Call for nominations for empty homes champions awards

Before and after: 96 St Leonard’s Road in Ayr had fallen into disrepair after the previous owner moved away

An awards ceremony which recognises the work being done in the battle to bring Scotland’s 37,000 privately-owned long-term empty homes back into use is calling for nominations from across the country.

The Howdens Scottish Empty Homes Champion of the Year Awards is held annually to showcase the work of individuals and teams tackling the waste of vacant property.

Organisers are looking for people to nominate a person or team in any of the five categories: Best Before & After Photo, Best Use of the Media, Outstanding Individual, Outstanding Project and Outstanding Service. For the first time in the eight years of the awards there will also be a public vote from a shortlist announced in the coming weeks. The awards ceremony takes place alongside the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership annual conference on November 26 at The Engine Shed in Stirling.

Philip Hanson, depot manager for Howdens Joinery, which is sponsoring the awards for a fourth year said: “Howdens Joinery are proud to be sponsoring the Scottish Empty Homes Champion of the Year Awards for the fourth year running.

“The work being celebrated has resulted in hundreds of homes being brought back into use as housing stock every year. This is making a difference to many people including those who need a home, those who gain work during renovations and neighbours who may have struggled with the impact of an empty home near them. I look forward to reading the nominations and hearing this year’s success stories.”

Shaheena Din, national manager of the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership, said: “These Awards are an important event in the annual calendar for those working on the frontline in the complex work to identify empty homes and their owners and then bring them back into use with a combination of problem-solving, inspiration and motivation. The awards provide important recognition and also a chance to share the very best examples of how to tackle empty homes.

“The properties which lie empty are a significant wasted resource at a time of a housing shortage and everyone wins when they are returned to use but especially those who can move into them, their neighbours and wider communities.”

The Scottish Empty Homes Partnership is funded by the Scottish Government and run by housing and homelessness charity Shelter Scotland.

Housing minister Kevin Stewart said: “Making sure everyone has access to a safe, warm place to call home is a priority for the Scottish Government. That’s not just about building new homes, but making better use of existing stock. Long-term empty homes can be a blight on communities and are a wasted resource at a time when we need more homes – bringing them back into use is a cost-effective way to increase supply, and support community regeneration.

“The work of Empty Homes Officers across Scotland has proven invaluable, and local authorities across the country are embracing this work.”

Share icon
Share this article: