Dot Dot Dot was founded on the belief that if you provided people with safe, inexpensive housing they would have more time and energy to do other things that mattered to them. And it was this idea that got Katharine Hibbert and her fledgling social enterprise onto the Investec Beyond Business programme back in 2011.

Dot Dot Dot is a social enterprise which enables people who want to volunteer for good causes to live cheaply in buildings that would otherwise be empty.

They do this by housing residents as property guardians. Property guardians keep the building secure for the owners and wider community. In return, the guardians receive inexpensive housing across London and the South East and support to volunteer for good causes of their choice.

Since 2011, Dot Dot Dot has given hundreds of empty properties a new purpose by turning them into homes for community-minded people, and hubs of social impact. They have housed thousands of people across the country, who have collectively given more than 350,000 hours to good causes – the equivalent of one person working full time for more than 180 years. This volunteering is worth more than £4.3m, of which at least £1.8m is attributable to Dot Dot Dot’s work.

How Investec Beyond Business supported them

Being accepted on to the programme while Dot Dot Dot was just starting out made a huge difference, as Katharine explains.

“For a start, it was a huge confidence boost to be chosen from a competitive field. It also opened the door to introductions to potential clients, advisors and partners which had a transformative impact on us.

“And it has been lovely to be able to maintain a relationship with the Bromley by Bow Centre and Investec over our first decade in business – the ongoing support and encouragement from both organisations has been fantastic.”

Find out more

Watch their short animated video to learn about the story of Dot Dot Dot and find out how to become a guardian.

Have you recently launched a social enterprise in east London, or do you have a great idea for one? Find out more about the programme.

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