How being a property guardian with Dot Dot Dot is different

June 16, 2020

Expensive rent and bad property management are just two examples of how the housing sector is failing many members of our society. At Dot Dot Dot we keep compassion at our core, setting ourselves apart from others in our industry through our continued focus and care in helping our guardians to build safer and stronger communities.

This purposeful approach means that we pay considerable attention to supporting our guardians to thrive. By providing them with good-quality, affordable homes, we enable them to use their extra time to volunteer for a cause that they care about and that will instil positive change within both their communities and themselves.

Read on to learn more about how being a property guardian with Dot Dot Dot is different.

We make it easier for you to focus on the causes that really matter to you

Since we began in 2011, we have turned hundreds of empty properties into homes for community-minded people who volunteer for 16 hours a month, enabling the buildings to become hubs of social value. Our vision is simple: we give homes to people who will breathe life into empty buildings, and who are invested in making a positive impact on their neighbours and communities. With lower monthly living costs, our guardians have more time and freedom to focus on a cause close to their heart without the pressure of needing to be elsewhere to earn money.

Volunteering outside of work is a chance to dedicate time to the things you love doing – whether that’s helping to plant a community garden, turning your own project into volunteering, or learning more skills. Your experience will be all the richer if you feel excited and motivated by the field – this is why you have the opportunity to use your voice and choose an organisation that fuels your passion.

You’ll have the opportunity to meet like-minded people and extend your network

We know that friendships come in all shapes and sizes. We also know that everyone has a skill to offer that is useful. At Dot Dot Dot, we will help you to organically grow resilient communities that allow everyone to use their strengths for the benefit of their fellow guardians and their neighbourhood. Our guardians are made up of designers, students, teachers, cleaners, magazine editors, librarians, support workers, engineers, zookeepers, midwives, DJ’s and dancers. No matter what their reason for loving the experience of guardianship – whether it opens up a new way of living for them, or it makes their existing lifestyle easier and more affordable – all our property guardians share a common trait: they are committed to volunteering for a cause that is bigger than themselves.

Being part of a community based on something more than just geographical location is to share a common belief in the world; volunteering will enable you to connect with others who also give value to your belief in the importance of giving time to projects you care about. By regularly giving your time to a good cause, you will have the chance to develop strong bonds with others in your own community, increasing your sense of belonging and connections to those around you.

Your volunteering will stay with you for the rest of your life

Whilst we don’t offer ‘forever homes’, we do offer homes that have a ‘forever impact’ on you and the people around you. The benefits of volunteering on you as an individual as well as those you engage with are tangible and far-reaching. You are giving yourself and others the tools and skills needed to create a real and sustainable future by keeping connections and friendships alive.

Volunteering also has long-term positive effects on both your mental and physical health. The National Centre of Volunteering conducted a study on the benefits of volunteering on mental health and found that 80% of participants reported a positive effect on their mental health and wellbeing through providing a sense of purpose and meaning, along with improved confidence and self-esteem.

To find out more about how to become a Dot Dot Dot property guardian, check out our guardian website page or complete an application form today. You can also head over to our Instagram to follow our Summer Series, where we’ll be telling our guardians’ volunteering stories every week. 

Dot Dot Dot’s plans to build back better

June 16, 2020

From our founder, Katharine Hibbert

At Dot Dot Dot we have been motivated through the Covid-19 crisis by the knowledge that our work to create housing and support neighbourliness is now more useful than ever.  Good homes are important, but they are even more important when you’re locked down and can’t leave.  Living in a supportive community is always life-enhancing, but never more so when you know you might become seriously ill and friends and family are far away.  

Our work will become even more useful to property guardians, property owners and the wider community as the lockdown lifts.  That’s why we’re hiring – read on for why we’re aiming to do more in the coming months, and the positions we need to fill. 

As the immediate health crisis subsides, government support for businesses and individuals will unwind.  This will lead to significant financial hardship for individuals.  Those who rent their homes are going to be hit particularly hard, as they are least likely to have savings, and most likely to be in the jobs that have been worst-affected by coronavirus. 

Like everyone, these people have energy and skills which they can apply to the problems we all face.  If they are forced into a situation where they can do nothing but struggle to keep their heads above water financially, their ability to get involved in good causes and make a difference will be lost. They need homes they can afford, and a living situation which enables them to find new opportunities and to work on the projects they care about.  Dot Dot Dot has been striving to provide this since day one. 

