Working with Peabody for the future of Thamesmead

January 13, 2021

Built in the 1960s and deemed ‘the town of tomorrow’, Thamesmead’s distinctive brutalist architecture has been the backdrop to several culturally significant works of film and TV throughout the last 60 years, from A Clockwork Orange to Harry Potter. More recently, with the help of Peabody’s community investment, it has become a hub for culture and the arts and is home to Thamesmead festival and myriad community projects.

Since 2015, Dot Dot Dot have collaborated with Peabody to house property guardians in 120 properties in Thamesmead over the course of the housing association’s 10-year regeneration of the area. Over the last five years, we have housed almost 300 guardians in buildings that would otherwise be empty, and those guardians have contributed over 45,000 hours to worthwhile causes.

We take pride in our ability to be sensitive and responsive to our clients’ specific needs. We have the resources to conduct market research for our clients to gather both qualitative and quantitative data from our guardians. This valuable service gives our clients insight into who we house, where they volunteer their time and their contributions to their local economy and community.

After some discussions in the autumn about how to bring more value to the partnership, we conducted a survey to give Peabody a greater insight into the economic and social contribution of our guardians. 

Bringing economic regeneration to Thamesmead

Peabody are particularly interested in boosting Thamesmead’s local economy, not only for the inhabitants of post-regeneration Thamesmead but also for its current residents. Property guardianship can be an effective way to bring footfall and boost economic development in an area. 

We conducted phone interviews alongside the online survey to gather both qualitative and quantitative data from the 38 guardians (75% of resident guardians) that took part . A third of our guardians in Thamesmead run their own businesses, and, of those, 77% were based in Thamesmead. These businesses covered a multitude of areas, including dance teaching, project management, hairdressing, beauty, handywork, painting/decorating, media services, art production, young people and education, and poetry. Not only is it testament to how guardians can boost their local economy, but also to the sheer diversity of skill sets amongst the people we house.

Creating and sustaining a sense of community in Thamesmead

We have endeavoured throughout our partnership with Peabody to explore how we can best benefit the Thamesmead community. As we ask each of our guardians to volunteer 16 hours a month to a good cause of their choice, we have an invaluable resource that can be directed to local community projects and voluntary efforts. For example, Peabody are particularly aware of the need to help Thamesmead’s most vulnerable residents with grocery and prescription collections during the Covid-19 crisis, and asked us whether our guardians could support their efforts locally. The survey provided a good opportunity to ask guardians if they were interested in local Covid-19 volunteering and Mutual Aid groups, and we were able to direct the relevant people back to Peabody.

Due to a shared interest in social value, Dot Dot Dot and Peabody have a strong alignment of values. We also used the survey as a chance to gauge attitudes towards Thamesmead, and placed particular emphasis on whether guardians would stay in the area after their guardianship ended. Of those asked, 87% said they liked living in Thamesmead and 79% said they would consider living in Thamesmead after their guardianship had ended, making them potential future residents of the newly-renovated estate. In combining property guardianship with social value, we have helped Peabody to create and sustain a sense of community in Thamesmead which will last beyond our meanwhile partnership with them.

Through our sustainable approach to this long-term meanwhile project, Dot Dot Dot has contributed not only to Peabody’s meanwhile objectives for economic and community development in the area, but to their future vision too. To find out more about the history and future of Thamesmead, you can visit: https://www.thamesmeadnow.org.uk. 

 

If you’d like to find out more about how we collaborate with our clients, you can sign up to our newsletter here or get in touch with us at partnerships@dotdotdotproperty.com.

Volunteering: Once you pop, you can’t stop

December 2, 2020

From our founder, Katharine Hibbert 

“Thank you for the diligent chivvying”

Perhaps it’s a surprising thank-you note to feel particularly good about, but one of the most cheering emails I’ve had from a Dot Dot Dot guardian was to let us know that his experience with us had changed his mind about volunteering.

He had moved into one of our homes prepared to volunteer for a good cause because he understood that it was part of our model, but he wasn’t very enthusiastic about it.   He had chosen to become a property guardian with us because we had nice flats at a good price in the right place for him, and because of our reputation for fairness and thoroughness.  He didn’t mind volunteering for the 16 hours a month we expected, but he wasn’t particularly excited about our vision of a society where people have the time and energy to give back to causes they care about.

But by the time he moved on from our housing, volunteering had become part of his life, and he carried on after he left – so he emailed me to say thanks for the accountability we’d created for him while he got going.

