"The guardians’ fantastic commitment to voluntary work creates a valuable contribution to local communities, and it is reassuring to know that our buildings are cared for by like-minded people who provide security for us whilst being a safe place for them to live." - David Gelling, Managing Director at This Land

How working with Dot Dot Dot is helping This Land meet their CSR objectives

Dot Dot Dot’s unique social enterprise model allows for closer partnership and additional value for the property owners we work with. Not only do we secure vacant properties, mitigate risks and cut costs for our clients, but we also support their CSR and social value objectives.

We are currently in partnership with This Land, a property developer in Cambridgeshire and the wider Innovation Corridor (connecting London to Cambridge). We have secured a number of vacant properties across Cambridgeshire and are working with their CSR team to support their objectives. Our guardians in their properties volunteer for the Trussell Trust, Salvation Army and Jimmy’s Cambridge amongst others.

Our unique model

Dot Dot Dot is a social enterprise that turns empty spaces into homes for people who volunteer. Property owners receive effective, flexible security through reliable and community-minded guardians. Our guardians get well-managed, affordable homes so they can focus on causes they care about. And communities get neighbours who use their extra time and energy to give back. 

This model allows us to work in partnership with owners, guardians and local stakeholders, in ways which take into account the needs of all and maximise impact. We call it property guardianship with purpose.

How Dot Dot Dot can support owners’ CSR objectives

By choosing to work with Dot Dot Dot, property owners will get guardians who will secure vacant properties and volunteer at least 16 hours each month for good causes. As a minimum, our clients are getting effective and flexible vacant property security with social impact created through our guardians’ volunteering. 

However, we can go beyond that. Where a property owner has clear CSR, social value and social investment objectives, or local projects requiring support, we can steer our guardians towards them. 

Instead of having a number of individuals volunteering 16 hours each month for a variety of causes, we can increase the impact of their volunteering by focusing multiple guardians on the same cause. This can take a variety of forms, ranging from simply communicating volunteering opportunities to Dot Dot Dot which we will share with guardians, through to partnership creation to develop structured placemaking projects. 

Finally, we can work even closer to promote outcomes and the social impact achieved. We can provide stats, data, narrative and collateral to help clients communicate the impact they’re making by working with us to corporate boards, the media and local stakeholders.

This Land and Dot Dot Dot

We have partnered with This Land since October 2018, securing a variety of properties across Cambridge and Cambridgeshire. During this time, we have worked closely with This Land’s asset managers, ensuring we achieve the core objectives of effectively securing and reducing costs of vacant properties, and providing safe places for guardians to live. 

As development plans progressed, CSR and social value objectives have progressed too. This Land recognise that building houses is not enough. Today, developers have a responsibility to be positive presences where they work and engage with local communities. 

As one strand of that CSR work, we were approached to assess ways we could build on our existing partnership. This Land asked how we could best amplify and maximise the impact of our existing guardians and their volunteering, and support their wider goals. They were particularly interested in homelessness – a pertinent issue for a housing developer which has made an active choice to work with a property guardianship social enterprise to increase the housing supply. 

The first phase was to fully understand and analyse our current guardians’ volunteering activities, categorising into themes and mapping patterns and connections. This analysis revealed that all our guardians were volunteering locally (within the postcodes of the properties we manage) and that there was a shift towards Covid-19-related activities in the last six months (primarily supporting local mutual aid groups). One notable statistic is that 25% of our guardians’ volunteering is already directed to the issue of homelessness and hunger.  

Working together with This Land and our guardians, we can decide how best to achieve focused and meaningful impact with regards to homelessness. We are currently in this second phase of the partnership and we are excited to identify what shape and form it will take next. As CSR objectives evolve, develop and become formalised, we can add other focus areas and adapt to changing contexts. 

As David Gelling, Managing Director at This Land, explains, “At This Land, our goal is to lead change by offering a new approach to development that is customer and community-focused, plus creating places where people feel they truly belong.  Our CSR strategy is closely interlinked with our values and objectives as an organisation, so we are proud to have a positive relationship with Dot Dot Dot. The guardians’ fantastic commitment to voluntary work creates a valuable contribution to local communities, and it is reassuring to know that our buildings are cared for by like-minded people who provide security for us whilst being a safe place for them to live.”

Why is supporting CSR objectives important? What is the added value?

For many property developers and asset managers, CSR is of growing importance. It is increasingly becoming a commercial and ethical imperative in the private sector. Investors review environmental, social and governance (ESG) measures when making investment decisions, and local partners are acutely aware of corporate activities. 

So why not choose to turn an expensive, unsafe hindrance into an asset which helps you fulfil some of your philanthropic objectives? In a world where the charitable sector is needed more than ever, we provide solutions which encourage people who want to help their neighbours.

Moreover, being socially responsible is not just beneficial to local communities. It makes good business sense to improve the brand and reputation of your business, reduce costs and bring in new customers. We work in partnership with our clients to allow them to reap the benefits of a well-managed CSR strategy. 

Objectives such as CSR, local partnership building and engaging with the local community are new and different ways of working. At Dot Dot Dot, social impact is at the very core of what we do. It is embedded in our business model. Partnering with Dot Dot Dot is a great opportunity to unlock social impact and value in otherwise unused assets.