Spike’s 2023 Charity Round Up

At the start of last year, Spike selected Dorset Mind as its Charity of the Year for 2023. 


Based in Bournemouth, Dorset Mind educates, challenges mental health stigma and inequality; and encourages recovery by empowering people to develop resilience. Their 1-2-1 and group support includes befriending, counselling, groups, and mentoring for adults and young people. Their training team delivers educational wellbeing for workplaces including the official Mental Health First Aid (MHFA). They also have numerous volunteering opportunities across the charity. 


Our decision to select Dorset Mind was rooted in a shared commitment to connecting communities and prioritising people, which is at the heart of what we do here at Spike. This year, as a company, we took part in a number of fundraising events and volunteering initiatives to enable Dorset Mind to continue to raise awareness and provide support for mental health in our communities, whilst at the same time organising a variety of activities aimed towards fostering a culture of wellbeing amongst out staff.  


Fast forward a year, and we are proud to reflect on a journey that has not only been deeply fulfilling but has also brough us closer as a team whilst growing our relationship with our neighbours and friends at Dorset Mind. 


Bournemouth Bay Run 2023 
The Bournemouth Bay Run 2023 was our first fundraising initiative, and five members of the team took on the challenge! #TeamSpike consisted of Nick, Vicky, Josh, Jonny and Sriya who took on varying routes, from half marathons to the 5km. Despite the trials of arduous training, injuries, illnesses, and exhaustion, their dedication to both personal well-being and the cause of mental health shone through. 


Donned in vibrant neon orange, inspired by the event’s 40th-anniversary 80’s theme, the team surpassed expectations by raising an impressive £2,353 for Dorset Mind, far surpassing the initial target of £500. Our office rallied behind them, cheering as they crossed the finish line, and even securing a spot in the Bournemouth Echo! 

Sherborne Country Fair Dragon Boat Racing 

The Sherborne Castle County Fair Dragon Boat Race was our second major fundraising venture, with a spirited team comprising 17 members from our staff, friends, and family. 


Together, we navigated the waters to raise £772 in support of Dorset Mind’s mission. Rowing proved more challenging then expected, but we persevered, learning valuable lessons in teamwork, communication, and pace – we even won our first race!


We took part in Dorset Mind’s Eco in Mind project in collaboration with ASDA, which involved tending to the Longham Allotment Gardens. Our team dedicated their efforts to a specific allotment designed for individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s. This unique allotment offered a sensory experience and a serene connection with nature, promoting mental well-being and tranquillity. The vegetables cultivated from our plot also went towards local open fridges and food banks to give back to our community.


We also organised various beach clean-ups throughout the year, coinciding with Earth Day and World Environment Day, demonstrating our commitment to giving back to the local community. These initiatives not only contributed to environmental conservation but also fostered connections and camaraderie among staff members.

Content Collaboration for Clients

In addition, recognising the importance of spreading mental health awareness, we worked with Dorset Mind to develop informative and engaging content for our clients and industry.


Drawing on their expertise in the field, we created a series of blogs and social media content centred around mental health topics, such as how to support residents through Blue Monday, ways to support residents with their mental health, wellbeing tips and more. These resources served as valuable tools to educate and inform our online audience about various aspects of mental well-being, reducing stigma and promoting understanding.


One particularly successful initiative was the incorporation of mental health awareness days into our monthly community resident engagement guides. These guides, which were eagerly anticipated by our client communities, featured dedicated sections for mental health awareness on relevant days throughout the year. These efforts were met with enthusiastic responses from both residents and clients, demonstrating the positive impact of integrating mental health awareness into our regular communication channels.


Our latest Community Engagement Guide is now out, which includes a multitude of events, covering both social, mental wellness and environmental awareness days for property and community engagement managers to bring residents together.


Through various fundraising activities and the enthusiastic support of over 50 generous contributors, we successfully raised a total of £3,125 towards funding Dorset Mind’s mental health programs and activities. These programs include mentoring and support for children, young people and adults, as well as training for more volunteers to help support our local community. This achievement not only highlighted the generosity and dedication of our Spike community, but also showcased the tangible impact of our partnership in supporting mental health initiatives. 


Beyond the financial contributions, the charity partnership had a positive impact on our team dynamics and company culture. Organising charity events and participating in volunteering activities brought our staff closer together as a team. It instilled a sense of fulfilment and purpose among staff, fostering a positive and open company culture that continues to thrive today. The collaborative efforts to support mental health initiatives not only benefited our local community and client communities, but also significantly improved staff well-being, creating a more supportive and compassionate work environment. 