A survey to make us smile

This man’s email was unusual, but his journey wasn’t.  We recently surveyed our guardians, and of the nearly 100 people who replied, 98% of them said they plan to carry on volunteering after they leave our housing, even though nearly half didn’t volunteer before they joined us.  These responses are encouraging, since enabling people to get involved in good causes and supporting them to become lifelong volunteers is central to our purpose.

Two thirds of the guardians said they plan to carry on doing the same amount of volunteering or more than they have done while living with us, which means continuing to give at least half a day a week to a good cause, a significant commitment.  And two thirds of them volunteered within the borough where they live, meaning that our work has a directly positive effect on the local areas where we operate.

Of the 55% of guardians who volunteered before they joined us, more than half now do more volunteering than before.  Only 4% of guardians surveyed volunteer less than they did before they were housed with us.

A majority also replied that they experienced no down-sides to volunteering – although three in ten said they found it difficult to make time for it.  Covid-19 has also forced four in every five of our guardians to update their approach to volunteering – 11% now volunteer with a different organisation, 13% have moved their volunteering online and, for 21%, the venue in which they used to volunteer is currently closed.  Around a quarter are currently volunteering for less time than they did before the lockdown, while 10% are volunteering more.

When we asked guardians what benefits they experienced from their volunteering, the most frequent responses included the feeling of making a difference, appreciating the roots it gave them in their communities, the fact that it gives them more empathy with people in need, and their own improved mental health and wellbeing.

Giving a helping hand…to form a lifelong habit

These results – and feedback like that quoted above – are very important to us at Dot Dot Dot.  We are not here to press-gang people into doing something they would prefer to avoid.  We aim to attract and house people who want to volunteer and who would like a solution like ours to lower the barriers to doing so, and perhaps a bit of encouragement to actually crack on and do it.

We’re very clear with applicants for our housing that if they’d prefer not to volunteer, they’ll be better off with one of the other property guardian companies in the market – and in this respect it’s fortunate that the other providers don’t expect their guardians to help good causes.  We understand that not everyone has the time and inclination to volunteer, and that’s totally fine – it’s just that we exist for those who do.  So it’s great to see that our guardians are committed enough to their volunteering to continue beyond their time with us.

Our experience is that once people get involved with charities and projects that they care about, and once they are using their skills effectively alongside people they’ve got to know and like, the satisfaction and benefits of volunteering create their own momentum.  So even if getting involved is a bit of a chore at the beginning, it quickly becomes worthwhile in its own right. And those who didn’t volunteer previously are much more likely to report that volunteering has given them new skills they can use professionally and greater satisfaction. We’re glad this means that we’re helping our guardians to improve their own lives, as well as encouraging them to help others.

We’ve thought hard about the ways in which we can help to make volunteering as rewarding as possible for the guardians themselves, as well as impactful for the charities they help.  At its simplest, we aim to help people to find more time to volunteer by lowering their cost of living and providing homes in areas they couldn’t otherwise afford.  Many of those locked in the private rented sector have to work for longer or commute further than they ideally would, and the pressure saps their energy and enthusiasm for giving back.  Reducing the burden of housing costs frees them up to do things they would like to do but previously couldn’t.

On top of this, we find that by creating an environment where being a good neighbour and giving time to good causes is the norm, getting involved feels natural.  And the fact that we send round volunteering opportunities and check how all our guardians’ volunteering is going every month creates accountability.

We think of this aspect of our work as being similar to the role of a personal trainer in a gym.  Even if you know that exercising is good for you, getting started can be hard work and you may need a bit of outside help to get you to actually do it.  It’s not that the personal trainer forces you to do anything you don’t want to, they just reduce the amount of willpower you need to exert to get it done.  We hope that our contact with guardians about their volunteering does a similar job for them, in encouraging them to do something they would like to do anyway.

So while we’re very glad we’re able to support our guardians to collectively give thousands of hours to good causes every month, credit for the effort should go to the guardians themselves – they’ve found the charities they want to help and the roles they want to do, and they’re going to continue into the future.  We’re happy we’ve been able to provide some help along that journey.

You can see more of our guardians’ volunteering stories here. Or to find out more about how we are supporting our guardians to volunteer for good causes, why not read How volunteering helps everyone – not just the beneficiaries.

