Ensuring the right guardians are entrusted to look after Lowe properties is a responsibility Zohara Palmer, our Guardians Services Manager, undertakes with pride. We asked her what she enjoys about working at Lowe, how her former roles have led her here, and about her personal achievements (look out for her impressive ‘proudest moment’ story!)…
Q. Where did you grow up?
A. I was born and bred in Blackburn, Lancashire. I wanted to move to the city and relocated to London 20 years ago along with my sisters.
Q. What did you want to do when you were younger?
A. I just wanted to help people. I’ve always worked for charities – first with Sure Start, a local government charity which supports families in mediation. I was then a PA for a disability charity, which included travelling to a conference in Mumbai with a wheelchair user. That was a real eye opener – to see the lack of disability services, support systems and equipment out there. I learnt a lot about myself, too.
Q. How did you hear about LOWE?
A. I was working at a crisis intervention and residential detox charity called City Roads in Islington, working alongside clinical and social care teams. Lowe managed the property for us, and I applied for a job with them. I started as an Office Manager, from there moved to the Property Team, and now I work in The Services Team.
Q. What do you like best about working for LOWE?
A. I love that it’s like a family, and we all look after each other. We take part in fun activities together, we go for days out, we’re a real team. It’s so nice that we have a community within our actual business, as well as creating communities within our buildings.
Q. Why do you feel your guardians like living in LOWE properties?
A. Guardianship offers a different way of living, often in unusual large spaces that have been given a high-quality make-over. They enjoy the convenience of living near to where they work, at an affordable price, and the flexibility of 28 days’ notice. Our guardians feel proud to be entrusted with caretaking these buildings on a temporary basis and enjoy being part of a like minded community.
Q. What challenges do you face?
A. There is a high demand for guardianship, and the Lowe brand is really popular at the moment – people really want to be part of what we’re doing. We have a very strict vetting process to ensure we recruit only the highest calibre guardians to care for our buildings, so we have to turn many applicants down. That’s a tough part of the job but we must maintain extremely high standards.
Q. What gives you job satisfaction?
A. Often following a property hand-back we get really positive emails from former guardians saying things like “We’ve had such a great time”, or “We’ve made so many friends”. That’s really nice to hear.
Q. What might people not know about you?
A. I’m currently studying a BA (hons) in Psychology and Social Science, and I’m also a qualified beauty therapist.
Q. What’s your proudest moment?
A. I delivered my grandson! My daughter was in labour – I called the midwife but she didn’t make it in time, so I had to deliver him. It was stressful, it was scary, but it was just a beautiful moment. The ambulance arrived soon after he was born and both mum and baby were fine. I never expected to be in that situation, but it was priceless.