Home » Culture » Social Enterprise Provides Cheap London Rentals to Volunteers
Social Enterprise Provides Cheap London Rentals to Volunteers
by Startacus Admin
So, we all know that volunteering is great. It builds essential skills, it promotes generosity, it connects you with others and, let’s face it, it feels pretty darn good. But there is of course one major issue; whilst you’re getting on with all that do-gooding, how do you pay the rent?
It’s a problem which has a real impact on the level of volunteer work that the average Joe or Joanna is able to do; being deficient in an endless supply of money, volunteer work sadly must play second fiddle to paying day jobs.
Could this great social enterprise be changing things for the better?
Dot Dot Dot... Property Guardians, is a really innovative new scheme which takes on a number of social challenges all at once, by uniting vacant buildings with people who do charity work, so that they have a cheap place to live whilst giving back to the community. These folks, who are affectionately known as ‘property guardians’, in turn provide a valuable service to the owners of the buildings, by making sure that they remain safe and occupied during times when they would otherwise be vacant.
The whole thing has a lovely ‘clockworky’ feel about it, with the property guardians doing at least 16 hours of work for a charitable cause of their choice per month, in return for getting massively reduced rates of rent on the properties they occupy. However most of the guardians exceed this 16 hour minimum, and last year (2014) those involved donated a combined 18,000 hours of their time whilst taking part in the Dot Dot Dot scheme.
Co-founder Katharine Hibbert explains the benefits of the scheme “By reducing their living costs – and by providing support, encouragement and a peer network for their volunteering – Dot Dot Dot’s guardians are enabled to give more time and have a greater impact.”
As a social enterprise, Dot Dot Dot... is well on the road to becoming a sustainable long term scheme, with costs being covered by both the property owners and the guardians.
But the benefits of the scheme don’t just apply to the guardians, property owners, and charitable bodies; the local communities can also reap some of the rewards. Buildings that would otherwise have been vacant eyesores are put to good use, local neighbourhoods can be assured of friendly and generous neighbours, and the negative social implications that can come from empty buildings can be prevented.
Dot Dot Dot... Property Guardians can provide cheap housing in London and Cambridge for people who are reliable, resourceful, flexible, friendly, and willing to spend at least 16 hours a month volunteering for charitable purposes.