Nigel’s DIY Adventures in Thamesmead Part 3 – A Way To Make an Entrance

August 21, 2017

This is the third part of our blog series about Nigel, our DIY superstar, in the Thamesmead / Abbey Wood area. In the first & second posts, he walked us through making the kitchen and living room much more cosy with low spend and a bit of effort. This time, he’s writing about how a redecorated hallway makes all the difference to a great welcome home.

Not so Mellow Yellow

The majority of the hall needed glossing – so many doors, cupboards, pipes and frames for such comparatively small space.

The old wood work was yellow and stained, the walls were also yellow and dated. In short, it looked dirty, drab and uninviting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a few hours painting an initial coat of emulsion, I moved onto the glossing and then completed a second coat of emulsion; the hallway was finished except for the flooring …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Floors galore to sand

One particular school day (I was working that night), I was really trying to finish the bedroom floor. I had the sander out and was already making a mess so it was a good time to finish the hallway off as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I feel the hallway was my biggest achievement as this is the first impression for guests and the entrance to my home.

My own ‘Welcome Home’

Although it has taken 5 weeks to get this far, I actually spent about 8 full days decorating, freshening up and titivating my home. I work 4 night shifts a week, do voluntary care work, help out quarterly at the Greenwich Catholic Fellowship and have gotten involved with the Greenwich Carers Centre. Life has been hectic but worthwhile. I got to see a transformation to where I walked into after doubting if I’d manage it. It’s become somewhere I can’t wait to get back to; a sanctuary and my own space. It’s a place that, for less than £300.00 for decorating materials and a bit of effort, I could call home. Though it’s temporary, this DIY is well worth it and has been a tonic boosting me in so many ways. I have motivation, I have dedication and my home allows me to access so many more opportunities. The majority of the graft is done and I can have ‘me’ time to sit back and enjoy my new space.

 

Next time – A Bedroom

Another great installment from Nigel to show how important it is to make your property feel welcoming, not just for guests but for yourself. Some hardwork, enthusiasm and a small budget can go a long way. Nigel’s final installment will be on the bedroom with the help of Smooth FM to really make a house a home.

If this post has inspired you to want to live near Nigel in Thamesmead/Abbey Wood, check out our availability and apply now!

Nigel’s DIY Adventures in Thamesmead Part 2 – A Living Room

May 25, 2017

This is the second part of our blog series about Nigel, our DIY superstar in the Thamesmead / Abbey Wood area. In the first part he guided us through how he made his kitchen more homely and appealing at low cost. This time round he’ll be writing about how he made his living room ‘a different space entirely – warm, inviting and homely’.

Night Shifts, Laminate Flooring, Beautiful Paint

The following week I finished work for the week on the Thursday morning at 7am. I drove straight to the flat via B&Q where they had laminate flooring on offer throughout their January sale. With basic flooring at £5.00 per square mtr, I estimated i would need 7 packs at £12 per pack total cost £84.00. After lugging this from the car to the lift then up the final flight of stairs and into the flat, I made a start on painting the walls in the living room.

This time I used Leyland Trade Matt Pure Brilliant White paint purchased from Screwfix at £19.99 for a 10Ltr Tub. This was beautiful to work with, as you can see from the pictures below.

 

Dot Dot Dot | Affordable Housing | DIY | ThamesmeadDot Dot Dot | Affordable Housing | DIY | ThamesmeadDot Dot Dot | Affordable Housing | DIY | Thamesmead

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once again using a smaller brush to pick out the edges I was ready to get the larger roller on the walls and within 3 hours had given 3 of the walls and the ceiling their first coat of paint.

Dot Dot Dot | Affordable Housing | DIY | Thamesmead

Dot Dot Dot | Affordable Housing | DIY | Thamesmead

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fading Daylight, Balcony Doors, Skirting Boards

Whilst allowing this first coat to soak in and dry, I made a start on glossing the skirting boards and the door and windows leading to the balcony. The gloss was also Leyland Non Drip Pure Brilliant White Trade paint, costing £16.99 for 2.5ltr tin.
After picking out the edges with a smaller brush, I then set to filling in the larger areas with a roller. I find that using a fibre roller rather than a sponge roller gives a smoother finish, but they soon disintegrate, so make sure you have plenty of spares. You can get a 5 pack from Poundland.

