I can’t believe how quickly this last year has gone. Like many small businesses, attempting to navigate Covid, and how we operate as a business has presented many challenges over the year, but also provided us with some great opportunities to grow. As a business, we made the decision to step away from LOWE Guardians and rebrand to The LOWE Group to account for a range of services we are now offering. We do Property Guardians better than ever before, and the team has nearly doubled over the last year, but as we have started working on other opportunities, including workspace, partnering with local charities, and consulting on clients’ vacant space strategies, we felt a rebrand was needed. It is really exciting to see so many of our clients wanting to discuss their ESG strategies with us and place social value at the heart of their decision making.
Particular highlights from 2021 have been working alongside arts charity SET, to provide over 500 artists with affordable and studio space at Riverside House in Woolwich. It’s an iconic building spread over 160,000 sq.ft, and we have been blown away by how popular the building has been. In essence, providing flexible, affordable space whether through living, working, or creating is at the heart of what we do and we couldn’t be happier to work with such a fantastic organisation in SET.
Our LOWEkey Prioritisation Programme has gone from strength to strength over the last year. We have partnered with multiple hospitals and ensuring that key workers are given priority on new rooms has been very well received in each building we manage. We are also working with YOO Developments in Aldgate East and Peabody in Thurrock to provide exclusive accommodation to NHS workers from local hospitals in the respective areas. Closer to home, we have embedded ourselves within our own local community in Southwest London, partnering with Hammersmith & Fulham Council and Earls Court Development Company to deliver social value on our doorstep.
LOWE Works has grown, and after our initial nervousness of starting a workspace over Covid, our doubts have been proved wrong and we have seen a really strong demand from businesses and entrepreneurs looking for neighbourhood workspace close to where they live. We have some exciting plans for 2022 which we can’t wait to share with you.
One of the biggest challenges I face when running my own business, is recruiting and managing a team who believe in our company values and buy into our mission. One of my mentors often quotes the phrase “Hire Slow, Fire Fast”, in other words, hire with intention and not reaction, and this is something I try to keep at the front of my mind as we grow and evolve as a business. I have learned the importance of growing a team who wholly believe in our business culture and mission, and equally, I have had to have some tough conversations with those who don’t. I have found it particularly rewarding seeing members of our team grown and develop in their roles, and I could not be prouder of how the team has progressed and matured.
Looking ahead to 2022, we have already started to put the wheels in motion for another busy year. We have begun the process of pursuing a B-Corp Certification, and we will be putting more emphasis on our LOWE Foundation and we are looking forward to growing our LOWE Ambassador Programme even further for 2022. We will be hiring a Social Impact manager to grow and develop our charitable arm of the business, and following the success of our podcast, The LOWE Down, we will be launching an events programme, inviting speakers from the industry, and continuing the theme of Property with a Purpose.
We have much to look forward to, but as ever, we wouldn’t be where we are without the support from our clients, partners, and guardians, so thank you! From my team and I, we wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year!
Founder & Director