At the same time, we can expect disruption and uncertainty in the property sector as businesses adapt to the impact of coronavirus.  No one yet knows what the outcomes will be – has our approach to shopping, socialising, travelling and working in offices changed for good, or will we return to old habits as risks subside?  What will happen to house prices and therefore the viability of regeneration schemes?  It’s too early to know, so property owners need flexibility and a reliable, cost-effective way to manage buildings whose future is uncertain – a service Dot Dot Dot has always provided.

And the country as a whole needs motivated, kind people who will be good neighbours, who will maintain and build on the community-support schemes that have sprung up through the crisis, who will watch out for the elderly and unwell, and who will start to rebuild the charities and voluntary projects which have seen their income streams evaporate.  We exist as a social enterprise to funnel our residents’ energy into exactly these tasks.

So Dot Dot Dot’s work has never been more needed, and we are ready to invest to make sure we are able to do even more and even better as the country begins to recover.  We were growing strongly before the crisis hit, and we have rapidly adapted our approaches to make sure that we are able to operate safely.  We have been taking on new buildings throughout the crisis, housing dozens of new guardians during April and May, and we intend to continue. 

That’s why we are now hiring.  Our first step will be to strengthen our business development and marketing teams, and then reinforce our services team. 

Today we are looking for a new Head of Growth and Partnerships – this is a senior role in the business, and is an opportunity for someone with expertise in winning work and building relationships to join us to help us grow and to shape the business for the future as a member of the Strategic Leadership Team.  We particularly welcome applications from women, disabled people and people who are Black, Asian or from minority ethnic groups.  More detail on the role is available here.

Please spread the word – and watch this space as we advertise future roles over the coming weeks.

Life as a Dot Dot Dot property guardian: Alex from Barkingside

January 24, 2020

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.

This week’s top five volunteering opportunities

March 18, 2016

missing people1.Missing People

Where:  South-West London
When: Various
Commitment Level: Various

Missing People is a charity which is dedicated to bringing missing children and adults back together with their families. They have a variety of volunteer opportunities to get involved in – which you can find here. For further information please email volunteer@missingpeople.org.uk or contact them by phone on 0208 392 5548.

2.Trees for Cities

trees for citiesWhere: Greenwich, SE9 2JE
When: 2nd April 10.00-16.00
Commitment Level: One-off

Trees for Cities is working in partnership with the Royal Borough of Greenwich to plant new trees around Eltham Estates in Greenwich. The species have been specially selected to help prevent flooding. They need volunteers to help them plant, stake and mulch the trees and shrubs. For more information, see here.

3.Friends of The Connection at St Martin-in-the-Fields

smitf-logoWhere: Central London
When: Various
Commitment Level: Various

The Friends of The Connection is a network of people dedicated to preventing street homelessness and reintegrating homeless people into society. The Friends does not offer direct volunteering opportunities with homeless people but they do offer opportunities in fundraising and other areas. They have openings for a communications lead, an honorary treasurer, a membership recruitment lead and a local fundraising support lead. If you are interested in any of these please contact the Chair, Charles Woodd on 07962 213494 or email friends@cstm.org.uk

4.Into University

iu_logo_conWhere: Various
When: Various
Commitment Level: Regular Commitment

Into University provides local learning centres where young people are inspired to achieve. They have a whole variety of volunteering opportunities, which you can find here.

5.Poplar HARCA – Spring Festival Volunteers

cs-poplar-harcaWhere: Chrisp Street
When: 23rd April
Commitment Level: One-off commitment

Chrisp Street is hosting a Spring Festival to celebrate all things green and local on Saturday 23rd April. They are looking for friendly and welcoming volunteers to help with the event. For more information and to register your interest, click here.

This week’s top five volunteering opportunities

March 10, 2016

1.Open the GateOpen the gate

Where: Across London
When: Various
Commitment Level: Various

Want to get involved in a fast growing cultural organisation? Open the Gate is looking for volunteers to help with organisation, promotion and event hosting. If this is something that interests you, please email show@openthegate.org.uk

2.Beanstalk

beanstalkWhere: Various Locations  
When: Various  
Commitment Level: Medium – Regular Commitment

Volunteer with a young person as a reading helper! In the reading sessions you will spend one-to-one time with children, chat with them, read and play educational games on a regular basis. For more information, see here.