Dot Dot Dot | Affordable Housing | DIY | ThamesmeadDot Dot Dot | Affordable Housing | DIY | ThamesmeadDot Dot Dot | Affordable Housing | DIY | Thamesmead

 

 

 

 

 

 

As the daylight began fade rapidly, I had to bring in more lamps to help me see what I was doing. I found this actually highlighted areas that had previously been missed on the walls and ceiling. Being able to control my own shadows therefore enabled me to give all the emulsioning a second and final coat of paint, which you can see below.

Dot Dot Dot | Affordable Housing | DIY | Thamesmead

Dot Dot Dot | Affordable Housing | DIY | Thamesmead

Dot Dot Dot | Affordable Housing | DIY | Thamesmead

 

 

 

 

 

 

This room was completed in 10 hours excluding the back feature wall and adding a few tea breaks in between. By 8:30 pm the smell of paint and aching arms called for a drink or 3. Having been awake 23 hours by this stage it was definitely time to call it a day!

On Friday I woke up at 8am, admired the work and inspected for any missed patches whilst making a cuppa. Now I had the bug to get things going I cut in the edges on the feature wall and within 2 hours this wall was finished. This only took 1 generous coat. The paint was part of Wickes ‘Colour at Home’ range and the most expensive of all the paint purchased at £16.99 for 2.5ltr tin.

Dot Dot Dot | Affordable Housing | DIY | Thamesmead

Dot Dot Dot | Affordable Housing | DIY | Thamesmead

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tea Breaks, Mounted Clocks, Great Value Flooring

My friend arrived at 11am all dressed up ready to do some painting, but I had already done that, so she asked me what needed doing. I said I had a clock that needed putting up (below). I had originally bought this for my room where I was living previously, but never got the opportunity to put it up. Whilst the clock was being mounted, I concentrated on the curtain track and curtains. These cost £14.99 from Wilko and were long enough to do living room and bedroom windows.

Dot Dot Dot | Affordable Housing | DIY | ThamesmeadDot Dot Dot | Affordable Housing | DIY | Thamesmead

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As the clock (available online approx £12.00 inc delivery) was being completed, I made a start on the flooring. As previously mentioned the total cost for the flooring was £84.00. That is less than half the cost that I would have had to shell out on carpet if i was to cover the entire living room floor. After a couple of tea breaks and approximately 3 hours later, the whole room had began to take shape and became a different space entirely; it was warm, inviting and homely.

Dot Dot Dot | Affordable Housing | DIY | Thamesmead

 

 

 

 

 

With the addition of curtains, and over time some furniture and soft furnishings, slowly it became home. I look forward to coming in from work and adding little touches like lighting where I’m able to change the mood of the room.

Dot Dot Dot | Affordable Housing | DIY | ThamesmeadDot Dot Dot | Affordable Housing | DIY | Thamesmead

 

 

 

 

Next Time – A Hallway

Thanks again to Nigel for leading us on this DIY adventure! Hopefully you’ve learned something about how to redecorate a living room. Next time we’ll be looking at the piece of DIY he’s most proud of – his hallway.

If this post has inspired you to want to live near Nigel in Thamesmead/Abbey Wood, check out our availability and apply now!

Nigel’s DIY Adventures in Thamesmead Part 1 – A Kitchen

May 15, 2017

This is the first in a series of blog posts about DIY by our guardian DIY expert, Nigel. Nigel has been a guardian in the Abbey Wood/Thamesmead area since January, and also happens to be a DIY superstar!

He transformed his flat from blank canvas into a gorgeous DIY temple. This inspired us to turn to him for this blog series: Nigel’s DIY Adventures in Thamesmead. Follow this series for top-notch tips to spruce up kitchens, living rooms, hallways, bathrooms and more at low cost.

Nigel tackled his kitchen first, so that’s where we’ll begin. Over to you Nigel!

A Kitchen Ledge DIY Challenge

After receiving the keys to Hibernia Point on Tuesday 17th January, I didn’t actually step foot in the flat until 8am on the Thursday. This was after my night shift, when I dropped off a mattress I had acquired. Only then did I realise how spacious the flat was and how much work was required to make it homely, clean and fresh. I thought to myself “what have I done”!

After walking around weighing up, sizing up and taking pics of the rooms, I returned to where I was staying to make arrangements for utilities and bills. Then on Friday 20th January I returned to the flat armed with paint, rollers, brushes, a bag of tools and most importantly of all – a stereo for company.

The first area I wanted to tackle was the kitchen windows (below); they really didn’t look the best. They were rough and didn’t do the view from the window any justice. Especially the morning sunrise and evening sunsets on a clear day: they’re amazing.

