy has helped to get me to deal with the things I’ve shelved,” said Jane. “I know Paddy wouldn’t dream of making me throw away anything I really didn’t want to or didn’t feel comfortable with; he knew it wasn’t easy for me.
“Initially, I didn’t want to part with anything but they are only things. I was given a list of three jobs to complete around the flat, I couldn’t imagine doing them but ten minutes later I did everything.
“We started going through little bits early on and then this turned into clearing out one bag a week. One day, Paddy turned up and 12 bags were in the hall; waiting to be taken away.”
As the condition of the property was so unsafe, Jane was moved into a Trivallis sheltered scheme temporarily so all of the problems with the electrics could be fixed and everything in her home could be removed and placed into storage.
“When I was able to move back in, it was like coming back to a fresh start. I couldn’t believe it, it was so fabulous.
“Working with Paddy for the last 12 months and looking back over everything I’ve achieved has made me realise I have a better quality of life now. Before, I wouldn’t let anyone into my home; not even my cousin but now she is over often and loves my flat.
“I promised Paddy I would get it sorted and with his help and support I’m pleased to say I feel heaps better and I can’t believe this has all been done in a year.
“Trivallis has been fantastic and very helpful. Trust me, if you grit your teeth and just get on with it, you will feel a lot better in yourself!”
Trivallis’ MAGPIE Project supports people who collect things and struggle to get rid of items making their home cramped and cluttered. If you are like Jane and find it difficult to throw things away in your home, find out how our MAGPIE team can work with you by clicking the link below: