Dot Dot Dot gives people who do great voluntary work cheap homes by placing them in properties which would otherwise be empty, on a temporary basis.
The property guardian concept has come of age in recent years. The premise is simple: an organisation finds reliable, considerate individuals and places them in vacant properties. The ‘guardians’ save on accommodation; while landlords get peace of mind that their properties are being looked after.
Dot Dot Dot is a property guardian company with a difference. The social enterprise places individuals who do great voluntary work in empty buildings in the capital, for a fraction of the forbidding costs that typically come with a London postcode.
According to co-founder Katharine Hibbert, this unlocks giving in several ways. She says: “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 such, Dot Dot Dot turns empty buildings (of which there are currently around 700,000 in the UK) from a blight into an asset – providing a service to property owners, giving guardians cheap accommodation, and making a meaningful contribution to communities.
Launched in 2011, Dot Dot Dot is now working with several large housing associations in London to make the most of their empty properties, while guardians are giving hundreds of hours a week to voluntary projects, ranging from mentoring children from deprived backgrounds to helping elderly neighbours with their gardening.
Award and follow-on funding
Dot Dot Dot was awarded £50,000 in the second round of the Innovation in Giving Fund to increase capacity, allowing the organisation to take on more properties and house a greater number of guardians, while supporting them to do even more great voluntary work.
Dot Dot Dot was later awarded a further £119,000 to increase capacity further, including taking on key staff members to help expand the business and increase the organisation’s social impact.
Revenue is generated both from guardians and property owners, offering a clear path to sustainability.
Katharine Hibbert, director