I scraped off the worse of the flaking old, yellowy black paint. With legs of jelly I climbed onto the kitchen work top and made a start by cutting in using a smaller brush and a 2.5ltr tin of Dulux Once Pure Brilliant White Gloss.

Affordable Housing | Dot Dot Dot | DIY

After a couple of hours and forgetting the fact I was 12 stories high on the window ledge I had completed the window frame and the above panels that have been previously painted out, as you can see from the picture below.

Affordable Housing | Dot Dot Dot | DIY

Floors and Walls, Walls and Floors

For the larger areas, using a small roller and tray gives an even cover and speeds up the process. For the walls I used Lidl’s kitchen and Bathroom mould resistant paint that was on offer: 2 x 2.5ltr tubs for £10. This paint I found to be thin and took 3 coats in total to cover and the finish was not as good as I would have liked. But it gave a fresh clean crisp white finish instead of the grey and blue colour scheme, which was welcome. You can see the contrast below – excuse the blurry photos!

Affordable Housing | Dot Dot Dot | DIYAffordable Housing | Dot Dot Dot | DIY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The lino floor was in reasonable condition so I left it in place and just gave it a good scrub. However, this needed to be done anyway due to the amount of paint drips from the watery paint used.

In total I spent 14 hours over 2 days redoing my kitchen. This included the glossing of the doors, frames, windows and skirting boards, 3 coats of paint on walls and ceiling.

Next Time – A Living Room

Hopefully this first post has given you a few ideas for Kitchen DIY! Next time Nigel will be running us through how to redo a living room.

If this post has inspired you to want to live near Nigel in Thamesmead/Abbey Wood, check out our availability and apply now!

 

Making Thamesmead Home – Chloe

May 4, 2017

As part of our blog series ‘Making a Space a Home’, one of our guardians in the Thamesmead/Abbey Wood area, Chloe, has written about the area and how she made her flat an amazing space. Read on for her musings on high rise living, prehistory, vinyl wallpaper and more.

What I love about Thamesmead

Thamesmead is a futuristic utopian vision of a city, seen through the eyes of the past (the Sixties, respectively). A testament to its sci-fi grandeur is that Clockwork Orange was filmed here, and to its romance, Likely Lads by The Libertines. There is a lot of raw concrete, but also a lot of greenery – fields of horses and ponies are woven through the estate and are really quite spectacular in the early morning mist, there are reservoirs home to swans, and Crossness Nature Reserve is nearby. It coexists with the ancient – a prehistoric forest that is a remainder of the once-great forest of Kent, and host to the ruins of Lesnes Abbey, which dates back to 1178. And if sewage works don’t excite you, I suggest taking a trip to the Crossness Pump Works to challenge that stigma. It’s really just a huge Victorian techni-colour jewlery box. Plus the Thamesmead residents are very friendly, and it is easy to recycle.

I live in a high rise so I have a sky view from my apartment – east on one side, west on the other, so I get to see the sun rise and set each day. I love walking through the maze of low-rise houses in the evenings. Lit up with warm coloured lights, cats slinking on the balconies, and puffs of steam pouring from laundry ventilation makes it feel like I’m somewhere else in the world, like somewhere in the far east. The maze-like arrangement means a couple of things, first that I’m still finding my way around after a couple of months, and second, that surprises are literally always around the corner. When you look up, new compositions of bridge-stairs-cat-steam-lights always to be found in a trusty concrete monochrome against whatever pretty colour the sky is that day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What my apartment was like before

I was fairly lucky with the base furnishings of my apartment. The hall and lounge are imitation-pine laminate, the bathroom and kitchen are a non-invasive black linoleum. The bedroom had a decades old murky brown linoleum which I just painted white with what I had to hand – white wood undercoat paint. I also used this paint on the plastic kitchen cupboards and it holds well and is wipeable. One thing I’ve learned whilst doing this is it isn’t absolutely necessary to buy all the right paints and primers, especially if you’re on a budget, just try out what you have if you like the colour – you might be surprised.

The walls where a mix of pink, grey, turquoise, red, and vinyl wallpaper. Vinyl wallpaper can just be peeled off without a steamer or tools, just using your hands. I then painted all the walls and woodwork white, making the space feel more open, calm and fresh.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My furniture

Since I prefer space to stuff, I’ve only furnished my apartment with what I will thoroughly use, which as I write, realise is in the spirit of utopian architecture where function dictates form. I also paint which is why a lot of space is good for me, and do have the odd thing which inspires that.