3.Day Old

Where: Across London
When: VariousDay old eats
Commitment Level: Various

DayOld is a food surplus social enterprise, tackling food waste and food poverty. They sell surplus baked goods through treat boxes, office pop-ups and event catering. Their baked goods are collected from artisan bakeries the previous day, preventing them from going to waste. They are looking for volunteers to help them with this process. For more information and to register your interest, click here.

4.Cleaner, Greener Volunteers

cleaner greener volunteersWhere: Bow Churchyard
When: 16th April  10.30am
Commitment Level: One-off

As spring is almost here, Big Dig day is a national scheme to get people helping out at gardens. On the 16th April, a group will be heading to Bow Churchyard to take the first steps in revamping and restoring the site. If you want more information, please contact Chris on black.bird@virgin.net – or just turn up on the day!

5.Kitchen Volunteers

ashford houseWhere: Ashford Place,  NW2 6TU
When: Saturday March 19th from 11am to 2pm
Commitment Level: One-off

Ashford Place is a community resource centre in North West London. They provide advice and practical support to the whole community. Ashford Place is looking for volunteers to support their Saturday project – a mental health and support group. They want help preparing and serving lunch. For more information and to register your interest, click here.

Guardian Spotlight: Hannah and Mats

April 25, 2015

Brook House_litted picking and bulb planting

Since joining the Dot Dot Dot team as Guardians in June 2014, Mats and Hannah have together volunteered over 255 hours of their time. As well as volunteering on community projects, they also use their digital and media skills to volunteer for causes they feel passionate about.

We asked them to tell us about some of the volunteer projects they’ve been involved with over the last year…

Acton Homeless Concern

Mats: When we first started volunteering at Acton Homeless Concern Centre in 2014, I was acton homeless centrestartled over how many people who came to the centre to get food. I didn’t expect to see so many young people, and so many elderly people. Acton Homeless concern gives out clothing, food and offers vital health services.

Hannah: Having previously volunteered for a homeless charity in Bournemouth I already knew homelessness was a growing problem in the UK-  It’s extremely rewarding to know you are helping provide a vital service to some of the most vulnerable members of our society.

Women’s Pioneer Housing

Mats: We’ve also recently started volunteering with a housing scheme for elderly women through Women’s Pioneer Housing. We organise activities and events that are shaped around the tenants’ interests and needs, including gardening, film club and IT sessions.

Hannah: The fortnightly film club we organise with another guardian, Diana, has been a great success! Mats and I have a film projector so we use this to create a cinema feel. The residents get to suggest films they like to see, and we sometimes have a discussion after… and popcorn!

www.dianapatient.co.uk

Mats: We organise regular IT drop in sessions too, where we provide guidance and help to set up printers and routers, or to tackle problems with their computer

What seems like a small problem for us can be a major issue for people who might not used to different technologies and devices. Some are surprisingly active on Facebook and other social media, though!

www.dianapatient.co.uk

The Canvas Café

Mats: I’ve also just finished filming the journey of East London social enterprise, the Canvas café. I volunteered my spare time to capture the journey on film, from the day the founder Ruth got the keys, until the day it finally opened…

I met loads of volunteers helping to make this vision a reality – The café’s sister charity, Body Gossip, works with a range of charities such as the Girl GuidesCoppaFeel!Tender Domestic Violence, and Mind.

Look for Rainbows
Hannah:I have also been working on a separate project, a blog I created called Look For lOOK FOR RAINSBOWSRainbows. I write articles relating to domestic abuse and talk about my own experience of abuse  – in hope to support and empower others.

Mats:  We’re glad we can use our skills and knowledge to do some good,  even if it’s just showing an elderly person how to use Skype so they can call their relatives. The smallest things can mean a whole new world for someone.

Get involved

  • If you’re interested in volunteering and becoming a guardian with dot dot dot, apply here today
  • Keep up to date with our news and our guardians’ volunteering experiences on Facebook and Twitter

 

30 January 2015 – This week’s top 5 volunteer opportunities

January 30, 2015

Top 5 London (2)

1. Volunteer receptionists urgently needed, and other roles at Positive East
When: At least one (five- hour) session a week.
Where: Stepney Green

Positive East is the leading HIV charity in East London, providing a range of services for individuals and communities affected by HIV.

