A NEW scheme that could help solve Oxford’s housing crisis is to be launched soon in the city.

Dot Dot Dot will providing affordable housing for people who are prepared to give something back to their local communities.

The idea is that residents - known as ‘property guardians’ - will live in a previously empty property at a discounted rate while dedicating at least 16 hours per month to volunteering in their local community.

This is to help property owners keep their previously empty buildings maintained, provide affordable housing and encourage residents to contribute to their city.

Katharine Hibbert, founder of Dot Dot Dot who was born and raised in Headington, said: “With house prices being so high these days, it can steal people away from making the time to do things that make a difference.

"People get good jobs so that they can pay their rent, but often forget to contribute to the community that they live in.”

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She added: “We’re looking forward to providing people with inexpensive, well-managed homes and helping them to find time and energy to volunteer for good causes they’re excited about.”

Ms Hibbert said growing up in Headington was one of the reasons why she launched the business in London in 2011.

She said: “When I lived in Oxford I always found it to be a friendly place with a lot going on.

"There were many community groups run by volunteers. I knew who people were in my neighbourhood and made sure I spent time with them. I think this has impacted my idea. I want to get people out and about again.”

Volunteering initiatives that have taken place thanks to Dot Dot Dot’s presence in cities like Cambridge and Sheffield have included regular litter picking meet ups and community events to tackle isolation.

Properties that will be available to rent at a price of £450 in the coming months, include one-bedroom flats located 10 minutes walking distance from Oxford city centre - and anyone over the age of 18 can apply.

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The scheme will be working in partnership with Aspire, the Oxfordshire based employment charity, which is stepping up its efforts as an organisation to help address the housing crisis in Oxfordshire.

Dot Dot Dot was set up to address social and environmental needs and has its head office in Stratford.