I use black out blinds for night-time privacy and net curtains for daytime privacy. These were bought cheaply from IKEA. My home office consists of a plain wooden desk and chair I have had since childhood. I think the simplicity (and durability) of these items have contributed to their sustained use over time. My dining table and chairs is actually garden furniture, so I can move it to the balcony in warm weather.

For my bed frame, and for a multipurpose sofa/relaxation/spare bed, I use construction palettes. A friend of mine gave me these but you can find them cheaply online, even discarded out and about, or call up your local construction service se if they have any there were going to throw away or if now, that they’re willing to sell. Around my bed I use IKEA LED lantern lights, which are cheap to buy and run. Also cheap from IKEA I have a net around my bed. Whilst I put it for a cosy den atmosphere I learned of its benefits the first time I used it, because when I woke up I found a vampiric insect perched on it’s outer gauze. So long as you don’t get bitten, bugs cannot survive. It’s the best deterrent, and free of toxins.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lessons and Special Recommendations

Palettes are great – you can stick a cheap cut of upholstery foam on top and have yourself a bed or sitting area. Don’t’ underestimate their uses – I’ve seen them as lampshades, tables, and bookshelves too!

Plants make the best decoration, and they cleanse the air by feeding off Co2 and creating new oxygen. Personally I
love looking after plants, feeding them and watching them grow and change with the seasons. I plan to grow tomatoes, strawberries and a rosebush on my balcony – all available from the Woolwich Market florist nearby, or Columbia Road in central-east where I got the ivy hung from my living room ceiling for a lovely Sunday morning out.

A single hob stove for a single person. It’s all you need, trust me. It easily portable, light, takes up minimal space, is cheap to buy, and if you get induction like me, cheap to run and more eco-friendly. I got it using my Nectar points.

Wifi-alternatives are useful if you want to save money. I found a sim only phone contract with unlimited data for £15 a month, so I use that and tether if I want to use my laptop. It was the best option of all when I was looking, better than dongles too, so I suggest shopping around as new deals come up and generally improve with time.

Warm coloured LED candles since guardians cannot use flame candles, these are a great alternative for atmospheric lighting. Some even mimic the flicker.

Thanks to Chloe for writing this blog, and congratulations for making her home so beautiful. If you’re interested in living in her area or becoming a Dot Dot Dot guardian, apply now.

Making a Space a Home in Thamesmead

October 19, 2016

This is the latest in our series of blogs entitled ‘Making a Space a Home’. In this series we look at how guardians have transformed empty spaces into homely homes! This week we talk to Martin and Carmen. They moved into a Dot Dot Dot property in Thamesmead in July, and have transformed their flat into a lovely home. We interviewed them about that process.

Please introduce yourselves!

We are Martin, a senior electrician from the Lake District, and Carmen, a sustainability graduate from Transylvania. Having met in London over 4 years ago, we moved away for a while and went traveling as well and now we are back in the ‘big smoke’ (maybe smog actually).

Tell us about the area you live in.

Now we live in Thamesmead. Yes, we didn’t really know where that was either but, after viewing the area, we were excited to actually live in one of many ‘cities of the future’ built in the 60s. They don’t necessarily have the best reputation in the UK but we are quite taken with the available green space, the Thames Path, the Lesnes Abbey and the forest around it, not to mention probably the fanciest sewage works around – Crossness Pumping Station.

What was the flat like when you took it on?

We were really quite lucky as the flat had recently been renovated. But the floors weren’t the best; a combination of bad lino and a ‘furry’ floor in the living room. Which was basically the remains of the lino being taken up following, what we found out later from our neighbours, a fire in the flat. However, we had some rescued carpet tiles from an office that no longer needed them which cover most of the flat.

For the rest of the furniture, we had a rummage through the family barn and rescued an armchair (below), a table and a sofa. A bit of elbow grease, sanding paper and paint (rescued from the barn as well) had given them a new lease of life and, we think, they fit in quite well with the age of the building. Our bed (see below) was made by Martin from pallets and our cooker came from one of our fellow guardians.

Home | Guardian | ThamesmeadSpace | Home | Guardian | Thamesmead

How did you find your furniture?

