The fact that we’re moving means not only finding new premises for work, but also finding new accommodation for our full-time staff. As none has a salary, we cannot easily manage Hong Kong market rates, some of the highest in the world. This too is a second challenge for us in moving: a huge one.
- In our current location, we have been on two leases. The first lease, for the work, is at a peppercorn rate. The second, for the housing, brings a rental fee, but a fairly affordable one because the buildings are very badly run down. These old residential flats were used formerly by the Gurkha regiments but, when we arrived, had received little care since the Gurkhas’ departure. Each of the apartments was therefore badly dilapidated. Several rooves were broken, hundreds of windows were smashed, flooring needed replacement in every single room, thousands of walls needed painting, and the flats were littered with branches, debris, monkeys, even our fair share of dead (and live) snakes. Scroll down to the photo below for a glimpse of the hundreds of renovation tasks required.
- Renovating these places took about two years in total, as did all our offices and workspaces. They are still far from robust, though regular checks declare them safe. Our lease, being a short term one, has never permitted us to build new facilities which would be fit for purpose.
- We operate with a staff of 70 people plus their families, drawn from many nations, usually averaging around 100 people. This diversity of nations is excellent in helping our participants learn first-hand about life elsewhere in the world. It has its own financial difficulties, though, as it means our staff are not persons of high net worth, and, of course, none of us receives a salary. That is the reason that all on our team will have a challenge if the rent becomes exceedingly high when we move elsewhere. Clearly, we could not easily manage expensive accommodation. We need a creative solution.
If anyone has ideas or would like to brainstorm about solutions, we are keen to hear from you!
The before/after photos on this page are three of the hundreds of locations we needed to renovate on this site.