Thank you to Dorset Mind 

Dorset Mind’s incredible support, encouragement, and invaluable insights played an important role in the success of the collaboration. We admire Dorset Mind’s dedication and expertise in the field of mental health, and through our partnership, feel as if we’ve learned a lot ourselves. As our first Charity of the Year, Dorset Mind set a high standard. It was a mutually beneficial and heartwarming collaboration that left a lasting positive impact on all involved. 


What’s next? 

Now, with last year’s charity initiatives fuelling our drive to give back to community, we will be embarking on a new charity of the year for 2024 which we are excited to announce next week! 


Beyond the Basics: What BTR residents want from their living spaces

Up until the recent Build-to-Rent boom, BTR had typically catered to students and young professionals who were embarking on their careers. Fast forward a few years, and it’s the 25-34 year olds who now make up the most common demographic of residents, with an increasing percentage of 55-64 year olds living in BTR developments too. The current financial climate is likely to push this recent shift even further, increasing its wide-scale appeal, especially with hesitant first-time buyers. 


As the demographics of those living in BTR are changing, so too are the expectations and needs from their rented properties. 


Shifting priorities


Each BTR development is unique, offering residents a variety of amenities and services included in their monthly rent or as additional paid for services. Operators recognise the importance of having unique and varied spaces with an incredible array of facilities and services on offer to potential residents, from dining rooms and cinema rooms to rooftop spaces, communal gardens and dedicated wellness rooms. With shifting demographics however, it may be wise to keep options open and create more flexible, multi-purpose amenity spaces to allow residents to decide for themselves how to use these areas.


As well as high-quality amenities and facilities, research has revealed that one of the biggest priorities for renters is having the latest connectivity options when. According to a survey of 500 residents and 200 apartment operators conducted by DISH Business, 81% of property owners and managers indicated that technology services were important in keeping residents satisfied, while 67% agreed that they could do more to provide the highest level of technology to their residents.


Connectivity done right 


A 2019 report from Wiredscore, ‘Poor Foundations: the state of UK residential connectivity’, claims two-thirds of developers can rent their well-connected properties at a higher price and possibly with a greater yield. Two-fifths – 40% – of developers have seen an increase in demand for their properties, while more than half – 56% – stating they can rent their properties for longer, due to the improved in-home experience. 


Managed internet service providers, such as ASK4, can elevate a resident’s connectivity experience, which can then return in higher rates of retention. Traditional ISPs tend to have a number of limitations when it comes to connectivity in multi-tenant buildings. Firstly, the lack of a managed service layer, means monitoring and maintenance, as well as proactive improvements to the service are either not at the level that residents expect, or are simply missing altogether, resulting in a worse experience for both residents and on-site teams.


ASK4’s 4Network delivers seamless connectivity for an unlimited number of smart devices to provide a connectivity experience, just as you would expect in a traditional home setting. What’s more though, this network extends site-wide beyond the walls of a resident’s apartment, meaning that that smart devices in their own spaces can be operated while dining in the building’s cafe, or working out in the gym for instance. This helps residents to integrate into a building’s wider community and make those communal facilities feel part of their home. 


Building a community with connectivity 


BTR residents are drawn to the promise of a vibrant community within their building. Common areas designed for social interaction, such as communal lounges, rooftop gardens, and co-working spaces are highly valued. Latest ONS data has revealed that those aged between 16-29 are over twice as likely to report feeling lonely often or always than those over 70, so it’s no surprise that this years’ Who Lives in Build-to-Rent report found that social spaces were rated as one of the most important amenities to residents, along with a social calendar and events. These spaces foster a sense of belonging and provide opportunities for residents to connect, collaborate, and build meaningful relationships with their neighbours. 


However, residents do not suddenly become part of a community just because there are communal spaces, or someone has put up an event flyer on a noticeboard. Resident engagement portals like Spike Living play an increasingly important part. Through Spike Living, residents can connect with each other instantly, and the ‘what’s around me’ feature can highlight local shops and services, reducing the anxiety around moving to a new location. In addition to providing much-needed visibility to smaller businesses, encouraging residents to explore what’s on their doorsteps.


What’s more, Spike Living allows residents to create their own clubs and forums, enabling residents to find like-minded people who share similar interests. Whilst staff can share and promote in-house and local events, all helping to foster a sense of community. Developments that have implemented resident engagement portals have reported a 20% increase in resident participation in community events and initiatives in the first 3 months alone. 




BTR residents are seeking more than just a place to live—they crave a comprehensive living experience that aligns with their values and connectivity needs, both digitally and physically. Developers and operators who understand and cater to these desires by providing adequate internet connectivity, community-focused spaces, and resident portals are poised to attract and retain a diverse range of residents. As the BTR sector continues to evolve, staying attuned to these preferences will be crucial for those aiming to create thriving, dynamic living communities.