We have a side project – Cycletricity – where we use pedal power to make electricity to run cinemas, sound system and other contraptions aimed at education people around energy issue. But that also means that we have a fair bit of stuff so we tried to integrate it into the house. So speakers became a coffee table and the ‘lightbulb challenge’ becomes a lamp.

We still needed some white goods as we have ours away when we went traveling so we went on good old Gumtree and got ourselves a washing machine and a fridge for under £100. But you could pick them up for free as well on sites like Freecycle or freelywheely or, obviously, from your neighbours. Also, there are loads of charity shops that sell furniture and white goods and some of them deliver as well.

Space | Home | Guardian | ThamesmeadSpace | Home | Guardian | ThamesmeadSpace | Home | Guardian | Thamesmead

 

What’s been the most difficult part of making it a home?

Moving time and time again can get quite tiring… in more ways than one. All the packing and supporting and all the decisions can get too much and somehow you still end up with unopened boxes 3 months down the line after moving. However, we still love making a place home, regardless if it is an office, old people’s home or school so having an actual flat is not, well, that challenging.

As a guardian you do have to get used to thinking outside the box and making the best of the space you have and there’s always that balance to strike between how much time and money you put into a place that you might not get to call home for too long. Hence even more the reason to reuse, recycle and upcycle as much as possible!

What are you looking forward to in your future as a Dot Dot Dot guardian?

We look forward to discovering the area even more and maybe starting a project around food growing and/or food waste. By the way, you probably saw the volunteering opportunities newsletter: FareShare really need some volunteers right now, especially people able to drive a van during the day.

So thanks to Carmen and Martin! Has this inspired you to become a property guardian? Take our guardian quiz to become a property guardian in Thamesmead today!

5 Minutes With: Made in Thamesmead Festival

October 13, 2016

We’re pleased to announce that we will be featuring regular blogs about our clients. We work with a wide range of property owners across the country, and many of them have fascinating jobs and a huge amount of interesting experience. We’ll be asking them questions about their jobs, ongoing projects, the areas they work in and their relationship with Dot Dot Dot.

Made in Thamesmead Festival

This week, we talk to Peabody’s Kate Batchelor about the Made in Thamesmead Festival that happened a few weeks ago. Made in Thamesmead is an arts festival that our partners Peabody play a big role in organising. By all accounts it was a raging success, but here’s Kate’s take on it.

What is your role at Peabody?

Thamesmead Regeneration Officer – working on landscape regeneration improvements and cultural commissions in Thamesmead.

How were you involved in the Made in Thamesmead festival this year?

I managed the festival from inception to delivery in collaboration with local artist Sam Skinner.

Can you tell us a bit more about the festival? (When it started, the idea behind it etc)

This is Peabody’s second arts festival and we were keen to build on the success of last year. Earlier this year Peabody appointed Thirteen Ways, a strategic organisation combining curatorial and communications expertise, to work with us to investigate and develop Thamesmead’s distinct cultural offer.  One of the commitments from this piece of work was to hold a festival that created community-generated cultural activities that celebrate the character and culture of Thamesmead.

How did it go this year?

It was a fantastic weekend with more than 1,500 people in attendance and with over 20 events taking place to celebrate all things ‘Made in Thamesmead’.  The festival was also a chance to showcase some of Thamesmead’s most interesting places, from two packed out tours of the Grade I listed Crossness Pumping Station to the reinvention of garages into arts spaces for the Urban Room – a Thamesmead-themed exhibition – and the Garage Gala – an afternoon of activities and events taking place in garages in the Moorings area.

Made in Thamesmead | Guardians

Made in Thamesmead | Guardians

 

 

 

 

 

 

What were your highlights?

Outdoor cinema in the newly refurbished Southmere Square.  The South Thamesmead Residents Forum were keen to see the space used for outdoor films and picked the family favourite Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. A local resident and Peabody Warden shared his photographs on the big screen and we premiered a short film made by award winning director James Slater which was produced in collaboration with local young people.  Highlight was seeing the young people receive ‘Thamesmead Oscars’ for their performances.

George Charman and Jessie Brennan (Dot Dot Dot guardians) presented installations in a vacant flat.  George transformed a room into a camera obscura and Jessie presented new work including graphite rubbings of residents doormats and created a new rubbing of the exterior walls of Coralline Walk throughout the weekend.

Other highlights included a special production of the play Johnny by Thamesmead writer, actor and director Kwame Augustine and readings from local poet and former Young Poet Laureate for London shortlistee Rachel Long.

