TV star George Clarke joins search for Scotland’s empty homes champions

George Clarke
George Clarke

Nominations are being sought across Scotland to find the country’s empty homes champions.

The Howdens Scottish Empty Homes Champion of the Year Awards are intended to showcase exemplary contributions made by groups or individuals across Scotland to bring empty properties back into use.

Entries from the private, public and third sectors are encouraged, with entries previously received from housing associations, private developers and voluntary organisations.

The closing date for applications is midnight on the 12th October 2015. Winners will be announced at the 5th Annual Scottish Empty Homes Conference being held at the MacDonald Holyrood Hotel, Edinburgh, on 17th November.

‘Restoration Man’ TV star George Clarke is giving the keynote speech at the event, which this year has the theme ‘Local Effort, Local Impact’.

George Clarke is a UK Empty Homes Adviser and Architect and is best known for his work on the Channel 4 programmes The Home Show, The Restoration Man and George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces.

There are 27,000 long-term private sector empty homes in Scotland, many of which blight their local area causing safety concerns for communities. The awards are a celebration of the best projects and rising stars across Scotland for their achievements in bringing empty homes back into use.

All local authorities, elected members, community groups and individuals who work with empty homes can apply for the coveted Empty Homes Champion of the Year Award for Outstanding Project or Service, and Empty Homes Champion of the Year Award for Outstanding Individual.

Nominations are also wanted for Best Use of the Media and Best Before and After Photo awards.

This year’s conference will feature presentations from key note speakers and focused workshops and will be attended by empty homes practitioners, senior council housing officers, elected members, and others with an interest in private sector empty homes work.

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

Graeme Brown, director for Shelter Scotland, said: “This year’s conference will showcase the innovative work happening across Scotland which really makes a difference to communities suffering with empty properties.

“There are thousands of empty homes in Scotland and bringing them back to good use can provide local affordable housing and help regenerate local communities. It won’t solve the housing crisis on its own, but along with the social and economic benefits, it can play a part in tackling Scotland’s chronic shortage of affordable homes.”

Philip Hanson, assistant depot manager for Howdens Joinery, which is sponsoring the Scottish Empty Homes Champion of the Year Awards, said: “Howdens Joinery is proud to be supporting the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership and Shelter Scotland, in bringing much needed housing stock back into use across Scotland. The ‘Howdens Scottish Empty Homes Champion of the Year Awards’ are an important part of this fantastic project, recognising the continued hard work and dedication given by individuals and organisations across Scotland. Howdens Joinery looks forward to continuing to support this amazing project in the future.”

The nominations window for individuals, projects and colleagues is now open and will close on 12 October 2014. People can apply here or email


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