Life as a Dot Dot Dot property guardian: Alex from Barkingside
Earlier this week we sat down with one of our Dot Dot Dot Property Guardians Alex who is currently living in our Barkingside property. In this candid interview, Alex discusses remote volunteering, what it’s like to be a property guardian, and what it’s like to live in Barkingside.
Where do you volunteer and what do you do?
Alex: I volunteer online for a company called PAAJAF. They are a charity dedicated to fighting against illiteracy in Ghana. I’ve been re-developing their website which is quite a long process. The current website loads very slowly. The new website will be much faster. When I was living as a Dot Dot Dot Property Guardian in High Barnet I enjoyed helping other organisations too.
Is the website showing what they do and helping advertise their work to other people?
Alex: It’s a website where you can find information on the charity and get support for people who can’t afford to go to university. They have their own school as well where they provide education directly to young children. They were being advertised on the UNICEF website which is how I found them.
Did anything about the remote nature of this work appeal to you? The fact that you’re doing it at home on your laptop.
Alex: I do my volunteering after work from where I work and on weekends I do it from home. You don’t need a particular place to do things, remote volunteering is very easy as you don’t need to commute to anywhere. It also means you can spice up your life and easily volunteer with as many different organisations as you want.
You said previously you were a website developer. What do you do now?
Alex: I’m a computer engineer working with systems automation. That’s what I do as a full-time job. It’s based in central London.
Is it easy to get to from here? What are the transport links like?
Alex: It takes about 55 minutes all in all, so 14 minutes walk to the station and then straight into the city. It’s quite easy.
What are your favourite things about living in Barkingside?
Alex: There’s really ample space, you’ve got a large kitchen, it’s a big community house with a lot of space. It’s clean which is most important. When I walked in I thought, wow I can’t believe this place is a guardianship.
What are the biggest challenges you faced when becoming a property guardian?
Alex: I would say for me there aren’t so many challenges. I used to move a lot prior to being a guardian, but with guardianship, you need to be prepared for the NTQ (Notice To Quit). If you’re given 28 days to move on you need to sort out your next accommodation which would be a challenge for some people. I’m quite social so I don’t have problems living with other people, but that could be a challenge for some people. Living in other property guardianships I have had to repair things a lot, but with this property, there have been no such challenges with repairs.
What is your favourite thing about living in Barkingside?
Alex: The silence. Especially on the weekends, It’s a really quiet place. It’s definitely peaceful and there’s not much noise. Very similar to High Barnet compared to other places in London and there’s a good commute. For me, it’s about the balance between proximity to Central London and having my own space, and I think the right balance is here.
If you would like to escape the hustle and bustle of London just like Alex, check out our Barkingside property page for more details, or if you would like to learn more about remote volunteering then read how you can get started here.