 

Made in Thamesmead | Property Guardians

Made in Thamesmead | Property Guardians

 

 

 

 

 

 

What were the challenges involved in organising the festival?

Managing a variety of venues across Thamesmead, some of which are not normal spaces for events. Such as garages!

What are your hopes for the future of the festival?

We are looking forward to building on the participatory and co-authored elements of this year’s festival.  We have made a commitment to hold an arts festival annually with 2018 being particularly special as Thamesmead will be celebrating its 50th anniversary.

What are your hopes for the future of arts in and around Thamesmead?

We are looking forward to working with the incredible amount of local talent and partnering with leading cultural organisations to develop arts in and around Thamesmead.

So thanks to Kate for this insight into a wonderful festival in Thamesmead. We’re pleased to be working in an area where the property owners we work with are so dedicated to such positive projects.

Want to move to Thamesmead and be part of the exciting changes around there? Take our Guardian Quiz.

Spotlight on Jonny

August 17, 2016

Jonny has been a guardian with us since March and has managed to do a huge 78 hours of volunteering in that time! This is what he has to say about being a property guardian with Dot Dot Dot: 

jonny stockbridgeI’m a visual artist and I mostly work with the public on all kinds of creative endeavours. After spending three months traveling around South East Asia and running art workshops in cafes and bars in the Philippines I got back at the beginning of February this year and stayed at a friends place while he was on holiday.

Whilst looking for a new place to live, I came across Dot Dot Dot which seemed to be totally in rhythm with what I was looking for: A more affordable rent and the opportunity to engage with my local community through volunteer work.

I moved to Abbey Wood in March. After meeting up with Claudia from The Link, a really great community centre with all kinds of facilities, we really hit it off and started to plan some art workshops.

I’ve created some large scale art installations at Somerset house and inspired by one of these projects we decided to create a jungle in the foyer by suspending netting above people’s heads, shredding polythene bags and bringing the jungle to life!

the linkWe had two great workshops where over 40 young people came and created carrier bag fruits as well as bottle flowers that strapped around the pillars. Such a great vibe and really transformed the space! I am now like their artist in residence and regularly run workshops. This has led to me talking to the library opposite about doing similar things with them too.

Peabody run The Link and have been very enthusiastic about what’s been happening. I have just recently also been commissioned by them to create some permanent artwork in the garden with a group of young people aged 8-18. Which is really exciting! Many other projects have also taken place this summer too. I created six eight foot willow sunflowers with over 200 participants for SGI-UK. A Buddhist organisation here in the UK. It was an astonishing project!

I’m very much looking forward to continuing with my volunteering and opening up new collaborations in the months to come!

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 andTwitter

Spotlight on Kahina

April 27, 2016

Kahina has thrown herself into volunteering during her time with Dot Dot Dot and has spent over 50 hours giving back to the local community. She has worked with young people on a mentoring project and with other guardians on the Divest Bexley climate campaign. She described moving to this area as ‘the best thing that’s happened to her in a long time!’

The linkHere’s what she has to say about being a guardian:

‘I moved to Abbey Wood in November as a new Dot Dot Dot guardian. What made me choose Dot Dot Dot Property is the fact that, unlike other Guardian Companies, it’s first and foremost a social enterprise. And having a strong background in volunteering, it was the right and obvious choice for me.

I decided to volunteer at The Link as it’s near to my building, which means that I can be flexible with my hours. I also like the fact that they offer a lot of help and support to the Thamesmead community. And it also happens to be a great building, which is a bonus!

I have been volunteering there alongside Lorraine Heath-Norwood, who is their Young People Employment Advisor. With her, I mentor Young People and help them getting work and professional training. A typical session would link3involve us meeting a young person for a follow up, seeing how they are doing with their job search, helping them with either writing or editing their CV, cover letter, work experience application, but also mock job interviews and tips of all sorts. What we offer is guidance and help. I have recently been asked to oversee the content of a leaflet advertising their next Careers Fair, so my involvement there is quite diverse, exciting and interesting!

The young people we guide come from different walks of life. Some have left school before gaining their A Levels, some hold a University degree but are struggling to get a job, and others have mental health issues that are holding them back. The highlight of my volunteering at The Link so far has been seeing one young person with mental health issues overcoming his disability and gaining enough confidence to get back into work. Which is extremely rewarding!

They are expecting their department to grow, which means that hopefully the number of young people seeking our help will increase. And that’s something I’m really looking forward to!’

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

 

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