As long as there is a housing crisis, we will work to improve lives by bringing empty buildings back into use as inexpensive, temporary homes.
We don’t just mean the lives of those we house, but also their neighbours, local communities and the voluntary organisations our guardians volunteer for. We also want to improve the lives of our clients too. While we keep their properties secure, local councils and housing associations have more time to focus on issues most important to them.
Making a difference is what we’re all about, and that’s why we were set up as a social enterprise. Every Dot Dot Dot guardian commits to volunteering at least 16 hours of their time each month to good causes. Since we were founded in 2011, 2,037 guardians have collectively volunteered time worth £6m to good causes; that’s the equivalent of one person working full-time for more than 258 years.
Through guardianship and volunteering, guardians have gained new skills, friendships and communities, improved their confidence and wellbeing, and set up new businesses. Saving money has enabled them to gather funds for a mortgage, or just given them more time to pursue interests and passions outside of work.
Our clients have saved time, and money, on council tax, hard security and property repairs. That means they can turn their attention more fully to ensuring that the communities they work in have the services they need. It means their residents feel safer with more neighbours around them, who look out for each other and report ASB or fly-tipping. Local businesses gain from enhanced footfall. Communities flourish.
- 2037: the number of guardians we’ve housed who have benefitted from inexpensive housing. A guardian with Dot Dot Dot pays between 50 and 66% of the market rate for their housing.
- £6m: the financial value of time given to good causes by our guardians. That’s the equivalent of one person working full-time for more than 238 years.
- 410: the numbers of good causes supported by guardians in 2023 alone
- 1,087: number of properties we’ve secured
- 54: number of property owners we’ve helped to improve the lives of
Eke lives in one of our High Wycombe properties and loves the independence it brings her. “Before I became a Dot Dot Dot property guardian I was living at home with my mum and younger brother. My mum decided to go and be with my dad in Nigeria so I had to find somewhere to live. My sister said I could stay with her but I wanted to get my own space. To think that I’ve got my own flat to myself and the space is mine. I love it. Getting to live on my own and affording a flat isn’t something I expected I’d be able to do and It’s only because of Dot Dot Dot that I can do this.
I’ve been wanting to save to buy my own property for a long time so this is a great way to help me do this. In fact, even when I was at home I was paying £500 each month and now I’m only paying £300 which is a huge saving.”
Enhancing community and friendship
In March 2021, Amanda joined our community of guardians in Henley. Eight months later she was engaged and 18 months later married. “I was at a place in my life where connection felt impossible,” she tells us. “After the divisive Brexit vote and a global pandemic, a lot of people were experiencing isolation. But then, there Andrew was!”
Fellow guardian Andrew moved into the flat next door to Amanda only a few days before she arrived. Amanda says “we quickly fell in love through our mutual love of gardening and there was a strong attraction over the fence.”
Opportunities to try new things
Guardian Cate says that guardianship helped her to explore new avenues. “During the pandemic I was diagnosed with autism and began to find the work I was doing problematic, especially when I had to take on new responsibilities due to Covid. I started to feel that I needed to fundamentally change what I was doing and work on something new, with an emphasis on supporting others…I left my job to begin focusing on initiating an art agency.
Knowing Manchester to be a real hub of creativity and so a place where my arts agency could thrive, I left London behind to embark on a new stage of my life in West Didsbury as a Dot Dot Dot guardian.”
Saving for a mortgage
When Serkan joined our thriving community of guardians in central London, he had initially only been thinking of his short commute to work. But with the financial stability that came with monthly living costs being significantly lower than local market rates, Serkan was able to begin saving money immediately. After his partner Klaara also became a property guardian in late 2019, their savings pot steadily increased, and in March 2020 they were searching for their dream home to buy outside of London.
Making an impact on local residents
When Bea moved to Thamesmead she noticed a lack of community events for adults. Until she took matters into her own hands. Bea submitted and won a bid for funding from Thamesmead Community Fund to run six comedy workshops and an open mic night. Bea says that the best thing about the evening was “when an older lady came up to me and told me that tonight was the first time she’d been out in the evenings for three years!”