Positive East

Working as part of a volunteer team, you’ll be based at Positive East’s office in Stepney, and travel and lunch expenses will be covered.

You need to be able to commit a minimum of one 5-hour session per week for a 6 month period.  All reception volunteers receive additional ‘on the job’ training for this key role.

To find out more about this role and other roles at Positive East visit their website.

2. Join the Camden Green Gym
When: Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays 10.45am – 2pm 
Where: Camden’s Local Nature Reserves, Parks and Green Spaces incl. Adelaide Road Local Nature Reserve, London, NW3 3QB

  • Get active in your local green space with the Green Gym inTCV Camden
  • Keep fit while working outdoors and giving back to your local community
  • Discover hidden gems of nature on your doorstep and help increase their use and biodiversity through a range of nature conservation tasks.

Events are run across nature reserves, parks, community gardens, and in partnership with local charities. Have a look at tcv.org.uk for more information.

3. Community Clean With Providence Row
When: Mondays Between 11 and 1. 
Where: The Dellow Centre, 82 Wentworth Street, London, E1 7SAprow

Homeless charity Providence Row helps around 1,200 people a year with advice and support for housing and benefits, and helping vulnerable people with mental health and substance misuse issues.

Unfortunately the alleyway next to their building is in need of some TLC and they are looking for some volunteers to offer two hours 11am and 1pm on Mondays. Find out more about providence row’s volunteering opportunities at providencerow.org.uk

4. Home Library Service Volunteers needed
When: Flexible
Where: Royal Voluntary Service, Maidstone Road, Sidcup, DA14 5HS. Then around Bexley and Thamesmead for visits. make-difference-to-the-lives-of-older-people

RVS needs Volunteers to help the Home Library Service deliver and collect books, DVDs or CDs to older people who may be housebound or have mobility issues. The service provides regular, friendly and social contact for older people. It’s a great opportunity to:

  • make new friends
  • be part of a great team
  • develop skills and experience
  • contribute to the work of the charity by enriching the lives of older people.

Find out more about this opportunity on the RVS website.

5. Sound Advice UK needs a Community Music Event Volunteer sound
When: Sundays
Where: St Peters Crypt, Northchurch Terrace, London N1 4DA.

Sound Advice UK is a community based music and media project created by local media and creative professionals, who organise ‘Acoustic Sundays’ – an exclusive monthly event, run by a team of dedicated volunteers.

This is an ideal opportunity for volunteers with an interest in music and performing arts. Apply on the Team London website.

 

Keeping local pubs alive to fight social isolation

December 18, 2014

By Josh Clarke

1544383_597794233607544_321354110_nHackney Irish Social Club started as a hangout for a few friends who wanted to play records and have pints on a Thursday. We were welcomed into the Prince Edward in Homerton who offered to do a pot of curry for everyone who came along. The face of pubs in Hackney is changing rapidly, and with free curry, £3 beers, a decent pool table and friendly regulars the Prince Edward represents an old style of community pub that is almost dead in most parts of London. They throw customer appreciation parties all through the year, attracting loyal customers from all over London, offering free food, running pool competitions and attracting quality local DJ’s with years of experience playing parties and sound systems all over London. We want to support this and hope to use the Hackney Irish Social Club to spread the word about pubs like the Prince Edward. Battling increasing rents and competition from craft and gastropubs traditional boozers need greater traffic to survive.

Last year The Prince Edward faced threat of closure when the landlord applied for planning permission to turn the building into luxury flats and a commercial space. Following a campaign run by the pub against closure Hackney Council ruled against planning, saying that the pub was still under lease, was of great importance to the community and that luxury flats would not be in keeping with the look of the area, Homerton being a mostly densely populated and disadvantaged area. The abiding worry at the time was that if the pub closed regulars would not find a new pub, they would just drink at home. Pubs can be a front room away from home, a safe sociable space, a reason to get out of the house and chat to people. Loneliness and isolation in the most densely populated parts of the UK are massive issues. Taking pubs away will leave some members of the community with no link to the outside world.

All we’re saying is support local if you can at all. If you like to go out for a drink have a wander round your area and consider one of the older boozers. Running Hackney Irish Social Club has introduced us to people we wouldn’t otherwise have met. It’s made London a little more homely for us and makes us feel more a part of east London.

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