LOWE & Riverside Housing: One Year On

One year on – meet the Guardians living at the Riverside flats in South London

LOWE’s partnership with Riverside Housing has been successfully ongoing for 12 months and over this time, we have taken on the management of multiple vacant flats across three South London estates in Bromley, Camberwell and Beckenham, as part of Riverside’s wider regeneration programme.

Since the partnership formed, LOWE has place 150 carefully vetted guardians into the estates where the flats would otherwise be vacant. The partnership with Riverside has afforded LOWE the opportunity to support the culture of the communities, by providing affordable housing to key workers, young professionals and creatives who are from the local area and contribute to the communities. Meet some of the guardians who are making the most of this guardianship opportunity:

Geoffrey Close, Loughborough Junction, Camberwell

From teachers and architects to police officers and artists, there is a broad demographic of professional guardians living in several vacant flats in Loughborough Junction.

Denzel is an Operations Manager living in Geoffrey Close, who provides logistic solutions for Covid-19 testing. He is responsible for opening new labs for testing centres across London and recruiting scientists and crew to run the labs, and he manages several teams who deliver on-the-ground Covid-19 testing. Denzel typically works as an Event Manager for major sporting events, and has organised and managed charity events for Macmillan and Comic Relief, but since the pandemic has meant there has been very limited work in this field, he has had to pivot his career path over the past 18-months. He says, “I have been a Guardian with LOWE for a number of years and find the team to be extremely supportive. I love the flexibility that comes with being a guardian, especially as a self-employed person, as well as being part of a vibrant community in Camberwell.”

At Geoffrey Close we have also placed one of our former LOWE Ambassadors from our programme, which provides Key workers, Innovators, Placemakers and Contributors a platform to pursue causes they are passionate about. Elliott, a teacher living in Loughborough Junction, said that “my interest in people and passion for connection made being a guardian the perfect opportunity to facilitate broader relationships within the LOWE community, as well as to bring people together and offer a platform for diverse voices.”

Calverley Close, Beckenham

In Beckenham there are a number of key workers from all sectors, and many of them work in the local area. Charity workers, teachers, NHS workers and everything in-between, working every day to give back to the wider South London community.

One of our guardians is Adam, who works for the NHS as part of the Children and Young People team in the Health and Justice department. As part of his varied work, his team oversees the well-being and care of adolescents in prisons. Adam says, “I like to keep busy, playing football, cycling, volunteering – I’m always active! I also consider myself to be a very friendly, trustworthy and conscientious person, and I like to take great pride in the home I live in – wherever that maybe.”

Another key worker, Helin, works as a Performance Manager in Urgent and Emergency Care and Elective Care at NHS England and NHS Improvement. Working for the NHS, Helin was just looking for a safe, quiet place she can come home to, without long commuting distances; “Being a guardian with LOWE was the perfect solution for me, as I am saving long-term for my own place. Living in my own flat in Beckenham is ideal for my work and it provides me safe, reliable accommodation.”

Pike Close, Bromley

The flats in Bromley are very popular, and we are very pleased with the lovely people who have chosen to live with us!

Charity worker Dáre works for Able Child Africa, a charity that works with children and young people with disabilities via local partnership in East African countries. She is a co-founder and member of Rotaract Club and has been a member of Rotary International since 2014 supporting both local charities and international organisations such as End Polio Now. Dáre also volunteers for TimePeace, an organisation working towards the integration of refugees into British society by organising ‘speed-friending’ events and online activities.

“I heard about LOWE Guardians through a friend who moved into a LOWE property – I even helped her move into her place and transform her space into a cosy living area. Living in Bromley is perfect for my work; I love my job, but I would never have been able to live in this location if I didn’t have affordable accommodation through LOWE – it has allowed me to continue what I love and from the convenience of living in Bromley.”

In Bromley, we also have Thomas who works for the Centre for Health and Disability Assessments (CHDA), a subsidiary of MAXIMUS, and is contracted to deliver the Health Assessment Advisory Service on behalf of Department for Work and Pensions. Living in one of the Riverside flats, this is Thomas’ second guardianship, and his favourite so far, commenting “I have the benefit of my own personal space with additional support from LOWE when needed. Being a key worker for the DWP can be stressful and demanding at times, and coming home to my own safe space is of high importance. Being a guardian is allowing me to be independent, live in an area easily commutable and save money for my future.

With the rise in private rental prices, many people see working and living in Central London as unattainable, however, providing our guardians with affordable living opportunities can be a way where we help people to unlock their aspirations through affordable housing.

If you have a vacant building and you would like to find out how our bespoke service can work for you, contacts us today for a free consultation report with our recommendations on how best to protect your building.